Two New Stores That Really “Get” Millennials and GenZ

Two New Stores That Really “Get” Millennials and GenZ

Mejuri and Studs both set up shop in my neighborhood last year. I’ve been keeping close tabs on them because they’re transforming the jewelry experience into something much more fun and cool than we typically associate with the category. It appears they’re taking their cues from brands like Glossier and DryBar more than from Tiffany’s at the high end or Claire’s (RIP) at the low end.

Secrets of their success

Both stores were designed with Instagram and social media events in mind. Mejuri is the more elegant of the two (photos below). Studs, on the other hand, was highly praised by Vogue for being the “Glossier of piercing studios.” Which may have attracted Kaia Gerber to drop in for her recent ear piercings and garnering lots of coverage on social media for Studs.

Studs is the newest kid on the block

The two cofounders of Studs, Anna Harman and Lisa Bubbers, have a long history with startups, and a story not too dissimilar to the founder of DryBar (which it resembles in all its gorgeous yellowness!). Prices are reasonable and they’ve gotten some great coverage including from sites like Man Repeller.

At first I thought Studs was a pre-Christmas pop up but it’s a test store for future brick and mortar expansion. Judging by the crowds lined up daily on Prince Street, it has the potential to be a long term addition to the neighborhood.

Kudos to Studs for creating such a fun, cheeky store (their puns are hilarious).

Scroll down for more on Mejuri.
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How Can Uniqlo Stay In Business? They Need To Charge More! (+Quiz)

How Can Uniqlo Stay In Business? They Need To Charge More! (+Quiz)

Take the Fashion Footprint Calculator Test below!!

I’m getting ready for my South American trip and wanted a few items to replenish my travel wardrobe. I found a stylish all-cotton black tunic top at Uniqlo. The tag said $19.90. I went back a day later to buy two more and realized they were actually marked down to $5.90 each.

They’re all cotton, made in Vietnam and look terrific. But I must say I was horrified that Uniqlo feels they need to give them away at less than $6 a piece. I didn’t feel elated, I felt sad that this entire store was in all likelihood filled with similar markdowns. How can they possibly stay in business at this rate?

I’m Thrifty But Fast Fashion Doesn’t Compel Me To buy

As most of you know, fashion is not really my thing. And although I am frugal, I am not tempted to buy a sale item just because it’s a “deal.”

But what prompted this post today is my need to vent about how appallingly cheap clothes have become. And secondarily, to bemoan the fact that Uniqlo may not be long for this world if this is what it takes to make a sale.

I’ve been reading a lot about fashion trying to save the planet

A bit like tobacco companies claiming it’s their mission to stop us from smoking (which is why they’ve invested in vaping companies)! Actions speak louder than words and what I’m hearing is straight up greenwashing.

Per this CNN article, according to the United Nations, the fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of all global carbon emissions.

That amounts to more emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. The fashion industry also generates 20% of the world’s wastewater.

But before we place all blame on business and the fashion industry, let’s look in the mirror. The average consumer today buys 60% more pieces of clothing than they did 15 years ago, and keeps each item for half as long.

ThredUP, which describes itself as the world’s largest fashion resale platform, wants fashion consumers to understand their role in fashion waste. They’ve created a tool called the Fashion Footprint Calculator to help shoppers understand the impact their fashion choices have on the environment (scroll down for the link). It’s obviously self-serving, but I took the test anyway and not to boast (but yes, I am boasting), my footprint was 68% lower than the average consumer!

Scroll down and take ThredUP’s test Now!!
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Wind Trends? Yes, Super Cool, Love It But ….

Wind Trends? Yes, Super Cool, Love It But ….
PALM SPRINGS WIND FARMS

Wind will account for the largest share of new electric capacity in 2020 – YAY! But wind will still only account for 4% of total US energy use. And here’s an appalling fact: 66% of the energy generated by the electric power industry ends up being wasted!

Renewable Energy

According to Clean Technica, over the last decade (between 2008 and 2018), total renewable energy production has doubled, including a five-fold increase in wind power. Wind and solar combined now produce more electricity than hydroelectric power, which dominated renewable energy for decades.

