Designer Fashion Labels Are Increasing Their Prices Post-Pandemic 

Top designer brands are currently increasing their prices as a means of making up for any economic loss that occurred within the past year due to the pandemic. Currently, there’s a high demand for luxury items among upper class individuals in the US. 

After nearly 18 months, designer fashion labels were finally able to revive the art of live fashion shows as well, which has brought back a certain cultural energy that the world was lacking throughout the past year of lockdown. 

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Chanel, for example, as a brand has increased their handbag prices by at least 15% when compared to last year’s pricing. Chanel’s revenues have also declined by nearly 20% throughout 2020. 

A recent Bernstein industry report identified “Rolex, Dior, Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton as brands that had raised prices. The pricing of luxury bags had increased at twice the level of the broader consumer prices index over four decades. The most desirable brands had translated growth into increasing prices quickly in an unrealised pricing upside.”

Bernstein analyst Luca Solca said: “Most luxury brands increased prices during the pandemic in the attempt to cushion the impact of lower sales. Chanel has been particularly aggressive in this move. Very desirable brands have the ability to increase prices, if they so wish. This has the advantage of reducing the risk of overwhelming the market and putting perceived exclusivity in jeopardy.”

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Orsola de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution, a fashion activism movement, said: “The luxury industry needs to go back to some kind of semblance of luxury, because it’s hardly been immune to the low-quality, high-quantity bug. There is so much wrong with luxury these days, but the main issue is lack of transparency.”

“To imagine a luxury industry that really is luxurious, they need to reinvent their parameters, go back to the essence of what luxury is – craft, respect for human toil and skills, and beautiful materials. None of this can hurt people and nature, if we are to consider it a luxury product.”

There’s a major rise in the movement for sustainability in fashion, especially considering a lot of the more affordable brands that average working-class Americans can afford are produced in factories overseas, likely filled with harsh conditions and underpaid workers, however, the issue is clearly systemic. 

We can’t expect every American to shop sustainably when that’s just not possible for so many individuals, but we can reshape the brands that are deemed “luxury” to return back to a sense of craftsmanship and transparency, like de Castro explained, and hope that a larger revolution in the fashion industry can occur. 

China’s Economy Shows Steady Recovery As Pandemic Is Brought Under Control

China reported a 4.9% economic growth in its third quarter, making it the only major global economy in the world to show an economic increase during a worldwide pandemic.

Amazon Building

Amazon Coping With Warehouse Coronavirus Outbreaks In Over 10 Facilities

Amazon warehouse workers are currently enduring a huge wave of coronavirus cases appearing throughout the various factory locations in the United States. According to media reports, at least 11 facilities have reported having workers who tested positive for the virus. The second that any warehouse employee has shown signs of the virus they would be sent home, however, that doesn’t discount the many other workers they could’ve come into contact with before they began exhibiting symptoms. 

So far, cases have been reported at Amazon facilities in Queens, New York, Moreno Valley, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Shepherdsville, Kentucky; Brownstown, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Katy, Texas; and Wallingford, Connecticut. Amazon has closed some of its sites, such as the Queens warehouse, but overall the company has been trying to avoid mass closures due to the increase in demand and traffic they’ve seen now that most of its customers are in self-quarantine. 

The company told the media that it is taking “extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site[s]. That includes regularly sanitizing door handles, elevator buttons, lockers and touch screens, as well as staggering shifts and spreading out chairs in break rooms.”

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Many Amazon employees, however, are still unsatisfied with Amazon’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and many claim to be very nervous about getting infected. Amazon would be nothing without the hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers throughout the US that make sure all of the millions of online orders are seen through, so the company should be doing everything in their power to protect such an integral part of the way their business is run.

The additional cases will likely disrupt shipments and delay deliveries depending on the parts of the country that are losing the most employees/factories due to closures. This shouldn’t come as a shock to consumers, however, as most products on Amazon are in high demand at the moment, and have already been delayed from shipping. Essential supplies that are in the highest demand, such as toilet paper, are delayed until April, and thermometers are being delayed until May, to give a few examples. 

