Monday, 23 February 2015

West Coast U.S. Port Delays Partially Solved

West Port Delay Problem Partially Solved Following Union Contract Negotiations

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, after nine months of negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association, created a 5-year contract pending approval of its members. This means that the ports may begin fully-operating again. However, simply hiring more workers may not be enough to solve the container congestion problem at the port. Typically, it can take over one month for apparel and textile companies to get merchandise out of the ports. However; port officials are saying it will be at least two months before operations return to normal following the labor disputes. The executive director of the Los Angeles port, Gene Seroka, believes three months to be a more realistic figure for their port. A total of 29 ports have been affected by contract negotiations. Additionally, a vast number of businesses have been affected by the unexpected long delay in logistics. The total cost associated with the delay is unknown, though lost sales for food-related items are estimated to have totaled over $1.6 billion for the month of December 2014 alone.

Ironically, this labor dispute comes right before the Panama Canal is scheduled to be widened to allow boats three times the current size allowed to pass through its space, potentially affecting shipping patterns and impacting West Coast ports negatively. Widening the Panama canal would also cut transit time and approximately double the number of ships able to pass through each day.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Millennial Shopping Habits (Part 2 of Millennial Population and Fashion)

In a previous post, the general habits of the millennial population were discussed. For the second part of "Millennial Population and Fashion",  their shopping habits will be explored more deeply specifically as it pertains to how their habits affect fashion-related businesses. This includes what millennials expect in terms of shopping experience, product, time, and value.

Millennials may be less likely to buy a home or a car than previous generations, but are more likely to buy clothing or electronics. In fact, men's clothing sales for millennials are nearly double that of older men. Millennial women also purchase more clothing than older generations, typically shopping twice a week.

The millennial population is heavily influenced by electronics and social media when compared with previous generations. For instance, they are significantly more likely to be "omni-channel shoppers", meaning they are more likely to use kiosks within a store; comparison shop from smart phones while in the store; as well as rely on advice of their peers, family, and user reviews of products before making a purchase. This may be related to millennials' frugal desires in that they want to be sure the product they are buying is quality. Millennials are also more likely to buy clothing if there are coupons, sales, or other discounts for the product they hope to buy. Additionally, they prefer to shop online more than other generations, and may choose to buy a particular item due to pictures they have seen on sites such as pinterest. Millennials also expect online inventory and in-store inventory to match, providing a more seamless shopping experience.

Store ambiance is also very important to millennials when compared with older generations. They expect quality customer service, to be able to easily find what they are looking for (or have it easily ordered for them), and to enjoy themselves while they shop. Millennials prefer a more boutique-style shopping experience when compared to department stores and are willing to pay slightly more for it.

When it comes to fashion styles, one study shows that younger (20-24) millennial women prefer to set trends and be seen as fashionable while the older generation (25-37) find it more appealing to retain more individuality in their attire. Teen millennials also value individuality, but spend less of their discretionary income than previous generations of teens on clothing. Fast fashion is important, but so is quality. The importance of individuality, fashion, and sustainability to this generation as resulted in a revived interest in thrift store shopping. Millennials as a whole are less interested in brand identity than previous generations, but can be brand loyal if they find one they like, particularly if that brand has a good loyalty program.

Want to learn more about the millennial generation? Check out, a news website marketed to millennials.

Here are some other links related to millennials and fashion:
A link to my favorite infographic on this subject in's magazine.
You may also want to check out these 20 statistics that were collected on millennial shopping habits.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Millennial Population Controversy (Part 1 of Millennial Population and Fashion)

Perhaps no other generation in the United States is as misunderstood as its "Millennial" population (born between 1980-2000). This is the population that was most affected by the depression that hit in 2007 and was the first generation to grow up with technology such as home computers and laptops, mobile phones, and high-speed internet. They are also more diverse than previous generations, with almost one-half identifying as non-white Hispanic; one-fourth speaking a language other than English at home; and more than one out of seven being foreign-born. Millennials also recognize and believe in the importance of online relationships, also referred to as "elationships" more than previous generations.

