Thursday, October 29, 2009

american muslim consumer conference

this saturday, oct 31 - admittedly, halloween - is the first american-muslim consumer conference.

even the fact that it exists in itself, is a thrilling event.

given the current vagaries of the economy, when you discover an entire affluent group of consumers who are literally LONGING to be targeted - why would you ignore them?

here's the thing - muslim-americans spend money - our value as consumers is estimated as $179 billion to $200 billion - and we are educated, tolerant, open to marketing and desperate to see ourselves well-portrayed in the media.

even the discreet, small-scale advertising targeted toward muslim-american consumers has been incredibly effective - we come out in force when we see ourselves recognized. resulting sales have been proven to increase 2-400%. on a larger scale, imagine the possibilities...

and here's the thing - targeting muslim-americans needn't be just selling halal food - the quran exhorts humans to look after the earth, perfectly synchronicitous with the green movement in marketing.

the quran also asks that we treat workers fairly, that we give charity, that we help people with our consumption - a perfect segue into fair trade products, products that help struggling people succeed, products that give back in so many ways.

muslim-friendly financial products could involve a share in profits and losses, a responsibility for social and environmental effects.

muslim-friendly clothing is not only modest, it's organic, it's fair-trade, it's attractive and it doesn't overtax our resources.

muslim-friendly books aren't just based on islam - they are books that espouse values that help us to be better, healthier, kinder and more well-adjusted people...

all right, corporations, we're practically putting this in your laps. on your marks, get set, sell!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

let's get retarded in here

feeling uneasy & anxious today. something's got to change.

admittedly, i have the patience of a fruit fly.

but post-pilates yesterday, we were all sitting around discussing the economy, the way the super-rich are manipulating the poor - through technology, drug testing, money, precious metals, etc - and all the current scams.

and i was drained.

i just wanted to go shopping. i want to see bright colors and shiny objects. i want sparkling party dresses and high-heeled shoes. i want a week in disneyworld where absolutely everything is clean and happy and insignificant.

suddenly, after a year, i was desperate to go into a department store, a huge, glistening emporium of gifts and pleasure. i want to be distracted and entertained on a scale so large and insincere it brightens up all the dark, depressing corners of my mind. even it's only temporary.

this is why, if you're a retailer, it's so important to say, "oh look, we've got all this fun stuff! come see!" it's important to be the retail equivalent of a movie like "knocked-up" or "pineapple express" - so incredibly amusing and silly and smiling that you brighten everyone's mood - without leaving them with the sour feeling of having been scammed or driven into debt in the aftermath. (because then they won't come back).

that's the rising appeal of places like topshop or designer collaborations with target, wal-mart & kohl's - it's a carnival, it's ethereal, immediate and fabulous - but you always feel you've had value for your limited funds.

that's what i want right now.

a cheap thrill.

Monday, October 5, 2009

let me in!

been thinking about high-end luxury brands especially after reading that jimmy choo is going to come out with a total lifestyle brand.

and wondering (like pam danziger's astute readings) whether it is really necessary.

we are all - even shopping addicts like myself - shopping differently. we think twice, even on impulse purchases. every penny saved is really a penny saved. i find myself only parting with cash when i feel something is absolutely necessary, even when i can afford it.

or one-time only rare and remarkable. i am drawn to temporary pop-up shops, to ethereal and immediate collaborations between low and high - vera wang for kohl's, norma kamali for wal-mart, alexander wang for gap, mcqueen for target and christopher kane for topshop... years ago, i stood in line in the pouring rain for HOURS to get the anya hindmarch bags for wholefoods - i would still do that today.

there is the thrill of the chase, the idea that something is only available for a minute, the sense that i am clever for recognizing a historical event and becoming a part of it.

but there is the other thing - something that was previously out of my reach - either economically or psychology, just offered me a step up.

suddenly, as a brand, it is no longer cold, it is both re-invigorated, fresh and friendly.

as a consumer, i felt i had a personal invitation to come inside.

when an otherwise unapproachable luxury house like gucci, prada, louis vuitton or chanel creates an affordable and totally surprising collaboration, we'll feel like the door is open.

now they are speaking to ME.

and next time i have a bit more money to invest - i'll walk through the heavy glass doors into the icy showroom and feel the heat of desire because the brand has turned its perfect gaze to us...