“Amazon is witnessing spikes in demand that are comparable to the surge surrounding peak holiday periods such as Black Friday, so in response [we’re] ramping up hiring. We’re boosting employment by 100,000 in the way that we do for seasonal periods like the holiday, when we need extra workers,” said Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs.

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Amazon spokespeople have also told the media that they’re doing everything in their power to put employee safety and customer satisfaction at the forefront of concern, emphasizing that they’ve implemented multiple social distancing policies when in a corporate office environment. However, warehouse workers claim that those policies don’t apply when you’re in tight conditions and locker areas that “force employees to walk sideways to pass one another.”  

Amazon recently claimed that any employee who is forced into quarantine will receive two weeks pay, and Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced plans to donate millions of face masks and other sanitary products to all of its employees, warehouse workers, and contractors.  

“Masks remain in short supply globally and are at this point being directed by governments to the highest-need facilities like hospitals and clinics. When our turn for masks comes, our first priority will be getting them in the hands of our employees and partners working to get essential products to people,” Bezos said. 

We need to ensure that all employees rights, health, and safety are being properly put under consideration when their employers make new policies, especially during times of a global pandemic. These are uncertain and worrisome times, but we must stay strong and continue to fight for one another, the world could use some peace.

Business Sales

How To Boost Your Business’s Holiday Sales

It’s always a happy holiday for retail businesses. Whether it’s a local boutique, or a major corporate chain, stores seem to flood with eager customers trying to cross off everyone on their shopping list. Businesses seem to thrive the most when it comes to holiday deals. As we grow older, the lists of gifts we need to buy seem to get longer and more expensive. So what can your business do in order to make your life, and your customers’ lives, the easiest during this holiday shopping season? 

Holiday marketing is extremely important for the success of any business regardless of the size of it, and in an age when technology is constantly advancing, a majority of that marketing is done online. Social media presence and an easy-to-navigate website are key in ensuring that your business remains successful, and also that people are able to find out about you. Especially if your business is at a local level, social media is the best way you can spread the word about your sales and deals to your customers and beyond. Additionally, if you have a website that allows for users to create an account or attach an email they’ll be able to stay more informed on everything going on within your business. 

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When it comes to the holidays, however, you should be going above and beyond with your online presence. An amazing way to generate online traffic and customer engagement is by adding a wish list feature to your website. A wish list will not only give your customers the flashback of what it was like to write letters to Santa, but also makes the shopping experience so much easier for both of you. 

Wish lists in general allow customers to curate all of the products that they want for themselves, or need to buy for others, and have it be in one place for when they’re ready to buy. They allow the buyer to take their time and not feel the pressure of a growing online cart looming over them while they shop. Wish lists typically stay saved for a customer regardless of if they leave the website or not; normally this feature means that customers need to create some sort of user account that will save the list for them, however, accounts in general are also another amazing way to ensure that your customers are staying informed and updated with your store. 

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If you do decide to add a wish list feature to your website, a crucial feature will be a “share” button that allows the customer to send their wish list to any of their friends or family. This feature will easily allow people to tell their loved ones what they’re looking to receive, or buy, making the entire shopping experience fairly simple. 

Wish lists are also extremely beneficial to the business itself. As the website’s admin, you’ll have access to every user’s wish list. This means you’ll be able to see the trends of what products customers are gravitating towards. Additionally, keeping the wish list feature active year round will give you an indication of seasonal shopping patterns and allow you to have a greater insight into what products are more in demand depending on the time of year. This information can be crucial for a business owner, as it indicates what supplies/products you may need to stock up on, depending on the time of year. 

