Sales Trends That You Need To Know About

The world of sales has been rapidly changing in the last few years as new technology evolved and became more accessible to businesses and sales teams across niches. The question is, what will 2019 bring to the table? What will be the biggest trends in sales happening in 2019?

In this blog post, I’m going to talk about 4 sales trends that you need to know about in 2019.

1.    Selling to the new generation: Generation Z

Millennials used to be the “new” generation that marketers and sales people needed to start focusing on – and while millennials are definitely increasing in terms of buying power, there is a new generation emerging that both marketers and sales people need to be aware of:

Generation Z.

This generation is formed of those born anywhere from the mid-90’s to the mid-2000’s so the oldest in their early 20s while the youngest are just barely teenagers right now. Of course, the bigger focus should be on the older of the Generation Z who are gaining more and more buying power. Currently, Gen Z account for approximately $29 – $143 billion in direct spending, and they are well on their way to becoming the biggest generation of consumers by 2020, which is right around the corner.

So, how does this affect sales? Well, this generation is quite different from previous generations, at least in some respect. For example, they were born with access to incredible technology and grew up using social media, smartphones, online shopping and all kinds of other technologies on a daily basis. They also care a lot about worldwide issues and their own impact on the world, particularly when it comes to environmental issues.

Plus, there’s one very interesting statistic that might surprise many people: some studies show that Generation Z actually prefers brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping (57% said they prefer online shopping).

How do you sell to this generation though?

The secret stands in understanding who forms this generation and what they care about – the more you learn about them, the easier it will be to come up with the best approach to sell to them.

2.    A more strategic approach to sales enablement

One way or another, every sales team gets at least little bit of sales enablement, whether it’s the software they get to help them sell more efficiently or occasional training sessions. That said, there’s certainly been a lot of growth in this area in the past couple of years, with more and more businesses and organizations implementing sales enablement strategies, a trend which is very likely to continue in the coming year.

But, what’s more, there will also be a more strategic approach to sales enablement:

  •      An actual strategy and plan with clear objectives and certain steps to be taken
  •      A bigger focus on helping sales people develop their top skills and become better at their job
  •      An easier way to onboard new sales people and help them jump right into selling
  •      More focus on new technology that can aid the sales enablement process as well as individual sales people to sell more

How do you stay on top of this trend?

In order to stay of this trend, take the time to really plan out a sales enablement strategy, from helping to onboard new sales people as efficiently as possible to consistent coaching to your existing sales people.

Make use of technology like MindTickle to implement your strategy, as well as to leverage data as part of your sales enablement strategy. You’ll be able to create onboarding and coaching programs, simulated sales scenarios to help develop your sales people’s skills, plus you have access to Artificial Intelligence to help you maximize your efficiency and results and access to in-depth analytics to help you discover any knowledge or skill gaps that need your attention.

3.    Machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence and sales

Artificial Intelligence has the power to disrupt entire industries – and sales is no exception. For example, I already showed you how AI can help with sales enablement and coaching. There are definitely a lot of ways that AI will continue to impact the world of sales in 2019, though.

The more you can implement Artificial Intelligence into the tools you use to sell, as well as into your day to day strategy, the bigger the impact on your productivity will be.

Here are the main ways that AI can help salespeople be more productive:

  •      The ability to analyse huge amounts of data in a very short time will help you personalize your sales strategy
  •      Get recommendations based on massive amounts of data, thus saving time with following up and reaching out to the right people
  •      Predict the future – with access to so much data, plus the ability to analyse this data, comes a great power: the ability to predict the future. What will your next quarter look like based on your past work? What can you do to improve the results of your next quarter?

How can you leverage Artificial Intelligence?

AI is fortunately becoming more and more accessible by the minute. While the more complex systems might be out of range for the regular business, plenty of “regular” sales tools are implementing more AI-based features, such as CRM tools and prospecting tools.

If you want to also learn about your leads and prospects as well as accurately analyse your data, you can use tools like MissingLink to automate deep learning.

4.    Moving towards the omni-channel experience

Earlier, I talked about Generation Z – the new generation of buyers that is rapidly gaining a huge buying power in the market.

One of the things that these younger generation expect more and more is an integrated experience across all of a business’s channels. The new generations use various devices at any given moment, they research products and services online extensively before they buy and they often demand personalized experiences that flow seamlessly from channel to channel.

