Rolex is making plenty of watches, but good luck getting your hands on one

rolex wristwatch
Actress Ashley Tisdale arrives at the ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’ Los Angeles Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2012 in Hollywood, California.

  • Rolex makes some of the world’s most popular watches, like the Daytona, Submariner, and classic Oyster.
  • The Swiss company is believed to make roughly 1 million per year, each one by hand.
  • New Rolexes can be hard to find for a buyer without an established relationship with an authorized distributor.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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.

Read more: A luxury watch designer who sells timepieces that cost $500,000 reveals how he got his start and his daily routine

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.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

We visited a Victoria’s Secret flagship store and saw how it’s trying to win back customers by turning up the lights and toning down risque marketing

Victoria's Secret store Bond Street
Victoria’s Secret’s new marketing campaign.

  • Victoria’s Secret is in the process of refreshing its entire store fleet.
  • It’s promising to turn up the lights and replace its bubblegum pink interiors.
  • We visited its London flagship to see how different it is to shop in its stores today.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
We headed to Victoria’s Secret’s flagship store in London on a sunny afternoon.

Victoria's Secret store Bond Street
The store opened in 2012.

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.

Victoria's Secret store Bond Street
The store windows looked very different.

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.

Victoria's Secret store Bond Street
Victoria’s Secret’s new marketing campaign.

On this visit, it instantly felt more modern and light inside. 

Source: Insider.

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
The ground floor area.

The lights may have been turned up but its signature pink, black, and white interior remained…

Victoria's Secret Bond Street
Boudoir-like displays.

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Fitting room.

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Victoria’s Secret’s “Very Sexy” collection.

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Push-up bras.

As we headed to the staircase at the back of the store we noticed a major change.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street
A giant silver staircase is a prominent feature in its store.

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Victoria’s Secret launched a partnership with Bluebella in 2019.

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 Bond Street store
Victoria’s Secret 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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Leggings for sale.

Victoria’s Secret has been criticized for being slow to get on the athleticwear trend. One former senior staffer previously told Insider that former leaders felt “sweat is only sexy when you’re having sex” and avoided sports bras because of this. 

This week, it launched its new Lululemon-esque gymwear collection, “On Point,” which is not yet available for sale in the UK.

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street
New marketing appeared here too.

Next, we headed down to the bottom, and final, floor of the store.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street 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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Fuller-sized mannequins.

“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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
The sale section.

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Victoria’s Secret Bond Street store

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.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Pink logos.

According to Victoria’s Secret CEO Martin Waters, Pink has seen “super strong” performance for its logo business in the first three months of the year, however.

 

 

Waters said tie-dye apparel was a big seller for the brand too. This was tactically positioned right at the front of the Pink store.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Tie-die is having a moment in fashion.

But bras and panties are still its bread and butter and there was a ton on display. More casual styles such as bralettes still had the Victoria’s Secret spin, however, with the extra push-up.

Victoria's Secret Bond Street store
Pink bralettes.

While the store shopping experience does feel different, the company has a way to go to convince critics that its rebrand is more than just a glossy marketing campaign.

This means putting plus-size mannequins in all areas of the store and giving the lingerie that appears in its new more inclusive marketing campaigns a prime position in store.

 

 

 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Back-to-school shopping is more expensive than ever

Mother and daughter wearing face masks and looking at school supplies in a store. The daughter is wearing a blue backpack.
  • Back-to-school shopping is getting underway in the US, and families are preparing for a bigger bill.
  • Grade-school families plan to spend $849 on average, up $59 from last year, according to a survey.
  • Electronics had the biggest spending increase of any category, and half of families plan to buy a laptop.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The back-to-school shopping season is at its peak heading into August, and families across the US are braced for a new spending record.

Collectively, families with children in grade school will shell out more than $37 billion on school supplies, up from about $34 billion last year, according to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation.

