4 Arrested In Mumbai For Robbing Man Of Jewellery Worth Rs. 1.33 Crore

rnaments worth Rs. 1.15 crore had been recovered while the rest was disposed of by the accused

4 Arrested In Mumbai For Robbing Man Of Jewellery Worth Rs 1.33 Crore

Mumbai: Four persons were arrested for allegedly looting ornaments worth Rs. 1.33 crore after throwing chilli powder at a jewellery firm employee, a Crime Branch official said Monday.

The incident took place on October 20 at the gates of Mathuradas Mill compound on NM Joshi Road in central Mumbai’s Lower Parel area, police said.

The victim works at a firm which collects readymade gold and diamond ornaments from manufacturing units, the official said.

“Four persons, one of them armed with a knife, threw chilli powder into the eyes of the victim and snatched a bag containing ornaments worth over Rs. 1.33 crore,” he said.

A case was registered with NM Joshi Marg police station and Unit 3 of the Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch also started probing the incident, he said.

While the robbers ensured CCTV cameras in the vicinity did not manage to capture their images, Crime Branch officials started inquiring about possible suspects and zeroed in on Suresh Doke, 36, a Kalachowki resident, who also works in a firm which is in the same line of business as that of the victim.

Police said Doke knew about the complainant’s gold ornament collection routine and planned the robbery with three aides– Mahender Prakash Chowdhary (22), Satish Sanap (26) and Vilas Pawar, 25.

Doke was arrested first and, based on information he provided, the other three, the official said.

[“source=ndtv”]

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.

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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”]

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”]

The World’s Largest Jewelry Marketplace – The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2018, Integration of Modern Trade and Artistry of Unique Thai Charm

Image result for jewelry design

HONG KONG, Jun 20, 2018 – (ACN Newswire) – Thailand has rich history as one of the world’s most prominent centers for gems and jewelry. The country has abundant kinds of minerals and gemstones especially ruby and sapphire. Its skilled craftsmanship, unique designs had merged with modern technology to produce jewelry competitive in international markets.

Today, Thailand has developed into a large-scale and export-oriented commerce center. In year 2017, Thai gems and jewelry exports had grew by 2.25% for the first time in 3 years, making positive progress despite recent sluggish economy worldwide, generating around USD 13 billion of income, which is 5.4% of the kingdom’s total export.

In the first four month in year 2018, Hong Kong had imported a total value of USD145.7 Millions precious jewelry from Thailand, including jewelry of precious metal (22.87%), Ruby, Sapphire & Emeralds (18.83%), Diamonds (15.52%), Silver jewelry (12.59%) and Semi-precious Stone (8.04%), etc.

THE RECORD BREAKING SUCCESS OF 61 EDITION BGJF IN FEBRUARY 2018

Organized by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government, the 61 edition BGJF had attracted visitors from 113 countries over five days period with top five visiting nations from India, Myanmar, China, USA and Russia respectively.

There were a total of 853 exhibitors participate occupying 2,003 booths. Major exhibiting countries are around the globe besides local exhibitors, diverse as Hong Kong, Poland, Turkey, Japan, Singapore, India, Korea, Israel, Indonesia and Canada, etc.

The 61st edition had generated a trade value at USD 63 million comprising of USD 19 million immediate sales and another USD 44 million’s worth of orders in one year. This remarkable value had shown a 2.5% increase in compare to previous edition.

THE ROYAL THAI GOVERNMENT CONTINUING THE GOAL OF MAKING THAILAND “THE WORLD’S GEMS AND JEWELRY PRODUCTION AND TRADING HUB” AT THE 62 EDITION BGJF IN SEPTEMBER 2018

To continue the legend of success at past editions, the Organizer (DITP) will carry on the existing show elements along with innovative ideas to collaborate with “Thailand 4.0” and “Creative Economy” initiatives at The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2018, which will be held during 7-11 September 2018, at Challenger Hall 1-3, IMPACT Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand.

