Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A new labor ruling has big implications for severance agreements; the lawsuit that threatens to ban a form of medication abortion nationwide has providers bracing for the worst; and Emma Chamberlain is reaching Gen Z coffee consumers. Enjoy your Thursday!
Buzzy startup. Emma Chamberlain became a YouTube star at 16 when she started posting videos about her daily life. The now 21-year-old has amassed 12 million subscribers on the platform. From the beginning, one of the frequent components of her everyday life was coffee—usually cold brew, the ice clinking in the glass on camera.
Now Chamberlain is looking beyond YouTube to other corners of the entertainment industry, podcasting, and, of course, coffee; she’s the founder of Chamberlain Coffee. She launched the brand in 2019 and redesigned its offerings in 2020; the company raised $7 million in funding last year in a round led by Blazar Capital.
“My dream job, if I had not started my career on the internet, was to be a barista or to own a coffee shop— that was always my fantasy,” Chamberlain says. “My opportunities from my internet career gave me the ability to make that dream come true.”
The brand has become popular with Gen Z and millennial consumers, from Chamberlain’s massive YouTube following and beyond. Its top-selling product is single-serving cold brew sachets, which cost $16 for a box of 10; it also sells matcha, chai, and accessories like a milk frother and beverage tumbler. With its funding, the brand is plotting an expansion from direct-to-consumer sales to reaching retail customers, says CEO Chris Gallant. The products are sold in about 500 retail stores now—its biggest partner is the grocery chain Sprouts—and the brand aims to be in 5,000 by the end of the year.
Coffee businesses like Starbucks have spent the past few years adapting to the changing tastes of young coffee consumers; cold drinks now account for as much as 75% of Starbucks sales. Chamberlain is part of that demographic—and has set some coffee trends herself, like her personal cold brew recipe—helping the brand understand its customer. “We’re creating a brand that is not a brown bag sitting on the shelf, but is livelier and speaking to a new cohort of consumers,” Gallant says.
Coffee is a consumer good that’s ripe for the direct-to-consumer model, Gallant says. “It’s great for subscription business because it’s so ritualistic,” he explains. “But most people still purchase their coffee on their weekly grocery trip.”
While Gallant strategizes how to reach more customers, Chamberlain continues to weigh in on product and marketing. And with so many celebrity-backed brands out there, being in the coffee category—not beauty or alcohol—helps Chamberlain’s brand stand out. “Authenticity is critical to our success,” says Gallant.
“I do want Chamberlain Coffee to have a life of its own,” Chamberlain says. “And I’m so grateful I was able to use the other side of my career to help this side of my career.”
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Payday. Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, received an 8.9% raise in 2022, totaling $24.5 million in compensation. In her first full year on the job, she was the only U.S. bank leader to get a pay bump last year. Other institutions cut or capped CEO compensation. Bloomberg
Spill the tea. It is now illegal for companies to include provisions in severance agreements that bar former employees from speaking negatively about the company, a ruling that could make it easier for employees to speak out about discriminatory or unlawful experiences at past employers. The National Labor Relations Board reversed two Trump-era decisions on the matter, saying they were wrong because the provisions interfere with employee rights. Axios
Demoted. A branch of Panasonic Holdings said that it will demote and possibly fire employees found guilty of sexual harassment. While demotion or termination after several instances of sexual harassment is common, the company hopes that the no-tolerance policy will act as a social deterrent. Japan Times
Ring the bell. Prominent Black business leaders and venture capitalists rang the bell to open the Nasdaq last week during a celebration of Black entrepreneurship. Attendees said they hoped to inspire other Black innovators and investors to contribute to the ecosystem that builds wealth for Black communities. TechCrunch
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Planning for chaos. A Texas lawsuit that could overturn FDA approval of popular abortion pill mifepristone is causing abortion providers to brace for the worst. A shift to in-person abortions or to a regime consisting of only misoprostol, another abortion pill, will limit clinics’ capacity. Regardless of the ruling, the possibility of more legal roadblocks has stirred fear and confusion among providers and those who need their services. Ms. Magazine
“Eat the rich.” A survey of more than 500 millennial and Gen Z women showed that financial rage is on the rise, as 75% of respondents think we should “eat the rich,” and 57% want the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. “My boss” was right up there with Congress and the president as the leading targets of anger. Cosmopolitan
Virginia’s first. Democrat Jennifer McClellan has won a special election to become Virginia’s first Black congresswoman. She was previously a state senator, ran for governor in 2021, and was the vice chair of the Virginia legislature’s Black caucus. New York Times
Men dropping out of the workforce could be progress Bloomberg
Brad Pitt was the only winner of the Aniston-Jolie tabloid battle Vox
Modern dads are embarrassing. Which just might be good politics New York Times Magazine
The women who relate to Fleishman Is in Trouble are life’s losers Slate
“It’s not something that is new for me, but it’s something that is always disappointing. Because we do a much better job when we are better represented—both genders, male and female.”
–European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde on being surrounded by men throughout her career
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