The spending category covers a wide range items, including basics like pencils and paper, along with apparel and shoes and high-tech electronics, like laptops and tablets.

Read more: Best Back to School Sales 2021 – Online Deals for Back to School

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.

“While we are unlikely to see apocalyptic shortages, the continued pressure on supply chains means that not all retailers will get an optimal amount of supply,” GlobalData Retail analyst Neil Saunders told USA Today.

“What this means is consumers will have less choice, and some may not be able to get exactly what they want, especially towards the end of the back-to-school season,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Twitter is testing a new e-commerce feature, which allows businesses to showcase their products on their Twitter profile

Twitter
Twitter

  • Twitter is revamping its e-commerce efforts with tests of its new Shop Module feature
  • The Shop Module appears as a product image carousel at the top of a brand’s Twitter profile.
  • Shop Module is ‘exploratory’ for Twitter as it enters an already crowded social media e-commerce market.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Twitter on Wednesday rolled out testing 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 shop module

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Bed Bath & Beyond just reopened a truly massive 92,000-square-foot NYC store with a coffee shop – see inside

the entrance of the store
The entrance of the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

  • Bed Bath & Beyond has reopened its renovated flagship store in New York City.
  • It’s cleaner, brighter, and more modern than the traditional Bed Bath & Beyond store.
  • The 92,000-square-foot space has a SodaStream bar, cafe, interactive spaces, and a mini Casper store.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Gone are the days of chaotic college dorm and new home shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond.

the entrance of the store
The entrance of the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

As long as you’re in New York City, that is.

a view of the store's exterior from the street
Outside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

Bed Bath & Beyond has reopened its renovated flagship store in the Chelsea neighborhood near the iconic Flatiron Building, and the store is cleaner and brighter than ever before.

a sign that says "Hello Chelsea" by the entrance of teh store
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

“We’re proud to invest here and add to New York City’s ‘return to normal’ to serve residents and visitors alike,” Mark Tritton, president and CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, said in a press release.

A self checkout station in the store with products next to it
A self checkout station in the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

Source: Bed Bath & Beyond

The two-floor store has been under renovation since December 2020, and its doors just reopened on July 22.

neatly arranged products in front of tall windows
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

This new reopening is just one of 450 Bed Bath & Beyond stores the company plans to renovate over the next three years, a $250 million undertaking.

SodaStream's products displayed on a curving shelf
SodaStream products.

Now let’s take a closer look at the refreshed space.

a display of Our Table products
Our Table products inside the Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

The new store follows the company’s goal of becoming a “digital-first, omni-always retailer.”

a sign that says "moving" we can help" above towels
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

Source: Bed Bath & Beyond

The 92,000-square-foot shop has the typical Bed Bath & Beyond offerings, like kitchen tools, decor, bathroom necessities, and bedding …

A bed with Wild Sage products.
A bed with Wild Sage products.

… all with a new, organized flair.

kitchen and cooking tools arranged neatly onshelves
Products on display inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

The Chelsea location features products from both household companies and Bed Bath & Beyond’s private-label brands, which include Wild Sage and Our Table.

Wild Sage products by a sign asking customers to follow the brand on TikTok and Instagram
Wild Sage products.

But there are noticeably fewer travel-related products, which haven’t been selling well at this particular location, Lauren Thomas reported for CNBC.

the hallway towards the back of the store with blue walls
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

Source: CNBC

The space that would’ve carried travel goods is instead being used for more organization and bedding and bathroom products, which are primarily downstairs.

a mock bathroom setup
The bath section of the store.

Besides more home goods options, the store’s shelves have also been lowered to avoid “shopping paralysis,” according to the company.

the bathroom section with "dry off" and "refresh and renew" products
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

The lowered shelves allow customers to see to the other end of the massive store, creating a less cluttered shopping experience.

a sign that says "food storage" with tupperware under it
Products on display inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

The aisles are also wider, while the product displays are noticeably neater.