Millennials are sometimes seen as self-centered, disloyal to companies, underemployed, and immature. Some companies even prefer not to hire them while others may only hire only millennials when attempting to reach this generation. Finger pointing does go both ways, with millennials blaming the baby boomer generation. Others simply blame the current time in history and the rise of increased technology. Ironically, according to one study, it seems that the overwhelming majority of the baby boomer generation does believe millennials have new skills and ideas to offer the workplace.

When it comes to finances, millennials have more college debt than any generation before them, but they are also the most highly educated. After graduating from college, many end up underemployed or unemployed with a lot of financial debt. This leads millennials to seek creative ways to save money, make money, and invest money for their future. A high amount of millennials moved back home with their parents after college or had roommates in an effort to save on rent. Many millennials are putting off buying a home and getting married due to financial and economic concerns. They are careful with how they budget expenses, care about being involved in their community, believe it is important to invest for retirement and more than half dream of becoming entrepreneurs.  They are also more likely to buy healthy, cheaper foods than more expensive, processed alternatives and do not trust credit cards. Millennials that seek to invest or are looking for someone to invest in their idea may seek non-traditional routes of funding and advice such as social media.

While writing this article, I came across what I believe to be an insulting view on stereotypical psychographics of various generations published by Target. You may view it here. I highly recommend contacting Target to let them know how you feel about their "marketing guide". While you are at it, I strongly encourage you to review this article written (in 2013) about their "inclusion and diversity" pamphlets that come across as exclusive and racist- the very things the documents are supposed to help their business avoid.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

International Business: African Economies and Fashion

The overall African economy has been growing at an average rate of 5% a year for the past 10 years. That does not mean, however, that all economies are created equal. Guinea, for example, is regarded as the worst country for business in the world due to its political corruption, ebola outbreak, and trade deficit. On the other hand, Botswana is considered the best country for a good return on investment when risk factors are considered. Many countries in Africa including Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Ethopia, and Nigeria are considered by the IMF to be some of the world's fastest growing economies. Currently, Algeria is trying to improve relations with the United Kingdom and other European countries to increase its international business and improve international relations. As part of a concerted effort in Africa to improve telecommunications, there are plans to continue building underwater and terrestrial fiber-optic cables along the coast of Africa, thus making international business communications easier.

When it comes to the textile and apparel industries, noteworthy countries include Kenya, Ethiopa, and Tanzania. Kenya is known for having relatively inexpensive labor while still having a quality product while Ethiopa is somewhat cheaper due to cheaper electric costs but does not have the same quality or consistency that Kenya offers. Tanzania is just beginning to gain a foothold in the African textile and apparel sectors, but has the backing of the government to continue improvements in the industry. South Africa's textile and apparel market is somewhat more established than other countries, but that is to be expected due to its stronger economy and economic development. Part of the interest in the African textile and apparel market is due to rising labor prices in countries such as China and India as well as health concerns and workers' rights issues in countries such as Bangladesh.One looming concern as to the future of textile and apparel markets in Africa is the renewal of AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) with the U.S. Unless renewed, it will expire in September 2015. AGOA has allowed for duty-free trade in African countries with fair trade, workers' rights, and honest business practices. Each country is reviewed on its own to determine whether or not it meets U.S. standards.

For those interested in textile and apparel business relations in Africa, it may be wise to attend one of Africa's largest industry trade shows: Source Africa 2015. Source Africa will be held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Monday, 29 December 2014

People In Fashion: Julie Sygiel

Julie Sygiel may not be a household name- yet- but she is certainly on her way to making her designs a common household item. Who is she? Or more importantly, what does she design?

Julie Sygiel is the founder and CEO of "Dear Kate", a company that designs, manufactures, and produces underwear that can hold varying amounts of liquid (depending on type of underwear) without leaking through. Although they are designed for menstruating women, they may also be useful for those with bladder incontinence problems. Julie Sygiel used her background as a chemical engineering major to design and develop underwear that will wick away moisture from the layer next to the skin, but at the same time prevent moisture from leaking through the outer layer- while keeping the skin dry. The fabric lining in the underwear is currently patent pending. Products include everything from thong underwear through yoga pants that allow one to "go commando" even while on her period. Dear Kate and its products have been featured in many popular magazines and news sites.

