The Australian Jewellery Brand You Should Have On Your Radar This Summer

Classic and yet of-the-moment, The Silver Collective is the Australian jewellery brand you should get to know, stat. Lending summer wardrobes a hit of shine, the brand’s collection of super-cool—and surprisingly affordable—minimalist pieces will elevate both your off-duty looks (think denim cut-offs and linen button-up blouses) and after-hours style.

Headed by mother-and-daughter duo Maria and Anastasia Papazoglou, the brand specialises in versatile Sterling Silver jewellery that transcends seasons. A mix of classic elegance and contemporary flourishes, the designs balance timeless style with modern detailing—think of them as heirlooms you’ll want to wear now.

Launching from home under the brand name ICONIC-STYLE in 2015, the label has since been rebranded as The Silver Collective. After two years of online business, the start-up now operates both online and from their year-old Sydney boutique.

The Silver Collective’s wide-ranging jewellery collection includes ultra-fine necklaces and chokers (perfect for layering under beach coverups or metallic party dresses), sculptural earrings and stackable rings. Despite the brand’s love of clean lines and a pared-back aesthetic, each season is crafted with unique personality. One of the brand’s best-sellers—and one of our top picks—the Pella necklace is made from an ancient gold-plated coin. Distinct in shape, it’ll add an insouciant edge to any summer look.

[“source=forbes]

Spike in diamond jewellery demand on Diwali

Diamond-1---BCCL
Aditya Pethe, director, WHP Jewellers said that they were expecting a 10% to 20% growth in footfall and since the day had started and it seems like we have met our expectations.
DiamondNSE 0.00 % jewellery is witnessing good demand in the Dhanteras-Diwali season, according to jewellers and trade officials. Lightweight gold jewellery too has emerged as the preferred choice for the consumers this festive season.

Atul Sinha, SVP – Marketing, CaratLane said “We are witnessing a shift in trend among jewellery buyers. The impact of higher gold prices is not so much on jewellery that can be worn on a daily basis. There is a double-digit growth in demand for jewellery that women can actually wear every day rather than heavy jewellery or gold coins which typically end up in the locker. We are expecting an increase in footfalls and a further surge in online purchases in the next two days.”

Added Vijay Jain CEO, ORRA “Both the run up to Dhanteras and Dhanteras has been positive. While gold has seen a positive trend over last year platinum and diamond jewellery growth rates have been in excess of 30 percent.”

Aditya Pethe, director, WHP Jewellers said that they were expecting a 10% to 20% growth in footfall and since the day had started and it seems like we have met our expectations.

“People are opting for light weight jewellery in gold and diamond. Traditional Maharashtrian designs like Naths, Mohan Maal etc are preferred by traditional customers. We have also seen younger generation visiting the store. One more thing we noticed this year is that customers are not restricting themselves to dhanteras for gold shopping. When we look at the year on year sales, we are meeting the expected sales targets.” he said.

Pankaj Khanna, MD, Khanna Gems said “We are expecting a considerable growth of 15-20% in the diamond jewellery consumption this year, as an impact of the extensive marketing campaigns of diamond jewellery by the brands. On the other hand, the demand for gemstones & gemstone Jewellery will increase by 10-15% this year due to the increasing disposable income of Indians during festivals like Diwali & Dhanteras.

[“source=forbes]

From Sock Crocs to bum bag sandals: fashion’s perfect storm of shoe ugliness

Ugly fashion is big business, but for shoes, it has now become something of an arms race. This week saw the launch of the $140 (£105) “Sport” Sock Croc – part Croc, part tube sock – and the Nike Benassi bum bag sandals, which appear to be just that.

Although aesthetically worlds apart, they do share some time-saving, practical principles. The Sock Croc is a collaboration between Crocs and 90s New York brand Alife, which bring together two elements of the ugly shoe trend in one – Crocs and sock sandals – while paying “homage to the socks-and-Crocs lifestyle”, whatever that is. The Benassi bum bag sandal, meanwhile, is a slider with a small zipped bum bag in lieu of a foot strap, allowing you to carry very small things on your feet.

