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How Developer Fatshark Created Their Passion Project in Vermintide 2

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a passion project developed by Fatshark, a studio which was formed ten years ago in Stockholm, Sweden. Over the years, Fatshark has built a solid foundation in the online multiplayer genre. Many of the core team members first met through tabletop gaming and it was during these late nights playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay that the foundation of the Vermintide franchise was formed.

Six years after Fatshark was founded – and six released titles later – the studio had the financial means, tech and developers to take on the rich and very visual Warhammer universe. It was a no-brainer; this was something we had always wanted to do. After lengthy and sometimes heated internal discussions, we made a pitch to Games Workshop, the developer and custodian of the Warhammer world. We proposed a game where players in co-op with others would take on the role as one of the many iconic heroes of the Old World and take on hordes of enemies in frenzied first-person melee action combat.

Warhammer Vermintide 2 Feature ScreenshotWarhammer Vermintide 2 Feature Screenshot

Since we wanted to pay homage to a game world enjoyed and experienced by so many for so long, we knew there would be no shortcuts when it came to character presentation, art style and attention to detail. Games Workshop agreed, and Vermintide went from idea to production.

Expanding the Boundaries of our Tech

Fatshark has always had strong technology, for example having developed the in-house game engine Bitsquid/Stingray which was licensed to others and eventually sold to Autodesk. Therefore, it is perhaps no surprise that our work to take Vermintide 2 to Xbox One is just as much engineer pride as lore nerdery. The joy of getting your tech to tune in and make wonders on the hardware is just as great as when you get to shake hands with long-time fans of Warhammer telling you “you nailed it”.

Warhammer Vermintide 2 Feature ScreenshotWarhammer Vermintide 2 Feature Screenshot

Vermintide 2 on Xbox Game Pass

For the second game in the franchise, Vermintide 2, we decided to work with Microsoft to make the title available on Xbox Game Pass on the same day as the release. For an indie developer — self-publishing a multiplayer game with a limited marketing budget — it’s key to have a strong player base and raise awareness of the title through word of mouth. Xbox Game Pass offers exactly that.

Even after release of the game, the whole Fatshark team is working on Vermintide 2 and will support the game just like we did with the first installment in the series. Events, DLC and existing content are all in the making!

Warhammer Vermintide 2 Feature ScreenshotWarhammer Vermintide 2 Feature Screenshot

MixPlay and Streaming Support

Vermintide 2 is very much about experiencing bravery and epic battles together with others, either with the players in your party, your streaming audience and through community events.

But our efforts for social gaming don’t end there. Through the Vermintide 2 MixPlay feature on Mxier, streamers can let their audience decide the battle’s outcome by voting live on what the next enemy spawn should be or reward players with potions and bombs. This makes for new and tricky situations where the players must fight tooth and nail to survive the mission with their audience pulling the strings behind the curtain.

Warhammer Vermintide 2 Feature ScreenshotWarhammer Vermintide 2 Feature Screenshot

How to Play Vermintide 2 Effectively

Vermintide 2 is a 4-player co-op action game designed to be played together with friends. A key component in the game is the challenge it provides. We have included 4 levels of difficulty to up the stakes as you improve your skill, starting with lowest to highest: Recruit, Veteran, Champion and Legend. The higher the difficulty, the greater the reward will be at the end of a successful mission. Check out some tips and tricks here.

Join the Fight for Survival

We are in this for the long run with the first major DLC of Vermintide 2 coming soon and more in the making. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to check out Vermintide 2, live now on Xbox Game Pass!

See the rest of the story on Xbox WireRelated:New Preview Alpha and Alpha Skip Ahead 1810 Update – 7/19/18Summer’s Heating up with Huge Savings During the Ultimate Game SaleA Game Where Words Destroy: The Path of Motus Is Now Available on Xbox One, Proceeds Going To Charity

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What Is Guerrilla Marketing? 7 Examples to Inspire Your Brand

The word “guerrilla,” in its written form, seems very intense. It conjures images of rebellion and conflict. Put it next to the word “marketing,” and it makes a lot of people ask, “Huh?”

But guerrilla marketing isn’t some sort of combative form of communication. After all, that would be highly disruptive, which violates the inbound methodology. In fact, it’s actually a very unconventional form of inbound marketing, in that it raises brand awareness among large audiences, without interrupting them.

Because it’s so unconventional, however, it’s not the easiest concept to explain. Guerrilla marketing is often best understood when it’s observed, so that’s how we’re going to approach its best practices and takeaways here.Get our "event in a box" essential event marketing kit here.