Some key highlight of Special Zones and activities include: New Faces (showcasing products from over 120 SMEs worldwide), Innovation and Design Zone (displaying innovative techniques and products to inspire jewelry segment), Niche Showcase (featuring the latest trends for niche markets, in particular on five main areas, such as: Heritage & Craftsmanship, Beyond Jewelry, The Moment, Spiritual Power and Metro Men. On top of that, our Fashion Show each year will present the exquisite collections crafted with authentic Thai touches. For further details, please visit www.bkkgems.com

THAI TRADE CENTER HK WELCOMES HK & MACAU BUYERS AS TRADE MISSION

TTCHK, also known as the Office of Thai Trade Commissioner (Royal Thai Consulate General – Commercial Section) in Hong Kong is here to serve entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and Macau regions, aiming to enhance business opportunities and create win-win situation for all parties. We are one of the 62 branches worldwide, under the Department of International Promotion (DITP, The Organizer of BGJF), Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government.

In order to value each chance to meet with potential traders, TTCHK will be faciliting our TRADE MISSION (TM) via two platforms for the 62 edition BGJF in September 2018, offering exclusive benefits to registered Trade Mission members with complimentary lunch coupons, express registration TM counter and buyer’s directory, etc.

(1) Come join us at Booth 3B134 (Hall 3B), during Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair during 21 – 24 June 2018 at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
(2) Contact TTCHK via (Tel) + 852 2525 9716, (E) thaicomm@netvigator.com or follow our latest updates at our FACEBOOK PAGE: Thai Trade Center Hong Kong

Deadline of TM registration will be on 27th August 2018

We as the Organizer, shall evaluate from our previous experiences and carry BGJF onto the next level that can further fulfill international standards, allowing jewelry industry from worldwide to shine through this international stage.

Event
The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (The 62nd BGJF)

Venue
IMPACT Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand (www.impact.go.th)

Fair Dates & Opening Hours

Trade Days: 7-9 Sep 18 10:00am – 6:00pm
Public Days:
10 Sep 18 10:00am – 6:30pm
11 Sep 18 10:00am-17:00pm

For visiting and media enquiries, please contact:
Thai Trade Center Hong Kong
Address: 8 Cotton Tree Drive, 8th Floor Fairmont House, Central , HK
Tel: +852 2525 9716
Fax: +852 2868 4927
Email: thaicomm@netvigator.com

For more information, visit www.thaitrade.com / www.bkkgems.com
Follow our updates at FACEBOOK: Thai Trade Center Hong Kong or
Download our mobile apps via Google Play Store: ThaiTrade.COM

[“Source-asiaone”]

This Viral Tweet Explains Why Pockets Are the Unicorns Of Women’s Fashion

If you’ve ever reached down to put something in your pocket only to realize that whatever you’re wearing doesn’t actually have pockets, then consider yourself in the majority. It’s a frustrating situation to be in, especially if you’ve only got a few things to carry and don’t feel like lugging around a bag or purse.

Twitter user Delilah Dawson recently shared some thoughts about this dilemma, proving that the struggle is so real when it comes to the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. In her tweet, she wrote a fake exchange between “women” and an “exec” where the women are trying to ask for pockets and the “exec” keeps suggesting other funny additions to clothing like “Clothes with pre-made holes in delicate fabrics” and “Shapes that require new bras!”

Responses to the tweet were hilarious and completely relatable, with people saying that dresseswith pockets are basically the unicorns of fashion.

One person said that she learned to sew just so that she could take care of this problem herself. Now that’s some serious dedication right there.
Others pointed out that even the clothes that do come with pockets can be, well, problematic. Inquiring minds want to know: What’s up with jeans that are so tight that you can’t actually put anything into the pockets? I mean, why even bother?

While a viral tweet probably won’t be enough to sway an entire industry to reconsider its stance on pockets in womenswear, it can at least bring us all together in a brief moment of fashion solidarity. And maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll get the clothing-with-pockets that we all want and deserve.

[“Source-teenvogue”]

This has just been named the ‘most overdone’ wedding trend of 2018 – and we have to agree

This has just been named the 'most overdone' wedding trend of 2018 - and we have to agree

When it comes to weddings, to each their own.

For any couple tying the knot, it’s their day and their day alone to do whatever they want with – begrudgers be damned.

But there as weddings become more commercialised and brides and grooms increasingly look to social media for inspiration for their big day, there are certain trends we see popping up over and over again at weddings.

One of the most overdone trends for weddings in 2018, according to a top wedding planner, is the trusty decorated wall.

Yep, you’ve surely been at a wedding where there’s been a flower wall but Robin Weil of WeddingPlanner.co.uk has told The Independent they’ve become overdone.