One of the walkways in the store
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

Unlike most Bed Bath & Beyond stores, the interior is bright and clean with the help of large windows, contemporary lighting, and a cohesive design.

A display of Wild Sage products with tall windows
A display of Wild Sage products.

“We know it’s hard to shop at our stores,” Joe Hartsig, chief merchandising officer at Bed Bath & Beyond, said, according to the CNBC report.

Bed Bath & Beyond's product displays of home goods
Our Table products inside the Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

Source: CNBC

“We’ve really tried to make it easier to navigate the aisles,” Hartsig continued. “The wider aisles are very clean. The presentation is very tight.”

cafe seating and lights
The cafe.

Source: CNBC

The store is also compatible with the retailer’s app’s “in-store shopping mode,” creating a cross between an in-person and digital shopping experience.

A card noting shopping through the app by bath products on display.
A card noting shopping through the app.

There’s even a “scan and buy” option that allows customers to skip the checkout lines.

a sign that says "scan and buy"
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

The section near the entry of the store is currently being used to sell college dorm goods, but the products here will change depending on the time of year.

the college section
Inside the renovated Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City’s college section.

Source: CNBC

Feeling parched? Head to the store’s SodaStream Bubble Bar, which has SodaStream demos and inspiration for drinks.

the sodastream bar with a worker
The SodaStream bar.

But if you’d rather have some coffee, the updated Bed Bath and Beyond also has the Cafe 3B …

a full look at the cafe with seating, lights, and the bar
The cafe.

… a coffee shop that serves snacks and La Colombe coffee.

the menu of the cafe with some of the store's countertops
The cafe.

There’s also the “only interactive vacuum display in New York City,” according to Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as a well-lit health and beauty product section…

The beauty and health products on lit up shelves
The health and beauty section.

… which includes travel-friendly items.

the mini essentials bins with small products
Mini essentials bins.

But if you’re looking for bedding instead of cleaning and beauty products, head downstairs to the mini Casper store.

casper products arranged neatly on shelves
The downstairs Casper section.

This space serves as the bedding and mattress company’s “first shop-in-shop,” according to Bed Bath & Beyond.

the upstairs Casper section
Casper products inside the Bed Bath & Beyond in New York City.

And it’s not just Casper: The store also has Dyson and Google nest displays.

The dedicated Google Home space with products and a lit up Google logo
The dedicated Google Home space.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I went to American Dream, the behemoth New Jersey mall with 2 theme parks and ski slope, and saw the devastating effects of the pandemic on retail

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

  • American Dream opened in October 2019 after more than 20 years of planning and development.
  • Just after it opened, however, the pandemic hit, and the mall was forced to close.
  • I visited American Dream and saw how badly retail has been hit during the pandemic with the rise of e-commerce and the fall of in-person shopping.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
In the shadow of New York City is American Dream, a 3-million-square-foot mall and one of the largest in North America.

American Dream mall

Read More: The American Dream megamall is finally opened after more than 2 decades. Here’s how the 3 million-square-foot complex went from an idea to a reality.

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.

Going inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

MetLife Stadium from American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

That may change, however, in September when more than 20 luxury retailers are slated to open.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Source: WWD

Many of the stores that were open – like Primark, Best Buy, and Zara – were cavernous in size. Some were even two levels.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I was truly impressed with how deep some of them were, including Urban Planet. It’s a testament to the mall’s size.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

It’s a fair COVID compromise that lets customers experience the joy of scooping up their own candy.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

There are not a lot of windows or skylights in the main shopping areas or even the atriums.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The best parts of the mall, I found, were the spaces with skylights so that natural light could come in.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

This luscious gnome garden, for example, was my favorite part of the mall and a natural attraction.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Some of the areas of the malls that hadn’t been filled were walled out from public access completely.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The food court featured many mall favorites and eateries like Kelly’s Cajun Grill, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