Renewable vs. Fossil Fuels

But 80% of the nation’s energy still comes from coal, oil and natural gas. In 2018, fossil fuels were down slightly from 84% a decade earlier. Coal use has declined in recent years while natural gas use has soared, and oil’s share of the nation’s energy tab fluctuates between 35% and 40%.” (Source: Pew Research)

Before we pat ourselves on the back for giving up plastic straws, let’s consider this:

Only 34% of the energy generated by the electric power industry reaches end users. 66% is wasted in the process of generating, transmitting and distributing power mostly as heat from vehicle exhausts and industrial furnaces.

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump weighed in on wind!

Scroll down for more from the US Energy Information Agency as well as top trends from the American Wind Energy Association (worth a read!!)
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“Take Care of Yo’ Chicken” – Best Financial Advice Ever!

“Take Care of Yo’ Chicken” – Best Financial Advice Ever!

First: Major shout out to Downtown Josh Brown for putting Marshawn Lynch on my radar. Second: If you haven’t seen Marshawn’s post-game interview, watch it now (below). Third: Order the t-shirt and spread the word. I just ordered mine!

Marshawn Lynch’s financial advice.
Marshawn Lynch is one smart cookie

Hoodies and t-shirts sporting the “take care of yo’ chicken” slogan (with the C designed as a dollar sign), showed up on Lynch’s Beastmodeonline.com website this past Tuesday. I ordered mine yesterday (Jan 15). Not cheap (hoodies are $70 and t-shirts $39.95). Plus, Lynch makes you pay for shipping – but hey, lots of respect for being smart about his business.

For those of you not up on your slang (and this phrase was new to me also), chicken = money.

Scroll down for the script of his interview (especially if you’d rather read, than watch).
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What A Mess! Nothing But Empty Storefronts And Unsold Condos.

What A Mess! Nothing But Empty Storefronts And Unsold Condos.

This weekend as I walked from 8th Street to Prince Street in Soho, I was appalled by what I saw. At least 50% of the storefronts were vacant. It is DISMAL to walk around NYC at the moment – nothing but scaffolding and homeless encampments in front of empty storefronts.

How did all the smart folk in Commercial Real Estate end up so unprepared and misinformed about what the future holds for them? Years after retail hit the skids, people like Abe Rosen (who I adore and respect) were still buying buildings and crowing about how the groundfloor space would make a perfect flagship for Hermes or whatever. I don’t get it. The writing was on the wall back in 2014 when I started this blog. Whether it’s Hudson Yards or Fifth Avenue or any other prime retail corridor around the country, the gig for retail and overpriced condos is up!

Commercial real estate in a meltdown AND out of touch

With empty storefronts as far as the eye can see, how long before the first commercial real estate giant goes belly up? Googling the subject brings up precious little but it’s going to happen I have no doubt.

Why? Because this is just the tip of the iceberg. for every 1% increase in online shopping, 8,000 stores close.

While there are thousands of articles blaming “greedy” landlords (and there are certainly some), I believe this reflects a much more systemic shift in how we shop and the changing value we place on “stuff.”

Ultimately, this will lead to commercial bankruptcies that will make the 2010 housing crisis look like a walk in the park.

I know real estate people take the long view and many of these projects were started decades ago but doing more of the same (when it’s not working) strikes me as ridiculous. Retail is not coming back even with rents dropping, e.g., rents along Upper Madison Avenue (57th to 77th Streets) dropped 11.7% from a year ago. No takers. Empty storefront upon empty storefront.

The building frenzy of high priced condos over the last decade, likewise, is not sustainable. It shows developers are out of touch with reality and out of step with the times. While the price for almost everything we buy these days has gone down, condo prices are skyrocketing. It’s totally out of wack.

Scroll down for more on retail as well as residential real estate
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Use The 3-Minute Rule To Make The Most Of Serendipitious Opportunities

Use The 3-Minute Rule To Make The Most Of Serendipitious Opportunities

Everyone I mention the 3-Minute Rule to finds it intriguing. Doubly so when they realize it has the potential to turn humdrum encounters into something truly serendipitous.

