Weekly Link Roundup

♥ 2020 is looking up! Allie Brosh’s second book, Solutions and Other Problems, finally has a release date (September 22, 2020)! After 5+ years!! Allie herself even commented on Reddit with a fairly substantial life update and confirmed this news.

Lululemon to Buy Fitness Company Mirror for $500 Million (Bloomberg): “Lululemon Athletica Inc. agreed to buy Mirror, a maker of in-home fitness equipment, for $500 million … Mirror will operate as a standalone company within Lululemon and retain its chief executive following completion of the deal … The purchase will be paid from Lululemon’s primary sources of liquidity, including $800 million in cash and $700 million in credit facilities. The deal furthers Lululemon’s shift to become a more experience-based company and beyond its roots as a traditional retailer … Mirror’s trademark product, which looks like a standard full-length mirror when not in use, retails for $1,495.”

The Long, Unhappy History of Working From Home (The New York Times): “… the history of telecommuting has been strewn with failure. The companies are barreling forward but run the risk of the same fate … Remote employees often felt marginalized, which made them less loyal. Creativity, innovation and serendipity seemed to suffer … Remote workers might be free of commuting costs, but they are traditionally more vulnerable.”

Can the Subscription Box Model Be Saved? (The Business of Fashion): “It seems that the pandemic may be a boon for subscription services, many of which had sputtered out after showing early promise … Procuring and shipping products from many different vendors and suppliers is expensive and inefficient, and most people grow tired of the boxes pretty quickly, meaning that monthly memberships are canceled pretty quickly, too. All of this makes it very hard to turn a profit … If shopping habits change permanently — or at least semi-permanently — subscription boxes have room to grow … Beauty boxes, in particular, are well-positioned to benefit from this, as mega-retailers … do away with makeup testers and in-store services for the foreseeable future.”

What Shopping in New York City Looks Like Now (The New Yorker): “While much of the rest of the country has reopened nonessential retail … New York has taken a more cautious approach … during the first week of Phase I … [Williamsburg’s] main shopping corridor, Bedford Avenue, remained deserted … nearly every chain store was boarded up … as Phase II of reopening began … Most stores still seemed caught in a state of semi-animation: there were signs in the windows thanking clientele for their patience and loyalty, or listing phone numbers that customers could call to arrange private deliveries. Shopping, for the foreseeable future, will remain more intimate and more purposeful—and more uncertain—than it used to be.”

What To Look For In A Face Mask, According To Science (FiveThirtyEight): “… we’re aiming for good enough, not perfect. For everyday use, the experts … said a comfortable but snug mask does the trick … At the end of the day, many experts also say that any face covering is better than no face covering.”

Working Together During Social Distancing (The New York Times): “Vendors … are joining forces to salvage a wedding-season fourth quarter that may have seemed beyond saving … This camaraderie has been especially helpful for handling clients looking to celebrate twice — once on their original wedding date, and again in a bigger way in 2021, when many expect social-distancing regulations are expected to be lifted.”

Food Media Must Work Harder to Fix Its Racism Problem (Grub Street): “… the accepted, if infantilizing, norm for international foods in mainstream U.S. food media … used throughout mainstream food media, marginalize foods that don’t fit into a Western, white-centered worldview. Taken together, they create the impression that non-European recipes need to be sanitized or policed if they are to be included at all … It’s the way selecting stories to publish inevitably means selecting which stories not to publish, so certain chefs’ stories never get told, cookbooks never get published, and ideas disappear without ever getting seen … The tendency for mainstream food media is to treat recipes as inflexible formulas that are tested to perfection rather than evolving and highly subjective expressions from individuals. This is emblematic of a Western, white worldview.”

The Mullet is Back. Like It or Not (The Wall Street Journal): “For many Americans, self-isolation has led to questionable at-home haircuts like the patchy buzz and the uneven bowl-cut. But the chop-job of the moment that’s both most provocative and likely to endure might be the Covid-Mullet … With barbershops closed under state orders, people by default let their hair grow long. When their thatches became intolerable, some rejected the predictable DIY buzzcut and chose instead to sculpt their locks into a comically proportioned ’do”

Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy (Quanta Magazine): “Prime numbers … have decided preferences about the final digits of the primes that immediately follow them … prime numbers repel other would-be primes that end in the same digit, and have varied predilections for being followed by primes ending in the other possible final digits … Prime numbers … are … governed by just one overarching rule: The approximate density of primes near any number is inversely proportional to how many digits the number has.”