There were some higher-end food options, like Grisini, but they hadn’t yet opened for business during my visit.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I continued my journey and found the main atrium, another centerpiece where the mall’s size truly shows.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In addition to good food court food, American Dream also featured the other two staples of a mall: a Hot Topic…

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

And Spencer’s.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Some stores that I’ve never seen in my local malls can be found in American Dream include the Beef Jerky Experience…

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

And a Korean-themed store, which proved to be one of my favorites.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Masks aren’t required for vaccinated shoppers but each store can have its own rules, as this one did.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

BTS was a major theme, unsurprisingly, and I couldn’t help but hear the song “Dynamite” in my head while browsing.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Kakao Friends, pointed out to me by former Seoul resident and Insider’s own Rachel Premack, was another big theme on display.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I also got a glimpse at Korean apparel, a style that I never really had seen promoted in my local malls in the past.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Another mall staple that American Dream can boast is animal rides. I fondly remember riding on these in my youth.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Two hours on the artificial slope, with rentals included, starts at $69.99. Without rentals, it can be as cheap as $34.99.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Attractions for children are the bulk of the offering, however, and include Legoland…

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Sea Life Aquarium…

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Angry Birds-themed miniature golf…

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

And Out of This World miniature golfing.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

There’s even an ice skating rink that doubles as a hockey rink. Prices start at $25 for those ages 10 and up.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

For more thrill-seeking kids, Nickelodeon Universe and DreamWorks Water Park are the two main amusement parks in the mall.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Nickelodeon Universe offers roller coasters and standard theme park attractions while DreamWorks Water Park offers water slides, wave pools, and tube rides.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Read More: Taylor Swift threads one of the biggest business stories in 2020 into her music, as the retail apocalypse emerges as a crucial theme through ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’

But these attractions aren’t cheap. A standard adult ticket for Nickelodeon Universe is $75.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

DreamWorks Water Park is a more expensive $99 per adult.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

But American Dream definitely does try to tap into that 1980s-era nostalgia.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Once more stores line its hallways, American Dream may very well be the premier shopping destination that it has always wanted to be.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Until then, at the very least, there’s Cinnabon.

Inside American Dream - Visiting American Dream 2021
Inside the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Many retail jobs that disappeared during the pandemic might not return, says commerce secretary

Vice President Kamala arris and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo browsing in a Providence bookstore wearing masks
VP Kamala Harris and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo browse in Books on the Square in Rhode Island.

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.

There’s also been an uptick in “rage-quitting” among workers, including frontline retail employees. Others were using labor shortages to secure higher pay.

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.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Gap could shutter even more US stores after closing 81 in the UK, analysts warn. ‘We’re in for some radical right-sizing.’

A Gap employee packs shopping in a bag while a customer pays
Gap is closing its UK stores.

  • Retail analysts are worried that Gap will be forced to close even more stores in North America.
  • Gap said Wednesday that it’s shuttering all its 81 stores in the UK and Ireland.
  • One analyst also said that Gap’s new Yeezy and Walmart lines smacked of “desperation.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York, Paris, Milan, London: the fashion capitals of the world. The four cities are home to the flagship stores of every clothes retailer with designs on the global market.

Yet Gap, the international retail icon famed for its laid-back American style, will soon be gone from London: it said this week that it’s closing all its 81 stores in the UK and Ireland. And in Paris and Milan, Gap’s future is uncertain: it’s in talks to offload some or all of its French and Italian businesses.

It’s no secret that Gap has been closing stores in North America for years amid falling sales. There were 552 Gap stores in the region at the end of May this year – precisely half the number there were a decade earlier, company figures show. In October last year, it set out plans to shutter 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores in North America by 2023.

