I want to write more about both direct-to-consumer and bootstrapping at some point, but this article, The rise of giant consumer startups that said no to investor money, by recode is too fascinating to not comment on.
There's no set ways to build a company. You can raise a lot of money or self-fund. You can hire many or no employees. There are no rules, but the decisions you make often have long-lasting implications.
What's impressive about the companies in the article (Native, MVMT, Tuft & Needle, etc.) is that they made responsible decisions and achieved outsized success. They didn't raise a lot of money. They didn't hire too many employees. They spent within their means.
They didn't place unnecessary strain or expectations on their companies. It's hard enough to run a business.
I encourage you to give it a read, and think about building quietly and effectively while everyone else is celebrating selling large chunks of their companies. The clock is already ticking faster for them, than it is for you.