This trend towards omni-channel marketing and creating omni-channel experiences has a huge impact on sales. Most importantly when it comes to the relationship between a sales department and a marketing department. While these departments are (historically) quite clearly separate, the move towards omni-channel marketing demands a much closer relationship between the 2.

How do you create more omni-channel experiences from a sales point of view?

There is a lot that needs to be done in order to develop a true omni-channel experience for all of your customers:

  •      Identifying all the platforms and channels your audience uses and leveraging them
  •      Creating a seamless transition between all channels and platforms that audiences have access to (for example, if a lead starts a conversation via text messages while they’re on the bus or train but then want to change the channel once they get home, then they should be able to do as seamlessly as possible, without wasting any time)
  •      Finding ways to integrate technology such as social media into bricks-and-mortar stores

From a sales point of view, the most important thing is to collaborate with the marketing department. It’s not just a case of marketers updating sales people on progress or sending them leads occasionally, but rather a truly close relationship where the 2 parties actually collaborate, as sales and marketing are more intertwined than ever.

Conclusion

In order to improve productivity and overall sales, it’s important to stay on top of trends and implement new technologies and new tactics, such as:

  •      Learning how to sell to Generation Z
  •      Implementing a sales enablement strategy to help your sales team be more productive
  •      Leveraging new technology like AI and machine learning to improve sales and knowledge
  •      Integrating marketing and sales and developing more omni-channel experiences for your audience

What sales trends are you most excited about?

HR trends

1. Personalisation

Historically HR has focused very much on standardisation and “One-Size-Fits-All”. Making the shift to an approach where the individual needs, wishes and capabilities of candidates and employees are the starting point is difficult. Traditionally, many HR-practices take the needs of the organisation as the starting point. An example is recruitment: we have an organisation structure, with a hierarchy, and well-defined jobs. Next step: how do we find the candidates that can fill the vacancy? Another example: most onboarding processes are designed top-down: what do we want new employees to know when they enter the organisation? The reverse question is hardly ever asked: what can we learn from the new employees who enter the organisation?

Also Learning & Development has a hard time to make the shift to an individualised approach. We still see many programs targeted at groups (e.g. high potentials, senior managers), with a large classroom component.  Office design is an area where the standard approach has backfired. Most of the new office designs now take the different needs of users into account. If you are work better near other people and if you regularly need advice from colleagues, you can work in open space. When you need to concentrate on a complicated report, you can sit alone in a quiet room. For a call with a client, you can find one of the small phone booths.

In 2019 personalisation will get a lot of attention, and employees and organisations will benefit.

2. The Trust issue

Do people trust the organisations they work in? Do employees trust technology? Are people confident the organisations will use technology for their benefit? A recent global survey of Ernst & Young (“Trust in the Workplace“) showed that less than half of the respondents have “a great deal of trust” in their current employers, boss or team/colleagues.

trust in the workplace

The results of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer are a bit more promising: globally 72% of the employees trusted their employers “to do what is right” (see table below for the differences between countries). Trust in government and the media is a lot lower. Cognitive dissonance might be an element in the explanation of the higher trust in employers than in the government and the press. If you do not trust your employer, why do you still work there??

Edelman Trust Barometer

The trust issue needs to be on the 2019 HR agenda, because many of the HR initiatives are designed under the assumption that employees trust the organisation and that employees trust technology. Unfortunately, the trust level might be lower than we expect.

3. Development as a service

What can we learn from football? In football some of the top players hire organisations, as Your Tactical Analyst, to help them with their development.

Your tactical analyst

The provider gathers data about the player (per match), analyses the data and sits with the player to discuss the outcomes and the lessons. The provider is there for the player, paid by the player. The club of the player is not involved. This seems to work well, although some clubs do not like it. The interests of the player (the employee) and the club (the employer) are not totally aligned. The club wants to become champion this year. The player wants to develop into one of the most valuable strikers in the world. The interests of the service provider (Your Tactical Analyst and others) are totally aligned with those of the player. “We are here to help you to become better”.

In business life we have not seen it a lot (a bit in the executive coaching area), but we expect, and hope,  it will come. We see a great perspective for data-driven “Development as a service”.

