Thursday's Big Briefing:

"Shoptimism": Why you're buying luxurious things you definitely don’t need during the middle of a financial crisis.

Is it boredom, compulsion, or optimism? | Getty
The Short Shrift.
Reading between the lines: We’ve all been there at this point. Stuck at home, scrolling the gram, visiting your favorite brand of choice to see what’s new, and then poof, you’re out a few hundred bucks on something you didn’t need. Welcome to the world of “shoptimism”, a term that came to life during the last recession.

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Insights Corner
Thursday: Taking Stock
Lucid observations
Grab Bag: Clare de Boer and spatchcocked chicken.
Jordans sell for $560K at Sotheby’s. The first pandemic blogger. Is Ronan Farrow too good to be true? Amaro is the any-occasion drink. How we became infected by chain email. The problem with bacon. Chuck E Cheese played it brilliantly here. What it's currently like when you fly into Hong Kong. Overestimating the value of content. A terrific profile on Steve Kerr. Sweden’s sensible approach. The small farmer boom will go bust. Never go back to the office. Joe Rogan signs with Spotify. Premium cabin porn. New Disclosure drops tomorrow. The wealthy are booking year end vacations. Clare de Boer’s tips for perfect grilled chicken.

The online fragrance quandary.
The fragrance folks are stressed. Sales are lagging and folks aren't going into stores, so they're at a loss. It's mostly because they're stuck in the old way of thinking about the fragrance buying process, relying on old tropes and only purchasing in-store. The NYT has an illuminating piece about this. The problem: "You can get verbal and visual information about scent on your computer. But you can’t smell it. And with the coronavirus pandemic forcing most shopping online, this is a problem for the perfume industry." Unless, of course, you're thinking differently. Like Emily Weiss. Who found a thoughtful way to solve for this. "Emily Weiss, the founder of Glossier and its chief executive, said investors she met with early on were unsure if people would buy any product from a direct-to-consumer beauty brand online. She proved them wrong, and four years later, challenged retail norms again by introducing a scent, You, that was sold only on Glossier’s website. It was previewed with samples in orders and scratch-and-sniff stickers, a cheekier version of the old scent strips in printed magazines."

Neiman, opulence, and the decline of 'playful' luxury.
Among anyone, GQ’s Rachel Tashjian has been doing some of the more spectacular work chronicling the shift in the new luxury mindset. Her latest, on the Neiman Marcus bankruptcy, is arguably her best yet. Part modern luxury critique, part history lesson, part ode to Neiman itself, it’s a lucid narrative that explains the decline of something opulent and distinctive. Too many stellar quotes to list here, but this one is a standout: "the concept of a distinctly American luxury seems to have faded. Or perhaps it’s just shifted to something less about glamour and more about speed. People are still buying kooky, expensive clothes, after all—but they’re finding them online, on sites like Ssense and Moda Operandi. While in-store purchases still make up the majority of luxury shopping around the world, visiting the Hudson Yards store felt like stepping back into a time portal to Beverly Hills in the ’90s, when things like beige and hummus seemed exotic. And each time I went, it was nearly empty."

Derris says don’t launch.
Sensible advice, sure. But also, let's not forget now might be the best time to strike too––given, of course you're launching something that will actually serve a need. Here's Jesse lending his advice in an interview with the folks at Modern Retail: "Launches are tricky at the moment. I think as we come through the next month or so, and we see how cities, how urban spaces are starting to open, this might change, so it’s running pretty dynamically. I think we will be back to some version of normal, as it relates to being able to launch companies, in the next 4-6 weeks. But, again, I think a lot of companies need to thoughtfully consider whether May would be the right month. I do think as people start to go back to work, or see friends again, other things like that, normality will return."

👋Paul Munford, CEO / Editor
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The Ticker
Fresh, hot links
Lighter fare
Installing an AC unit is anything but fun
July, a new brand, wants to make it super simple. Fast Company

Kyle Chayka reviews Drifts, a study in staying home too much
“It brilliantly evokes a hazy state of self-isolation.” New Republic

Etsy’s becoming a serious baked goods spot
Folks are flocking there for scones, biscuits, breads, muffins, doughnuts. WSJ
Our love affair with last decade’s cultural nostalgia
Stuck in 2020, pretending it’s 2014. Vox

Revolting against the fashion cycle
Designers discover it makes sense to create a coat in winter. NYT

How forums built the foundation for streetwear
Great to revisit this. Hypebeast
** News or tips for The Ticker?  
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