While both sound like a joke fleshed out in a marketing meeting, and quite possibly both are – the fastest way to sell a pair of shoes, it seems, is to describe them as ugly – they actually mark a cornerstone moment for a trend that has become impossible to ignore. For one, it’s harder to find normal shoes than ugly shoes – see the clompy Balenciaga Triple S trainers, sky-high Crocs at Balenciaga, thigh-high trainer boots at this week’s Louis Vuitton Cruise show, and the trickle-down effect to the high street at Fila and Topshop. And, second, we seem to be witnessing a perfect storm of elective ugliness. Given ugly shoes are now interbreeding, it might be interesting to see where this trend goes next.

Regardless of how wearable this stuff is, it speaks of a change within the industry and suggests notions of beauty have shifted: that beauty and ugliness are not opposites, but rather aspects of the same thing; that prizing practicality over leg-slimming is OK; that heaven needs hell. Plus, it seems, the uglier the trainer the more on-trend it is, so you might as well commit. As most therapists would say, what is a “normal” shoe anyway?

Loewe’s curved toe trainers

Loewe curved toe trainers.
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 Loewe curved toe trainers.

Ugliness rating 10/10

Style rating 7/10

Heron Preston Ugg

Heston Preston x Ugg.
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 Heston Preston x Ugg.

Ugliness rating 3/10

Style rating 3/10

Chloé’s new Sonnie sneaker

Chloé Sonnie sneaker.
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 Chloé Sonnie sneaker.

Ugliness rating 8/10

Style rating 7/10

Dr Marten Cleater

Dr Martens sandal.
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 Dr Martens sandal.

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine, Sweden

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

[“Source-theguardian”]

Fashion: Put off by skimpy swimwear? Here are some fabulous alternatives

M&Co Plain Black Tummy Control Stripe Swimsuit, £30

AS WE creep ever closer to holiday season (yay!), you may have noticed – in the shops or on social media – that swimwear seems to be shrinking.

Swimsuits come with deep V-fronts and ludicrously high-cut legs, while bikinis are becoming even itsy-bitsier and teeny-weenier than ever.

That’s all well and good if you’re a tanned and toned celeb or a leggy model but what if you don’t want to flash your bum or side-boob or tan lines when you head off on hols?

The good news is, among this year’s swim collections, there are actually a lot of amazing options for those of us who need more a few inches of Lycra and strings or straps to keep our bits in place.

You can find a lot of great options online, and save money on your purchase with the use of a Shein discount code.

From sleek swimsuits to flattering bikinis, these stylish pieces will make you look and feel amazing this summer.

BLACK BATHING SUITS

We all know black clothes are super-slimming, and the same applies to swimwear, especially if you opt for a swimsuit that comes in a suck-it-all-in fabric. Black mesh is also great for giving the illusion of a bikini but with more support.

:: M&Co Plain Black Tummy Control Stripe Swimsuit, £30

:: Bluebella Aegean Swimsuit, £32

:: Fat Face Phantom Textured Swimsuit, £38

HIGH-WAIST BIKINIS

There’s a reason high-waisted bikinis are so popular with plus-size fashion bloggers – they’re fantastic for emphasising your waist and skimming over that lower midriff area that so many of us are keen to keep under wraps. Floral patterns and cute ruffle details make these two-pieces even prettier.

:: Simply Yours Halterneck Bikini Top, £26, and matching Strappy Bikini Brief, £16, Simply Be

:: Boux Avenue Adelaide Sling Bikini Top, £30, and matching High-waisted Bikini Briefs, £18

:: Junarose Ruffle Detail Halterneck Bikini Top, £28, and matching Bikini Bottoms, £24, Navabi

SUPPORTIVE BIKINIS

Blessed in the breast department? You’re probably going to want to steer clear of soft-cup triangle bikinis. Instead, look for bra-like tops with padded cups, underwiring and thick straps for ultimate support (and sexiness).

:: (Left) Curvy Kate Blue Stripe ‘Ahoy’ Halterneck Bikini Top £36, and matching Fold Over Bikini Briefs, £20; (Right) Curvy Kate Blue Stripe ‘Ahoy’ Balcony Bikini Top, £36, and matching Tie Side Bikini Briefs, £20, Swimwear365

:: Figleaves Riptide Underwired Twist Plunge Bikini Top, £28, and matching Riptide Twist Brief, £18

:: Lipsy Alice Bikini Top, £32, and matching Briefs, £20, Next

ONE-PIECE WONDERS

Combining candy colours and simple silhouettes, these bright swimsuits will help you channel modern pin-up glamour. Look for wrap and drape detailing that skims and slims.

