Allbirds will use new funding to fuel expansion
The maker of what it calls “the world’s most comfortable shoes” has closed on new funding that should help it expand its fledgling brick-and-mortar presence.
Allbirds, the eco-friendly online footwear brand with a fast-growing following, announced that it has closed Series C funding of $50 million, led by T. Rowe Price Investment Management, Fidelity Management & Research Company and Tiger Global. The new round brings the company’s total funding to more than $75 million.
Allbirds, which launched online in 2014, currently operates two physical stores, one in its San Francisco hometown and the other in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. It is set to make its European debut next week, opening a store in London’s Covent Garden area. According to reports, Allbirds plans to open more U.S. locations during the next year.
The company plans to put its new funding toward retail expansion as well as towards research and development of sustainable footwear products.
Allbird’s signature footwear is made from renewable Merino wool. (The company says that the wool minimizes odor, regulates temperature, and wicks moisture.) The brand has expanded its product lineup from two items — a “lounger” and a casual sneaker — with a sneaker called Tree Runners. It is made of naturally derived and renewable eucalyptus tree fiber, and SweetFoam flip-flops, which are made out of a sugar-based outsole material.
Survey: Discount stores attract all ages, incomes
Everyone loves a bargain.
Nearly all U.S. consumers regularly visit discount retailers to find a bargain, according to the latest issue of the quarterly Consumer View report by the National Retail Federation. In a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults, 89% said they shop at various types of discount retailers, ranging from dollar stores to thrift stores to off-pricers. Of those, 58% reported shopping at dollar stores, 50% at off-price stores like Ross or T.J. Maxx and discount grocers like Aldi or Lidl, 44% at outlet stores and 36% at thrift stores.
The survey found that discount store shopping has wide appeal that cuts across income groups and ages. Eighty-nine percent of those making under $50,000 a year said they shop at various discount retailers along with 88% of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 and 90% of those making over $100,000. Bargain shoppers include 93% of both Millennials (born from 1981 to 1994) and Generation Z (born in 1995 or later) over the age of 18.
“Looking for the best price is a habit that cuts across almost every demographic,” NRF VP for research development and industry analysis Mark Mathews said. “Regardless of income or generation, virtually everyone wants a bargain whether it’s for everyday necessities or big-ticket splurges. Even those who can afford to shop elsewhere love finding a ‘steal,’ and it’s a habit that’s here to stay.”
In other survey findings:
• Clothing is the product shoppers are most likely to purchase at bargain retailers, cited by 75% of those surveyed, followed by groceries (71%), home décor and furnishings (62%), personal care and beauty products (60 percent) and electronics (52%).
• There are regional differences among value shoppers, with 38% living in the South, 23% in the West, 21% in the Midwest and 18% in the Northeast. Shoppers are almost evenly divided among men (47%) and women (53%), and 46% have children.
• Value shopping is a way of life for those surveyed, with 43% going to a discount grocer weekly, 66% visiting a dollar store at least twice a month and 58% shopping at an outlet at least once a month. And 63% are buying more items on sale than they did five years ago.
• Value consumers are “willing to give up almost anything for the satisfaction of a good bargain,” with three-quarters or more not expecting buy online/pick up in-store, free two-day shipping, product reviews or an “entertaining” shopping experience.
“Off-price and discount shopping took off during the recession as price-conscious consumers looked to save on everything from brand-name goods to everyday household purchases,” the report said. “Now, eight years into the economic recovery, consumers continue to hunt for deals and discounts.”
Managing Hazardous Waste When Natural Disasters Strike
Hurricanes damage buildings, lives and communities—and they can also have a significant impact on retailers. It can be very difficult for a business to reopen its doors after a disaster, especially if it is unprepared to withstand the damaging effects. So what should retailers be doing to protect their businesses?