We’ll start with some basics around where it came from and how it works, followed by an examination of how it’s been carried out successfully.

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?
Roots of Warfare

When we hear the term “guerrilla marketing,” it’s hard not to think of guerrilla warfare — which makes sense, since that’s where this style of marketing got its name. In the warfare context, guerrilla tactics depend largely on the element of surprise. Think: “Ambushes, sabotage, raids,” according to Creative Guerrilla Marketing.

But how does that translate into the work we do every day? In marketing, guerrilla techniques mostly play on the element of surprise. It sets out to create highly unconventional campaigns that catch people unexpectedly in the course of their day-to-day routines. You’ll see what that looks like in some the examples below.

The term itself was created in the early 1980s by the late business writer Jay Conrad Levinson, who wrote several books about guerrilla tactics in a number of professional areas. Of course, at that time, marketing in general looked very different, and while guerrilla marketing is still used today, the ever-growing digital landscape is changing what it looks like. Again — you’ll see what that looks like in some of the examples below.

Budget-Friendly

What marketers really enjoy about guerrilla marketing is its fairly low-cost nature. The real investment here is a creative, intellectual one — its implementation, however, doesn’t have to be expensive. Michael Brenner summarizes it nicely in his article on “guerrilla content,” where he frames this style of marketing in the same context as repurposing your existing content, like taking certain segments of a report, and expanding each one into a blog post. It’s an investment of time, but not money, per se.

In a way, guerrilla marketing works by repurposing your audience’s current environment. Evaluate it, and figure out which segments of it can be repurposed to include your brand.

Types of Guerrilla Marketing

As niche as it might seem, there are actually a few sub-categories of guerrilla marketing, as outlined by the firm ALT TERRAIN:

Outdoor Guerrilla Marketing. Adds something to preexisting urban environments, like putting something removable onto a statue, or putting temporary artwork on sidewalks and streets.

Indoor Guerilla Marketing. Similar to outdoor guerrilla marketing, only it takes place in indoor locations like train stations, shops, and university campus buildings.

Event Ambush Guerilla Marketing. Leveraging the audience of an in-progress event — like a concert or a sporting game — to promote a product or service in a noticeable way, usually without permission from the event sponsors.

Experiential Guerilla Marketing. All of the above, but executed in a way that requires the public to interact with the brand.

We know — without context, the whole idea of guerrilla marketing can be a little confusing, so let’s see how it’s been executed by a few other brands.

7 Guerrilla Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Brand
1) Bounty
bounty02.jpg
Source: TOXEL.COM

Here’s a fun fact about your neighborhood marketing blogger: I. Spill. Everything. Coffee? Check. Olive oil? You got it. Generally, I am simply a mess, and like to have paper towels nearby at all times.

Naturally, I couldn’t help but be impressed by this guerilla marketing installment from paper towel company Bounty. By installing life-sized “messes” throughout the streets of New York — a giant, knocked over coffee cup and a gigantic melting popsicle — the brand found a unique way to advertise its product and the solution it provides, with minimal words.

You might ask, “Wouldn’t a concise billboard ad accomplish the same thing?” Well, not really. Culturally, we’re starting to opt for every possible way to eradicate ads from our lives. That’s why we love things like DVR and ad-free options on streaming services like Hulu and YouTube. This campaign, unlike an ad, isn’t as easy to ignore. After all, if you stumbled upon a melting popsicle the size of your mattress on your way to work, would you stop and look? We would.

The big takeaway: Identify the biggest problem that your product or service solves. Then, find an unconventional way to broadcast that to the public — preferably without words.

2) The GRAMMYS

Okay, this one might not be entirely fair, since it wasn’t pulled off “in real life.” But how cool would it be if it was? To promote the nominees for its Album Of The Year category, the GRAMMYS music awards show created a video to show what would happen if posters for the nominated artists just began singing.

It might sound impossible to actually carry out something like that. But imagine — what if you could create musical posters for your brand? Again, it’s different than a billboard ad, because when we walk by a wall of paper advertisements in, say, New York City, we don’t expect them to start moving. Now, we’ll admit that this idea isn’t exactly a budget friendly one, as it might require some technical work to bring to fruition. But even if you could include a single moving or digital image among a sea of still ones — in a place where it would come as a surprise, like a brick wall — it would catch people off guard and, therefore, get their attention.