4. Erosion of the Employee Experience

Recently I published “Trends in Employee Journey Maps“. It is interesting to study these maps. Most of these maps are roads.

employee journey

They look like two-way roads, but in fact you can only go one way. There are no exists, only at the far end of the road. Somewhere there is a big round-about. Only one small exit, and the road designer (the organisation) hopes that you will never find it. The “Employee Experience” is a bit of a hype, and the corporate HR designers have incorporated the employee experience in their designs and interventions. But, as we can see in the majority of the employee journey maps, they have not changed their approach. The approach is top-down, and organisation focused. “If you want an employee experience, we will give you one you will never forget”. They design employee experiences to please the boss, with no real focus on the employee.

The initial starting point of the employee experience concept is very good: how can we give employees an experience that fits with their needs, expectations and capabilities? Unfortunately, it is eroding into a consultancy led framework, trying to fool employees into a journey on a one-way road with no exists, as the brief was “We want to attract and retain our talent” (The Dutch use “Binden en Boeien”, which Google translates into “Tie and Cuff”).

Read: The Erosion of the Employee Experience.

5. No more Paternalism

Often HR takes a very paternalistic and normative approach. “Our leaders and managers should be good coaches”. “We expect our employees to take responsibility for their own development”. “You cannot opt out of life-long learning”. Coaching is a good example. It starts with the global leadership model. These models (often a circle) always contain an element like “Developing People” and/or “Coaching. As an example, below the model of Leadership USA.

Leadership Competency Model

As the reality is that many managers are not good coaches, the next step is training (mandatory). Also, HR designs a process, that forces managers to have coaching sessions with their direct reports at least twice per year. The process is incorporated in the HR System, and when a manager starts her computer in the morning, the chatbot starts talking: “Good morning Tina, it is time for your bi-annual coaching session with (terrible) Tom, I have already scheduled it. Can you please complete the following preparation form?”. This approach is cracking, as it does not work. Neither Task Oriented Tina nor Terrible Tom are happy with the process. Why force people to do things they do not like, and they are not very good at? it is time to consider other approaches.

Tattoos In Workplace?

wearing it on their face a la Mike Tyson. But even if it’s that cute little leprechaun on their ankle, our latest survey results show visible tattoos in the workplace could have a negative effect on your employees’ pot of gold.

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found nearly 40% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo, and body piercings are also a growing means of self-expression among people in this age group. In a perfect world, we would all be judged solely on the merit of our work. But if the 2,675 people we surveyed are any indication, there is a lot more going on when it comes to performance evaluations, raises, promotions, and making character assumptions about professionals based on their appearance.

Are Visible Tattoos in the Workplace Inappropriate?

Who has tattoos in the workplace, what do people find objectionable about them, and do tattoos really affect job opportunities? The results might surprise you.

Of the 2,675 people we surveyed, 12% reported having a visible tattoo that can be seen by managers and co-workers during the workday. Only 3% reported having a visible body piercing (other than an earring).

The biggest takeaways from our survey include a whopping 76% of respondents feel tattoos and piercings negatively affect an applicant’s chances of being hired during a job interview. And more than one-third – 39% of those surveyed – believe employees with tattoos and piercings reflect poorly on their employers. Furthermore, 42% feel visible tattoos are always inappropriate at work, with 55% reporting the same thing about body piercings.

Fortunately, only 4% of those with tattoos and piercings report having faced actual discrimination because of their ink and body art.

Overall, 42% of those surveyed feel any and all visible tattoos are inappropriate at work. That number climbs to 55% for body piercings.

By Age

As you might guess, age plays a huge role in how tattoos and piercings are perceived at work.

The younger generation was most likely to have tattoos, as people age 26-32 edged out the 18-25 demographic by a 22% to 21% margin. That number drops steadily with age, bottoming out at less than 1% for people age 60 and older. For body piercings, the 18-25 age group topped the charts at 11%, compared to a combined 3% of people older than 40. Although respondents in each age group seemed to recognize tattoos and piercings hurt an applicant’s job search chances, there was a very clear difference of opinion regarding the appropriateness of tattoos in the workplace.

In a nutshell, the older you are the less tolerant you become regarding tattoos. Not surprisingly, people 18-25 were the most accepting of tattoos in the office with only 22% claiming they are inappropriate. That percentage jumps in each age group, maxing out at 63% of people age 60 and older finding tattoos objectionable at work.

By Education

Basically, the more educated you are the less likely you are to have or condone tattoos or piercings.

