Thursday, November 4, 2010

Business: From Where Does Inspiration Come? How to stay in the loop and out ahead of the trends

STEP 1      Digging a foundation of information

I'm a big believer that a good start towards establishng a basic foundation for the goings on in industry, business, trends, is to first read the broad-scope 'mainstream' press and blogs. That initial step digs a foundation, however the first bricks need to be laid, or all we have is a hole.

STEP 2     Gathering the bricks to build the foundation
Jim Cramer and John Stewart

First and foremost, I get my information from a range of sources from a variety of different view points/biases (right, left, laissez-faire, socialist).

I find my  "building bricks" when I read smaller,topically varied blogs, magazine articles, and books where I am able to glean bits of information that will fit together to form a well diversified collection of bricks (to continue this rather inane anaology) to build solid foundation. 

In addition I love listening to podcasts, business audio-books (I download mine for free from my local public library, and they are iPod compatible, but you can also buy them from Amazon, iTunes, and, talk radio (local, syndicated, Bloomberg, NPR, PRI) , and business channel (CNBC, Bloomberg) news while I am drawing, gardening, or doing dishes. (Am I painting the picture of the true party animal that I am or what?!) 

STEP 3    Where does Inspiration Come From?
So, yeah, I take in a whole bunch of info,all the time. And I'm sure I miss a whole bunch of great stuff that could most likely if I knew how to assimilate it, make me a richer, taller, more patient, better cook, and better investor. But I don't, nor can I digest all of the info I read and listen to, because it's just not efficient. 

Rather I focus on the bits that capture my fancy. The areas of interest that spark an idea. People always ask "Where does Inspiration Come From"? Well my answer is everywhere, all the time, when your eyes, ears, and mind are open.

So what the heck does that mean? 

Nels Fry
Well, it explains why I enjoy reading seemingly random blogs like Stylites. Written by Nels Fry an Ex-Pat Living and working in Beijing with an affinity for lifestyle, fashion, and changes he see occurring in China. 

To be frank, I was first attracted to Stylites by the great fashion pictures from China (that goes back to the whole "easily distracted by shiny objects" problem I have) but as i began to read his brief but very insightful posts, and when I delved deeper, I became even more interested in his other writings (see the hyperlinks at the bottom of his bio page),. Then I read his impressive resume, and I was a true follower of the Stylites blog. 

But, it is only through happenstance that I come across blogs like this.

However it is the content of these "seemingly random" blogs which provides the missing link toward a new idea for a business strategy, merchandising strategy, global expansion plans. 

I guess the upshot of my researching process is:

  1. Education is a continuous process
  2. By expanding your scope, and taking the hyperlink less traveled you will find exciting  new, more unique, and usually better information can be discovered.
  3. Don't be afraid to follow tangents. I love to check out the blogrolls on blogs I enjoy to read additional information, and that links me to new blogrolls, and so on.- It's viral learning.
This is how ideas are born. 

Where inspiration is found.


and now.... for your "feature presentation".... a the brief blog post that sparked the aforementioned diatribe.


Stylites From Sports to Sartorial

I dislike calling Zara [parent company Inditex Group MCE:ITX]  “sartorial” but its new popularity does represent a sea change in the fashion consumption habits of Chinese. 
 Five years ago foreign brands fell into two groups: luxury and athletic oriented.  Nike, Adidas, and Reebok were on middle market shopping promenades in cities from Beijing to Chengdu.  The above picture of the new Zara next to on major shopping street Wangfujing may not seem meaningful, but it represents the rapid expansion of fast-fashion that has been achieved in the last year.
Many consultants are analyzing this change from a business perspective, but from the view of style, this is even more of a revolution...>> Continue Reading

The Pros and Cons of Fast Fashion
"....Despite all of the hate dumped on fast-fashion for wastefulness, low-quality, and copying of major brands, one thing it does offer is a chance for customers to both dress better and escape label-obsession." >> Continue Reading
This is an ironic statement to me;it always seemed to designers that it was the low cost fast production which Chinese factories provided which facilitated the emergence of the "fast fashion", and wasteful (in this season out the next) fashion lifestyle. Now, a Chinese fashionista is expressing the same concerns pf "western" fashionistas 15 years ago. It truly is a cycle, and one that has moved on to the "emerging' economies including China, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Skateboarding Hip Hop Brands Emerging In China?

"....No doubt Nike will continue to refine its strategy and succeed here.  They will continue in collaborations with designers (aspirational value added) or introduce a [AdidasY-3 type line."  
Source Wikipedia: During the mid to late 1990s, Adidas divided the brand into three main groups with each a separate focus: 
  1. Adidas Performance was designed to maintain their devotion to the athlete;
  2. Adidas Originals was designed to focus on fashion and life-style; and Style
  3. Essentials, with the main group within this one being Y-3.

It will be interesting to see how brands like Robe di Kappa [uk store] do here.  Association with hip-hop and skateboarding is still a winner, too. In any case, the children are still in their sweat-suit like uniforms, which really only go with trainers...." >>Continue Reading
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