Semiconductor chips, used cars, Rolex watches: One of these things is not like the other.
Yes, people are having a hard time getting their hands on them; and yes, all are more expensive now than they were last year; but unlike the first two, the scarcity of Rolex is strategic.
While there may have briefly been a supply chain disruption for watchmakers at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Adam Golden of Menta Watches told Insider the issues in the past year are a mere blip compared with larger trends happening in the luxury watch market generally and with Rolex in particular.
“Rolex seems to have structured their business in such a way that they’re controlling distribution and who gets what, at a retail level,” he said. A decade ago most models were available on-demand from authorized dealers (ADs) of the brand, he explained.
On a recent trip to a shop in Florida, Golden said there was just one Rolex available to buy – a ladies’ Datejust that a customer had ordered and canceled.
In Houston, real estate investor Tyron McDaniel tweeted that he was unable to find a men’s Rolex and that many stores wouldn’t get new ones for another year and a half.
But Golden says watches are still flowing to the brand’s preferred ADs, and that the backlog is more illusion than reality. Rolex is generally believed to produce as many as a million watches per year.
“Rolex would like to perpetuate the image that there’s a shortage and that there’s such high demand that they can’t produce enough to satisfy the demand, but I think in reality it’s just very controlled release in order to keep that demand super high,” he said.
Rolex did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.
Another result of this artificially constrained supply of new watches is the absolute explosion of prices on the resale market where some timepieces now command far higher prices used than they do at the retail counter.
For example, a steel Daytona is advertised on the Rolex website for $13,150, but over at Chrono24 the exact same watch is listed for more than $36,000. What other asset appreciates so instantly after purchase?
Rolex is by no means alone here, but it is a leading brand in the pre-owned watch market, which is expected to reach $29 to $32 billion in sales by 2025, according to a recent report from McKinsey.
“Rolex could probably do a number of things to fix the current situation and increase the supplies of these watches and dampen the secondary market,” Golden said. “But I think at this point they’re choosing not to, because it’s good business for them.”
Over on Twitter, one commenter recommended McDaniel take a look at the exquisitely hand-crafted mechanical timepieces made by German watchmaker Nomos Glashütte, whose most expensive model comes in at $21,500.
“Nice watch,” McDaniel replied, “but it’s not a Rolex.”
We headed to Victoria’s Secret’s flagship store in London on a sunny afternoon.
It’s located on New Bond Street, one of the more upscale shopping areas in London.
The most immediate difference we noticed was the marketing in its store windows.
In the past, these would have shown racy images of its Angels. But with the Angels brand behind them, these were swapped out for more body-positive campaigns where the focus is on a day-to-day, toned-down look of underwear.
The store seemed radically different when we walked in. Previously, the lights were dimmed, music was booming, and images of its Angels (that have been described as borderline pornographic by some shoppers) covered the walls.
On this visit, it instantly felt more modern and light inside.
But as we headed deeper inside the ground floor area, it felt a lot more similar to the old Victoria’s Secret than we had first thought.
The lights may have been turned up but its signature pink, black, and white interior remained…
A spokesperson for Victoria’s Secret told Insider that it plans to completely redo all its stores eventually. For the moment, some stores will only have more minor aesthetic changes.
…as did its boudoir-like fitting rooms.
While we weren’t expecting the interior to be completely redone, we were expecting to see the more toned-down lingerie that appeared in the windows to be front and center of the store.
Instead, it put its most risque lingerie near the entrance, including its “Very Sexy,” “Luxe,” and “Dream Angels” collections.
It might have abandoned the Angels and its racy marketing but it felt like it’s not quite ready for the product to match that.
Its signature push-up bras were in prime position but plus-size mannequins, maternity bras, and more casual underwear were nowhere to be seen.
As we headed to the staircase at the back of the store we noticed a major change.
In the past, videos of its Angels walking its annual runway show would have run on a loop on the screens behind the staircase. When we visited, these videos had been swapped out for shots featuring curvier women.
As we headed up to the next floor, we were immediately greeted by a stand showcasing one of its partnerships with a British lingerie brand.
The brand on display, Bluebella, was outspoken about the lack of inclusivity in the lingerie world before it partnered up with Victoria’s Secret. The tagline of its new collection for Victoria’s Secret is: “Lingerie designed for women who buy lingerie to please themselves.”