20% of people with tattoos are high school graduates. That number drops slightly to 19% for those with associates degrees but falls to 10% for recipients of bachelor’s degrees. People with advanced degrees are even less likely to have tattoos, as 8% of those with master’s and just 3% of PhD recipients have ink.

Those with high school diplomas were also the least likely to find tattoos inappropriate at 38%, compared to 55% of respondents with a PhD. However, when it comes to body piercings, there was no significant statistical difference between education levels as an average of 56% found them objectionable.

For Women

According to our survey, you’re more likely to have tattoos and piercings if you’re a woman who is single or divorced.

The number of women with tattoos more than doubled men by a 15% to 7% margin. Also, 5% of women have body piercings compared to a mere 1% of men. Interestingly, single and divorced people were far more likely to have ink and piercings as only 9% of married people have tattoos, compared to 16% of respondents who are married and divorced.

By Geography

The Mountain region (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico) has the most people with tattoos at 16%. The area of the US least likely to have people with tattoos is the West South Central (Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana) with 8%.

As for which parts of the country think tattoos are inappropriate, here’s the breakdown:

  • Mountain (ID, MT, WY, NV, UT, CO, AZ, NM): 35%
  • West North Central (MO, ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA): 36%
  • Pacific (AK, WA, OR, CA, HI): 36%
  • New England (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT): 36%
  • Outside the US: 38%
  • Mid-Atlantic (NY, PA, NJ): 38%
  • East South Central (KY, TN, MS, AL): 41%
  • East North Central (WI, MI, IL, IN, OH): 46%
  • South Atlantic (DE, MD, VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL): 48%
  • West South Central (OK, TX, AR, LA): 55%

By Industry

Wondering which industry is most likely to include tattooed workers? That would be the people working in agriculture and ranching. 22% of respondents who said they work in agriculture and ranching reported having tattoos. But in an ironic twist, 67% of those workers found tattoos inappropriate in the workplace — by far the highest percentage of any industry surveyed.
Workers in the hospitality, tourism, and recreation industry were second with 20% of workers tattooed, followed by 16% of people in the arts, media and entertainment industry. Government workers are least likely to be tattooed with only 8% of respondents stating they’re inked. Here’s the full breakdown of tattooed workers by industry:
  • Agriculture/ranching: 22%
  • Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation: 20%
  • Arts, Media, Entertainment: 16%
  • Retail: 14%
  • Finance & Banking: 13%
  • Healthcare: 13%
  • Professional Services: 13%
  • Other: 13%
  • Education, Child Development, Family Services: 12%
  • Manufacturing: 9%
  • Energy & Utilities: 9%
  • Engineering, Design & Construction: 9%
  • Information Technology: 9%
  • Government: 8%

Company Culture

Most people interviewing for new jobs worry about base pay, bonus potential, and benefits. But nearly one-quarter of survey respondents said they take a company’s stance about things like tattoos and piercings into account when making their decision.

23% of all those surveyed said they specifically examine a company’s permissiveness regarding tattoos and piercings when deciding whether or not to accept the job offer. Workers age 60 and older are the age group most influenced by corporate attitudes towards body art, with 31% reporting they are affected by company policy regarding tattoos.

Know your company’s attitudes about tattoos in the workplace and implement the strategy accordingly when hiring. While you should never discriminate based on looks alone, make sure the employee you’re interviewing will be a good cultural fit.

Trends in SEO & Content Marketing

What’s trending in content marketing and SEO these days?

Let’s say this: Content is more important than ever.

More specifically, quality, media type, authenticity, and audience targeting all come into play if you want to win with readers and Google.

Ready to learn more?

These are the five content marketing and SEO trends you need to know.

1. Go Beyond (WAY Beyond) Superficial Content

We’re seeing brands leave superficial content behind in favor of blogs and articles that plumb the depths of a topic.

That means more and more blogs are comprehensive, thoroughly researched and – you guessed it – long.

For instance, look at the SERP for the query [content marketing examples]. The top 4 results have an average length of 2,207 words.

5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing

Furthermore, all these results are chock-full of real-world examples, studies, statistics, and facts.

This research had to be accurately and carefully compiled, referenced, and cited.

This Optinmonster blog (result #2 and a featured snippet) is well-researched, meaning it includes lots of examples, links to sources, and screenshots. It also clocks in at over 3,000 words:

This is what is necessary to rank well with readers and search engines these days.