It’s a trend that started with celebrity weddings; most notably Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s extravagant nuptials in Florence, Italy in 2014.

We love a flower wall as much as anyone (what better backdrop for a selfie?) but we’d have to agree that we’ve seen a lot of them over the past few years.

If you’d rather go for something a little different but still have a very floral theme running through your decor, you might consider suspended flowers instead.

The trend has grown in popularity on Pinterest recently and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a fresh, colourful touch that would work for either your ceremony or your reception, depending on your venue.

Hanging flowers would make the picture-perfect alternative to the flower wall too and are ideal if you’re going for a rustic or boho theme.

[“Source-her”]

Online mattress companies defy age of online shopping by opening brick-and-mortar stores in Denver and across country

Eddie Machuca tries out one of ...

Eddie Machuca tries out one of the beds in the Amerisleep showroom inside Park Meadows mall June 24, 2018. Amerisleep, an online mattress company based in Phoenix, has opened several brick-and-mortar stores, including the one that opened last month in Lone Tree.

The internet opened up an entirely new marketplace for businesses as smartphones proliferated and broadband moved into rural America.

And it wasn’t just services such as airline tickets and hotel reservations — anyone can set up shop on digital Main Street and hock their wares to customers who are passing by, or in this case, swiping or clicking by.

Few industries have capitalized on this trend more than mattress makers. You see the ads on websites or Facebook, and hear them on the radio. They are everywhere. The best sleep of your life for a reasonable cost all shipped to your door. Rolled tightly and made of foam blends rather than traditional wire springs, these mattresses slide out of the box and in a few hours expand to full size.

And now, building on their success, some online-only mattress retailers are trending the other way and setting up shop in brick-and-mortar stores, some in Denver.

And, as you’d expect, doing it with the same nontraditional approach they started with in the online world.

Take online retailer Amerisleep, which is opening its first Denver area store at the Park Meadows mall in Lone Tree on Saturday, June 23. There, customers can enter “Dream Suites” where they can nap in private for as long as they want while trying out one of five mattress models.

“One of the most frequent questions I get (from customers) is, ‘Is there a store I can go and try out one of your mattresses?’ ” said Joey Holt, co-founder of Amerisleep, which also has stores in Austin, Texas, and Arizona’s major cities.

People spend about a third of their life sleeping, so testing a mattress before purchase is paramount to many customers.

“Eighty percent of mattresses are still sold in stores,” Holt said. “Stores allow people to have those in-person conversations and create relationships that you can’t create online.”

Denver offers Amerisleep and other online mattress companies a large customer base as one of the nation’s second most rested states.

“Denver aligns with our three pillars: sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Colorado is the second most rested state, the least obese, and has some of the healthiest restaurants in the country,” said Holt.

The decision to partner with furniture stores and open their own brick-and-mortar locations goes largely against the grain as many other industries struggle to compete with online retailers and are investing more resources into online marketing and sales.

Physical store fronts and on-site locations have the added benefit of bringing in walk-in traffic and driving awareness that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Other online mattress companies like Leesa, Boll and Branch and Casper also are beginning to establish physical footprints, wanting to catch some of that foot traffic and also to provide the opportunity for customers to grab a catnap.

Casper has a store in Cherry Creek mall, one of its 18 locations throughout the country, that also allows customers to try out their mattresses and catch a few z’s in the privacy of their makeshift bedrooms.

Leesa is also in Cherry Creek mall. The company has partnered with West Elm furniture store, opting to sell its mattresses in an established retail space.

Later this summer, Amerisleep plans to open another a location in Cherry Creek alongside Casper and Leesa.

“Furniture is an aesthetic that people want to touch, feel, and sit on,” said David Wolfe, CEO and co-founder of Leesa. “Our West Elm partnership gives customers the knowledge that if they want to try a mattress, they can.”

As mavericks who upended the traditional mattress-selling business model, it’s not surprising that Wolfe and Holt have a different perspective from those selling traditional brands.

“Many traditional mattress stores made it very difficult to differentiate between mattresses,” Wolfe said. “We give people the opportunity to research and shop from the comfort of their own home, but we’ve picked one partner where they can go and try it in-person. We’re building relationships and building understanding.”

Holt said AmeriSleep was attempting to “elevate the customer experience.”