This was our first glimpse of its swimwear collection.
Victoria’s Secret scrapped swimwear along with some of its apparel offerings in order to focus on underwear in April 2016. It brought this back in 2018.
This area of the store was dedicated to its more laid-back styles, including athleisurewear.
We were surprised to see that there wasn’t a bigger focus on these casual styles at the entrance of the store.
We found a mix of sports bras and casual T-shirt bra styles here.
Next, we headed down to the bottom, and final, floor of the store.
This sprawling section is devoted it its Pink brand, which is targeted at college-age and teen customers.
This was the first time we spotted its new fuller-sized, mannequins. Victoria’s Secret is promising to bring these to all of its stores.
While analysts have praised the mannequins as a more inclusive move, some shoppers say it’s still falling short by not offering enough extended sizes.
“If I’m a size 14, which is on the smaller end of the plus-size range, and the largest panties Victoria’s Secret makes are uncomfortably tight on me, I think about the 50% or more of women who are still unable to wear the brand,” writer Mandy Shunnarah said after visiting Victoria’s Secret’s pilot store in Columbus.
Victoria’s Secret said it offers up to a size 20, though not in all styles.
The Pink brand was once the strongest part of Victoria’s Secret’s portfolio from a sales perspective. But around 2018, sales slipped at the brand and it was forced to lean on heavy discounting to shift stock.
While we still spotted a discount section at Pink, there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of product on sale.
At that time, other teen-focused brands such as American Eagle’s Aerie started to take market share with more inclusive marketing and body-positive campaigns that resonated with young shoppers.
Pink is clearly doubling down on this now. Videos promoting its campaigns around diversity and inclusion were playing in the background of the cash register for customers to watch while they check out their shopping.
Pink is known for being a logo-heavy brand, something that analysts have said can be detrimental. If a brand stops being seen as trendy, shoppers no longer see the value in their logos and they spend elsewhere, for example.
Individually, the families in the survey expect to pay an average of $849 on supplies this year – $59 more than last year. They also expect to pay $21 more for electronics, with half planning to buy a laptop, and almost a third planning to buy a tablet.
“Consumers are spending more on items like electronics and clothing as they make plans for students to resume activities in person this fall,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President at Prosper Insights, which conducted the survey for the NRF.
“Shoppers are putting the largest portion of their budgets toward electronics, new clothes, and accessories,” Rist said.
Economists say parents’ spending will likely be boosted by higher-than-normal savings from the pandemic, as well as the new federal child tax credit that began hitting families checking accounts earlier this month.
As of earlier in July, three quarters of shoppers said they were waiting for lists of school supplies, while half were waiting on deals from retailers, like Walmart or Target, or sales tax holidays in states like Texas or Florida.
Even so, research from Deloitte indicates the shopping season is pushed forward this year by about a week, due in part to concerns over lingering supply-chain disruptions from the pandemic.
Twitter on Wednesday rolled outtesting of Shop Module, a new e-commerce feature on its platform.
With Shop Module, Twitter users can scroll and tap through products to learn more about and shop for products on the business’ landing page without leaving the Twitter app.
“We know people come to Twitter to interact with brands and discuss their favorite products,” said Twitter’s Revenue Product Lead Bruce Falck at Twitter Analyst Day 2021. “Imagine easily discovering, and quickly purchasing a new skincare product or trendy sneaker from a brand you follow with only a few clicks.”
Shop Module is a new player in an already robust social media e-commerce space, with Facebook Marketplace, Shopify, and Instagram Checkout being big competitors. Twitter plans to capitalize on an increasing social commerce consumer market, which boomed during the coronavirus pandemic and is projected to grow over the next three to five years.
Twitter first ventured into e-commerce in 2014 with their “Buy Now” button, which embedded product links into tweets. The company decided to focus on performance ad sales since, but announced its intentions to re-explore e-commerce at Twitter Analyst Day last spring.
Twitter also introduced several e-commerce related features earlier this year, like Super Follows, which could potentially connect their fans to products and merchandise, and Professional Profiles, which allows businesses to display their address, phone numbers, and operating hours on their profile.
Still in the early stages of testing, Shop Module is currently only available to around 12 businesses across lifestyle, retail, and entertainment, according to Tech Crunch, and only US English-speaking IOS Twitter users can see the Shop Module on the app.