:: Simply Yours Plait Bandeau Swimsuit, £35, JD Williams

:: Seaspray Lagoon Ombre Draped Strapsuit, £78

:: Matalan Stripe Tie Front Swimsuit, £16

[“Source-irishnews”]

A guide on global online shopping for Indian buyers

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

Are you bored of your gaming console, and want to switch to Nintendo Switch? Or have you been eyeing that premium Harrods bag, or the latest collection from Saint Laurent or beauty products from Glossier? One way is to buy these global brands, not available in India, on your next trip abroad, the other is to hand a list to your NRI relatives. If you can’t wait that long, there’s always the option of shopping online from global e-commerce websites that ship internationally.

Click here for enlarge

Of course, there’s a cost attached to it, which many Indian shoppers don’t seem to mind paying, given the quality and choice. According to a report published by logistics firm DHL, The 21st century spice trade: A guide to the cross-border e-commerce opportunity, which quotes the Google Consumer Barometer, what drives consumers in less mature e-commerce markets like India to shop cross-border is better quality, broader range and trustworthiness. According to the report, 42% of surveyed Indian respondents said they shop from websites abroad due to better quality of products, while 37% liked the available offers. Electronic items (55%) and fashion apparels (45%) are among top purchases by Indian consumers, followed by beauty products and cosmetics (26%) and toys (20%).

But it may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce site as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India—there are charges to take care of and payment and shipping options to consider. We hand-hold you through the hiccups and tell you smart ways to reduce your costs.

THE CHARGES

Shipping charges: While we are used to one-day free delivery option from most domestic e-commerce sites, ordering products from an international website typically attracts shipping charges. There are various factors that determine how costly the shipping is going to be. “Shipping charges are calculated based on factors like weight, dimension of the product, origin-destination, duties and taxes, insurance as applicable, and the service type (express takes 2-3 days, economy takes 5-15 days and postal takes 15-30 days),” said R.S. Subramanian, country manager, DHL Express India. Most global e-commerce websites have preferential rate agreements with a particular courier company and the same is displayed upfront at checkout.

Customs duty: All products, if imported for personal purposes, attract basic customs duty of 10%. On top of that, you also have to pay goods and services tax (GST) depending on the slab rate fixed by the government. Check the import customs tariff of various commodities here. While some websites might levy local taxes to be paid in your country in advance, some collect the customs duty upon delivery.

“Basic customs duty is 10% on majority of the products. It’s levied on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value. If you are purchasing something online, the CIF value will be mostly put up by the courier company; their cost generally includes insurance, too,” said Bipin Sapra, tax partner, EY.

However, the customs officer takes into account the “assessable value” when calculating the duty. “Generally, the assessable value and CIF value are the same and the customs duty is imposed on such value. Assessable value is self-assessed by the importer and is accepted by the customs officer. In case, such value is rejected by the customs officer, then the officer may determine the value as per applicable rules,” said Suresh Nandlal Rohira, partner, Grant Thornton India LLP. The CIF value may sometimes get rejected by the customs officer if she has any reason to believe that the product has been undervalued by the sender.

“Online shoppers should take care that the products ordered online by them are imported through courier and used for personal purpose to avail the concessional rate of 10% basic custom duty,” added Rohira.

Currency conversion: Websites usually list products in their local currency (say US dollar or British pound). The rupee is not one of the strongest currencies globally and hence conversion rates might spike up the charges.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

Most international websites only accept credit cards, payments via Paypal account or Amex cards. Domestic debit/credit cards that are not enabled for international transactions may also not work on international portals.

However, debit cards of some banks might work for international transactions. So check with your bank if your debit card can be used to shop internationally. If not, ensure you either have a Paypal account or a Visa or Mastercard credit card.

SMART WAYS TO REDUCE COSTS

Compare prices with package forwarding sites: If you are shopping for multiple items, package forwarding websites like Borderlinx, Shipito, and Shop and Ship may help you save some money.

Once you sign up, these sites will give you access to local warehouse addresses of different countries, for a fee. Just shop from any website and enter this local package forwarding address during checkout. After receiving the product from the e-commerce portal at their warehouse, they repackage and consolidate items into one package (in case of multiple items) and also help reduce the weight and size. They also work for those looking for brands that are shipped only domestically, say within the US.

While they may work for multiple items and in a situation where the main website doesn’t ship to India, they can turn out to be expensive otherwise because they have steep shipping costs. So make use of these services only if you really need the product and are willing to pay a premium on it. Compare costs before going for it.

