▪ The Scalloped Faux Leather Tote that I featured in this post has been restocked in two colors online. It sold well last year (the affordable price point helped) but was eventually discounted over the summer and then quickly sold out. As I mentioned in my original review, I found it useful as a beach (or baby or picnic) bag as it’s very spacious, but found it otherwise underwhelming in material and design. I can’t imagine using it as an everyday bag, but for those of you in the market for a large casual bag, you might consider this as an option.
▪ Value Should Do Better. But When Is Anybody’s Guess (The Wall Street Journal): “… the higher long-run return from investing in cheaper stocks is a righteous form of payback for the pain of sitting around for years watching all those growth stocks with piddling profits go straight up. If you don’t have a vast reservoir of patience and you can’t ignore the better short-term fortune of other investors, you won’t be able to stomach value investing long enough to benefit from it.”
▪ Can Yoga Classes Help Revive Macy’s? (Chicago Tribune): “The department store chain on Wednesday said it purchased Story, a small ‘experiential retail’ shop in New York that offers yoga classes, cooking workshops and a lineup of quirky merchandise that changes every few weeks … Analysts say its foray into experiential retail may be difficult. Story, which has found wide-scale success and profits in New York’s bustling Chelsea, might not make as much sense in other parts of the country. And, they say, much of the store’s appeal is in its local charm – something that could easily get lost when a giant corporation takes over.”
▪ To Sue Goldman Sachs, You Have to Be Willing to Hang On—For a Long, Long Time (Bloomberg): “Chen-Oster and her co-plaintiffs wanted to force Goldman to change its policies and pay for its mistakes. Class actions allow plaintiffs to sue on behalf of larger groups, and the stakes can be high if the pools are big … The most important offensive move in this kind of case is getting a class certified, which means convincing the court that, among other things, the group faces common problems … Chen-Oster’s newly certified class action could go to trial next year. Goldman’s ferocious defense and the long arc of the case so far might seem like a warning to women considering new battles. Chen-Oster takes a sunnier view. She laughs when she recounts how a friend at a different financial firm went to compliance training that, she said, boiled down to: Do whatever it takes to avoid another Chen-Oster vs. Goldman Sachs.”
▪ Against Metrics: How Measuring Performance by Numbers Backfires (Aeon): “… the most dramatic negative effect of metric fixation is its propensity to incentivise gaming: that is, encouraging professionals to maximise the metrics in ways that are at odds with the larger purpose of the organisation.”
▪ Instagram Quietly Launches Payments for Commerce (TechCrunch): “Instagram … confirmed that native payments for booking appointments like at restaurants or salons is now live for a limited set of partners.”
▪ Who Picks Out the Playlists You Hear While Shopping? (Racked): “The way music gets played over a store’s stereo system has turned into a lucrative business. Brands … pay two of the biggest companies in the space, Mood Media and PlayNetwork, big bucks to take care of it. Kate Spade, for example, has Mood Media send playlists every month that the company’s creative team accepts or rejects.”
▪ The FBI Is in Crisis. It’s Worse Than You Think (TIME): “The most important thing the FBI can do to fix itself? Follow its own rules.”
▪ Amazon Site Awash with Counterfeit Goods Despite Crackdown (The Guardian): “Amazon’s Marketplace, a long-running feature on the site allowing third parties to use the company’s infrastructure to sell direct to consumers … is an increasingly large part of the company’s business. Marketplace’s $9.2bn revenue in the last quarter accounts for about 20% of Amazon’s total income, and it ships about the same amount of goods as Amazon’s entire online and physical retail operations combined.”
▪ MoviePass Is No Longer Too Good to Be True (The Verge): “MoviePass is no longer allowing customers to see one movie per day. Instead, the $9.95 subscription will allow customers to purchase only four tickets per month.”
▪ Clearance apparels at Target are currently an extra 20% off online with code SAVE20. There are quite a few pieces that might be appropriate for warm-weather getaways. My picks: A New Day™ Long Sleeve Shirtdress, A New Day™ High-Rise Belted Crop Pants, Xhilaration Square Neck Smocked Bell Sleeve Dress, Mossimo Supply Co.™ Black Wrap Dress, and Xhilaration™ Gold Cut-Out Bell Sleeve Romper.