“Fundamentally, it’ll give us the chance to keep learning about which shopping experiences people prefer on Twitter,” Falck added in a blog post announcing the Shop Module.
More than 20 years in the making, the mall opened in October 2019 only to come to grips with a worldwide pandemic that would accelerate the decline of in-person shopping while boosting e-commerce to unforeseen heights.
But with COVID-19 on the ropes, American Dream is once again a reality and its doors are open to shoppers, adventure-seekers, and the host of other visitors to whom the infamous mall caters.
I stopped by American Dream, conveniently located off the New Jersey Turnpike right next to MetLife Stadium, on my way to Newark airport. Here’s what I found.
I entered the mail from the retail parking lot on the south side. At first, the three-level structure seemed deserted despite a crowded parking lot on the weekday of my visit.
But it wasn’t that the mall was empty. American Dream is so massive that it just seemed empty by comparison. There are around 100 stores and retailers at present, around a third of the mall’s capacity.
Besides its size, though, there was nothing special about the mall part of American Dream. There wasn’t much here that I couldn’t find in my local mall, for example, and it lacked a lot of the high-end retailers found in nearby malls like The Mall at Short Hills.
That may change, however, in September when more than 20 luxury retailers are slated to open.
Many of the stores that were open – like Primark, Best Buy, and Zara – were cavernous in size. Some were even two levels.
I was truly impressed with how deep some of them were, including Urban Planet. It’s a testament to the mall’s size.
The lack of patronage, however, has forced some of the larger stores to scale back. It’Sugar, for example, is scaled down to one floor.
Speaking of the confectionary, this was the first time I’d been in a self-serve candy store since the pandemic. Patrons are required to wear gloves when making their selections.
It’s a fair COVID compromise that lets customers experience the joy of scooping up their own candy.
Despite the mall’s size, however, it doesn’t have that Mall of America feel. I attribute that closed-in feeling to the lack of natural light in the mall.
There are not a lot of windows or skylights in the main shopping areas or even the atriums.
The best parts of the mall, I found, were the spaces with skylights so that natural light could come in.
This luscious gnome garden, for example, was my favorite part of the mall and a natural attraction.
This was also the only spot in the mall that had the true communal feeling of a mall. The only problem was that it was flanked by bare walls.
Some of the areas of the malls that hadn’t been filled were walled out from public access completely.
The food court featured many mall favorites and eateries like Kelly’s Cajun Grill, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell.
There were some higher-end food options, like Grisini, but they hadn’t yet opened for business during my visit.
Being an amateur mall food enthusiast, I had to try the staple of any mall food court: bourbon chicken, from Kelly’s Cajun Grill. And to American Dream’s credit, it was spot on.
I continued my journey and found the main atrium, another centerpiece where the mall’s size truly shows.
But once more, I didn’t find it to be too welcoming. A few couches were laid out in lieu of a grand centerpiece in the way other malls have.
In addition to good food court food, American Dream also featured the other two staples of a mall: a Hot Topic…
Some stores that I’ve never seen in my local malls can be found in American Dream include the Beef Jerky Experience…
And a Korean-themed store, which proved to be one of my favorites.
Masks aren’t required for vaccinated shoppers but each store can have its own rules, as this one did.
BTS was a major theme, unsurprisingly, and I couldn’t help but hear the song “Dynamite” in my head while browsing.
Kakao Friends, pointed out to me by former Seoul resident and Insider’s own Rachel Premack, was another big theme on display.
I also got a glimpse at Korean apparel, a style that I never really had seen promoted in my local malls in the past.
Another mall staple that American Dream can boast is animal rides. I fondly remember riding on these in my youth.
Attractions are truly where the mall shines and there’s no shortage of them. Big Snow is the massive indoor ski slope that offers year-round snowboarding.
Two hours on the artificial slope, with rentals included, starts at $69.99. Without rentals, it can be as cheap as $34.99.
Attractions for children are the bulk of the offering, however, and include Legoland…
Sea Life Aquarium…
Angry Birds-themed miniature golf…
And Out of This World miniature golfing.
There’s even an ice skating rink that doubles as a hockey rink. Prices start at $25 for those ages 10 and up.
For more thrill-seeking kids, Nickelodeon Universe and DreamWorks Water Park are the two main amusement parks in the mall.