For one, business owners must be aware of the different effects a natural disaster can have on a business. While financial devastation, building destruction and displaced families are obvious effects of natural disasters, many business owners don’t realize that hazardous spills and leaks are also a likely consequence of large and small-scale disasters.
To safeguard facilities, retailers must start thinking about cleanup before disaster strikes. To reduce the risks of injury, environmental harm or regulatory penalties, business owners should develop a disaster response plan to ensure proper hazardous waste management.
Here is a guide for how retailers can prepare for the worst and develop a hazardous waste disaster response plan with regards to hazardous waste.
Preparation is key when it comes to safely and compliantly handling emergency spills. Proactive planning will not only help to protect facilities, but it can also lessen health risks to your customers and staff and reduce environmental liability.
Hazardous leaks and spills can be the result of several factors, too. From fierce winds to extreme flooding, facility managers should understand the numerous ways an emergency spill could take place and prepare for all possibilities. For example, a flooded retail store means products – which may contain hazardous materials – become damaged or are deemed unsellable or unsalvageable. A proper disaster response plan would involve segregating products according to waste stream and appropriately disposing of them.
In order to prepare facilities to withstand any effect of a hurricane, it’s imperative a disaster response plan is created.
Several factors must be taken into consideration in order to create these plans. From securing all hazardous chemicals safely outside of potential flooding areas, to identifying what hazardous wastes could be generated and understanding what type of reporting and paperwork must be completed after an incident, there are many elements that should be considered.
Ultimately, one of the best ways a retailer can protect itself against a natural disaster is to prepare before a storm ever strikes.
If a known storm is on its way, retailers should remove hazardous waste when possible from stores. However, that can be an unmanageable task if a hurricane is coming your way. If unable to remove all hazardous materials, there are safety precautions that must be followed.
Solids and powders should be covered in plastic and secured properly, and the correct lids should be firmly fastened on containers. Containment areas should be set up and properly cleaned. Known waste areas should also be cleared out in advance of a major storm. Whenever possible, move hazardous wastes into higher storage areas and ensure that storage containment such as flammable liquids cabinets are adequately closed.
Even when total removal of hazardous waste is impossible from a site, it’s important that necessary steps are taken to properly secure materials and protect against potential storm damage.
An important aspect of an emergency response plan is to ensure members of emergency response teams possess extensive and specialized knowledge of hazardous substances and waste management.
After contamination, trained employees should examine materials to determine whether or not they need to be disposed of. After all, not all damaged products need disposing of, as they might be able to be sent to a salvage facility where they can be donated to an organization in need. Even if your business can’t resell the product, don’t just assume it needs to be thrown away.
For hazardous materials that must be profiled for disposal, it’s vital they’re processed and handled appropriately. Sampling and analytical testing must be completed and it should be determined whether or not materials should be recycled or repurposed in order to reduce the total amount of waste resulting from an emergency response cleanup.
Hazardous waste management can be complex. To mitigate the stressors of emergency response cleanup, retailers should find an experienced third-party emergency response partner. A knowledgeable waste management partner will allow retailers to reopen affected locations as quickly as possible.
By engaging an emergency response team prior to hurricane season, businesses can receive valuable insight from these experts that will help minimize spills and any damage inflicted by severe weather. It also helps to following partner recommendations to move and secure hazardous materials before the storm arrives to alleviate any emergency response expenses.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that without a preexisting agreement in place for an emergency response partner, it could take longer to service and assess a business, as their priority will be to tend to customers first. Therefore, it is important to find the best emergency response partner for your retail location before hurricane season begins, rather than waiting until the damage has been done.
Hurricanes can have a long-lasting impact on a business. By taking the proper precautions to prepare ahead of time, retailers can ensure their stores are able to reopen doors after a natural disaster as quickly as possible.
Maricha Ellis is VP of marketing and sales operations for Stericycle Environmental Solutions, which assists customers with hazardous waste transportation and disposal, industrial cleanup, household hazardous waste, site restoration, emergency response services and more.