“Our goal is to redefine how mattresses are purchased and sold in stores,” said Holt. “With the current landscape you either have one or two options or 50 to 75. Trying a mattress in-store can be kind of awkward. Our approach is much more customer focused.”

[“Source-denverpost”]

OPINION: Seven habits of a successful online jewellery retailer

Guest column by The Diamond Store chief executive officer, Gary Ingram

The job of online jewellery retailers has never been so tough. The cost of acquiring customers and in particular Google clicks have soared. Brexit looms. Modern customer expectations and the social media landscape are forcing us to do more with less.

To combat the pressure, here are seven critical habits that I feel will help British jewellery e-tailers build stronger brands and bottom lines heading towards 2019, which we apply to TheDiamondStore.co.uk.

  1. Be adaptable

Digital trends, Google algorithms, smartphone touch payment technology; the tools that drive online sales are in a constant state of flux. As frustrating as it is sometimes, we must constantly be prepared to trash yesterday’s plans and start again. Embracing change is the only way forward in the fast-moving world of ecommerce.

  1. React to trends as they happen

Celebrities dictate trends – as we’ve seen with Meghan Markle. But if we want to sell products off the back of trends, we need to react to them in real time. Tomorrow is too late. During the week of the Royal wedding, traffic to our online magazine’s Royal Family articles spiked from 12,000 weekly organic visits to 35,000. This provided an incredible vehicle for sales, but we were only able to benefit from it because we had exciting, interactive web and social content poised to go live as the event unfolded.

  1. Get granular

Granular… this marketing buzzword has been thrown around so much, some have come to loathe it. Yet it is exactly what brings an online environment closer to a “real store experience”. Granularity refers to crunching marketing data down to the finest level of detail. For instance, we know that our biggest social media sales converters are females, 25-35 of age. We also know fairly accurately who, and for what occasions, they buy jewellery gifts for. This amount of detail allows us to create targeted campaigns that offer genuine value to our customer niches.

  1. Overlap customer services and social media

Today’s online shoppers expect to communicate with retailers instantly, via multiple channels. We offer Live Chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, social media feeds, and of course, email and telephone. This means our Customer Service and Social Media teams need to work closely together to catch every customer comment and question. The focus is on gaining trust; when our teams align their efforts it makes our customers feel reassured.

  1. Find practical ways to refresh product lines

Baby boomers and generation X are still shopping for classic heirloom jewellery, while millennials look for pieces with a shorter trend-based lifespan. This makes curation of product lines incredibly tricky. But often simply updating best-performing collections by introducing variations in precious metal type, gems or design details, keeps things exciting for loyal customers, while attracting potential new shoppers.

  1. Expose your brand to unbiased feedback

The Competition and Market Authority (CAM) estimates that around £23 billion per year spent by UK consumers is potentially influenced by online reviews. We have been subscribing to the Feefo.com independent review platform since 2011 because it not only allows us to get honest feedback, but also respond to it. Again, in an online environment where we don’t meet our customers face to face, this is another route to personal interaction and trust building (as well as overall improvement).

  1. Provide value

Sales are what keep businesses going. But modern consumers don’t like to feel that they’re being sold to. Tweaking your message from “selling” to “being of service” adds value and creates a shopping experience so good your customer want to repeat it. To add value, do your research and give customers what they want; speak their language, provide attractive packaging, offer trustworthy advice, useful content and fast free shipping. Arguably, the overall message of value that brands provide can sometimes be even more important that the products they sell.

[“Source-professionaljeweller”]

How to nail the art of online shopping

Image result for How,to,nail,the,art,of,online,shopping

As a child, many of us must have tried rubbing on lamps in desperate hopes of coming across a genie. A genie that would make our lives easier and grant our wishes by making things appears in a jiffy.  Fast forward to 2018, we now have the internet which is more or less the same thing. We literally live in an era where we are all just “a click away”. Want a red dress for date night on the weekend? One click and voila it magically appears on your doorstep. Well, we do have to pay for it but doesn’t everything come with a price?

Shopping

Welcome to 2018, where the internet has truly revolutionized the art of purchasing. We have come a long way from physically dragging ourselves to the store in search of the perfect outfit for the annual office party. We no longer have to drive to hunt for things in crowded places. Today, we can sit in the comfort of our home’s wearing PJ’s and explore the entire new season catalogue of our favourite store whilst sipping on some red wine. (Yes, that is my how I spend most of my Saturday afternoons!)