The big takeaway: Think about the things that your audience might just pass by every day — and make those things do something that’s both unexpected and interactive.

3) Frontline
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Source: Marketing Ideas 101

When I first saw this photo, I’ll admit that I fell for it. “Someone, get that dog away from those flies!” I frantically thought. Then, I realized that the dog wasn’t real, and neither were the flies. The former was a photo, and the latter were actually humans.

That’s because Frontline, the makers of flea and tick prevention products for dogs, were able to fill the entire floor of this large, public space with this image. The brand knew that many people walk across that space every day, and that a good number of people would also see it from the building’s upper levels, creating the dog-and-insect illusion. It’s hard to miss — and to not look twice.

Again, this campaign is different than traditional marketing, because it’s not just plastering a single message somewhere that’s likely to be ignored. It creates a form of accidental human interaction that reminds the viewer what the product does.

The big takeaway: Figure out how humans might involuntarily interact with your marketing messages. While your product or service may not address the issue of, say, insect removal, there are ways to make people part of the campaign.

4) Burger King
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Source: seventeen

Breaking up is hard to do in person, let alone when it’s publicly played out online. That’s what happened — allegedly — when one Instagram user left a comment on this post sharing a tale of his “girl” procuring food from Burger King. There was just one problem. This guy does have a girlfriend, but she was nowhere near a Burger King. So, who was he referring to? The drama ensued, via Instagram comments:

BG_IG_Breakup.jpg

After the comments began to make headlines, many speculated that the entire exchange may have been staged by Burger King. And if it was, we can’t help but salute them — what a way to get your brand into the zeitgeist. Burger King has roughly one million followers on Instagram. Compare that to the 2.1 million followers of its chief competitor, McDonald’s. And while we’re not sure how many followers the former had before this famous breakup, it makes sense to assume that this at least drew more attention to its social media presence, at least on this particular platform. People may have already been observing the brand on Instagram, but before now, were they actively discussing it?

The big takeaway: Guerrilla marketing has gone digital. Think about where your audience already exists digitally — then, give ’em a show. While we can’t condone lying, we can applaud creativity, so don’t be afraid to use the comments to get people talking.

5) UNICEF

I’m as guilty as anyone of wasting money on bottled water. I have no excuse. I have a reusable one. My workplace offers filtered water from a machine, not a traditional cooler, and yet, it remains a bad habit.

That’s why this guerrilla marketing campaign from relief organization UNICEF resonated with me. It posed the question, “What if those bottles of water you waste money on were filled with dirty water?” It was a way of reminding the privileged masses that in too many parts of the world, entire populations have no access to clean drinking water.

So instead of frivolously spending that money on bottled water, UNICEF suggested putting it toward efforts to bring clean drinking water to these areas. It did so by creating makeshift vending machines that sold bottled dirty water, with each button labeled as a disease caused by a lack of clean drinking water.

The big takeaway: Guerrilla marketing works in the not-for-profit sector, too. And while scary, saddening images are often an impactful way of communicating your mission, there’s a way to convey it by creating something less in-your-face and interactive for the public.

6) GoldToe
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Source: ALT TERRAIN

Are you an underwear company looking for an unconventional way to market your product? Why, just try placing an enormous pair of briefs on an iconic charging bull statue.

Really, we can’t make this stuff up.

It’s so simple, in theory, that it sounds like fiction. But when the GoldToe brand needed a way to tease and promote the launch of its new undergarments, that’s exactly what it did — casually placed these new items of clothing on statues throughout New York. And while we can’t be sure that it’s the route GoldToe took, we sincerely hope that those bull-sized briefs were made with leftover manufacturing fabric, helping to make this campaign even budget-friendlier.

The big takeaway: Don’t overthink it. Sometimes what looks like your silliest idea might be the best one.

7) Greene King

When you make plans to catch up with friends and family, what are the two things around which you inevitably gather? We’ll take a stab at guessing:

Food
Drink

When pub and brewing company Greene King feared that small, neighborhood establishments — notably, the pub — would start to be overtaken by large corporate retail, it launched a campaign to communicate just how important these local businesses really are. Even better, the content was almost entirely created by those who understand this predicament best: Pub owners, bartenders, and patrons.

These individuals were given cameras to capture video of the most meaningful moments and gatherings they’ve experienced inside these local pubs — from weddings, to funeral receptions, to birthdays. These videos were shared on Greene King’s YouTube profile and posed the question, “Without these neighborhood meeting places, where would we share these moments?”

