♥ Happy 7-Eleven Day! Today we all get free Slurpees!
♥ AI is better than people at recognizing patterns, which makes it a natural replacement for wholesale and retail buyers. This New York Times story does end on a hopeful note, though: our inferior brain may be our saving grace and what slows the rate of automation.
♥ A recent study examining the mere urgency effect shows again that our brain is the enemy. This time, you can blame those self-inflicted late nights and missed assignments on it!
♥ Because I can shop off-the-rack, sometimes I struggle to understand on a deeper level why plus-size consumers would want to shop at Lululemon, a company well known for exclusionary and discriminatory business practices. As a dollar-voting evangelist, I have developed this blasé attitude of “just don’t shop there” when companies condone “bad” behavior or are run/staffed by bigoted individuals. So I write this without sarcasm: is virile activism really the best option here? Isn’t it better to support a company that actively vies for your business? (Also, I know we are coming dangerously close to Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission territory, but I see a distinction here.)
♥ Speaking of being size-inclusive, J. Crew is collaborating with Universal Standard on its new collection.
♥ The Office of the United States Trade Representative has announced a new round of proposed tariffs on (an estimated $200 billion of) Chinese goods, including handbags.
♥ Online luxury resale is a really interesting (and high-growth) market right now, but I am very surprised to read that the RealReal is “in talks with high-end brands like Louis Vuitton parent LVMH … and Gucci owner Kering … over potential partnerships” since luxury brands are notoriously protective of their name (and distribution channels!)
♥ I don’t know what to say about “Snapchat’s Gift: Equity Culture in High-Tech Firms,” but I want everyone to read it and then publish winding think pieces on Medium about it so I can make sense of what I am feeling.
♥ There’s been so much news about my ilk, the millennials: While we are poorer than our parents, we love couture… but we are not all poor, just look at Norwegian millennials; also, we are not as peripatetic/unsettled as people thought. It’s almost like a sweeping generalization about more than a quarter of the population fails to recognize important external factors…
♥ Racked ran a story about how “The Best Influencers Are Babies,” and it highlights the controversial practice of “using” children to sell products on social media. On this topic, I have a confession to make: My creepiest and darkest social media obsession is baby Ha-Eum’s Instagram account (which I previously linked). Creepers like me are helping to fuel this cottage industry. The whole thing feels somewhat exploitative and certainly makes me feel ambivalent, as I don’t intend for my views and likes to somehow lead to a less fulfilling childhood for any child. The question remains: is any consumption of this content conscionable?
♥ The opioid crisis is crippling the nation, and some business owners have taken on the challenge of reintegrating newly rehabilitated individuals into the workforce. Their intentions are noble, but are these business models scalable?
♥ To the surprise of no one… the best funded shoe startups make “comfortable” shoes. Sure, the trend in fashion continues toward casual, but venture capital is a notoriously male-dominated field, and I refuse to pretend that this fact doesn’t play a role in why women-centric shoe startups are rarely funded. (Which isn’t to say that I don’t welcome more sneaker innovation, just that I am triggered by the insinuation that the shoe startup space is a level playing field.)
♥ Supermarket operator Kroger will be launching its apparel brand, Dip, this fall. Canadian designer Joe Mimran, who helped launch Club Monaco and Joe Fresh, is involved in the project.
♥ From Eater, “Food shirts are the new band shirts.”
Have a great week, everyone!