Shopping

Most of us are guilty of making purchases every now and then online. “I window-shop literally every other day online. Being on social media literally, 24/7 temptations do get the better of me. But yes, I definitely do most of my shopping online. Firstly, I don’t have the luxury of time to go to the mall and browse stores. Secondly, decision making online is easier. I add stuff to my wishlist and then only make the selections of what goes into my cart. I am not so much of an impulsive shopper, I love seeing all my options and comparing them before buying”, shares blogger Aleena Macker. Even Vishal Singh, co-founder of Benoit Fashion agrees, “With the internet revolution going on in our country, online shopping is here to stay; social media just boosts the whole e-commerce ecosystem. Offline has existed since the beginning, but if I give you options over a lakh in the comfort of your own home, which you can browse through a five-inch screen, who wouldn’t be interested in giving it a try?”

Speaking about the rise of online shopping, Khushali Chauhan, head of online retail at Jade Blue, shares, “Online shopping according to me has become a very convenient option, especially for all the working individuals out there. If a brand isn’t online, it’s losing quite a lot in the market in terms of visibility and revenue, both. Every year we see the numbers increasing. And with the easy accessibility to the internet, we are surely going to keep seeing the rise at least for the coming decade.”

But mind you that shopping online is no child’s play. While it certainly is easy and convenient than its retail counterpart, there are certain things to keep in mind while adding things to your cart online. Read on to find out more.

Shopping

Find the deets
Research before clicking on the “add to cart”! Don’t we visit 10 different stores and then make a purchase while retail shopping? The same principle applies whilst shopping on the internet. Scan a variety of websites before ordering it as most of the times the same product is available on a different platform at a much lesser price or comes without a shipping cost. (Trust me when I say that shipping costs do matter and can really add up). We know you have to have the shiny quilted velvet sling bag that you just saw but hold on, check the internet for varieties, compare and then make a purchase.

Secondly, make it a point to go through customer reviews. (Yes, I know the bags look awfully pretty and you can’t wait to order it and flaunt it but wait!) Pictures provided on shopping platforms make the product look flawless and amazing but make sure to check the pictures in the comments section provided by customers who have ordered it as that is what the product really does look like.  “Online shopping is a blessing in disguise. I shop online quite often. I carefully read about the product and style description before placing an order to save time later”, says fashion blogger Pranjal Salecha. Reading customer reviews can actually tell you a lot about the product (yes, it can tell you if the fit is true to its size or if it actually is the exact shade of pink that it looks like in pictures!) Read and read before you finally make a call on the product as this could save a lot of time on sending the product back if it did not match up to your expectation.

Shopping

Sneaky sales
If there is one word that makes the majority of the female population happy, it is –SALE (well, that and caffeine!). The best part about shopping online is that it provides us sales all year round as compared to its retail cousin where we have to desperately wait for the end of the season to make our purchases. Do you remember the days where we actually had to wait patiently for the in-store sale to arrive to finally buy the item we’d been eyeing since long? (I certainly did!). Luckily times have changed. Shopping online makes things super convenient and non-fussy but also provides you with great deals and discounts on everything. Majority of the Indian shopping sites have a separate sales section and also provide deals regularly on the new merchandise which is why it is essential to understand how the website works.

Shopping

”When shopping for the first time from any website, look for the first-time shopper discount code, almost all websites will have this and always download the app of that particular brand you like to shop from to get a regular notification on offers and discounts,” says Salecha. Chauhan also points out, “The inventory block is also lesser since the old stock can be cleared at higher discounts. The consumers are always at a profitable end as they get the best of the prices for what they want while sitting at home.”

Shopping

Returns and cancellations
Returns and cancellations are one of the key features offered by an online shopping portal. Imagine ordering for a dress only to realize that you are getting it at a better deal five hours later or because you changed your mind and no longer wish to buy it?  This is where the cancellations button comes to mind. If the site does not offer this option, then there is no option other than to have it delivered and send it back (quite tedious, isn’t it?).  “Never forget to read about the return policy before placing the order. Not everything that you think will fit you perfectly will actually do”, says Salecha.