The big takeaway: It’s okay to get a little sentimental with guerilla marketing. Think about the emotions invoked by what you offer. Then, invite your audience to create content around what your brand means to them.

Guerrillas in the Wild

Starting to make a little more sense?

When we set out to write this post, we were disappointed with just one element of it — we found virtually no B2B examples. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible within that sector. It just requires extra creativity.

Hopefully, you’ll be inspired by these examples, especially if you’re promoting a smaller brand. Don’t be afraid to crowdsource the content for these campaigns, for example — after all, it’s creative approaches to your work that help maintain guerrilla marketing’s budget-friendly, inbound nature. Remember: Catch people where they are, and insert your brand there. Don’t interrupt, but invite them to participate.

free event planning and marketing resources

 
free event planning resources

Read more: blog.hubspot.com

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10 Summer Essentials That Will Help You Beat The Heat

Thigh chafing, sticky feet, sweaty pit stains; these are just some of the annoyances we have to endure in hot weather. Which is why when our eyes catch a glimpse of predicted 85+ temperatures, it’s impossible to even know what to wear. If you’re going to sweat in everything, it almost feels like it doesn’t even matter. But there are a few solutions to prevent summer from turning you into a human puddle.

First, there are the classic tips: wear light colors, stay away from heavy materials, try men’s deodorant for a change. But we’re providing some lesser known options, like investing in a Grade A multipurpose towel or taking a spin at side-snap jeans. You don’t have to forget your love of summer just because the July humidity has decided to wreak its annual havoc on the world. These smart dressing tips will keep you on your feet until you land in front of an open storefront blasting A/C.

There’s a lot of product out there, some would say too much. No doubt this has left you with an overwhelming set of questions about the latest must-haves. Luckily we’ve got answers. At Refinery29 we are here to help you navigate this epic world of stuff. All of our editorial market is independently selected and curated by the team. But if you buy something we link to on our site Refinery29 may earn commission.

Perforations are your best friend in a summer. A knit dress like this will take you from happy hour to vacation all without breaking much of a sweat.

Mango, $99.99, available at Mango

Bike shorts, who? While that trend has been the name of the game, we’re leaning more towards long athletic shorts that are both breezy and combat any dreaded heat-induced thigh chafing.

ASOS, $29, available at ASOS

— PAID —

Protect yourself from harmful rays and keep cool with this sporty, breathable cap.

NFL New Era Oakland Raiders NFL Training Grey 9Twenty Adjustable Cap, $30.00, available at New Era.

A good multipurpose beach towel goes a long way in the summer. You can use it as a cover-up, lounge on it by the pool, or make it an impromptu picnic blanket. Don’t skimp on investing in a quality option this year.

Eau Club, $45, available at Eau Club

These stretchy kick flares have the best secret: They’re made of 28% lycra and are highly resistant to heat and chlorine. Slip these on post-swim to combat the sun rays and the warm weather while still looking chic.

Rendl, $151.66, available at Rendl

Our little summer secret? Off-the-shoulder everything. It keeps sweaty armpit stains at bay that would otherwise be visible with tight-fitted arms.

Kitri, $182, available at Kitri

Speaking of towels, try your hand at the ultimate sweat wicking footwear: terrycloth sandals. Made up with an espadrille sole and a medium-density foam sole, you’ll never want to take these outdoor-friendly shoes off.

Mara & Mine, $250, available at Mara & Mine

These snap-buttons jeans let you customize how much leg to flaunt for optimal breathability.

3×1, $425, available at 3×1

Skip the back sweat that comes with lugging around a backpack or tote bag around all day. A cute mini bags helps to reenforce the idea of minimizing your life while maximizing your level of literal cool.

Pop & Suki, $235, available at Pop & Suki

White before Labor Day is an old school idea with good reason. The light hue helps reflect off light to keep you cool and collected in even the most intense heat.

Where Mountains Meet, $495, available at Where Mountains Meet

Leave the denim cut-offs at home. Instead, opt for a pair of cotton shorts that’ll keep you feeling light all day long.

Ganni, $125, available at Ganni

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

The 10 Fashion Brands & Pieces Everyone Is Buying Right Now

H&M Is Stocking The Best Swimsuits For Summer

The One Summer Shoe You Can't Not Love

Read more: refinery29.com

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Brand Patagonia: A Founders Story And Strategy

Brand Patagonia: A Founders Story And Strategy

In April 2017, the authors of Legacy In The Making visited me at Patagonia’s headquarters, in Ventura, California, to talk about the legacy I’m building as the founder of Patagonia. We talked about a lot of things, some of which I’d never spoken about before. Afterward, when they asked me if I’d share some of those insights and stories in the foreword to their book and I made it clear: I never wanted to be a conventional businessman. I liked climbing rocks, not corporate ladders.

