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The Good News You Need Right Now

Good news is hard to come by these days. Daily headlines about the unrelenting Covid-19 death count, rising spikes in infection, record unemployment, thousands of businesses going bust and schools nationwide in a quandary over how to reopen (if at all) has the country in the deepest of funks. Making matters more stressful, social unrest has amplified the anger and anxiety levels to an 11. The bad news can be too much to bear at times. It’s why mental health experts advise taking time for family and friends, exercising, eating well, pursuing hobbies and actively seeking out good news. The latter can lower blood pressure and, perhaps best of all, make you laugh, quite possibly the best medicine.

So allow me to suggest a few good news sources: John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” YouTube channel, CNN’s “The Good Stuff” Saturday newsletter, The Washington Post’s “The Daily Break” (an uplifting story per day sent to subscribers’ inboxes) and a host of Instagram profiles, including @sunny_side_news, @goodnews_movement and @upworthy, that deliver good news, in full. Consider it your recommended daily dose of vitamin G!

There’s also plenty of good news to be found in this issue of Earnshaw’s. Kevin Murray, president of Rylee + Cru (p. 16), proudly shares the story behind the brand’s first-ever diversity advisory board, part of its ongoing shift to be a more inclusive and inspirational company. What began as backlash on the verge of going viral was turned into a force of good, Murray says. We also polled leading retailers from across the country about their Spring ’21 buying plans. The good news is, yes, they are planning to buy merchandise! Far from doom and gloom, they’re embracing virtual marketplaces in search of fresh brands. They refuse to let the pandemic paralyze them. Similarly, buyers have been taking a proactive approach to the back-to-school season (p. 6), one that’s been turned on its head amid the new normal. The good news is despite many schools shifting to remote learning formats that have eaten into shoes and clothing sales, new opportunities are picking up the slack. Tech, educational toys and loungewear are three examples.

More good news: the warm, fuzzy story behind Lucy’s Love Blankets (p. 40), a nonprofit launched in 2017 by 11-year-old Lucy Blaylock. The kid with a big heart sews blankets for children suffering from medical conditions and emotional hardships around the world. To date, 600 blankets have been shipped to 16 countries and counting. And in the last couple of months, she’s expanded into sewing face masks for front-line workers. Blaylock reveals how the effort has evolved into a family affair, bringing everyone closer while creating a greater good. 

I remember my parents telling me that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I didn’t take too much stock in the colloquial phrase back then, but I see the sweet simplicity to it now. Life can be loaded with lemons, but you have to try and squeeze out some good whenever possible. So with back-to-school, Halloween and the holidays looking like a tsunami of lemons, opportunities still exist. It’s up to us as an industry to find and profit off them. Like Zoom costume parties and virtual pop-ups. New research from Aspire IQ states that 2.5 times more people say they’ll shop exclusively online versus last year. Similarly, Namogoo states that 41 percent of consumers will replace back-to-school in-store shopping with online. And as we approach the holidays, fancy dresses and spiffy Mary Janes may not fly off the shelves like usual, but coordinated PJs and slippers look to be huge sellers, as well as other cozy, stay-at-home items. Be sure to read our holiday Trend Watch, “Home for the Holidays” (p. 20) for some good sales opportunities.

Indeed, opportunities always abound, and it’s our job to present or create them. Like the latest edition of Earnshaw’s Buyer Box shipping in September! We are bringing a handpicked trade show to the doorsteps of select leading retailers nationwide. Our box is chockful of innovative and enchanting Spring ’21 products for tots to tweens from established brands and some up-and-comers. We’ll also be expanding our engaging webinar series this fall as well as introducing more engaging and informative digital content. Stay tuned.

The good news is I firmly believe our industry will get through this lemons-loaded year—just like it has survived previous sour times, be it depressions, recessions, wars and pandemics. Don’t just take my word for it, take it from the magazine that reported on how the industry weathered through the Spanish Flu in 1918 and all the other crises that have been overcome since. Because babies will continue to be born. Children will grow out of clothing. Special occasions and milestones will always be celebrated. And new and exciting trends and products will come to the forefront. It’s all good news for our beloved industry. 

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