+ I own Nathalie Lete Heritage Dinner Plates (I encourage using them as dessert plates, as seen above) in almost every colorway, as the whimsical art on them make me smile; these fun plates are currently 30% off during Anthropologie’s Black Friday sale.
+ Resale’s Fast Fashion Purge (The Business of Fashion): “… Vestiaire, whose investors include French luxury group Kering, said its move to ban fast fashion is more about values than profits — part of a strategy to position the business as an antidote to wasteful overconsumption. But the focus on higher-value products does also mean more commission per sale, and nudging – or forcing – customers to list more expensive items has proven good for the bottom line at some of Vestiaire’s rivals. The RealReal changed its commission structure last year, reducing the amount sellers can receive for items valued at less than $1,000 — a change that helped it narrow EBITDA losses from $28.2 million in the third quarter of last year to $7 million this year. Though still focused on the mass market, ThredUp, has also refocused its marketing on more expensive products. While ultra-low-value brands like Shein can still be sold on the site, sellers won’t receive any commission from those listings. A shakeup in online resale, whether for environmental or business reasons, was a long time coming. The biggest platforms dominated the market by offering relatively generous commissions to anyone willing to sell clothes, bags and other items on their sites. But profits have proven elusive. Since going public in 2019 and 2021, respectively, shares in The RealReal and ThredUp have lost about 90 percent of their value. A third player, Poshmark, was acquired by South Korean tech giant Naver in October 2022, about 18 months after going public.”
+ The Plight of the Eldest Daughter (The Atlantic): “In many cultures, oldest siblings as well as daughters of all ages tend to face high expectations from family members—so people playing both parts are especially likely to take on a large share of household responsibilities, and might deal with more stress as a result. But that caregiving tendency isn’t an inevitable quality of eldest daughters; rather … it tends to be imposed by family members who are part of a society that presumes eldest daughters should act a certain way. And the online outpour of grievances reveals how frustratingly inflexible assumptions about family roles can be … birth order doesn’t influence personality itself—but it can influence how your family sees you … Eldest kids, for example, aren’t necessarily more responsible than their siblings; instead, they tend to be given more responsibilities because they are older. That role can affect how you understand yourself … Research on eldest daughters specifically is limited, but … considering the pressures foisted on older siblings and on girls and women, occupying both roles isn’t likely to be easy … Women are expected to be nurturers. Firstborns are expected to be exemplars. Trying to be everything for everyone is likely to lead to guilt when some obligations are inevitably unfulfilled.”
+ Teen Boys Are Falling for a Snapchat Nude-Photo Scam. Here’s How to Avoid It. (The Wall Street Journal): “Three years ago, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received fewer than 10 reports of this sort of financial extortion. Last year, the congressionally mandated nonprofit received more than 10,000—and has already received 12,500 this year. In a survey of more than 6,000 teens and young adults in the U.S. and five other countries conducted by Snapchat’s parent company, 65% of respondents said they or their friends have been targeted in schemes where unknown attackers obtained explicit personal imagery or other private information, then threatened to release the material to friends and family. The majority of those approached were boys. Boys are easily lured because they respond to sexual photos more readily than girls do … More than a dozen teen boys in the U.S. have killed themselves in instances involving these scams.”
+ ‘Everything’s Locked Up’: Shoppers Turn to Amazon as Big-Box Retailers Combat Theft (Bloomberg): “Even as e-commerce shopping has cooled since the pandemic … the category continued to grow briskly and now accounts for 18.5% of total retail sales, up from 11.4% in 2019 … Retailers have been battling shoplifters for decades, but say store larceny has worsened dramatically since the pandemic — driven largely by criminal gangs that steal in bulk. Last year, theft-related losses surged 19% to $112.1 billion … In a growing number of stores, entire aisles are lined with locked glass cases. Making matters worse, the retail industry is suffering a severe labor shortage, meaning there aren’t enough salespeople to help customers retrieve locked items in a timely fashion.”
+ Why Retailers Are Bracing for a Bleak Holiday Season (The Business of Fashion): “While analysts predict an uptick in sales from last year, the rate of growth will be slower and the overall volume of goods sold will likely be smaller … holiday retail sales, defined as the period between November through the rest of the year, [is expected] to grow between 3 percent and 4 percent this year, to about $960 billion … that reflects a deceleration from last year’s 9 percent rise and 2021′s explosive 12.7 percent growth. A modest increase will not be a reflection of heightened demand but rather an effect of continued inflation. In other words, shoppers will turn out this season and stomach the higher prices, but only because they have to. And they certainly won’t be treating themselves to extra gifts.”
+ ‘A Monster’: Super Meth and Other Drugs Push Crisis Beyond Opioids (The New York Times): “The United States is in a new and perilous period in its battle against illicit drugs. The scourge is not only opioids, such as fentanyl, but a rapidly growing practice that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labels ‘polysubstance use.’ Over the last three years, studies of people addicted to opioids … have consistently shown that between 70 and 80 percent also take other illicit substances … The non-opioid drugs include those relatively new to the street, like the animal tranquilizer xylazine, which can char human flesh, anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Klonopin and older recreational stimulants like cocaine and meth. Dealers sell these drugs, plus counterfeit Percocet and Xanax pills, often mixed with fentanyl. The incursion of meth has been particularly problematic. Not only is there no approved medical treatment for meth addiction, but meth can also undercut the effectiveness of opioid addiction therapies. Meth explodes the pleasure receptors, but also induces paranoia and hallucinations, works like a slow acid on teeth and heart valves and can inflict long-lasting brain changes.”
