Originally Posted by Coburn
Well, FWIW, this is consistent with the long-tail theory: the internet has enabled entrepreneurs to market to small, but global, consumer niches.
I think that's exactly the phenomena that we're seeing here. Clothing of a certain quality level (and style) is all but unavailable in mainstream shopping centers, and where it is available in the traditional brick-and-mortar model, it is punitively expensive.
A lot of what the 'SF entrepreneurs' are providing are things that are in such low demand in any given city, that as a retail proposition, they could not survive. But as an online business serving the world, they can. Over time, we'll probably see an increasing number of these kind of long-tail specialty businesses emerge, particularly in mature industries where proverbial corners are cut to increase profit (or just lower prices).
I think it's an interesting question, for each of them individually, as to what their long-term goals are for their businesses. Do they hope to transition into being mainstream/retail brands? Are they satisfied with a long-term niche? etc.