Chew on this
Every serving of Piehole is jam-packed with genuine interest and wide-eyed curiosity. Topped with our two-cents' worth.
So open up and say, Aha! That's the Piehole Way.



JamSandwich

Archive for May, 2012

Flash Back?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

During the recent economic downturn, flash sales emerged as the latest retail rage for fashion-driven and deal seeking online shoppers. The business model was brilliant:’ Retailers could unload discounted merchandise under the premise of designer exclusivity. Hoping to trigger an impulse purchase, the flash sales model hinged on making those exclusive items only available for a limited period of time. Spending on flash sales rose 21% last year, according to American Express Business Insights, which tracks the spending habits of its 90 million cardholders. Many consumers succumb to the impulse buy as they race the clock, but after a few times, shoppers realize that they could buy the same item for less and at their leisure on other websites like Amazon that are building their luxury goods offering.

Gilt Groupe and Rue La La, two prominent flash sale websites, act as a safety net for designers who can count on selling their stock for flash sale purposes. But this is changing. According to Jill Puleri, U.S. consumer spending is on the rise and luxury brands are doing very well, which minimizes the need for designers to participate in flash sales.

With the improving economy, more retailers are vying for the affection of fashionistas who are interested in the same merchandise. With stiff competition including other flash sale sites, prominent sale events at department stores, outlet stores such as J.Crew or Banana Republic and off-price retailers like TJ Maxx, flash sale retailers are struggling to stand apart from the crowd. As more players enter the daily deal and flash sale space, consumers today are often overwhelmed with offers, creating a sense of email fatigue.

According to CNN and the latest data from comScore, traffic to Gilt.com has fallen 9% since the start of 2012, even though the site has shown growth in the past few years. CNBC reports that Rue La La’s percentage of unique visitors has decreased 29% in the last year. In 2011 alone, 100 smaller daily deal sites shut down, excluding those that were acquired by the larger websites. Could this be the downward spiral for the flash sale hype?

Realizing that consumers are inundated with similar deals, flash sale retailers are beginning to target niches. For example, Gilt Groupe, which has managed to navigate consumer fatigue by emerging as the front-runner in the flash sale space, has expanded its portfolio to include Gilt Men, Gilt Children, Gilt Home, Gilt City, Gilt Taste and Jetsetter. CEO of Gilt Groupe, Susan Lyne, reports that their menswear revenue has tripled since their expansion.

Despite the challenges and redevelopment that lie in the future, it is clear that flash sales are continuing to expand their reach. The next stages of development will test these websites’ ability to float in our fast paced and ever changing society.

Visionary.

Friday, May 25th, 2012
An American Modernist painter like Georgia O’Keeffe excelled at capturing emotion and power’in nature. Her floral paintings and studies of still life in particular envelope the viewer in rich colors, textures’and ethereal backdrops. ‘Sit back for a moment and enjoy the beauty of the world around us.

Shot on an iPhone by Ashley Youkilis. http://ashleyyoukilis.com/

Is Your Smartphone Sucking the Smart Out of You?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

How many times a day do you use your smartphone to check emails, Google an answer, settle a discussion or bide your time while waiting in a long line with Facebook or Twitter? While that answer is innumerable, the better question is: What did we do before smartphones?

There are thousands of apps made to enhance daily life, allowing users to navigate the world at their fingertips. For example, ‘Around Me’ uses your location to list every amenity imaginable within close proximity; ”Shazam’ listens to 30 seconds of a song, returning a title and artist, and ‘iHandy Level’ even turns your phone into a level, ensuring the shelf that you’re hanging is straight. Sure, these apps are pretty nifty, but they come at a high price ‘ and we aren’t talking dollars.

Since obtaining information has become instantaneous and constant, smartphone users are becoming more impatient as they become increasingly dependent on their devices. Lisa Merlo, a clinical psychologist and director of psychotherapy training at the University of Florida, makes the case in USA Today that we are becoming obsessed with our smartphones at the expense of social and emotional intelligence. According to Merlo, these gadgets are causing decreased attention spans, detaching us from the real world and stifling our ability to communicate in person.

As scary as it may be, the best solution to our attachment is separation. ‘We need to leave our smartphones at home and use the instincts we had before our devices took the reins. It would be interesting to see how much resourcefulness is retained without omniscience in our purses or pockets.

Try scheduling 15 minutes a day that are smartphone free. If you find you can handle it, increase the time each week. Eventually you might even be able to enjoy an entire meal without a distraction or go for a run without an app that tracks your pace!

Life. Size.

Friday, May 18th, 2012
Photography can be deceiving. ‘The art of the visual image can communicate what’s there and with continued techno-imaging
advances, moreso, can illustrate what’s not there. ‘Conversely if you didn’t happen upon this artfully crafted piano, you’d have to look twice
to know it’s not a life-size instrument, but rather, a tiny, tiny piano installed on Cincinnati’s riverfront.
Shot on an iPhone in daylight, no manipulation.

Veggie Tales.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Ask any gardener and they will tell you: Taking care of a vegetable garden requires patience, persistence and observation. Even more important, however, can be things out of a gardeners control like the soil and climate, which are not always available to every person who wants to harvest fresh produce from their backyard.

According to the’Organic Trade Association, organic food sales have skyrocketed in the last ten years, growing from $1 billion to over $26 billion as the U.S. population latches on to trending healthy lifestyle choices. Luckily, fresh produce abounds at local farms that are more than willing to support the growing industry.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a concept that allows farmers to sell shares of their harvest to a group of individuals that pledges to support their farm. It has become a popular way for consumers to purchase seasonal food from the local farm of their choice. Sounds great, right? Of course there are risks that accompany these rewards’but is it worth it?

Each year, a farmer reserves a certain number of harvest shares for CSA members. Consumers then purchase a share and receive a shipment of fresh produce each week throughout the season. Many CSAs allow consumers to ‘mix and match’ produce. That way, families can opt to have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables each week instead of receiving the same produce for the entirety of the season.

CSAs are not limited to selling produce. Some farmers allow shareholders to purchase eggs, bread, meat, cheese, flowers or other products that can be found on their farms. Becoming a member of a CSA benefits both parties involved.

Farmer advantages:

  • Marketing their harvest to the public early in the year
  • Receiving payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
  • Getting to know the people who eat the food that they cultivate

Consumer advantages:

  • Receiving fresh food each week
  • Exposing new produce to their families
  • Forming a relationship with a local farmer who grows their food

There are many CSAs in both Ohio and Kentucky. Greensleeves is a farm in Alexandria, KY that offers spring greens, asparagus, tomatoes, beans, fruits, potatoes and winter squash throughout the season. If you haven’t already, get on board with the trend and look up a CSA near you!