Caution on LED rebates
The Design Lights Consortium implemented a new version of its LED specifications (DLC 4.2) last year. For most LED products, it required improved efficacy (increased lumens per watt). Products that did not meet the specification were removed from the DLC list (as of April 1, 2017).
DLC is very important when rebates come into play, according to BriteSwitch, which help businesses take advantage of rebates and incentive programs, as 70% to 85% of the rebate programs in the U.S. (depending on the product category) require LED products to be DLC approved to qualify for rebates. There is a new level of complexity as each program has different policies regarding the transition to DLC 4.2, advised the company. Numerous rebate programs have said, however, that only DLC 4.2 approved products can be used to qualify for rebates. In these areas, it is crucial to verify the product being used is on the most current DLC 4.2 list.
“It is very important to know your specific rebate program, what they allow, and the qualifications of the product you are using,” BriteSwitch said in a posting on its website. “You have to do your homework which will usually require reading the fine print and calling the rebate implementer. Also, we have noticed many rebate programs recently revising their policy without any notice due to customer feedback so you must stay up to date.”
Plus-size ‘inclusive’ fashion start-up gets new funding; showrooms coming
Universal Standard, the plus-size “inclusive” women’s apparel brand known for its sleek, stylish fashions and unusual return policy, is looking to expand — in several different directions.
The company, which launched in 2015, announced it has closed a $7 million round of Series A funding. The funding round was led by Imaginary Ventures with additional participation from actress Gwyneth Paltrow; Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms shoes; and Sweetgreen co-founders Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet.
Universal Standard plans to use the new capital to extend its size range from the current sizes 10 to 28 to sizes 6 to 32, and to add new executives. The company also plans to expand its showroom format nationwide. It currently has two showrooms, in New York and Los Angeles and open by appointment only, where customers can shop the full collection and consult one-on-one with in-house stylists.
In addition, Universal Standard wants to expand into new categories. The brand recently launched its first activewear collection, a five-piece line that sells from $45 to $85.
One of Universal Standard’s most notable — and unusual — features is its size-exchange policy, which it calls “Universal Fit Liberty.” Here is how the company describes it:
“Whether you’re a size 6, 16, or 26, weight fluctuates. It can go up and down creating not only an emotional rollercoaster, but a financial burden. If a piece from our core collection no longer fits due to size fluctuation, we’ll replace it with your new size, within a year of purchase, for free.”
The gently worn, returned clothing is cleaned and then donated to Dress For Success, a non-profit group that helps homeless and low-income women gain the skills needed to find living-wage jobs.
Asian eyewear retailer in U.S. debut
A fashion-forward eyewear brand based in Hong Kong has dropped anchor in the United States.
Mujosh has opened three U.S. locations, with stores at Stoneridge Mall, Pleasanton, California; and one at Westfield, San Francisco; and Glendale Galleria, Los Angeles. The brand is known for its innovative stylings which position eyewear as much as a fashion accessory as a tool to improve eyesight.
“The opening of the stores in the United States represent a significant milestone in the ongoing global business expansion for Mujosh,” the company said. “With its cutting-edge style and innovative spirit in both products and business models, the fashion eyewear brand is confidently bringing in a new exciting brand concept to the traditional eyewear market of the United States.”
Founded in 2010, Mujosh operates over 800 specialty stores located in high-end shopping malls and department stores covering Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, and Canada. The brand’s in-house designers are based in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Korea.