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.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Grocery stores are pulling perishable food, covering aisles in plastic sheets, and running sprinklers on store roofs as they battle the record heat wave

Washington grocery stores cover refrigerated aisles to lock in the cool air
Washington grocery stores cover refrigerated aisles to lock in the cool air

  • Grocers in Washington state have been forced to stop selling some refrigerated goods amid a heat wave.
  • The heat makes it hard for air conditioning and refrigeration units to maintain low temperatures.
  • Some Fred Meyers covered refrigerated goods in plastic to keep in the cool air, according to pictures posted to social media.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

80 truly unique gifts your girlfriend will love, from an art kit to an astrology necklace

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

hydro flask $29.95

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.*

Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakery

Tiemless gifts Milk Bar sampler

Milk Bar Treats, from $42

Milk Bar delivers its decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to your doorstep.

A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classes

classpass

ClassPass Gift Card, from $19

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

disposable camera

Disposable camera, $35.50

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.

The best electric toothbrush

Three Hum Electric Toothbrushes on a red background

Electric toothbrush, $64.99

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. 

Silky, breathable leggings

Everlane Performance Leggings

Everlane Leggings, $58

Everlane’s Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they’re breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here.

A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklace

Mejuri, $80

Zodiac Necklace, available at Mejuri, $90

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.  

A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxes

Gifts for girlfriend Disney+ bundle

Hulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+ESPN+, and Hulu, from $7.99 per month

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

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Foreo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59

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. 

A Dutch oven to elevate their bread game

Enameled Dutch Oven

Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $69.90

Did they get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate their game. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rackaccording to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne.

Her favorite specialty food straight from the source

goldbelly

Order her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $26

Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior’s, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. 

The best socks she’ll ever wear

Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3 Pack

Bombas Women’s Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $48

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.

A powerful, customizable massage gun

Theragun

Theragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599

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.

An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your home

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Always Pan, available at Our Place, $145

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.

A membership to a huge outdoor co-op

REI lifetime membership

REI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REI

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.

The best bathrobe that money can buy

Gifts for girlfriend Snowe bathrobe

Bathrobe, available at Snowe, $100

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

Tile Pro

Tile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99

When they can’t find their phone, all they have to do is click their Tile button to make their phone ring, even if it’s on silent. We’ve found them especially useful lately

16 highly-rated sheet masks

Gifts for girlfriend Dermal

Sheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $24.99

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.   

A lounge set to relax in

Gift guides Lively

The Cozy Lounge Kit, available at LIVELY, $95 (originally $123) [You save $28]

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.

*Sponsored by LIVELY

A standing desk for a home office upgrade

Gifts for girlfriend Jarvis Standing Desk

Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $519

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 Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Fitbit, $99.95

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.

Hand sanitizer that smells good

hand sanitizer touchland orange

Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $12

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

Felix Gray

Faraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95

Help mitigate some of the strain from constant screens with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with their sleep.

The convenience of Apple AirPods

Apple Airpods

Apple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $159.99

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

gifts for girlfriend

Matching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42

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. 

A 215-piece art kit for creative projects

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Art 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.99

This 215-Piece art kit includes crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint for endless art projects. 

A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startup

cuyana, $115

Leather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $95 (+ $15 for monogram)

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

Made In frying pan lid

Silicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59

This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If they love to cook and have a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move. 

A convenient phone sanitizer

PhoneSoap Black Friday

PhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95

This small device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs. It’s easy to use, and it could help give you and your partner a bit more peace of mind.

A year-long MasterClass membership to learn new things

masterclass serena williams

Annual Membership, available at MasterClass, $180/year

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 site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here.

The new Sonos Move portable speaker

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Sonos Move, available at Best Buy, $400

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.

A weighted blanket for better rest

ynm weighted blanket

YnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $49.80

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

Gifts for girlfriend Cameo

Cameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15

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. 

Beautiful candles from a cool startup

Gifts for girlfriend Otherland

Otherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36

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.

The last weekend bag you’ll ever need to buy her

Rothy's The Weekender Bag

Rothy’s The Weekender, available at Rothy’s, $450

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.  