Still publishing unplanned, unresearched, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants content?

Not going to work anymore. In fact, I could argue this method never worked in the first place.

Superficial content will get you superficial results, at best. There is rarely any value in content that skims the surface of a topic.

No value = no audience interest. No audience interest = no results.

2. Invest in Content Creation Processes

To create best-of-the-best content, more brands than ever are investing in content creation processes.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 B2C research, 56% of content marketers increased spending within the last 12 months on content creation.

5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing

That might involve:

  • Researching keywords and topics.
  • Planning what the content will cover (and why).
  • Writing the content.
  • Optimizing.
  • Editing.
  • Creating graphics, pulling screenshots, or leveraging the written content into multimedia.
  • Posting and promoting the content across multiple channels.

The interest in creating content is a matter of course.

Content marketing has reached peak popularity over the last few years, according to Google Trends.

Most marketers want a piece of the promised land.

5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing

Investing more dollars in content creation processes makes sense:

How else can you create the type of value-packed, high-quality content that readers love and search engines rank?

If you don’t invest, you won’t have the resources to do it right.

End of story.

3. Use Content Personalization for Ultra-Targeted Content

Another widely-adopted content marketing trend is content personalization.

According to a survey from Evergage, 93% of marketers use personalization for at least one channel in their digital marketing strategy.

5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing

This practice focuses on tailoring the content your site serves to different users based on readily available personal data like demographics, preferences, and search/browsing history.

According to the Evergage survey, most marketers agree that this tactic:

  • Helps deliver better customer experiences.
  • Increases customer loyalty.
  • Generates measurable ROI.

5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing

The point is, the content that speaks to one type of user won’t speak to another. A first-time visitor to your page has different needs than a visitor on their 20th session, for example.

Content personalization gives each of them slightly different pages filled with content that will appeal to their personal needs.

Conversion XL Chart

This chart from ConversionXL shows how two different versions of content are served to two different users.

Safety Precautions To Take Before And After Getting Inked

Getting inked is a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate a special moment, person, or just life. You wake up every morning, and it is there to remind you of the person that you were once and how it made you feel. But, here’s something you should know – it is permanent, and the tattoo processwill hurt.

Here’s the lowdown on what to do before and after getting a tattoo.

Before The Tattoo

Knowing what you need to do before you get inked is crucial. You should be clear about what you want and why. If it’s your first time, it’s even more important for you to be aware of the dos and don’ts. Here are some tips on what to do before getting a tattoo:

  • Consult Your Dermatologist: If you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin allergies, it is best to consult your dermatologist before you go for a tattoo. You never know how the chemicals and ink react with your skin. Even if you don’t have a history of allergies, it is best to be cautious.
  • Be Sure Of The Design: This is something that you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life, so you need to be sure of what you want. It could be a design you have wanted to get for a long time or something you decided on an impulse. If it’s the latter, sit with a tattoo artist and tell them what you have in mind. Let them use their creativity to come up with designs.

If you want to play it safe, you can get something that you’ve seen on someone else and know will look good. You can try and personalize it with the help of your artist. Whatever it is that you decide, look at the tattoo every day for 30 days. If you’re not bored by the end of it, go for it.

Be-Sure-Of-The-Design3 
  • Placement Of The Tattoo: You may want the tattoo at a particular place – it could be your arm, wrist, thigh, chest, back, neck, or ankle. But sometimes, the design may not go with the natural flow of your bone structure. In such a situation, it is best to go with the advice of your tattoo artist. Be aware that areas with more muscle will be less painful than those with more skin and bones.
  • Take A Second Opinion: If you are not sure that you will be able to love the tattoo design for the rest of your life, take a second opinion. Ask a friend or a sibling for advice. Research online and see what people have to say about it.
  • Never Drink Alcohol Before Getting Inked: Yes, we have seen it in movies that people get drunk and land up at a tattoo parlor and wake up the next morning with no memory of where that came from. Let’s leave that to the movies.