Nickelodeon Universe offers roller coasters and standard theme park attractions while DreamWorks Water Park offers water slides, wave pools, and tube rides.
Masks are similarly not required in DreamWorks Water Park as “there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas,” American Dream claims.
It’s no secret that mall patronage is in decline following the rise of internet shopping, as Taylor Swift notes in her song “Coney Island,” and these attractions give consumers a reason to come to the mall that isn’t shopping.
But these attractions aren’t cheap. A standard adult ticket for Nickelodeon Universe is $75.
DreamWorks Water Park is a more expensive $99 per adult.
So far, the inner 1980s teenager in me wasn’t overly impressed. Unless you’re willing to pay up, there’s not much that this mall has to offer after visitors get bored marveling at its size.
But American Dream definitely does try to tap into that 1980s-era nostalgia.
There’s even a DeLorean replica a la “Back to the Future.” Marty McFly, however, would quickly note this isn’t the average Twin Pines Mall.
In some areas, American Dream does a great job of papering over the cracks – in this case, its lack of stores – but other places seem bare.
American Dream hasn’t yet reached its full potential and one can hardly blame it as the pandemic accelerated the downfall of malls and the continued rise of the e-commerce giants that are making malls obsolete.
Once more stores line its hallways, American Dream may very well be the premier shopping destination that it has always wanted to be.
Many US retail and service-industry jobs that went away during the pandemic weren’t expected to return, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.
“The real issue, I think, is that a lot of the jobs that folks lost are the kinds of jobs – let’s say, for example, in retail or services industries – that might not be coming back, or coming back in the same numbers,” Raimondo told CNBC on Thursday.
Earlier, the Labor Department reported 364,000 jobless claims for the previous week, marking a pandemic-era low. Raimondo’s comments came ahead of Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed the US adding 850,000 payrolls in June, beating expectations.
But the future of work for retail employees and others remained more complex, as the world slowly returned to normal following the COVID-19, Raimondo said.
“To be very honest, it’s so hard to tell in the data” why people weren’t returning to work, Raimondo said.
Teenagers, for example, were taking fewer jobs in June than they had been in the spring, perhaps because the labor shortage allowed them to choose the highest-paying jobs.
Raimondo on Thursday said the US had to “lean into” job training and apprenticeships, in part because of the shrinking amount of retail jobs available.
“Because the jobs that are being created in cybersecurity or in the digital economy and in the tech economy are there, and are good paying,” she said on CNBC. “We need to make sure that the folks who are unemployed have the skills that they need to get those jobs.”
However, retail analysts interviewed by Insider said that Gap’s drastic action in Europe this week signaled that even more stores will need to be shuttered across North America. They also said that the company needed to completely rethink what it’s doing in the US.
“I don’t see them closing all their US stores by any means,” said Natalie Berg, an independent retail analyst. “But I think we’re in for some radical right-sizing. The uncomfortable truth is they still have way too many stores.”
Berg said Gap stores were “no longer fit for purpose.”
“They can’t just be about selling clothes any more,” she said. “You need to give shoppers a reason to ditch their screens; give them an experience they can’t get online.”
Insider has approached Gap for comment.
From September, Gap will be online-only in the UK and Ireland. Berg said: “Lots of clothes retailers are doing the same thing, so now you have all this competition online. You have to ask: is online becoming a digital graveyard for failing brands?”
Maureen Hinton, an analyst at GlobalData, agreed that there was “probably more to go” for Gap’s store closure programme in North America.
She said: “Gap is really struggling to find its own identity – and it has been for a long time.”
Hinton said that Gap needed “a much stronger strategy” for the US, focusing on “what its brand identity is all about – who it’s targeting and how it’s going to do it.”
“It’s got Yeezy at one end and it’s doing things with Walmart at the other,” she said. “That sounds like desperation.”
Gap is banking on a collaboration with Yeezy, Kanye West’s fashion brand, to help reinvigorate its fortunes. The first Yeezy Gap product dropped last month: a limited-edition, bright blue, recycled nylon puffer jacket with a price tag of $200.
Gap’s new tie-up with Walmart is less flashy. The new Gap Home line, sold exclusively in Walmart stores, features a $43 stoneware dinner set and a $20 tie-dye shower curtain.