Still with me? Here are some details.
The 3-Minute Rule” by Brant Pinvidic has been my most important read on Blinkist

I consider it essential reading for anyone in the business world but I also see it being highly relevant and useful for social gatherings.

Here are 7 key takeaways from “The 3-Minute Rule”
  • Your pitch has 3 minutes to succeed. Modern audiences have short attention spans and zero tolerance for hot air and long-windedness.
  • You might have an hour booked (and a powerpoint to match) but by the end of 3 minutes your audience is either with you or they’ve checked out. You can spend the next 57 minutes yammering away but they’re hooked (or not) after just 3 minutes!
  • You have to be selective with your 3-minute content. Most details are irrelevant. To win the audience over to the thing you’re pitching you have to convey the general concept in a way that is so engaging that they’re begging you to tell them more.
  • Your pitch needs to answer 4 questions in as compelling a way as possible: 1. what is it? 2. how does it work? 3. are you sure? 4. can you do it?
  • Your 3-minutes of material must be synthesized into a total of 25 sentences: 9 for What is it? 7 for How does it work? 6 for Are you sure? 1 for Can you do it? An additional 2 sentences are granted for the opener.
  • The opener ideally brings an “aha” moment to life, e.g., the moment everything clicked and you realized you were onto something big with this concept.
  • Preempt skepticism by acknowledging any obvious problem that might jeopardize your idea. Bring it up and talk about how you’ll deal with it. You’ll lose your audience, and their trust, if you don’t address it.

You can see why having this 3 minute pitch/outline at the ready can be useful in a multitude of situations. And why serendipitous moments can be made even luckier with that 3 minute pitch at hand.

Scroll down for more on serendipitous moments and how they are enhanced by the 3-Minute Rule
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2020: New Year, New Decade. Are You Ready?

2020: New Year, New Decade. Are You Ready?

What a crazy decade it’s been, right? And as we head into 2020, all I can say is buckle up because it’s only going to get weirder. And while this post is NOT meant to offer any kind of all-inclusive list of trends, I do believe that every topic I have included will impact our lives in the future. One thing I am absolutely certain of: change is inevitable and it’s coming at us faster than ever, mostly because of technology and the power of social media.

My criteria for what to include (or not) in this “next decade” post is based on the work I’ve been doing with trends and culture shifts for the Opinionator since its founding in 2014. It’s been extremely helpful to see which themes have gradually become more prominent, what topics have received the most comments and shares, and, importantly, what countertrends are developing as we become a more pluralistic, multi-track society. Like it or not, we are increasingly moving away from being ONE nation and instead we’re seeking out “our” tribes among the myriad of micro-communities that have sprung up around us.

Looking ahead starts with looking back, then connecting the dots that define the present. Only then, can one get clarity about the future.”

Steve Jobs
Scroll down now to begin this journey into the future!
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Lackluster Holiday Sales? Blame It On The Backlash To Mindless Consumption.

Lackluster Holiday Sales? Blame It On The Backlash To Mindless Consumption.

I have not engaged in gift giving for over 20 years. I consider it a ridiculous waste of money, time and resources. This year, for the first time ever, I am hearing others talking about how pointless and burdensome they find it as well. Obligatory gifting suddenly seems so passé, completely out of the step with the times.

So what’s going on?

While most market analysts are still making their guesstimates about holiday shopping based on consumer sentiment and workforce data, more nuanced shifts in how Americans feel about consumerism are not yet filtering into the data (at least not that I’m detecting).

The trends I am listing below are based strictly on my personal observations. I have not seen any in-depth studies on this subject.

I will also be the first to admit it might all amount to nothing. Many people love shopping and enjoy getting gifts for their friends and family.

On the other hand, the confluence of so many trends and movements has the potential to significantly change how Americans consume and especially how they view marketing-driven gift giving.

scroll down for 5 observations about the changing nature of consumerism
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