Look for cheaper currency: You can also save at the time of currency conversion. You can get slight advantages by checking if the product is available on another country’s portal, say the US or Europe, where conversion rates might be slightly better. “Customers should do their research to not just see what the listed price is but also what the delivered price is going to be,” said Sapra.

However, “customs duty would remain the same for that product regardless of the country (you order the product from),” said Rohira.

Look for offers: One way to avoid the shipping charge is by shopping when the websites come up with offers of free international shipping during festive or sale seasons. Many sites also waive off the charges on a minimum order amount.

While Indian consumers are willing to pay extra if they can find quality products online, shipping charges and customs duty often make the products 40-50% more expensive than the listed price. So research well. Last but not the least, be careful of online fraud and only shop from reliable websites.

[“Source-livemint”]

I was addicted to online shopping! This is how I controlled it

Online shopping, that’s the new bug under the list of behavioural addictions. Some people indulge in it because they hate to invest time and step out to shop, while some do it because of its massive variety and accessibility. However, studies say that the trend has caught particularly with stressed individuals as shopping on the net can provide instant gratification. Whatever the root cause, it is not something that should be taken lightly. A reader of ours, Meha Sindhwani, shares with us her encounter with online shopping addiction and how she chose to combat it.

I have been in a media organization for three years now, the industry that is known to be abreast with everything that goes viral. Also, not to mention, media industry is also known for the high scores of stress it gives to its employees. Though I don’t have hard fact to support my argument but I really think that stress, at least in part, comes from the unfamiliar nature of our job. We never know what may trend or happen in the next second. This has us glued to our seats, overwhelmed by the speed at which the world is moving.Though I like what I do but I would not deny that since the time I have been here, my stress levels have only gone up. I didn’t realize it when it was actually happening but only now that I look in the rear view. And, this stress had many forms of manifestations.

My job required me to stay active on social media platforms. I never realized when I became a junkie from someone who would even browse Facebook just thrice in a week. Being on the mobile so much, I would often browse the various shopping advertisements that showed on my social media feeds. And honestly, I couldn’t help but visit their websites and download their apps.

It started with an order or two every month for the first few months. I loved to order online because it started giving me a happy hit. My most favorite part would be the delivery, which I mostly got done to my office only. All those memes that exaggerate the sense of waiting for an online order, that’s actually me. No kidding.

So gradually, the frequency of my online shopping increased to once in every week. I realized that this was becoming a problem when, towards the end of the month, I would be bankrupt and I would still order clothes, or accessories, or footwear or something or the other, making the payment through my credit cards. And let me tell you, I have never been a credit card person.

Three months went by like this. I paid my credit card bills which would usually be not beyond a certain limit. Then, in the fourth month, I ended up not just crossing that limit, but also doubling it. But I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I knew what I was doing; just that, I couldn’t control it. Some signs that I felt particularly in that month included:

– Browsing shopping apps while travelling, before sleeping and after waking up, basically at all times I could spare. I was surprised myself when during one of the routine night calls, I disconnected because I was sleepy but post that, I browsed a shopping app for 45 minutes.

– Online shopping started making me feel happy. I started looking forward to the time when I would be idle, sometimes just to browse those apps and not even shop.

shutterstock_541434475 shopping online

– Clicking on ‘Buy’ often accompanied guilt and did not take into consideration my financial situation.

– I stopped telling my mother what I bought because she would scold me.

– My cupboard was flowing with clothes, many of them unworn so far and I had to get two new jewellery boxes to contain my accessories.

After having to pay the debilitating bill, I decided that this could not continue anymore. Immediately, I uninstalled all the shopping apps from my phone and reported all their advertisements that stared back at me on social media platforms.

But, by doing so, I was only eliminating my possibility of shopping and not the cause of my shopping problem. I didn’t know how to do that and so, I sought advice from a friend who was pursuing a Phd in psychiatry. It was then I realized that my habit was stemming from stress, majorly at workplace and also because of a recent break-up that I had had, which I earlier thought wasn’t as traumatic as it perhaps was.
I would shop in order to pleasure myself and because the pleasure wouldn’t last, I had to shop again. This was my coping mechanism as it gave me little adrenaline rushes every time I received an order. This has also been proven by many studies, such as one by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. It said that online shopping reduced sadness. Another one by The Huffington Post concluded that every third person shops online to deal with stress.
My friend told me to reroute my mind, which meant that I needed to destress and unwind. She recommended that I do yoga and whenever I get an impulse to shop, I should recognize the underlying negative emotion that’s driving it. Once I know what the emotion is, I can either write about it, talk about it with a friend or just acknowledge it because even that apparently helps. And yes, it did.
It’s been six months since I have not shopped even a single thing online and I am really happy that I could come this far. Not that I will never shop online now. I will, but only much less frequently and when I really need to buy something and it is a necessity, not otherwise.