Shoppers in London won’t get to buy any of these things.
Around midday on Thursday, only a few dozen customers were browsing hoodies, jeans, baby clothes, and other apparel on the four floors of Gap’s UK flagship store on Oxford Street, the heart of London’s shopping district.
Amanda, 24, who shops at the store every few weeks for herself and her three-year-old daughter, said she hadn’t heard it was being shut down. “I wore Gap stuff when I was a kid – my mum put me in it,” she said. “She used to come here too. That’s really sad.”
Grocery stores in Washington state have been forced to pull perishable goods from shelves and turn off entire refrigerated sections in order to combat record-shattering temperatures.
On Monday, several locations in Oregon and Washington state broke all-time records, as temperatures rose as high as 116 degrees. The heat has caused several power outages throughout the region, and taken a toll on local businesses.
The weather makes it difficult for refrigeration and freezer units to maintain low temperatures. An Albertsons spokesperson told Fox Seattle that the heat caused the grocery store’s refrigeration units to malfunction at a store in Mill Creek, Washington. The grocer was forced to pull several perishable goods from its shelves, including meats, lettuce, and dairy items. The store posted signs warning customers it would not be able to provide several refrigerated foods and cordoned off the empty aisles.
Other stores throughout the state have implemented similar tactics. Multiple Fred Meyers in Washington state put plastic covers over refrigerated goods to keep in the cool air, according to dozens of posts on social media. A Fred Meyer spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.
Heatwaves like these are becoming the deadliest weather conditions across the US. According to a report by The Washington Post, some locations may reach temperature and humidity levels too intense for human survival. On Tuesday, The Seattle Times reported two people had died and hundreds of people had been admitted to the hospital due to the triple-digit temperatures.
Cooling equipment such as air conditioners have been struggling to fight the heat, showcasing a global need for more effective ways for cities to cool down, Axios reported.
Two Fred Meyer shoppers said on social media that at least two locations have turned on roof sprinklers to help maintain air conditioning and freezer units.
Washington state shoppers took to social media to post pictures of grocery stores with empty freezer aisles and refrigerated units wrapped in plastic. Some said aisles of Gatorade and electrolyte drinks had been completely cleared out, others said large crowds had gathered in the refrigerated sections of the stores to beat the heat.
Several Seattle restaurants and cafes have also shut down due to refrigeration and air conditioning issues. Melissa Miranda, the owner of a popular downtown Filipinx restaurant Musang, told Eater Seattle the heat has created unsustainable working conditions for staff.
“Most importantly it’s my concern for the staff,” Miranda told the food blog. “Working in these conditions is insane.”
Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know what your partner loves, what small daily annoyances of theirs that you can solve with a thoughtful gift, and how much they’ll appreciate knowing the gesture came from you.
Odds are you want to give them something wonderful – whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all types to help guide you, below.
Check out all 80 gifts for your girlfriend:
This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by LIVELY. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*
Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing.
ClassPass solves both issues. It’s relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we’d highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they’re ready to use it.
A disposable camera that doesn’t take you out of the moment
Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection and editing so you can savor your experiences together.
We’ve tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate’s Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough.
Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It’s made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri’s affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.
If canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu.
A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residue
Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing brushes. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so they can maintain their skincare routine while traveling.
Bombas makes the best socks we’ve ever tried, and they’re a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They’re lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping.
This is the best massage gun we’ve tested — though it’s also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use.
If you’re spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — they can definitely appreciate a beautiful 8-in-1 cookware hack.
The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that’s extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here.
An REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. Find out more here.
Snowe’s unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I’m just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency, is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness.
A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quickly
Grab them 39 sheet masks to make it easier for them to have a frequent and well-deserved “treat yourself” day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.
Since many people are spending more time at home than ever before, it’s never been clearer that comfort is key. LIVELY’s lounge kit comes equipped with the brand’s cozy All Day Lounge Set, a sleep mask for some extra shut-eye, The Best Day Ever Socks, and the Cotton Duster. Plus, the included gift box is pretty enough to give unwrapped.
If they’re working from home, they might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need.
A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoring
Fitbit’s affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep them informed about their physical activity. The heart rate monitor lets them be more strategic about their workouts by tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones.
We’re using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they’d enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn’t smell like alcohol or make your hands sticky. Read our full review here.