Alcohol thins your blood. While you are getting a tattoo, your skin will bleed because it is essentially a wound. And the thinner your blood gets, the more you bleed. This may compromise the visibility of your artist and lead to the design getting messy. It can also thin the ink, and the design may come out patchy.

design may come 
  • Do Not Tattoo Yourself: You may be a good artist or feel like since it is a small tattoo, you could probably do it yourself. Don’t! Hygiene is essential, and there is a lot of sterilization that goes on before your artist even thinks of touching you with their needle. You may end up getting an infection, and there are high chances you may ruin the design (unless, of course, you’re a fabulous tattoo artist yourself).
  • Watch For Cleanliness: There are tons of tattoo artists these days – some charge a bomb, while others might offer to do it for a low rate. No matter what, make sure your artist is hygienic. Observe the workspace. If it is too dusty or dirty, chances are they will not be particular about tattoo hygiene either.

Contaminating your body while getting a tattoo can lead to a lot of infections. Make sure the tattoo artist is wearing disposable gloves, and all equipment is sterilized before they use them on your body. Also, ensure that whatever they use on you comes out of a sealed packet – watch them open it – because cleanliness is key.

  • Know The Process: Diving blindly into something as permanent as getting a tattoo is not ideal. Do your research and be aware of the entire process. If you feel something is off, let your artist know. If you have any questions about a certain step in the process, ask the artist.

After The Tattoo

Tattoo aftercare is equally important as ticking things off your ‘before getting a tattoo’ checklist. Here are some pointers:

  • Listen To Your Tattoo Artist: Once the process is over, your artist will give you a list of dos and don’ts to follow. Follow their instructions to the tee.
  • Cleaning Your Tattoo: Washing your tattoo gently is an important process of post-tattoo care. Think of it as a wound that you need to take care of. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap to wash off the excess blood and ink gently. Don’t scrub it or with a towel or loofah, or you may get a bacterial infection. Make sure not to soak the tattoo in water for a long time under any circumstances. You need to wash your tattoo about twice a day. Do remember that washing it excessively will cause the tattoo to fade quickly. 
  • Moisturizing: Your tattoo artist will give you a tattoo ointment or a tattoo wax to apply a few times a day. In case they don’t, you can use a fragrance-free moisturizer. Sometimes, they may ask you not to moisturize at all. In any case, you could apply a thin layer of tattoo wax or moisturizer to prevent infections. Do not overuse it, or it may lead your tattoo to scab excessively. Let it breathe.
  • Flaking And Peeling: After a few days, your tattoo will start to heal. It will dry out and start flaking and peeling. This is natural, and you may continue to use the tattoo wax or moisturizer based on the advice of your artist.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Make sure the tattooed portion of your body is not exposed to direct sunlight. It will burn and damage the open wound sooner than you can imagine. Direct sunlight will not only cause the ink to fade quickly and leave it patchy, but it will also ruin the appearance of the design, and you’ll be running back to the studio for a touch-up.
  • Be Patient: Different people’s skins react differently to tattoos. Some may heal faster than others, but that’s no cause for concern. It will take a few weeks for it to heal completely, so be patient. Once it has healed completely, you may apply sunscreen or anything else that you usually would.
tattoo design 
  • Do Not Scratch: No matter what, don’t scratch your tattoo. Though the healing process may cause it to itch sometimes, resist the temptation to scratch. Scratching can cause major damage to your tattoo, and you could remove the top layer of your skin. It could also cause infection. Hence, be patient and try and ignore the itching.

Why fashion changes every time?

Do you pick out the clothes you wear to school each day? When you’re deciding what to wear, what do you think about? What things are important to you?

If you look in your closet, you realize that you have a certain number of clothes to choose from. But how did those clothes get there? Did you help pick them out? Why did you or your parents choose the clothes you have?

Who decided that blue jeans and t-shirts are “cool” for kids to wear today? Who designs the clothes you see for sale in stores? All of these questions revolve around the world of fashion.

Fashion refers to the styles of dress that are currently popular. Fashion goes beyond just clothes, though. It can extend to shoes, jewelry and even how you style your hair.

For many people, fashion is a high priority. It’s important to some people to wear only the latest fashions and styles. For others, though, keeping up with the trends isn’t that important.

And keeping up is certainly something you have to do if fashion is important to you. The one thing that stays the same with fashion is this: it always changes!

Don’t believe us? Spend some time on the Internet looking at fashion over the ages. In the 1960s and 1970s, hippies made bell-bottomed blue jeans popular. In the 1980s, Michael Jackson made parachute pants all the rage. Now try to find these items in today’s clothing stores!

