Weekly Link Roundup

McDonald’s New BTS Meal Is Already Outpacing the Hit Travis Scott Meal in Popularity (Business Insider): “Restaurant visits were up 12% over the previous week during the first seven days of the promotion … These numbers are the highest of 2021 so far … Collaborating with young artists and creators became huge for fast-food chains in 2020, and is continuing strong in 2021. The deals helped brands connect with Gen Z customers and often ended up on social media and as TikTok trends … the BTS meal is made up of existing menu items to draw in customers (though the sauces are a new addition in the US) … With a celebrity endorsement, brands can harness the energy and excitement of a new product without actually adding menu items.”

Etsy Buys Depop for $1.6 Billion (The Business of Fashion): “Depop has posted 100 percent year-on-year growth over the course of the pandemic, with a revenue of $70 million in 2020. During the same period, gross merchandise sales on the app doubled to $650 million. Following the acquisition, the company will remain in its London headquarters with its existing team in place.”

Etsy Is Buying the Fashion Resale App Depop for $1.6 billion. (The New York Times): “The cash deal, which is expected to close by the third quarter of this year, underscores the growing influence of clothing resale platforms … Depop, which was founded in 2011, has been particularly successful in building a marketplace for younger consumers, who are adopting secondhand fashion faster than any other group. Ninety percent of its users are under 26, with 30 million users across 150 countries … the global market for pre-owned apparel is worth up to $40 billion a year — about 2 percent of the total apparel market. It is expected to grow 15 to 20 percent annually for the next five years.”

Why Etsy Bought Depop (The Business of Fashion): “… where small start-ups dominated the category just two years ago, today many of the most successful players are publicly traded, like Poshmark and The RealReal, or have the backing of fashion giants, like Vestiaire Collective, which includes Kering among its investors. That consolidation is likely to continue … Depop has not disclosed whether it is profitable, though … Etsy said Depop will contribute to the company’s top-line growth rate but is expected to be ‘modestly dilutive’ to EBITDA margin.”

Why ‘Joy Dressing’ Is Summer’s Biggest Fashion Trend (The Wall Street Journal) “… we humans use clothing to mark significant events, like making it through a global pandemic. And as U.S. cities reopen, friends reunite and the world becomes a smidgen less terrifying, women are reaching for exuberant outfits … that proclaim ‘Woohoo!’ and fete the occasion.”

The Mystery of the $113 Million Deli (The New York Times): “Hometown was a perfect vehicle for a reverse merger: an obscure public company incorporated in Nevada with a clean regulatory history and a simple day-to-day operating business. All you needed was someone smart and well connected who could help Hometown find a target company to merge with … Once Maso selected a target company that wanted to merge with Hometown, the parties would work out a ‘merger ratio’ — the precise combination of shares and stock options that each party would wind up owning in the new business. In determining the ratio, Hometown’s absurd market capitalization would become irrelevant.”

Inside the Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Shit Coins (Vanity Fair): “The entire premise of shit coins is to play on people’s anxieties by inflating every aspect of the coin in question. Think of it like theater, in which the entire internet is the stage, and every social platform, messaging app, and meme is at the disposal of the actors who are trying to pump up the value of a specific coin so they can make money, and then run off with the proceeds before everyone else realizes they’ve been conned by a group of rogue investors … So why are people even bothering to invest in these coins? Because … if there’s one thing that has proven true with crypto over the past decade, it’s that you can actually get incredibly rich if you buy into a certain coin at the exact right time. Which is why it’s easy to understand the draw, particularly when it’s fed by an army of meme lords on Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram, promising that this is the next big opportunity in crypto … There is a certain genius to the shit coin market. It’s not just odd and infantile names, or the pump-and-dump scammers who manipulate the space, but every aspect of the coins are meant to create the ultimate sense of FOMO, and also a promise of extreme wealth.”

For These Guys, a Face-Lift Is Like a Car Tuneup (The New York Times): “The pandemic has led to an intensified interest in plastic surgery, permitting those with time and spare cash to go in for a subtle cosmetic refresh. Many men, in particular, have taken advantage of the protracted lockdown (and time away from the office) to undergo elective procedures.”