A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the house
When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple’s AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they’re incredibly easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $199.99 on Best Buy too.
Festive matching underwear from one of the internet’s favorite startups
Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we’ve ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer.
Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you’ve gotten her jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It’s made from premium leather, comes in six colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of.
A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinets
MasterClass, unlike many competitors, follows a format that feels like a one-sided conversation with your favorite icons rather than a traditional academic setting. It’s interesting — and you can go as deep (into reading materials) or shallow (listening to their insight while running errands) as you like to. An Unlimited Membership will give them access to all the site’s classes for the year.
The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It’s powerful, can be controlled by your voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort.
Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by “grounding” the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside.
A video message from someone she loves almost as much as you
Whether it’s her favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you’re likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she’ll never forget.
Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she’s probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here.
With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy’s The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It’s got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You’ll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It’s made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.
Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn’t wait to show you. It’s unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive. You can find our full review here.
Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it’s the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles.
Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions.
Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they’re tasty and good for you. It addressed all my healthy eating roadblocks.
This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, and it’s a cult-favorite in beauty. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny.
Framebridge makes custom framing for not-custom-framing prices. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get.
Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the market
The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in 14 colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she’ll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave.
A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straight
This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company’s proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here.
This cozy loungewear set that she’ll never want to take off
Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you’ve ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She’ll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray.
Brightland’s olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here.
A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classes
Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference.
It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal.
A card game that’s meant to deepen personal connections
This card game, from the popular Instagram account We’re Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven’t played before, but it’s also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy together.
Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil’s satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she’d prefer to wear the hat without it.
As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a gift for the wine lover on your list. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot.
Plan a trip for the two of you to take together – and maybe use this online travel concierge to help
For a closet staple she’ll own for years to come, Everlane’s $100 Cashmere Crew (available in a whopping 15 colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has tons of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can’t really go wrong.
This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee’s less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there’s minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on her way out the door to work.
Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite is its thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it’s waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you’ve already taken care of.
A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50%
Aquis’ cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes your hair to dry in half — a claim we’re happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there’s less damage to wet hair while it dries.
You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it’ll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a “The Office” deep cut.
It’s also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using yourselves for out-of-the-box date nights in the future.
As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you’re not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity.
A 100% silk pillowcase that reduces frizz and keeps skin hydrated overnight
Silk pillowcases reduce frizz and damage to hair and make it look shiny and healthy. It also reduces the likelihood of wrinkles and keeps skin hydrated overnight by absorbing less of the moisture in the skin.
A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care for
Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to her door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George’s options are very easy to care for.
Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service.
A stylish leather makeup pouch that’s thoughtful and easy to travel with
Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women’s handbag companies to know, and the Lola Toiletries Pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size ($75) is perfect for everyday makeup essentials, and the large ($105) can be used for toiletries, makeup, or as a small purse. It’s made from beautiful pebbled leather, and you can pick from six foolproof color choices.
This product is currently out of stock.
A leather wallet from the same manufacturer as Prada for a fraction of the price
Italic is a startup that makes unbranded luxury goods from the same factories that produce designs for brands like Givenchy or scents for Le Labo — minus the markup. The Zip-Around Wallet is made from soft, calfskin leather and comes in four classic colors.
It comes from the same manufacturer as Celine and Prada, and Italic estimates it would cost $295-$300 in traditional retail. It’s also good to note that the company plants one tree for every order. You can find a full review of the company’s leather goods here, and of their candles here.
A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes
If she loves books, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it’s a book club that has been around since 1926, and it’s credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time (“Gone with the Wind” and “Catcher in the Rye” to name a couple).
If you gift her a subscription, she’ll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.
This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They’re a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray.
A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferences
If she loves coffee, she’ll probably love to try Driftaway. It’s a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she’ll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options.
A book of love letters written by history’s great men
It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they’re spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.
A diamond necklace doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality.
These cute mugs can be personalized for what you’re like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established.
Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining.
This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It’s $80, but it’s an at-home pro-quality facial she can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials.
Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foods
If she loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she’ll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you.
A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery pack
Away’s hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It’s also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.
A cooking class from one of the nation’s top chefs
With a Cozymeal class, they’ll learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation’s top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it’s safe to do so).