Why do fashions change? The answer is probably as simple as the fact that people change. Over time, the new replaces the old. People are influenced greatly by popular culture, including athletes, musicians, movie stars, politicians, royalty, as well as popular films, television shows, books and music. We also are influenced by the fashion industry’s advertising.

The stars of popular culture don’t remain stars by doing the same things over and over again. Instead, they’re always searching for a new angle to maintain their popularity. Often these new angles come in the form of new clothing or hairstyles.

When people see these new styles, they often want to imitate their favorite stars. To do so, they seek out the latest fashions — clothes, shoes, jewelry and the like — to make themselves look like the people they want to imitate. In this way, fashions evolve and constantly change over time.

And it’s been happening for hundreds of years! Ever since clothes were invented, they’ve been used as a way to express something about yourself. As far back as the 1700s, the French were known to spend hours looking through fashion magazines to learn about the latest styles.

For years, clothes have been used to separate people into groups. Even today, brand-name clothing that is more expensive than other types of clothing can be used by some people to distinguish themselves from others.

Unfortunately, this can often have the effect of distancing certain groups from others. Don’t forget that it’s always OK to develop your own sense of style that is unique and separate from what the fashion world dictates! Stay true to yourself and let your personality — not your clothes — speak for who you are!

Care For A Tattoo

Care For A Tattoo

Dos

  1. Research on your tattoo design and tattoo artist and be sure of where you want the tattoo done.
  1. Eat well before your tattoo appointment because pain and loss of blood can cause lightheadedness and make you feel faint. Eating will also reduce your sensitivity to pain, and you will not be uncomfortable.
  1. Make sure your clothing is appropriate for where you plan to get your tattoo. If you want it on your arm, wear a loose sleeveless t-shirt. If you want it on your back, make sure your outfit has your back exposed and hair properly pinned up. Ink could get splattered during the process, so make sure to wear something old.
  1. Make sure the tattooist and their equipment are clean. This will prevent infection.
  1. Be patient with the healing process. It can take some time, but it’s totally worth it.

Don’ts

  1. Do not drink alcohol before your tattoo appointment. Alcohol causes blood to thin, and thinning of blood will lead to excessive bleeding.
  1. Do not soak it in water as it will cause the tattoo to fade very quickly.
  1. Do not expose it to direct sunlight. Sunburns can be painful and will ruin the appearance of the tattoo.
  1. No matter what, do not scratch. Not even in your sleep.

Now you know what you need to keep in mind before and after getting a tattoo. Remember, it is permanent. So, even if you have to pay a little bit more for good quality and hygiene, do not hesitate, because it will take you a long way.

If you don’t like your tattoo a few years down the line, you can cover it up. The tattoo artist will be able to camouflage your old design to give it a completely transformed look. And if you don’t want your tattoo at all, you can get rid of it through medical procedures. But that will be a painful, long, and expensive affair. The bigger your tattoo, the more money you’ll have to shell out, and the more sessions you will have to sit through. So, do give your tattoo a good thought and consider all things before getting one.

It’s your mark, it’s personal, and it’s for your memory. Own it and wear it like your badge of honor – after all, it’s now a part of you. Happy getting inked!

When Fashion Becomes Fast, Disposable And Cheap

When it comes to clothes these days, maybe you should ask: What’s your waste size?

You know you have those clothes sitting in your closet: That shirt you spent less than $10 on because it looked cool for a second, or that skirt you only wore once before it went out of fashion.

Fashion cycles are moving faster than ever. A Quartz article in December revealed how fashion brands like Zara, Gap and Adidas are churning out new styles more frequently, a trend dubbed “fast fashion” by many in the industry. The clothes that are mass-produced also become more affordable, thus attracting consumers to buy more.

“It used to be four seasons in a year; now it may be up to 11 or 15 or more,” says Tasha Lewis, a professor at Cornell University’s Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design.

The top fast fashion retailers grew 9.7 percent per year over the last five years, topping the 6.8 percent of growth of traditional apparel companies, according to financial holding company CIT.

Fashion is big business. Estimates vary, but one report puts the global industry at $1.2 trillion, with more than $250 billion spent in the U.S. alone. In 2014, the average household spent an average $1,786 on apparel and related services.

More styles mean more purchases — and that leads to more waste created. Journalist Elizabeth Cline writes in her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion that disposable clothing is damaging to the environment and the economy. We are more likely to dispose of cheaper, mass-produced fashion garments than pricier ones.