[“Source-timesofindia”]

We compared online shopping at Costco and Boxed, the ‘Costco for millennials,’ and one had a clear advantage over the other

Costco Grocery

Costco’s website has a lot to offer, but it can be tricky to navigate.
  • Costco and Boxed are both bulk retailers that sell pretty much everything.
  • Boxed has been called the “Costco for millennials” because it’s an online-exclusive store with mobile ordering and speedy delivery. Costco also has an online store and mobile ordering, but its prices can be as much as 20% more there than in the physical warehouse stores.
  • Costco shoppers can shop online without a membership, but a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout.
  • The websites themselves have some obvious differences, and we found that one was much easier to use than the other.

Costco and Boxed – the so-called “Costco for millennials” – sell everything and anything in bulk.

Unlike Costco, Boxed is digitally native. It has mobile ordering and one-to-three-day delivery. It also offers free two-day shipping if you spend more than $49, and it doesn’t require a membership to make a purchase.

Costco has an online store in addition to its physical warehouses, but products across all categories tend to cost more online than in stores. Though the website allows shoppers to order from Costco without paying for a $60 annual membership, a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout. However, Costco has been taking some steps to reach more millennial shoppers, like offering two-day delivery through Costco Grocery and one-day delivery through a partnership with Instacart.

One of the most clear differences between Costco and Boxed is that Boxed members don’t need to pay an annual fee to access the savings. But the company did recently launch Boxed Up, a premium service that costs $49 a year and provides shoppers with perks like free shipping on orders over $20, 2% cashback rewards, and price matching with competitors.

Both websites offer major savings for bulk shoppers, but upon trying both, I found one was easier to use than the other. See what it’s like to shop at each:

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers’ picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers' picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren’t quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren't quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

The grocery page on Costco’s site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The grocery page on Costco's site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

Comparing prices isn’t an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Comparing prices isn't an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Costco: 200 oz. for $28.99Boxed: 150 oz. for $19.99

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco’s site.

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco's site.

Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands’ respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco's private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands' respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco: $8.79Boxed: $11.99

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn’t even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn't even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco’s website without a membership, unless you’re willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco's website without a membership, unless you're willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It’s structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It's structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 …

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 ...

… and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don’t have to spend as much to get the perks.

... and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don't have to spend as much to get the perks.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren’t as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren't as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

As leather shoes drop out of favor, cattle hides pile up

As leather shoes drop out of favor, cattle hides pile up

Allbirds, a San Francisco-based startup, makes shoes out of wool. (Allbirds)

In 1991, when Scott Starbuck opened City Soles in Chicago, most of the shoes his customers wanted were made with leather from cow hides.

Today, an increasing number of shoppers have a more vegan sensibility about what goes on their feet, demanding shoes with non-animal elements such as canvas, microfiber and plastic. Making the choice easier are advances in the quality of fake leather, which is now so good most buyers can’t distinguish it from the real thing.

“You see more and more people wearing other materials,” even if they aren’t vegetarians or vegans, Starbuck said.

That’s bad news for the leather industry, because footwear makers are by far the biggest buyers, accounting for 55% of demand. What’s worse, the world’s appetite for American beef is sending near-record numbers of cattle to the slaughterhouse, leaving a glut of hides as demand for leather slows.

Once a status symbol and a staple of formal outfits, leather shoes are falling on hard times. Not only has the casual-dress trend fueled the rise of sneakers for all occasions, but more shoppers are avoiding products made with animal parts such as hides and furs. While the shift partly reflects an abundance of choices in materials, consumers cite growing discomfort with the slaughter of cattle and concern over the environmental impact of raising them by the millions.

