February 7, 2015

As the world’s manufacturing superpower, China is home to thousands of factories producing millions of items each day. Keeping track of all that industrial output is far from easy, though. With little oversight to monitor them, some Chinese factories make knock-off or simply poor quality products, and then sell them to retailers as if they were up to standard.

While pirated items are mainly a headache for the company that gets ripped off, products made cheaply or without regard for Continue reading

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January 11, 2015

For decades the brand name Timberland has been synonymous with rugged outdoor footwear. At least, that’s how some people see the iconic boot company. If you’re a hip hop fan, you may associate “Timbs” with the dozens of rappers who have name-dropped the brand over the years. And if you happen to be Italian, you’re more likely to wear Timberland boots for a fashionable stroll about town, not a long hike in the woods.

All these overlapping interpretations of Timberland’s Continue reading

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January 7, 2015

For decades it seemed like nothing could stop McDonald’s march towards total fast food domination. By the time 2011 rolled around, the company was boasting eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth while also holding the title of top performing stock on the Dow for five years running. But just when everything seemed to be going right for the chain, the golden arches started to lose their shimmer. Changing consumer tastes and a rocky transition between CEOs are leading towards Continue reading

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January 5, 2015

Movie theaters have worried about being phased out by home entertainment even before the VCR started dominating living rooms in the 1980s. While Hollywood has largely continued to thrive over the decades despite these fears, today the rise of streaming video presents movie theaters with their greatest challenge yet. The industry is especially afraid of losing touch with young moviegoers who are growing up with on-demand services like Netflix and Spotify. The cracks may already be showing: attendance of movie Continue reading

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December 19, 2014

Fitting rooms provide brick and mortar clothing retailers with one of their few advantages over online outlets. After all, consumers are more likely to purchase an item that they have actually tried own versus something they’ve only seen on a screen. But that doesn’t necessarily mean people will buy everything they bring with them into the changing room. In fact, many consumers will simply give up on an item if it doesn’t fit them immediately.

In order to reverse these Continue reading

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December 13, 2014

 

In past posts, we’ve taken a look at the rise of mobile ads and how they were starting to beat out older forms of media for marketing dollars. Despite this growing dominance, however, the overall effectiveness of mobile ads remains suspect. For many they’re little more than a nuisance, something along the margins of the screen that can be easily ignored. Others see them as an intrusion on their privacy given the way that many mobile ads target certain Continue reading

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December 10, 2014

When Michael Garrity founded CommunityLend in 2010, he thought his company was in a perfect position to capture an untapped market. After all, the 2008 financial crisis made many banks wary of lending too much cash, presenting a golden opportunity to non-traditional operations like CommunityLend. Plus, the company’s peer-to-peer model was the first of its kind in Garrity’s home country of Canada, marking a major advantage for the startup.

Despite these benefits, though, CommunityLend had trouble finding qualified borrowers for Continue reading

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November 25, 2014

 

In a world of Amazon and e-readers, there’s just not much room for independent bookstores. Over the past five years, mom and pop bookshops have seen revenues decrease by an average of 3.2 percent annually. But not every company in this discouraging industry is feeling the squeeze. In fact, the Dallas-based retailer Half Price Books is growing at a rate of five stores per year. Revenues rose from $50 million in 1995 to $240 million in 2013, remarkably avoiding Continue reading

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November 23, 2014

From making repairs to keeping the gas tank filled, owning a car is a pricey enterprise for many people. But of all the expenses required for auto ownership, perhaps none is more frustrating than paying for insurance. Not only is the service expensive, it’s also rarely needed until something goes seriously wrong with your car. Matters are even worse for people like Greg Muender, a San Diego tech entrepreneur who works from home. Even though he clocks in as few Continue reading

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November 18, 2014

Thanks to increased domestic production and a period of relative market stability, gas prices have been dropping across the country. Still, no matter how low the price at the pump goes, fueling up with compressed natural gas will almost always be a better value. Those who own a vehicle that can run on the alternative fuel pay an average of $1.70 less per gallon than those who use standard petroleum. Of course, not many people out there own a natural Continue reading

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