+ Some Pure Barre Studios Close As Staff Go Unpaid, Owner Sends Odd Emails (Business Insider): “Several locations of Pure Barre … have suddenly shuttered … a self-described entrepreneur and franchisee … took over ownership of 68 studio locations from franchise licenser Xponential Fitness in early September. Within a matter of weeks, staff were missing paychecks. Some were forced to choose between working for free or walking away … The studios were acquired under franchise agreements with Xponential Fitness, which calls itself the ‘largest global franchisor of boutique fitness brands.’ Started in 2017, the company went public in 2021, and sells franchise rights to 10 high-end workout brands: Pure Barre, CycleBar, RowHouse, StretchLab, Rumble, BFT, Club Pilates, Yoga Six, Stride, and AKT … some staff questioned how Brown was able to acquire 68 studios … Brown … struck a deal with Xponential Fitness to take over franchises for next to nothing.”
+ Behind 94 Acts of Shocking Violence, Years of Glaring Mistakes (The New York Times): “For years, the social safety net intended to help homeless, mentally ill people … and keep them from unraveling violently — has failed in glaring and preventable ways. Yet rather than be held accountable … city and state agencies have repeated the same errors again and again, insulated from scrutiny by state laws that protect patient privacy but hide failings from public view.”
+ The Other Ozempic Revolution (The Atlantic): “The Ozempic revolution is, therefore, also creating an Ozempic divide. Until now, very few people living with obesity could lose enough weight, and maintain that loss, to satisfy their doctors. But now a gulf has opened up not just between naturally thin people and the plus sizers, but within communities dedicated to larger people—whether those are groups for weight loss or body positivity. Do you take Ozempic or not?”
+ How Cami Téllez Ran Parade Underwear Into the Ground (Business Insider): “… many [former employees] said the way Téllez ran her company was at least partially responsible for its flameout. They pointed to things like overspending and overproducing, as well as Téllez’s obsession with astronomical growth … To hear Téllez tell it in our many calls, texts, and email threads, she did the best she could. She started Parade in 2019 and kept it afloat through a pandemic and a macroeconomic crisis. In the end, Parade failed because it overspent on inventory, launched wholesale too late, and didn’t plan to be profitable until its fifth year at the earliest, Téllez wrote in an October 2 email to staffers.”
+ I decided to take a break from reading jejune profiles of tech wunderkinds, and the palate cleanser I chose was a book about one of the “girlbosses” of the 2010s.” Marisa Meltzer’s Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier was a quick read, but it was not particularly insightful or original–in fact, I found it to be repetitive and unfocused; Meltzer’s fixation on Weiss’s appearance was also distracting. Further, as Meltzer did not have unfettered access to Weiss or Glossier, the book relied on impressions informed by superficial interviews with (mostly) former or current Glossier employees, with individual observations about Weiss being passed off as proof of character flaws or superpowers.
But Glossy‘s issue may be existential: Why is Glossier’s story important? Meltzer seems to suggest it’s because Glossier survived despite Weiss’s failed attempt to platform the beauty brand, but I am not convinced the book provides any compelling reasons for why we should care if Glossier succeeds or fails. The book also ends somewhat abruptly with an abrasive interview that left me feeling annoyed by Meltzer. For those who read and enjoyed Glossy, please email me your thoughts.
+ Elon Musk’s Poisoned Platform (The New Yorker): “Musk seems to endorse the idea that white people are an oppressed class … In February, he wrote on X, ‘For a very long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.’ … In a July post, he referred to fears of ‘genocide of white people in South Africa,’ his birthplace. (Musk’s grandfather was a pro-apartheid conspiracy theorist who wrote antisemitic and racist tracts.) … Since Musk took over, both organizations and individuals have fled in waves, creating the feeling that the platform is dying a slow death. Already, between April and May of this year, U.S. advertising revenue on X had cratered more than fifty per cent as compared with the same time last year.”
+ At Lululemon, Being Black Is ‘Off-Brand’ (The Business of Fashion): “In June 2020 … Just under a month after George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis, the company issued a statement titled ‘Lululemon commits to inclusion, diversity, equity, and action.’ The brand pledged to hire a head of diversity, equity and inclusion, partner with colleges serving underrepresented groups and launch an internship programme aimed at increasing minority representation, among other initiatives … the rhetoric and promises of 2020 didn’t yield much in the way of long-lasting progress at Lululemon. What was left, in the end, was an overriding mission to protect the company’s image first, ensure minority employees’ wellbeing and career advancement second, if at all, according to the employee accounts.”
+ Here’s Why a New York City Lobster Roll (With Fries!) Costs $32 (The New York Times): “The pandemic upended everything at the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Prices surged across the board, and by mid-2022, Ms. Povich felt she had no choice but to raise the price of her signature item, a lobster roll and fries … every ounce is $2.50 … It costs almost $400 a month to keep the website running and another $450 to list the restaurant on the Resy reservations service … on Seamless … where a lobster roll and fries costs $44.77 — and the restaurant takes home $24.75 … Then there is the near-constant cycle of repairs and maintenance, the 3 percent credit card fees that add up to about $73,000 a year and even the liability policy.”
+ Recently purchased: Free People Chamomile Oversize Cardigan, Reformation Walsh Cashmere Collared Mini Dress, Gleaming Primrose Vanity Tray, UGG Classic Sweater Letter Boots, J.Crew Short-Sleeve Cotton Cardigan Sweater-Polo, SKIMS Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress, Moncler Quilted Nylon & Wool Knit Cardigan, and We Might Be Tiny Cookie Stampies Set.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!