Turning cattle hides into leather is just one of many uses for cattle carcasses, which humans have been exploiting since early civilizations made food containers from intestines and soap from fat. While the most valuable parts today are those sold as ground beef or steaks, remnants such as bones, blood and fat end up in things like fertilizer, gelatin, medicines and textiles. Hides and other byproducts account for about 44% of the slaughtered animal’s weight but less than 10% of its value, government data show.

Hides are the key ingredient in a global market for leather goods that was worth $93.2 billion in 2016, according to Research and Markets. A single hide can produce enough leather for 11 cowboy boots, 20 footballs or one bucket seat. But supplies of the raw material have been out of balance for several years.

Cheaper alternatives

In 2014, the number of hides plunged after a drought forced U.S. ranchers to shrink their cattle herds to the smallest size in six decades. As a result, prices shot up. Manufacturers had to figure out ways of using less leather in their products, said Ken Maxfield, president of the Maxfield Report, a hide-market publication. Years later, demand hasn’t bounced back.

“The industry has struggled to recover,” said Stephen Sothmann, president of the U.S. Hide, Skin & Leather Assn. “We haven’t regained market share.”

Hide prices are among the lowest since 2009. They’ve dropped as much as 24% from the same time last year and are down by almost half since the peak in 2014, according to the most recent monthly report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The market probably hasn’t bottomed yet, according to a recent report by Harland M. Braun & Co., which supplies hides to tanners.

Younger consumers, in particular, prefer more casual footwear to dress shoes, and they are gravitating to non-leather products from companies with a compelling feel-good story about how the products are made, said Jocelyn Thornton, senior vice president of creative services at the retail and fashion advisory firm Doneger Group.

Plastic shoes

For example, Allbirds, a San Francisco-based shoe startup, makes athletic shoes out of wool. Adidas AG, the giant sportswear maker headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, has made a million shoes out of up-cycled plastics.

“They’re not necessarily seeking out synthetics,” Thornton said. “They’re just looking for things that are better for the environment, better for the future.”

Leather shoes will retain the biggest share of $83.7 billion in U.S. footwear sales this year, according to Hamburg, Germany-based researcher Statista. But athletic footwear sales jumped 14.3% in 2016, while leather shoes tumbled 12%, a trend that’s expected to continue, Statista said.

Leather items that remain in vogue contain less of the material. Little ankle booties with synthetic cutouts have replaced knee-high leather boots, and generously sized leather bags have made way for smaller purses such as clutches, according to Maxfield, the leather market researcher.

Automobile makers are selling more cars, but they’re finding reasons to cut down on the leather they use. Some consumers demand a “fully vegan car,” and electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc.’s new Model Y sport utility vehicle won’t use any leather at all, Chief Executive Elon Musk said at the company’s annual meeting June 5.

‘Dead-cow wallets’

Even the traditional leather billfold may be on its way out. Over the next decade, people will ditch “dead-cow wallets” as commerce moves to more mobile and digital payments, Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal Holdings Inc., told analysts in a May 24 call. “They will be a thing of the past.”

To be sure, demand is growing for fine leather. There’s actually not enough supply of the high-end hides from pampered young calves that produce the soft, unblemished leather needed for the pricey handbags and other luxury goods favored by the wealthy, according to Don Ohsman, publisher of industry researcher Hidenet.

But those markets are small compared with shoes, which account for more than half. About 20% goes to cars, 12% to furniture upholstery, and 13% to bags, according to Sothmann, the industry group president.

Alexis Lavko, a consultant at Epsilon Economics in Chicago, has traded leather flat shoes for a pair of Rothy’s — made from recycled plastic bottles — that cost $125. She says they look stylish enough for the office and didn’t need to be broken in.

“I love the fact that this company was trying to figure out something to do with things that are getting thrown in landfills,” Lavko said. “I like them better than any other leather flats.”

[“Source-latimes”]

7 Reasons To Stop Wearing Shoes In Your House

Your home might be your castle, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat it like some kind of dirty medieval fortress. Taking off your shoes inside can help keep your home in good condition, create a more relaxed atmosphere and cut down on dirt and dust.

However, that’s barely the beginning; keeping those shoes off inside can improve foot health, and overall hygiene around the home. So after reading these top seven reasons for why you shouldn’t wear shoes inside, you’ll probably agree there is pretty much no reason to be keeping those clompers on indoors.

1. It’s already more common than you think

Excuse me for indulging in an argumentum ad populum, but it’s worth pointing out that taking your shoes off inside doesn’t make you some kind of pedantic oddball. On the contrary, you’re weird if you don’t, according to this survey that found 87 percent of Americans take their shoes off indoors. You might be a bit surprised by that figure.