Finally, another great feature that can be added to the wish list section of your website is a “recommendations” section. Depending on your website’s algorithm, this section can either show customers other products that your business carries that relates to what they put on their wish list that they might be interested in, or it could show users what products other customers are adding to their wish lists this holiday season. When shoppers see products that are popular, they’re more inclined to add them to their list, whether it be for themselves or as a gift. When it comes to gift giving this feature can be especially useful as it tells customers what products people are really loving that your loved ones may also enjoy. 

Making your online presence known is, in general, an amazing way to generate business. Adding on a special section for holiday wish lists not only makes the shopping experience that much easier all around, but also helps Santa know what everyone wants this year.

Christmas Trees

Christmas Tree Supply At A Record Low, Thanks To The Great Recession

The Christmas tree market is obviously in its peak season at the moment. However, according to multiple news sources, there’s a major tree shortage this year and one of the highest demands for trees the US has ever seen. Typically, the trees that we buy annually are actually 10 to 15 years old by the time they come into our living rooms. If we think back to what the United States looked like a decade ago, we start to get some answers as to why this shortage is happening. The US hit our major recession back in 2008 and 2009. 

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the two biggest distributors of Christmas trees in America are North Carolina and Oregan, and this year their production numbers are way lower than years previous. While this may seem disheartening, representatives from both states confirmed that the shortage shouldn’t affect anyone’s access to their holiday trees, there just simply isn’t as much as their normally is. Luckily, we know why as well. 

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“We don’t think that there’s going to be any problem. Everybody that wants a real tree is going to get one. The shortage was completely anticipated and is a result of farmers planting fewer trees 10 years ago, in the middle of the Great Recession. Fifteen years ago, we had too many trees available for the demand. In 2008 and 2009, we had the recession, which cut back on sales and made it worse. When tree growers can’t cut the trees, they don’t have the space to plant more.” Doug Hundley, a seasonal spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, told CNN

To break this process and explanation down, let’s start with the facts. The Christmas tree that you buy every year is around 10 years old. 10 years ago, the United States hit the Great Recession, leading to less people purchasing trees, and therefore tree farms were overpopulated with trees that continued to grow for another year. To keep those spaces available for the year, tree growers didn’t plant any new ones to save on space and money. Fast forward a decade later, we are now feeling the effects of the lack of ability for farmers to plant new trees to be grown due to overcrowding caused by a lack of purchasing as a result of the recession. Simple right? 

The whole process is basically a decade long ripple effect from the economy crashing in 2008. However, what worries farmers and individuals working for the National Christmas Tree Association, or NCTA, is how much the demand for real Christmas trees is increasing. According to NCTA’s data, in 2018 Americans spent close to $33 million on real Christmas trees and $21 million on artificial ones. For the real trees, that’s a 20% increase from 2017, and price wise the industry noticed consumers paid 4% more than they did in 2017. 

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Hundley discussed how he believes the increased demand stems from more millennial’s starting families and wanting to give their young kids the most authentic and “real” Christmas experience possible, hence the freshly grown and cut tree. The increase in price also roots back to simple supply and demand economics, as previously stated, the demand is high, but supply is increasingly low, so those statistics are on route to be even higher than last year!

While this is seemingly becoming a problem for the Christmas tree industry, there’s still hope, as they’ve faced shortage issues in the past and have solved it through communication and production assistance. Hundley states that there are about 10 major states that are responsible for a majority of the trees distributed throughout the US during the holidays. Specific states tend to focus on one particular type of Christmas tree to grow and distribute based on climate conditions for that state. Balsam, Pine, and Fir are just a few examples of the multitude of types of trees. So when one farm isn’t able to produce as much of a particular type of tree as they’re used to, other states tend to step in and pick up the slack. 

“When North Carolina and Oregon’s plantings were down significantly, there was a lot of Fraser firs growing in Michigan and Wisconsin and even Canada, so they were able to pick up the slack and ship in trees. In this industry, we’re really good at distributing Christmas trees from one place to another,” Hundley said

Luckily, the Christmas tree industry seems to always feel the holiday giving spirit, and ensures Americans that no matter what, they will have a happy holiday and a tree next to their fireplace this year.