Amazon’s Summer Products Preview: 10 Not-To-Be Missed Products

Amazon’s Summer Products Preview: 10 Not-To-Be Missed Products

My first time at an Amazon media event – spectacular! It was a one-day affair held at a photographer’s studio in the West Village. For a company steeped in e-commerce, Amazon really knows how to turn it on for brick-and-mortar.

Details I found particularly impressive:

Design/Ambiance:

The space featured 20+ categories including Kitchen, Electronics, Pets, Baby, Wedding, Lawn & Garden, Tools and more.

The theme was West Coast summer with lots of surfboards and colorful inflatable beach balls defining the various product areas. There was also a strong mid-century modern aesthetic inspired by the cover of  M. Lynne Squires’ Mid-Century Recipes Book. (See video below.)

Staffing:

Amazon flew in a huge contingent of marketing people from Seattle to man the different sections. They were extremely knowledgeable and it was terrific to hear from them firsthand about the products. I especially enjoyed learning about Amazon Launchpad and the Amazon Handmade products (the Etsy-killer?).

Products:

The highest percentage of NEW products were found at Launchpad (obviously) along with Outdoors, Toys & Games, the Baby Registry, Beauty Products and Powered by Alexa.

Amazon is also aggressively growing their Grocery and Gourmet categories. They even had Tito’s Vodka and Marble Slab Creamery Ice Cream on hand (both being served to attendees).

What I do not know is how they select the products that are included in the summer preview e.g. do brands pay to be included?

See below for more photos from the event as well as 10 products I found fun for the summer.

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TOP HOME & GARDENING TRENDS: A Strong Retro-Vibe All Around

TOP HOME & GARDENING TRENDS: A Strong Retro-Vibe All Around

1. IKEA’S SPRIDD

Missed the launch event but will get out to IKEA in Red Hook ASAP now that the weather is nicer and I can bike out.

Check out the video above with British fashion designer Kit Neale who IKEA teamed up with to create this “modern nomads” collection. Some think it’s bizarre, I love it. Available at all US IKEA stores as of February.

See below for 2017 gardening trends (from attentive gardening to heirloom seeds) and more.

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Real Estate: 5 Big Trends to Watch in 2017

Real Estate: 5 Big Trends to Watch in 2017

1. The Fix It Generation: Millennials Lead Home Reno Spending

  • 1-in-3 millennials prefer a fixer upper house with minimal repairs. (Source: housingwire)
  • They renovate sooner than boomers did because they prioritize personalized spaces.
  • Their renovation budgets tend to be smaller which means more DIY-projects.
  • The most popular feature replaced in a kitchen reno are countertops; in bathrooms: faucets or plumbing features and in all other rooms: wall color or texture. (Source: Houzz)
  • More are spending on system upgrades with 30% replacing plumbing pipes, 26% upgrading their electrical service and 21% updating their heating and ventilation system.
  • 76% are paying for upgrades from savings.
  • 20% put their home reno on their credit card!
  • 29% go over budget.

2. Reemergence of Suburban Living but with urban-living amenities

  • 2017 will see an increased shift toward suburban development by first-time buyers and downsizing baby boomers.
  • 80% of new homes being built are in  surbanareas, so-called because they offer suburbia’s safety and good schools along with the city’s walkability and excitement.

3. Stop Calling Millennial Homebuyers: Text Them!!

  • Loantek, a Bankrate company, is encouraging its loan officers to stop calling Millennials and start texting them instead.
  • Texting is the most frequently used form of communication for Americans under 50 (i.e. GenXers as well as millennials).

Read on below for the builders’ 3L’s and for the growth in continuum care housing.

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Two Sophisticated Men’s Streetwear Brands You Should Know About

Two Sophisticated Men’s Streetwear Brands You Should Know About

Recently discovered two menswear brands – one just launched its first concept shop after 3 years in business, the other is brand new.  Aime Leon Dore and Outlaw by Braydon Alexander both offer smart, elegant streetwear styling. I’m also crazy about both of their concept shops – one definitely a pop-up, one a longer-term lease.

AIME LEON DORE (ALD) – photos on lower row above
179 Mott Street
Til May, 2017

This elevated men’s streetwear line from Queens-born designer Teddy Santis was founded in 2014. Santis had worked in a high-end optical store which inspired him to pursue his love of fashion and design.

Since launching the label, Santis has also done some collaborations with major brands including streetwear legend KITH. When a lookbook drops, the collection is made available for pre-order exclusively through the brand’s site. Then the clothes are made and consumers get the product in about a month. The brand’s drops generally sell out in a few hours.

The store on Mott Street opened in early November and was scheduled to stay open until late December. I was told this week that it will be open thru May. Check it out – great aesthetic, very chill vibe.

Read on below for Braydon Alexander’s Outlaw and to see more pics of both lines.

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The Boomaissance Is Here: Watchout Millennials!

The Boomaissance Is Here: Watchout Millennials!

