Barneys the store, not Barney the saur (nailed it)


April 5, 2019

Today, Instagram takes liberties for royalty, and 3D printers are hitting museums, but first…
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Not even retail giants can afford to live in New York

CNBC reports that luxury retailer Barneys New York extended the term of its credit line by $50m, giving the famed department store money for growth, as well as needed cash flow to answer ongoing industry challenges.

But the main reason is because New York is too friggin expensive. Rent at Barneys’ building on Madison Avenue grew from almost $16m a year to around $30m a year in January, nearly wiping out the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

AR-you kidding me-BITRATION

The arbitration process was a contentious yearlong battle that saw Barneys threaten to file for bankruptcy protection (like it did in 1996) if rent rose significantly.

Well, rent did rise significantly, but Barneys hasn’t filed for bankruptcy yet. Instead, it extended its credit line to literally buy more time to afford its rent — all so it can keep competing in the losing race of retail.

The retail industry continues to bleed out…

With the rise of online shopping and D2C commerce, upper-echelon department stores like Barneys have proved that they’re not immune to the internet’s ways.

So to confront that reality, brands like Barneys are launching expensive new initiatives to get the company hip to how the cool kids want to shop. 

The department store recently announced new growth plans, and both in-store and digital innovations — like an incoming luxury head shop on its way to Barneys Beverly Hills store (one is expected in New York as well).

But to sell in-store bongs, you’ve gotta afford rent

It’s not just Barneys. In 2017, a survey found that 12% of stores on one stretch of the Upper West Side were unoccupied and available “for lease.” 

Ralph Lauren closed its Fifth Avenue store in 2017, while Lord & Taylor closed its Fifth Avenue flagship in January.

It’s hard to feel bad for a company that caters to elite yoga moms and investment bros, but if mainstays like Barneys can’t afford rent, how is American-dream Danny’s vegan handbag store supposed to?

Hell’s kitchen, or kitchen from hell?
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The record-breaking royal Instagram account was stolen from a different kind of royal

Yesterday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new Instagram account, @SussexRoyal, became the fastest account to hit 1m followers. It attracted a cool mil in 5 hours and 45 minutes (beating K-Pop star Kang Daniel, who did it in 11h36m).

It’s a useless piece of trivia that no one should care about. But it’s not the whole story: The @SussexRoyal IG handle was repossessed from a British driving instructor without his knowledge — and he’s peeved.

The other royal

The original SussexRoyal was a man named Kevin Keiley, a 55-year-old Sussex driving instructor and rabid fan of Reading Football Club (nickname: the Royals).

Now, SussexRoyal belongs to actual royals. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will use the official account to share “important announcements” (following the Royal Family’s strict social media guidelines, of course).

But to give the handle to the royal couple, Instagram first had to take it from its old owner — which it did without asking.

Can Instagram do that?

According to Instagram’s rules, it has the right to take over accounts it deems “inactive” — which is exactly what happened with Keiley.

Keiley used the account to like other posts and sometimes post himself. “I didn’t ask for this. I’ve had the account for years — it’s not very pleasant,” he told the BBC.

After cramping his IG style, the ’Gram threw Keiley a bone by giving him @_sussexroyal_. 

But Keiley, who also has the @sussexroyal handle on Twitter, is making damn sure he doesn’t lose that, too: “This is the original and only Sussexroyal. We talk about supporting Reading FC.”

» Will the real royal please stand up?

History museums are making good use of 3D printing

In 2011, 3D printing was touted as one of the biggest innovations since the factory. While that hasn’t quite panned out 8 years later, Fast Company points out that the impacts are “finally materializing.”

Over the last decade, museums have become one of the most exciting sandboxes for 3D printing thanks to the fragilé nature of historical institutions like museums.

Touch away, kids

Usually, collection objects make it clear that they hate hands with stuffy glass displays that scream, “This is worth more than your life.” But that’s all changing. 

One of the highest-profile digi-fab projects is the replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, made by the company Factum Arte. The “facsimile,” as the company calls it, allows tourists to go inside the king’s tiny home without depreciating the OG.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has been encouraging visitors to photograph objects in the museum so they can create their own digital models later.

Coming to an office nook near you

Museums have produced replicas for many moons using traditional methods — but they never quite seem to satisfy history and art buffs in search of the truth.

Digitally fabricated replicas can be spot on in re-creating the shape and touch of originals. But the bigger advantage of digital replicas is exactly that… they’re digital.

Soon, people interested in cultural heritage can print these digital facsimiles at home on their desktop 3D printers or at nearby Fablabs (are you listening, FedEx-Kinkos??).

Sorry artifact thieves… yours is just another occupation lost to automation.

» All I want for Christmas is a personal HP 3D printer.

Mystery buyer brings crypto markets back from the crypt

Earlier this week, Bitcoin prices surged 20%, bringing up the price of smaller cryptocurrencies with it in a move that harkened back to the crypto glory days of 2017.

The bump began with a single, massive, coordinated order of $100m worth of ’Coin. Analysts know that the huge order was placed across 3 exchanges and algorithmically managed… but no one knows who did it.  

Bitcoin’s big buyer

“If you look at the volumes on each of those three exchanges — there were in-concert, synchronized, units of volume of around 7,000 BTC in an hour,” Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, a cryptocurrency executive, told Reuters.

In just an hour, there were more than 6m trades — between 3x and 4x as many trades as normal.

The massive purchase drove the price of Bitcoin up past $5k for the first time since November — a big win for a currency that was declared dead at least 90 times last year, but still a far cry from the currency’s high of $20k. 

Why does this ‘mystery trader’ have so much influence?

Crypto markets are “thinner” than normal markets (i.e. they have fewer traders), which means each individual trade is more likely to trigger other trades, most of which occur algorithmically.

Plus, since Bitcoin is still an anchor point in a market full of alt-coins, big Bitcoin buys have an outsized impact. In response to this particular Bitcoin swing, Ethereum and Ripple (the 2nd and 3rd largest cryptocurrencies by market share) also jumped by more than 10%.

» When will Bitcoin die next?
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Marketo shower thoughts
  1. Being super rich must be like playing real life in creative mode instead of survival mode.
  2. Second guessing yourself is your brain telling your brain not to listen to your brain.
  3. Dating is like looking for the lead supporting actor for the movie of your life.
  4. To a dog, everything is food until proven otherwise.
  5. If you eat 2,000 calories in one sitting people are disgusted. If you eat 10,000 calories in one sitting people are impressed.
  6. via Reddit
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