The “world’s most comfortable shoes”

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Women’s Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $95 

The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we’d also highly recommend the brand’s casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that’s more your partner’s style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here.

A customized map of her favorite place

grafomap, $49+

Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49

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.

A gift card to a popular wine subscription club

Winc, from $60

Gift Card, available at Winc, from $60

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. 

An exercise bike for staying active indoors

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Commercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,999

If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. 

We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200

A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memory

Gifts for girlfriend Artifact Uprising

Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $20

Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $20, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $25.

A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 seconds

Gifts for mom Daily Harvest

Gift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $55

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

The best hair dryer ever invented

gifts for girlfriend

Dyson Blow Dryer, available at Sephora, $399

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.

A framed keepsake of a favorite memory

Framebridge sale

Framed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45

Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25

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

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Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240

Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.

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

hydro flask $29.95

Hydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95

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

Knix Cozzzy Track Suit

Knix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75

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.

The internet’s favorite olive oil

Gifts for girlfriend Brightland

Awake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37

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

Gifts for girlfriend Manduka

Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, $45.83

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

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We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30

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.

A comfortable cable-knit sweater

United By Blue

United By Blue Recycled Cotton Fisherman Sweater, $99.99

A cable-knit or fisherman’s sweater is a wardrobe staple that’ll last for years. United By Blue’s take on the classic piece is made from recycled cotton and is super soft.

A satin-lined beanie

Kink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie

Kink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $44.99

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.

We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair

Rihanna’s bestselling Fenty skincare set

Fenty Skin Start'rs Full Size Bundle

Fenty Skin Start’rs Full-Size Bundle, $75

Rihanna’s bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything you’ll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here.

A bottle (or two) of wine

McBride Sisters wine

McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99

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

Airbnb glass house

Airbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25

If you want to gift an experience for the two of you to enjoy together, grab a birthday card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come with a few location ideas with safe driving distance in mind. 

You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. 

*This gift can be saved and used at a later date.

A cashmere crew from Everlane that she’ll own forever

gifts for girlfriend

The Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $50

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. 

A small cold brew coffee maker

cold brew coffee gifts for girlfriend

Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $37.75

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. 

A comfy zip-up for the months ahead

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Better Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139

Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We’re also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option.

A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhere

amazon kindle paperwhite $130

Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99

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, $21

Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30

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. 

A funny and unique card

Gifts for girlfriend Etsy

You Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.28

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. 

A fun, unique local date

Gifts under $10 Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10

Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you’d normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.

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

Gifts for girlfriend pillowcase

100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, available at Walmart, from $29.59

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

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Silver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149

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. 

We’d also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.  

Beautiful earrings she’ll own forever

Sparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies

Sparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395

They’re solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that she can wear them every day.

A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per month

birchbox

Birchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45

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, $75

Lola Toiletries Pouch, available at Dagne Dover, from $75

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

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Brynn Zip Around Wallet, available at Italic, $50

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

Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $39.99

Roku’s Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV.

A subscription to a famous book club that sends her great hardcovers once per month

book of the month $44.99

3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99

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.

If she’s really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).

Fancy popcorn and a movie night

gifts for her

Amish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95

Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on her favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants.

A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombs

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Bath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $33.89

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

Driftaway, $40

3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $44

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

Amazon gifts under $50 LLOGM

Love Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95

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 beautiful diamond necklace she’ll have forever

Gifts for girlfriend Aurate

Diamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320

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. 

Personalized cartoon couple mugs

Personalized Family Mugs

Personalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30

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. 

Lush, subtly scented body wash

necessaire body products 2

Necessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25

New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave their skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished. 

A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the go

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Caraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250

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.

An award-winning at-home facial

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Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80

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

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Wine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $20

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 Luggage Monogram

Carry-On, available at Away, $225

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

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Gift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50

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). 

Read the original article on Business Insider