Have seen increasing amounts of research about the importance of boomers vs. millennials. It’s strongly insinuated that companies who focus strictly on millennials are being myopic and overlooking huge opportunities. I’m not sure how I feel about this POV. In my experience, youth must – and will – be served. Additionally, much of what I read sounds like sour grapes from my boomer cohort who are tired and frustrated at no longer setting the agenda.

Here’s a recap of 6 recent developments – You decide if the millennial backlash is real!

1. Mindshare’s annual trend report predicted the Boomaissance would be upon us in 2017 with boomers reemerging as a group to be targeted and respected by advertisers. And kudos to Mindshare for coining the term!

  • Middle-Age Millennial Mindset” describes the new ease and happiness levels people achieve as they mature.
  • Advertisers are urged to include Boomers in media plans and to “take a Boomer view of the world in research and media.”

Read on below for more on this boomer vs. millennial showdown.

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CADILLAC HOUSE: The Most Spectacular New Mecca for Selfie Culture

CADILLAC HOUSE: The Most Spectacular New Mecca for Selfie Culture

Wrote about Cadillac House when it first opened and was underwhelmed. Since then, they have dialed up their game thru collaborations with Visionaire and Neuehouse. Am still not convinced that any of this will move the needle one iota to make Cadillac more desirable for young influencers (the only person I saw anywhere near the cars, was a security guard, asleep at the wheel of one!!).

For those of you who are not familiar with Cadillac House, it functions simultaneously as a gallery, retail space, café and exhibition area for the brand’s new vehicles—a venue with an ever-evolving Cadillac point of view on subjects beyond automotive design.  It is located on the ground floor of their new headquarters in Soho. The move from Detroit was designed to show the brand’s commitment to innovation as well as make Cadillac cooler and more aspirational for millennials.

But business objectives aside, big kudos to VISIONAIRE and TOILETPAPER Magazine (co-created by artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari) for this spectacular ‘more is more’ installation.

Judging by what I experienced this past Sunday, these wild, psychedelic domestic settings will become THE mecca for Selfie Culture. Expect to see your Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook flooded with images of visitors creatively inserting themselves into different parts of the installation. SO MUCH FUN!! Check it out in the video above as well as the pics below.

The show opened early February for NYFW and will run through April 12. It’s open 7 days a week and it’s FREE!
The Gallery at Cadillac House
330 Hudson Street New York City
Mon–Fri 8am–7pm Sat–Sun 10am–5pm

See below for more on the show and many more pics!

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NEW TECH JOBS: Is the Blue Collar Coder the Future?

NEW TECH JOBS: Is the Blue Collar Coder the Future?

Image Credit: Zohar Lazar

Brilliant article in Wired on how the next big blue-collar job just might be coding. Here are the highlights:

  • Only 8% of the nation’s coders are in Silicon Valley. The rest work in big and small cities around the country for every type of business from banking to retail to healthcare to insurance.
  • Politicians bemoan the loss of good blue-collar jobs but coding is the equivalent of skilled work at a Chrysler plant.
  • Instead of urging kids to enroll in expensive four-year computer-­science degree programs, let’s introduce more code at the vocational level in high school.
  • The national average salary for IT jobs is about $81,000 (more than double the national average for all jobs), and the field is set to expand by 12% thru 2024, faster than most other occupations.
  • There are 7MM job openings in occupations that required coding skills.
  • In Kentucky, mining veteran Rusty Justice decided that code could replace coal. He cofounded Bit Source, a code shop that builds its workforce by retraining coal miners as programmers. Enthusiasm is sky high: Justice got 950 applications for his first 11 positions. Miners, it turns out, are accustomed to deep focus, team play, and working with complex engineering tech. “Coal miners are really technology workers who get dirty,” Justice says.

Read on below for more on the emergence of social media videographers and why some analysts believe the tech industry is “primed for a significant reset” (i.e. layoffs).

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VALENTINE’S DAY 2017: Couples-Selfies at the #LoveWall

VALENTINE’S DAY 2017: Couples-Selfies at the #LoveWall

Was in Chinatown this past weekend and noticed crowds lined up at the corner of Mott and Kenmare getting their selfies on for Valentine’s Day. This is so cool and so fun! Look for more retailers and brands to get creative with selfies and hashtags in the future.

Here are more details:

  • The #LoveWall was created by artist James Goldcrown. His work is all around NYC. This piece has been at this location for a few years but its popularity is exploding with over 29K #lovewall posts on Instagram.
  • The #MoetMoment, around the corner from the #lovewall, is a brilliant piece of social media marketing from the Moet Chandon team. The Moet Moments campaign (without the selfie wall) was initially launched in 2013 with Roger Federer to celebrate special moments. At that time fans were asked to post photos and messages of extraordinary occasions in their lives that are worthy of celebrating with a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne. The selfie wall is a MAJOR UPGRADE!!

And one last noteworthy Valentine’s Day event comes from the Elizabeth Street Retailers who organized and hosted the LOVE BLOCK PARTY on the weekend before Valentine’s. The street and storefronts were festooned with red heart balloons. Participation was high and included Tom’s, Aesop, Kit & Ace, and Steve Alan.

Photos below.

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