“But wait,” I hear you say, “none of my friends make me take my shoes off at their houses!”

That’s true. Indeed, the same study found around half of Americans don’t ask guests to follow suit. Naturally, this goes a long way towards explaining why everyone seems to think they’re the only ones who go barefoot indoors. The reality is though, that pretty much everyone is already doing it, and you just don’t know it.

2. Your shoes are disgusting

Sorry, but it’s true. Research from the University of Arizona found that a new pair of shoes can attract 440,000 units of bacteria within two weeks. Not only that, but researchers also noted that viruses thrive better on the bottom of your shoes than they do on toilet seats. So your shoes are basically Trojan horses laden with bacteria and viruses, clumping around your supposedly clean house.

3. The disgusting-ness of your shoes is getting everywhere

At this point, you might be wondering if it’s really that bad to wear dirty shoes inside.

Turns out it is. Remember that research from in #2? Those same researchers also looked at just how much bacteria is transferred from shoes to clean surfaces.

On clean tiles, researchers found a 90 percent transfer rate. If you think that’s bad, then don’t even think about carpet. Still, you might think that’s no big deal; indeed, most of the time it isn’t. However, according to Jonathan Sexton, a research assistant at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, the research indicates that wearing shoes indoors could be downright dangerous for small children.

Speaking to ABC, she explained that small children can put their hands in their mouths as much as 80 times an hour — those same hands they tend to play on the floor with. “That means that your child can possibly be exposed to every single bacteria that you picked up on your shoe […] all the bacteria from the park, the store, everywhere you went that day,” she said.

Not horrified yet? Well how about the fact that…

4. There’s always poo on your shoes. Always. Sorry.

We all know that depressing feeling when you sink your foot into some dog-do. Next time it happens to you, take solace in the fact that we’re all walking around with poo on our shoes. All day, everyday.

After all, that was pretty much the finding of a research projectcommissioned by the Rockport shoe company (make what you will of that) into just how gross shoes are. As the company discovered, basically the first thing us consumers do when we get hold of their product is — you guessed it — step in poo.

After swabbing 26 shoes worn for at least three months, researchers found all but one pair were infected with coliform bacteria. For the record, coliform bacteria is universally found in the gut and feces of large mammals (like for example, human beings with poor hygiene). While the bacteria aren’t dangerous in themselves, they are often used by health authorities to gauge whether something has been contaminated with fecal matter.

Even the researchers were grossed out by just how much evidence of fecal contamination they found on ordinary shoes. “I’m starting to make myself paranoid,” microbiologist Charles P. Gerba said. “It seems like we step in a lot more poop than I thought.”

5. They’re noisy

Poo isn’t the only threat to your health that your shoes pose indoors. Noise pollution can be genuinely harmful for your health. what’s the noisiest thing in your home? Boots, obviously, but shoes in general. So do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and trade those noisy shoes at the door for some silent slippers.

6. They are destroying your floor

Your shoes are destroying your hardwood floor. Or any even vaguely delicate flooring. Over time, shoes can leave scratches, dings and scuffs that can be expensive or impossible to remove. Save yourself problems in the long run, and just don’t wear shoes inside.

7. Your feet will be healthier

A landmark 2007 study found that shoes have secretly dedicated the past few thousand years to mutating our feet. The study compared 180 modern humans from three population groups (Sotho, European and Zulu) with 2,000-year-old skeletons. Who had the healthiest feet? The 2,000-year-old skeletons, of course.

Somehow, all our technological progress of the past 2000 years has succeeded in making our feet worse off — well, not quite everyone’s. Of the modern humans, the Zulu participants had the healthiest feet. The Zulu participants were also the least likely to wear full closed-in shoes in their daily lives, and most likely to go barefoot.

Researchers point to a number of reasons why our feet are worse off, but perhaps journalist Adam Sternbergh put it best when he said, “Imagine if someone put a cast on your arm when you were three years old and you never took it off. Your arm would stop working. That’s kind of what’s happened with our feet.”

Of course, we can’t all go barefoot all day, but at least at home you can get a reprieve from those devices that have destroyed your feet.