▪ The Biggest Trend in Fashion May Be Getting Rid of Your Fashion (The New York Times): “After decades in which fast fashion gave rise to accessible luxury and spurred an accelerated seasonal cycle that in turn spurred a binge of accumulation … are we finally reaching a tipping point?”
▪ The Journey to an Agile Organization at Zalando (McKinsey & Company): “We embraced Dan Pink’s ideas around purpose, autonomy, and mastery as a way to organize and to motivate teams … These became guiding principles for keeping teams engaged and motivated and for attracting and retaining good talent … a lot of this effort was about unlocking parallelism—concurrent activity: the ability for different parts of the organization to make decisions and then deliver impact without having to block on other teams, and without having lots of centralized alignment overhead. The overall system has to be amenable to people working in parallel.”
▪ American Higher Education Hits a Dangerous Milestone (The Atlantic): “For the first time, public colleges and universities in most states received most of their revenue from tuition rather than government appropriations.”
▪ Here’s a sale that I am really excited about: Women’s apparel and accessories (terms) are 25% off (prices as marked) at Brooks Brothers until May 13. My order: Tropical-Print Cotton Sateen Shirt Dress, Floral Cotton-Sateen Pleated Skirt, Double-Face Water-Repellant Coat, and Gingham Cotton Shirt Dress. (Here’s how to sweeten the deal: for every $150 in eGift card purchase, you will receive a free $25 eGift card; this is not considered a second promotion so can be used liberally with the current sale.)
▪ Adidas Is Testing How to Mass-Produce Custom Shoes Like Those It Makes for Elite Athletes (Quartzy): “Foot scanning is a big piece of how Adidas envisions scaling a custom service, though it’s still working out the best way to do it … part of the point of the lab is to help it weigh the merits of each. Not everyone will want or need a tailored sneaker, and they wouldn’t come cheap.”
▪ Sephora’s Lawsuit With Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Is a Staggering Case Study in How Beauty Products Are Sold (Racked): “... with the cost of fixtures, gratis products, the manager, internal designer, tester products, and non-product gifting and support, she estimates it costs $73,250 in total costs for one year to ‘have a modest retail footprint at one chain.’ And this doesn’t include the sunk cost of all those products that are used as testers and gratis, which in her case equals $33,000 in lost retail sales.”
▪ What Is the Met Gala, and Who Gets to Go? (The New York Times): “Tickets this year are $30,000 apiece, and tables are about $275,000. The party and exhibition are sponsored. All of the money from ticket sales goes to the Costume Institute, which it needs because it is the only one of the Met’s curatorial departments that has to fund itself.”
▪ Everything is currently 40% off at LOFT with code SUNNY (and sale styles are an extra 60% off, no code needed). My picks: Button Pocket Wrap Skirt, Jacquard Ruffle Cuff Top, Eyelet Stripe Shift Skirt, Paisley Jacquard Keyhold Blouse, and Tie Waist Wide Leg Crop Pants. And I hope this is the last time I have to plug these Skinny Tie Waist Pants (see on me here), because it is now an extra 60% off but still available in most sizes.
▪ Bots Aren’t the Enemy in the Information War—We Are (Wired): “Computational propaganda … describes the mixing of algorithms, automation, and human curation to manipulate perceptions, affect cognition, and influence behavior. That human curation is key. People can whitewash buggy botspeak by giving it a human sheen in a retweet. Curators can also identify the cultural flash points … that fire people up, so botnets can ratchet up the velocity of the most incendiary memes.”
▪ Even Wall Street Couldn’t Protect Toms Shoes From Retail’s Storm (Bloomberg): “… Toms is squirming under a load of debt and struggling to attract new shoppers … Toms has about $350 million in total debt, close to 15 times a measure of its annual earnings, according to a December report from Moody’s. Typical distressed retailers average debt loads closer to five or six times earnings, metrics by Fitch Ratings state.”
▪ Muslim Fashion Is a $254 Billion Market–But Big Brand Can’t Crack It (Fast Company): “Over the last few years, major fashion brands have been trying to tap into the lucrative market by creating Muslim-focused lines … Often, these Muslim-specific lines were not as fashion forward as the lines those high-end brands offered non-Muslim customers. The clothing was often less colorful and interesting.”
Have a great weekend!