Macy’s Needs Another Miracle on 34th Street (Bloomberg): “… Macy’s would invest $235 million in the area surrounding the store. The projects … will convert a thoroughfare marked by unpleasant transit hubs and 99-cent pizza shops into a gleaming, pedestrian-friendly, urban oasis dedicated to American style and consumption … Macy’s fortunes have long been tied to the vitality of the city that is home to its best-performing store and most valuable real estate. The largest department store in the U.S., the Herald Square mothership sits at two of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the country … Becoming a real-estate developer may well be Macy’s best survival strategy. Department stores and the malls they anchor are in freefall across the U.S. When Gennette assumed the top position in 2017, the company was already thinking about ways to monetize its real estate in some places and cut its losses in others.”

The Search for the Next Shein (The Business of Fashion): “All of these start-ups, and many others like them, are built to pump out clothing for Western teens a little faster and cheaper than the reigning fast-fashion giants, just as companies like Fashion Nova and Boohoo did to Zara and H&M in the 2010s. Their standard-bearer is Shein, the Chinese online retailer that developed advanced manufacturing capabilities with local factories to reduce costs and speed the trend cycle even further … Unknown brands can quickly rack up sales by flooding social media with ads and hiring thousands of influencers to create content on Instagram or TikTok. But that can get expensive, fast; brands that are able to use their hyper-efficient supply chains to keep up with the latest trends in near-real-time tend to be the ones that stick around.”

Want Your Nails Done? Let a Robot Do It. (The New York Times): “As a market sector, manicures are a goal worth pursuing. Estimates peg the nail care market at close to $10 billion, and it could reach as high as $11.6 billion by 2027 … The technology incorporates some hardware — such as a robotic arm in some instances — to paint the nails, with software that relies on machine learning to distinguish a fingernail from the surrounding skin. Each company uses a different approach, yet essentially relies on the scanning of thousands of nail shapes to create a database. Cameras within the devices take photos of the nails of the individual user, a process repeated each time a manicure is done even on the same person. During the development, all three have tried to minimize the number of moving parts and rely more on software, because moving parts can break down over time.”

There’s a New Vision for Crypto, and It’s Wildly Different From Bitcoin (Bloomberg): “If decentralized finance takes root, and one chain or another becomes the dominant platform for it … then its native token will have value … the DeFi-based vision is to build unstoppable blockchain-based software and services that then do something with this money.”

Barefoot Dreams and the Conquest of Cozy (The New York Times): “… ‘Microfiber is incredibly fine, like silk. We never managed to imitate silk chemically, but ultimately came closer by making one finer than silk’ … The popularity of these fluffy products — and that very machine washability — scares environmentalists, who in recent years have observed the horrors of certain synthetic fabrics on the global water supply.”

The FDA Has Approved A New Alzheimer’s Drug — Here’s Why That’s Controversial (NPR): “The drug has proved highly effective at reducing the plaques, called beta-amyloid, that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. But does the drug actually slow the progression of the disease when it reduces the plaques? It’s not yet clear. Two large studies offered conflicting evidence about whether the treatment slows declines in memory and thinking. A panel of expert advisers to the FDA recommended in November that the agency not approve the drug … The agency opted to put Aduhelm on the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway, which is meant to speed access to potentially valuable therapies for patients with serious diseases to serve an unmet need, and where a clinical benefit is expected — even if there is still some uncertainty about that benefit … It could take several years to conclude the clinical trials the FDA is requiring. But in the meantime, Aduhelm will be available to patients … Biogen and Eisai said Monday that the annual wholesale cost for those taking maintenance doses would be $56,000 a year for a patient of average U.S. weight with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia. The net price could change based on discounts and rebates.”

Dream Trips Without the Crowds? That’s the Hope, Anyway. (The New York Times): “The return to travel has felt mercurial … international passenger demand in March was still 88 percent below demand in March 2019 … Widespread vaccination in the United States has given the green light to many would-be travelers, and multiple tour operators said their clients have been calling to talk about trips right after their first vaccine shot.”

♥ Recently purchased: Free People Solid Rib Brami Crop Top (Love! I own virtually all available colors now), Everlane The ’90s Mini Dress, Gap High Rise Barrel Jeans With Washwell™, Ann Taylor Button Trim Sweater, Who What Wear™ Crewneck Pullover Sweater, and Express Satin Cowl Neck Cami.

Have a great week, everyone!

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