Do you wear shoes indoors? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

[“Source-thealternativedaily”]

Fans Are Angry That the New Captain Marvel Shoes Don’t Come in Most Men’s Sizes

Vans' Marvel shoe collection

Many of us were excited when the latest line of Vans’ Marvel-branded shoes popped up online. The shoes are comic-book colorful and cool, and I dream of having them all on my feet. Unfortunately for a significant portion of Marvel fans, the Captain Marvel shoes stop at Men’s size 10. This did not go over well, nor should it.

The new Vans feature kicks inspired by the likes of Black Panther, Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, and more. The most buzz was reserved for the most recent addition to the MCU in the form of Carol Danvers, and the shoes made in her “image.” Carol is particularly on our minds following the debut of her symbol in Infinity War‘s chaotic post-credits scene.

On June 1st, Matthew Mueller over at Comicbook.com gave us a first look at the Carol-based shoes, which had leaked to the Internet prior to Vans’ official announcement. Mueller described the excellent Captain Marvel high tops:

[T]hey feature a full Captain Marvel color scheme of red, blue, and gold. The outsole of the shoe is all white, while the tongue and toe box are red with white eyelets. The Upper features a gold wavy stripe across a mostly blue backdrop, while the heel features gold trim and a big splash of red with Captain Marvel’s Hala Star logo in gold right in the middle.

Red laces complete the stylish package, and we simply can’t wait to get our hands on them.

Cool as hell, right? Mueller certainly thought so, and he was hardly alone. Carol Danvers already has a lot of fans, and that’s going to grow exponentially after Captain Marvel hits theaters next March and also when she saves the world in Avengers 4.

But on June 8th, following the shoes’ official release to sale, Mueller was back with a follow-up. Those Captain Marvel shoes he couldn’t wait to score are only available up to Men’s size 10. “Some shoes only come in certain sizes, we get that, but the male characters didn’t have the same problem, as those go all the way up to 13,” he wrote.

There’s the rub. These were clearly produced with the expectation that they would be purchased primarily by women, and that is incredibly short-sighted—not to mention the fact that there are many women, both trans and cis, and people of every identification who would also appreciate a higher range of size.

And this doesn’t appear to be a mistake or an oversight on Vans’ part at all: it was an intentional decision. Mueller explained:

So, it comes down to that Captain Marvel is a female character, right? It looks like it, as I wasn’t the only person utterly bummed that I can’t rock some slick Carol Danvers kicks, as Vans has received several responses to the news, asking if they were going to offer bigger sizes at a later time.

Concerned fans received responses like this:

There are bad and outdated gender dynamics baked into the clothing industry and particularly in geek merch (we won’t even get started on toys). While things have gotten better as more companies cater to the diversity of fans ready to spend hard-earned cash to display their fandom love, officially branded merchandise is often the most lacking.

At my local Forbidden Planet store, the Black Widow shirt—the only shirt that featured her—only came in “girl’s cut,” a style I dislike wearing, and its largest size was laughable. One of my best friends was angry that he couldn’t find a Wonder Woman shirt that would fit him before the movie came out. And sizing, in general, is an issue on its own divorced from gender, with many brands still not carrying sizes to accommodate the range of bodies that would like to wear them.

I think the case of the Captain Marvel shoes was a narrow-minded decision where a company did not take into account that many men (and people of many gender identifications) will proudly rock merchandise based on an “AWESOME women’s character.” What makes this all the more ridiculous is that the shoes at hand are visibly unisex: there’s nothing about a red, blue, gold and white shoe that screams “girl” or “boy.” They’re just cool shoes that should be available to everyone.

Yet the fact of the matter remains that we still see a concerted lack of female representation in superhero branded stuff, and so much of this is based on an antiquated idea that the fans spending money on this sort of thing are primarily male and that men are only interested in male characters. Both of these notions are patently untrue.

It’s like I’m writing this from twenty years ago, and it feels exhausting. When merchandise featuring men comes in every size—”male” and “female”—but something bearing a woman’s name is only sized for “women,” that is, these days, frankly unacceptable. Let there be sizing for all.

The only good that I see emerging from this kerfluffle is that hopefully Vans and Marvel will take notice of the feedback, and not do this again—and also, it is wonderful to see men rallying to wear female characters on their sleeve (or feet, as the case may be).

This feels like an antithesis of the recent Star Wars fandom toxicity, and the response made me as happy as the sizing made me mad. To everyone asking to rock some Captain Marvel, I see you, and thank you.

[“Source-themarysue”]