Want to know more? Please check out the video below (by fusion), and check out Dear Kate's website for more information.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Professionalism: What Are Infographic Resumes?

     Infographic Resumes are resumes that use informational graphs (infographs) to explain work history, education, skills, areas of interest, references, and other relevant information. Rather than explain everything through text, a balance of texts, graphs, and pictures are used. This style of resume is particularly useful for those in artistic or design fields as it can allow one to show off graphic design skills. (For examples of infographic resumes, I recommend using Pinterest.)

      Recruiters typically spend only a few seconds looking at each resume. An infographic resume can not only help set your resume apart from standard text resumes, but also make the information in the resume easier to skim through. There is no visual standard or preferred format for infographic resume; they are catered to the individual person and sometimes even position being applied for. While some may use the infographic resume as their standard resume, other job applicants may simply add it to their portfolio or use a "blended" resume style that incorporates one or two graphs into a traditional text resume.

No matter how you choose to create your infographic resume, it still needs to be well-organized; create interest in the applicant (i.e. you); and have nearly all the same information that a traditional resume would have in terms of experience, education, and skills. Additionally, using graphs may allow for more space to add in additional strengths, reference quotes, and other things that may not typically fit on a one-page text resume format.

For those that may not be comfortable designing their own infographic resume or may not have access to programs such as adobe illustrator, there are many online tools and tutorials available. There are tutorials showing how to create timelines using a spreadsheet (such as Google Spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel). If you have AI (Adobe Illustrator), this links to a great tutorial I found on youtube for making timelines using AI. If that's too technical for you, is a website completely devoted to helping you create graphs for your own infographic resume. For those that aren't interested in creating their own or simply don't have time, there is an almost endless number of graphic design professionals available. (Simply search for an infographic resume designer on a search engine such as Google, and there should be plenty to choose from or check out options on fiverr.) In any case, please consider using the latest trend in resumes-infographic resumes. One of my favorite infographics (by Tina Chen) can be found here.

Here is a video that discusses the positive and negatives sides to using an infographic resume, and some general guidelines to consider when creating one:

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ms. Hugueley is back!

Life happens to all of us. Over the past three years, I have spent much of my time adapting to changes in my personal life. This includes meeting and falling in love with my husband; adjusting to my parent's divorce and re-marriages; and dealing with the deaths of loved ones. Life will always be filled with ups and downs. What makes the difference is how you choose to deal with it. Will you try to stay positive and march forward towards your goals and dreams or will you choose to become negative and live in fear? Or will you simply choose a middle road or a different path altogether?

What has always helped me when going through periods of hurt and suffering is remembering to never give up. I visualize myself standing up, brushing off the dirt, and continuing on towards my "finish line" (whatever that may be). I visualize my struggles as weights I must carry. As I stand up from a crawling position, the weights get lighter and my body is able to make it. Why? Because of determination and persistence to accomplish a goal no matter how long it takes. Never give up.

One of the many changes spawned by the recent events in my life is the realization that I have three major career interests: fashion, writing, and health & medicine. Therefore, I have decided to begin writing for this blog again. I will be reviewing each and every comment left. If any are hateful or offensive, they will be removed.

I am all for posting opinions, but here are the general blog rules:
1) Show love and respect for all others posting on here, including me (the blog owner). In other words, treat others how you would want someone you love to be treated (whether that someone is yourself, your child, your parent, or your significant other).
2) Comments that appear to attack another individual or another culture rather than contribute to a conversation will be removed. However, it is okay to explain why you disagree with another person.
3) Spam will also be removed.
4)Comments should relate to the subject of the post. If you have other questions, I will be developing a page on which you may leave a comment and I will do my best to answer your question in a timely manner.

While this may appear subjective, I will do my best to treat every comment with respect and fairness. If you are upset that your comment has been removed, please let me know why and I will consider what you have said.

Ms. Hugueley.