Make it a priority to always read or go through the terms and conditions before proceeding to make a payment for your purchase. Similarly, a lot of websites do not offer returns on sale products. In this case, make sure to be absolutely sure about the purchase as you wouldn’t be able to get rid of it later. Also, a lot of startup websites does not offer the feature so it always helps in looking out for it before rather than throwing the product away later. “Masses, young or relatively old, lower middle class or relatively affluent are giving online shopping a try as though the customer cannot feel the garment or check for the sizes, she is confident with the process as the return options provide a hassle-free experience,” says Singh.

Additionally, In case of ordering something internationally, look for the insurance option, which helps you ensure your purchases in case you have already paid for it. If the product is insured and is damaged or lost in the transaction, the company has to send you a brand new product.

Shopping

The perfect fit
We all have questions like “will it fit me well?” or “will it look as good on me as it does on the model flaunting it” running in our head every time we shop online. Yes, the quality of the garment, the style, the pattern is all important but if it doesn’t fit well then the said garment is of no importance (you really don’t wish to be seen at a party strutting around in a black ruffle dress two sizes bigger for you, do you?). The fit is one of the most questionable thought we all face while purchasing something off the internet. This is where the size guide plays a huge role. “Firstly, go through the site’s size guide. Secondly, check the size that shows wear on the model to understand the fit of that particular size. Zoom in to see the material of the clothing. And make sure to read the complete description,” imparts Macker. The size guide differs from website to website. You may be an M at some website but at another, you could be an S. Therefore, it becomes very essential to sit with a measuring tape while browsing online and measure yourself with a tape to see how well the merchandise would fit you.

Shopping

Art of spending
We totally get that shopping online is a wonderful thing and there is nothing that beats the feeling of buying fresh fur-trimmed velvet boots for the season, but it is necessary to draw a line and not run into a debt. It is pretty easy to lose track of spending online and keeping tabs on the online transactions are not really spending cash physically. “I always screenshot and save the online transaction even though the website does send you details on mail to keep track of my spending,” says Salecha. Maintaining a journal or document or keeping tracks of receipts does help to track down the transactions and stick to the monthly budget.

Shopping

Authenticity
While shopping online has a number of pros there are also a few cons that you need to look out for. One of them is whether the product you want to invest in is authentic or not (this really counts if you are thinking of buying high-end luxury items). Make sure to check the website thoroughly and checking if the site has a physical address and a phone number for you to call on in case things go wrong. “As far as product authenticity is concerned, if it is a trusted site and you have purchased things before then there shouldn’t be a problem but if I do like something and am not convinced I check up if they accept returns and refund the product and most importantly I pay for the product on arrival and not beforehand,” mentions Macker.

Additionally, do a web search on the website if you have to, in order to know more about it. Also, read the terms and conditions before as many websites do sell knockoffs or second-hand products (Remember that precaution is better than cure!).

Shopping

Social media
The advancement in the world of technology has us shopping for things from social media too! Akshaya Ramji – who is a designer and makes money selling her creations on Instagram tells, “I used my Instagram handle Wyshkaa to start selling pieces and it did manage to catch the attention of potential customers and bloggers. It all starts with people enquiring about the prices of garments and then translates to us creating customized pieces for them. It all depends on the way your page is marketed.” Chauhan reiterates, “One (brand) can reach to a large number of people while operating from a smaller space, which has benefitted a lot of sellers. The brands which didn’t even have much of a local reach can now have a national reach.”

All you have to do is glance at your explore pages on the gram to know how serious is the selling game on social media.  “Always make sure to check the about you option on the sellers’ page, this way you get to see if people have brought things from the person and have tagged them on the picture,” Ramji informs.

Phew, go on and slay at the online game now!

Text: Ravina Sachdev

[“Source-femina”]

Gourmet Secrets: United Curry of Goa

Goa,coastal state,prawn curry

Goa has a coastline of 101 km and seafood is second nature to Goans, as is rice, their staple crop. The soil is rich in minerals and humus, thus conducive to plantations, especially of spices, fruit and nuts. Making efficient use of the water sources, the terraced orchards support coconut palms and fruit such as jackfruit, pineapple and mango. The heat and high humidity though, restrict the crops to tropical fruits and vegetables like giant okra, aubergine, plump pumpkins and bottle and ridge gourds. Intrinsic ingredients in Goan food are red, unpolished rice to mop up curries; palm jaggery for sweetmeats and desserts; and local breads known as pao, baked fresh twice a day – in particular the healthy, whole wheatpoiee.

