💅 Claire’s comeback - The Hustle
The Hustle

💅 Claire’s comeback

Plus: Amazon vs. Facebook, Duolingo’s newest language, a friendly octopus, and more.

The Pokemon Company is looking for an archivist to build an internal archive and museum. The gig pays $77k-$118k, but more importantly, you’ll get to put “Pokemon historian” on your LinkedIn profile.

In today’s email:

  • Claire’s: The mall staple is thriving.
  • Chart: Is Disneyland too damn expensive?
  • Phony reviews: Amazon vs. Facebook groups.
  • Around the web: How to talk to dragons, plant care, a friendly sea creature, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear Zack and Rob relive their tween years while discussing Claire’s comeback, the latest on Elon Musk vs. Twitter, Netflix’s earnings, and more.

The big idea

Claire’s is back, and Gen Z is loving it

As a millennial mall rat, Claire’s is a brand I feel a weird fondness for even if I never shopped there personally.

I’d pass by on my way between PacSun and Abercrombie & Fitch, and peek inside to spot a customer taking advantage of its free ear piercing.

The mall staple fell on hard times in 2018, declaring bankruptcy and closing 189 stores. But since then, it’s experienced a massive resurgence thanks in part to Gen Z, per Fast Company.

If the mall is dying…

… how exactly is Claire’s thriving? Simply put, it comes down to a combo punch of strategic plays, including:

  • Locations: In 2019, 80% of Claire’s stores were in malls — since then, the company has doubled its non-mall locations and exited underperforming malls.
  • Partnerships: Since 2015, the brand has launched 13k+ partner locations, including at CVS, Albertsons, and soon, Walmart stores.
  • Products: The store has evolved its inventory to match the times, offering iPhone covers and Pride accessories alongside staples like jewelry and makeup.

Further, with rising interest in ‘90s fashion and Y2K nostalgia, Gen Z has naturally gravitated toward the brand’s aesthetic.

What’s next?

While the mall experience is increasingly moving online, Claire’s is doubling down on brick-and-mortar.

  • CEO Ryan Vero touts the store’s “treasure hunt experience,” saying, “The digital experience is really just a showcase for the brand.”

The retailer also filed for an IPO last October that could help it raise up to $100m.

If this run of success continues, Claire’s wouldn’t just be giving millennials like me flashbacks to our tween years — they’ll be able to do the same for generations to come.

SNIPPETS

Not so bad: Netflix reported it lost 970k subscribers in Q2, less than half of the 2m it expected. Despite the good news, the company still lost nearly 5x as many subscribers as Q1. On the upside, the streamer expects to add 1m subscribers in Q3.

Cruisin’: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian all saw their stocks jump Tuesday after the CDC dropped its covid protocols for cruise ships requiring passengers to be tested.

Commerce collab: Shopify announced YouTube Shopping, a new integration that will let merchants pin products to their videos and enable live-shopping experiences.

It’s official: Twitter’s lawsuit against Elon Musk will go to court in October. Twitter pushed for September, but Musk wanted February 2023 to give his lawyers enough time to access and review spam account data.

Glass is back: Well, sort of. In a blog post, Google said it’ll test its latest AR glasses in public. Features include real-time translation and navigation.

Meta vs. Meta: META, an art installation company, is suing Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, saying it can no longer use its own name, as “Meta” is now “associated with the toxicity that is inextricably linked with Facebook.”

What flight delays? Over 80% of US adults plan to travel this summer, and many of them crave convenience. Read the “rent everything” economy report by Trends for opportunities inspired by destination rental companies like unPack and BabyQuip.

Chart

Is Disneyland too damn expensive?

Earlier this summer, Steven Martinez made a promise to his two young kids: He’d finally take them to Disneyland, the “happiest place on Earth.”

But Martinez, a customer service specialist in Los Angeles, didn’t feel the magic when he saw the price tag.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, family outings were within the realm of affordability for most median income earners. But despite rising wages, many of those same activities are now out of reach.

We analyzed the cost of three activities in 1960 vs. 2022:

  • A baseball game
  • A movie at a theater
  • A one-day Disneyland visit

We found these outings have increased in cost at 2-3x the rate of inflation — and that, in order to afford them, American families have to work up to 2x as many hours as they did 60 years ago.

Read the full story →
Free Resource

The best free email marketing software?

The thing about email is the highly touted 42x return on investment.

Ya can’t sleep on that. And you’ve got options: A ton of intuitive platforms will get the job done, but which best fits your trajectory?

This 6-min. video helps you figure it out. HubSpot creator Jamal Meneide delivers key-feature summaries on some of the most powerful free options available in 2022.

Watch for the pros and cons:

  • Mailchimp
  • HubSpot
  • Moosend
  • Constant Contact
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Drip

Whether high-tech or old-school, Instagrammer or ecommerce, we hope there’s something for you here.

Top email marketing options →
Faux-Star Reviews

When your “highly rated” item arrives. (iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Amazon vs. Facebook review groups

Are you tired of obviously fake Amazon reviews touting the incredible, life-changing qualities of an ice cube tray? Well, Amazon is, too.

Amazon is suing the admins of 10k+ Facebook groups, accusing them of soliciting bogus product reviews across Amazon’s sites in the US, Europe, and Japan.

How it works

Bogus reviews often originate on social media, where sellers recruit people to write five-star reviews in exchange for money or free products.

Back in 2019, The Hustle’s own Zachary Crockett spent two weeks posing as a fake reviewer in four such Facebook groups.

  • Numerous sellers offered him free items or commissions in exchange for glowing reviews. Some even said they’d write reviews for him to post from his account.

What’s Amazon’s plan?

Amazon has tried to curb fake reviews before — in 2015, it sued 1k+ Fiverr users who allegedly posted fake review services on the popular freelancing platform.

  • It also employs 12k+ people to detect fraud and abuse, and has reported 10k+ Facebook groups to Meta since 2020.

This time around, Amazon said it will use the info its lawsuits surface to identify bad actors and delete any fake reviews its systems haven’t yet detected.

But for the many sellers…

… who think gaming the system is the only way to compete, it may not be enough of a deterrent. And Amazon isn’t the only retailer that has to deal with it.

In 2019, the FTC settled with skin care brand Sunday Riley, whose employees were told to post fake reviews for its pricey products on Sephora’s website.

BTW: If you’re shopping for an item with a suspicious amount of five-star reviews, Fakespot is a browser extension that uses AI to root out fakes.

AROUND THE WEB

🌕 On this day: In 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon.

🐲 That’s cool: “Aōhyz zaldrīzesse gevī sōvetis.” That means, “Your dragons flew beautifully” in High Valyrian, which you can learn on Duolingo thanks to a partnership with HBO Max to promote the upcoming “Game of Thrones” spinoff, “House of the Dragon.”

🪴 How to: Are your plants wilting in the heat? Here’s a guide to caring for houseplants in the summer.

🎧 Podcast: Content is Profit dives into the sensational field of ghost writing with Julie Eason. If the thought of crafting a book is overwhelming, listen to this episode: “Find, Extract, and Implement Your Genius Into an Authority-Building Book.

🐙 Aww: A friendly octopus.

Meme

Life sure was simpler back then. (Source: imgflip.com)

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “Aspiring Pokemon Historian” Wang.

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