“We don’t necessarily have the ability to handle the disposal,” Lewis says. “The rate of disposal is not keeping up with the availability of places to put everything that we’re getting rid of and that’s the problem.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded.

How To Deal With All This Textile Waste?

One way developed nations get rid of their excess clothing is by donating it to developing nations. According to the United Nations, the United States is the biggest exporter of used clothes, and the top importing countries of used clothing are India, Russia and Pakistan.

But with the strong dollar and availability of cheap clothing from Asia, some are worried that demand for exports of secondhand clothing will decline — thus forcing developed nations to find new ways to deal with post-consumer textile waste.

Fast fashion and the disposable culture also hurt sorting companies that export second-hand clothing.

Adam Baruchowitz, founder of Wearable Collections in New York City, collects second-hand clothing and sells it to sorting companies. The companies then sort through the clothes, separating those that will be made into other low-grade fiber products and those that will be exported.

Baruchowitz says the most valuable part of a sorting company’s business is in selling reusable second-hand clothing. But if the quality is questionable, more of the garments collected might have to head to the shredding bin rather than the second-hand clothes market.

“It’s very damaging to the environment, this fast fashion culture, and it also affects the secondhand market because these clothes aren’t meant to be used for so long,” he says. “I can’t say for sure, but the secondhand H&Ms would probably be in less demand than a garment that was produced with more quality. I’m getting all this stuff from fast fashion and I’m hearing from clients that it’s hurting them.”

Do Retailers’ Recycling Programs Encourage Consumerism?

Several clothing retailers have announced take-back programs that collect used garments from customers to be recycled, sold or remade into other clothing. H&M, for example, has allowed customers to bring unwanted garments — which will be transformed to recycled textile fibers for new products — since 2013. The company aims to have “zero garments going to landfill.” Patagonia also recycles and sells used Patagonia products in its stores.

It plays into the concept of extended producer responsibility, which means the manufacturer has to take into consideration the product’s afterlife.

But does it actually encourage more consumerism? For many stores, customers can get store credit and vouchers for sending in used clothing.

“If you bring it back to the store and you see something new and you’re going to give me a discount, I’m having a buying moment I may not have had before because you’re having me back at your store. It’s very smart in terms of business,” Lewis says.

The concept, however, might encourage a different type of thinking: If manufacturers have to think about how they’re going to get the most out of the product after it has been worn, Lewis says, it might spur them to start designing products that can be taken apart easily, have better quality, or might be biodegradable, for example.

H&M introduced new garments made of recycled textile fibers two year ago.

Clothing of 1830s

Clothing the family of the 1830s was an important task, and most of the work was the responsibility of the women.

Every stitch of the sewing had to be done by hand; Elias Howe didn’t even invent the sewing machine until 1846, and Isaac Singer’s version didn’t come about until 1850.

Of course, ordinary people didn’t have the large wardrobes we expect today. They made do with one outfit for every day, one for Sunday best, and perhaps one other, or parts of another, for seasonal change. Even wealthy people didn’t necessarily have lots of clothes, although their money allowed them to purchase ready-made items from the storekeeper, or to hire custom sewing done outside the household, or by a temporary live-in seamstress.

Where a family lived determined to a great extent where and how they obtained their clothing. City and town dwellers usually purchased the fabrics, if not the entire garments, from specialty or general stores. People in rural or remote areas were more likely to undertake the whole process themselves. Still, it was possible for nearly anyone to order nearly anything to be sent to them from a merchant in the next town, or even from a merchant oceans away. It just took a very long time to arrive.

There was a great variety of fabrics available for making clothes in the 1830s. They were all “natural” fabrics; wool and linen were most common, with cotton and silk were scarcer and more expensive. Hundreds of weaves and patterns were available.

A rich selection of colors existed even before synthetic dyes were developed in the late 1850s. These early colors were made from plant parts-leaves, stems and blossoms of woods and meadow flowers; roots, barks, nut hulls and tree galls; berries, fruits, pits and skins; mosses, lichens, and fungi and non-plants, such as insects and shellfish.

Many dye sources were imported from tropical areas, and were sold in general stores. They were widely available to both home dyers and professional dyers. The professional dyers sometimes supplied services even to home spinners and weavers. Really, every combination of home and outside professional endeavor went into the providing of fibers, fabrics, and garments in the 1830s.