The fruit of the sea

Seafood is a staple for most Goans. Fish and prawns are even sun-dried earlier in the year to make sure that the Goan lust for seafood is satisfied during the monsoon, when the glamorous big catches are not available. Goans eat any kind of fish, from the fancy lobster, jumbo prawn and pomfret, to the modest clam, mackerel, small mud crab, and mussel. Fish is frequently coated in a red masala and fried in a dusting of fine semolina; stuffed with a red spice paste known as reichado, or dunked into velvety smooth coconut curries. The monsoon brings in a whole new selection of fish caught in river estuaries as they swim up-stream or raised in salt pans, which the locals swear are more flavourful than sea fish.

Goan food is divided into dishes cooked by Catholics and those cooked by Hindus. The Goan Catholic repertoire has a fiery red local soul and a Portuguese spirit. The Goan Hindu kitchen uses the same indigenous ingredients, but they throw in tamarind as a souring agent instead of the pungent toddy vinegar and kokum. And the Goan Hindu kitchen, which has a vast repertoire of dishes, is confined to small eateries and homes within Goa, whereas Catholic dishes are notoriously famous both in Goa and abroad.

What unites everyone in Goa is the prawn curry or as they say in Konkani, ‘sungta chi kodi’. My grandmother was Goan and a marvellous instinctive cook. She used to say that the prawns fished from rivers and the backwaters of Goa were sweeter than those from the sea and so she used only that variety in her famous prawn curry and balchao. She also insisted on cooking in a terracotta pot and using well water to grind the coconut for the silky smooth velvety coconut milk which went into the curry.

A taste of home

I recently had a divine prawn curry at the Novotel Dona Sylvia in south Goa. It rivalled my grandmother’s and felt like “home”. The only difference was that the masala paste was ground with coconut so it was slightly coarse whereas my grandmother would stir slightly thick coconut milk into the cooked masala paste, which made hers completely smooth. Some people use kokum to add a sour note. Others use tamarind. The thick, bright red curry paste is always made with mild red Kashmiri chillis (which don’t come from Kashmir at all but Guntur in Andhra Pradesh). I suppose the word Kashmiri was coined to denote the spice level. Goans used a large dried red chilli in the paste, which is not commonly found nowadays. Plenty of garlic, a bit of ginger, turmeric, some good local black pepper, cumin and sometimes dried coriander are all that you need for a perfect Goan prawn curry masala. And of course you must remember to add the prawns at the very end so that they don’t overcook and turn to leather.

Novotel is lucky enough to have chef Carmelino Luis and he cooks homestyle Goan food like a pro. His rissois, bite sized little moon-shaped appetisers, have a soft, flaky pastry and unctuous creamy prawn filling. His kismur, a staple of the Hindu Goan menu is made with a dry prawn commonly found in Goa known as sookhem, or a smaller one with a more delicate flavour known as galmo. An exquisite version is made where the dish is smoked after tossing.

Every family in Goa has its own recipe for this famous dish of Goa. Little differences in the recipe distinguish whether the cook is from the north or south of Goa, whether he/she is Hindu or Goan, Brahmin or not. All this can be revealed through one simple curry! Here goes.

Prawn Hooman (Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort)

Ingredients

12 nos medium prawns
80 g coconut
6 g garlic
6 g coriander seeds
5 g cumin seeds
5 g turmeric powder
60 g tamarind pulp
8 nos dry red chillies (Kashmiri)
80 ml fresh coconut milk
20 g white radish, juliennes
40 ml oil
20 g onion chopped
15 g tomato chopped
6 green chillies, slit
Salt to taste
2 – 3 tbsp water
Fresh coriander to garnish

Method

In a blender, make a fine paste of garlic, whole red chillies, grated coconut, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, tamarind pulp and turmeric powder and keep aside. In a pan, heat oil, sauté chopped onion till translucent. Add tomatoes and green chillies and sauté for another few minutes. Add the masala paste and radish, salt and cook till the paste releases some oil. Now add two to three tablespoon water and cook the masala for a further two to three minutes. Add the prawns and cook till just done. Thicken with the freshly-squeezed coconut milk. Check seasoning. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with Goan rice

[“source=hindustantimes”]