Packing Light Is More Science Than Art

Packing Light Is More Science Than Art

Do you love traveling but hate carrying luggage? There might be a new product that is just right for you. Unbound Merino is a line of travel clothes (t-shirts, hoodies, underwear, and socks) that can be worn for days, even weeks without washing.

Sound far-fetched? Apparently, the merino wool apparel claimed to repel odor and sweat is very popular among Silicon Valley professionals.


Video Spotlight: The Unbound Merino Compact Travel Hoodie


This post is based on the Forbes article, This Travel Clothing Brand Cofounder Can Go Anywhere in the World with Just One Backpack, by S. Dundas, October 31, 2018, and the YouTube video, The Unbound Merino Compact Travel Hoodie, by Unbound Merino, April 24, 2018 Image source: Gregory Kramer/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What external factors created opportunities for the development of this clothing line? Do you foresee external threats in the near future?

Guidance: Review the external factors typically involved in a SWOT analysis. A strong economy (the clothes are rather pricey), existing technology in product components and processes, a lack of competition in everyday merino wool clothing, and growth in international travel created opportunities for Unbound Merino’s business.

The most Continue reading

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Made in Italy: High Prices, but Rock-Bottom Production Costs

Made in Italy: High Prices, but Rock-Bottom Production Costs

If you think Italian luxury clothes are hand sewn by skilled workers, you are right. If you think their craftsmanship is well compensated, think again.

This New York Times investigation paints a bleak description of the working conditions of Italians working for MaxMara, Fendi, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Most luxury brands outsource a major portion of their manufacturing. Several factors including intense competition from abroad result in the exploitation of labor, and the multi-tiered supply chain hinders transparency.


Video Spotlight: Made in Bulgaria: Luxury Fashion Brands Move East


This post is based on the New York Times article, Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy, by E. Paton and M. Lazazzera, September 20, 2018, and the Reuters video, Made in Bulgaria: Luxury Fashion Brands Move East, by T. Tsolova and M. Kahn, June 7, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Nenad Aksic

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the reasons for the “sweatshop wages” given to the Italian seamstresses making the luxury garments at home?

Guidance: Reasons include high unemployment in the region, intensive competition from Asian and Eastern European labor, contractors’ questionable ethics, luxury brands claiming ignorance about a well- known problem, “cut-throat” negotiating practices in procurement, and no government-set Continue reading

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China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash

China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash

September 14, 2018

The Chinese government recently banned imports of low-grade recyclables.

For decades, Western countries sent their paper waste and plastic trash to China where they were sorted manually before being processed and re-used in manufacturing. To overcome the severe shortage of recyclables caused by the ban, Chinese manufacturers are now setting up processing facilities in the US and sending the recyclable materials to China.

Some existing US recycling programs have struggled to meet the purity standards imposed by the Chinese government.


Video Spotlight: Plastic China (scroll down to the trailer)


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash, by M. Sasso, August 22, 2018. Image sources: frameangel/123RF and Ralph125/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions

1. According to the article, why has the Chinese government banned imports of “dirty” trash?

Guidance: Trash sent to China contained contaminants which can be hazardous (e.g. lead and mercury) and also hinder the recycling process. Other reasons include China’s anti-pollution crackdown and the 2017 release of the documentary “Plastic China,” which featured Chinese children sorting trash in piles of garbage imported from other countries. The documentary put pressure on China to stop such practices and therefore Continue reading

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