Sale styles are now an extra 50% off at Anthropologie; no code needed, discount applies in cart. My picks:

What Happens to Public Space When Everything Moves Outside (Bloomberg): “… the movements of these private businesses into new spaces pose new challenges about who gets to occupy outside spaces that are increasingly in demand. Reopened parks, one of the few place to freely and safely congregate during coronavirus, are frequently packed. Many streets already have sidewalks filled with lines of people waiting to enter stores enforcing a low customer capacity. Add a new range of table service businesses to this busy streetscape, and issues about who get priority come to the fore … After the primary concern of infection, there is also the issue of noise. Busy city neighborhoods have long been battlegrounds between those who want nightlife and those who want peace, and current street takeovers by businesses seem to be sharpening that struggle.”

Don’t Bet on a Quick Recovery (The Atlantic): “… now people are looking for a recovery that is slow, but steady … We don’t know enough about the virus to accurately forecast with any confidence what’s going to happen … if we ask businesses to stay out of production for too long, these turn into insolvencies … as these insolvencies emerge, then job losses that were thought to be temporary become permanent. Individuals are now dislocated and have to get back into the labor market.”

School’s Out. Parental Burnout Isn’t Going Away. (The New York Times): “… it’s June. And the stress and exhaustion are not going away. Finding summer child-care coverage has always been difficult and expensive, making it out of reach for many families. But this summer, that juggle feels impossible. As states open up and more and more parents are called back to work, many are finding that their day care centers are still closed and may be at risk of never reopening … To get a diagnosis of parental burnout, you need the following four symptoms: You feel so exhausted you can’t get out of bed in the morning, you become emotionally detached from your children, you take no pleasure or joy in parenting, and it is a marked change in behavior for you … If your kids are not at camp or day care … having some kind of structure to the day is essential, but that structure doesn’t need to feel confining … parents in general, but mothers, especially, should not just consider the risks of the coronavirus, but also the risks to their mental health when it comes to making decisions about finding child care.”

Can Kanye West Save Gap? (The Business of Fashion): “Yeezy Gap apparel for men, women and children will be available at Gap stores and on its website [in 2021] and will be designed by West and the Yeezy design team. West hired Mowalola Ogunlesi … as design director … West has spoken frequently in the past about his desire to make his designs available to as many people as possible, and the Yeezy Gap brand is expected to sell at typical Gap prices of well under $100 per item … Looking for new sources of revenue, Gap Inc. inked a licensing deal with IMG in May to produce non-apparel categories, like home goods and furniture for its portfolio of brands, which also include Banana Republic and Athleta.”

Coronavirus Changed Everything. Except T.J. Maxx. (The Wall Street Journal): “The discount chain isn’t looking to quickly ramp up e-commerce beyond its minuscule level or add new features allowing American customers to buy products online and pick them up in stores. It stopped taking online orders during the lockdowns and even now is limiting the number of items for sale on its website … TJX Cos. … is as focused as ever on drawing shoppers to its more than 4,500 stores world-wide, betting consumers are desperate to roam the aisles after months of being stuck at home. As of June 17, about 85% of TJX stores had reopened … TJX gets just 2% of its sales from e-commerce and shut its websites during the lockdowns. Even now, it is fulfilling online orders at a slower-than-normal rate … The company has long catered to shoppers who enjoy the ‘treasure hunt’ experience of browsing aisles of constantly changing merchandise … It is hard for discount retailers to turn a profit when factoring in the cost of shipping and returns. Moreover, some brands that sell to discounters don’t want their items online where shoppers can easily search for deals.”

The Perfect Art Heist: Hack the Money, Leave the Painting (Bloomberg): “… whoever took the money landed something close to the perfect art heist … the thief, or thieves, let the dealer do all the work, and … hacked into the emails at the very last minute, providing fraudulent payment instructions.”

What’s Gotten Into the Price of Cheese? (The New York Times): “… the vagaries of supply and demand during the pandemic have caused sharp swings in cheese prices … Cheese prices soared to a record high on June 8, when a 40-pound block of Cheddar — the benchmark for cheese … touched $2.585 a pound on the CME. By Tuesday, the price of block Cheddar jumped even higher, to $2.81 a pound. That was a 181 percent turnaround from mid-April, when the same block of cheese would have cost only a dollar a pound … During the peak of pandemic-related fears in March and April, consumers rushed to grocery stores to stockpile cheese for their coming quarantines. Retail sales surged more than 70 percent from a year earlier. But that wasn’t enough to offset the drop in demand from shuttered restaurants and educational institutions, which together account for at least half of the sales of bulk commodity cheese … The falloff in cheese demand spilled over into the dairy market, contributing to a plunge in milk prices.”

♥ Recently ordered: Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton Oxford Shirtdress, SLIP Pure Silk Adult Face Mask, H&M Puff-sleeved Romper, Abercrombie Puff-Sleeve Linen-Blend Mini Dress, Norma Kamali Cargo Jumpsuit, and Reformation Orangerie Minidress.

Have a great week, everyone!

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