“Exactly,” they responded. “That’s why we asked you.”

It’s true. I never set out to be a businessman. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about business with Chouinard Equipment and Patagonia, the two outdoor outfitters I founded. But I’m a creature of the 1960s. I never liked authority. I was a rock climber. Back when I started climbing at the age of 19, the gear was poor quality. The pitons—the metal spikes you drive into cracks—were made of soft iron and were designed to be used once and left in place. The attitude back then was about dominating the mountains, conquering them and leaving all your gear behind to make it easier for the next party. I didn’t share that attitude. I had a different ambition.

I wanted to climb without leaving a trace so that the next party and every party after that could experience the climb as I had—in its natural state. To do that, I needed a new kind of piton that you could remove and reuse over and over as you ascended. Since nothing like that existed at the time, I decided to design it myself. I bought an old coal-fired forge from a junkyard, built a small shop in my parents’ backyard, taught myself how to blacksmith, and began making my own high-quality reusable pitons. They were the first of their kind, designed for a new style of climbing. I called my fledgling company Chouinard Equipment.

Initially, I was just a craftsman making climbing gear for myself and my friends. But I happened to be pretty good at it, and pretty soon I was selling gear to friends of friends out of the back of my car (whenever I wasn’t surfing or climbing, that is). That evolved into making better crampons—the metal spikes on climbing boots—and better ice axes. With climbing, the better the tool, the better your chance of coming home in one piece. The quality of the materials and design—how the tool actually functioned in the field—was everything. People noticed, and by 1970 Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier of climbing equipment in the United States.

At that time, we were on the cutting edge of climbing. Some of the climbs we were doing in Yosemite National Park were harder than any rock climbs ever done in the world. Being on the cutting edge meant that we were not following the market. We weren’t waiting for customers to tell us what to make. For example, when I started coming out with new tools for ice climbing, people had no idea how to use them, and so I began writing a book about it. The Austrians and Germans had different techniques than the French and the Scottish. I ran around the world and studied all the different techniques so that I could bring everything together in one unified method.

In 1970, on my way home from climbing in Scotland, I bought a rugby shirt—a blue one with yellow and red stripes. Functionally, I thought it would be a great climbing shirt. It had a tough collar so that the gear slings wouldn’t cut your neck and rubber buttons that wouldn’t rip off. At that time, American sportswear was basically gray sweatpants and sweatshirts. That was it. There was no colored sportswear for men. Yet all of a sudden, here I was, wearing this really colorful shirt, and people were saying, “Wow, where’d you get that?” That was when we decided to start selling our own.

Our colors got pretty outrageous, but they also served a function. When you spend days suspended on a “big wall” climb or weeks stormbound in a tent, it’s tough on your psyche. You want colorful clothes just for your own mental health.

We sold a lot of those rugby shirts. By 1973, we had launched a new brand, Patagonia, to focus on our growing clothing business. Unlike Chouinard Equipment (which we eventually sold to a group of employees who launched a brand called Black Diamond), we knew nothing about the established clothing industry when we started Patagonia. Zero. Conventional fashion designers take a mannequin, wrap cloth around it, pin it here and there, and create a dress. But our background was in designing lifesaving climbing gear, not fashion, and so we looked at clothes as tools.

Before we designed any new piece of clothing—whether it was an alpine jacket, a pair of socks, or a bikini—we always started by asking about function. What problem were we trying to solve? How would the product be used, not just worn? Which features would it need, and which would it not need? It’s like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” In retrospect, I think that is our biggest contribution to the clothing business: treating clothes as tools and applying the principles of industrial design.

When you approach products as tools that serve a function, it forces you to pare things down to their essence. Just look around. Complexity is easy. The world is full of complex, disposable junk. Simplifying things, though—designing quality tools that last—now, that’s hard.

More than 60 years after I forged that first removable piton, we still approach everything we make just as I did in the beginning— as a simple, functional tool. The best tool for whatever your ambition is. As my ambition was to make better gear for the things I loved to do, my companies were the tools I used to achieve that ambition. But as your ambitions evolve, as mine would before long, so must your tools.

Finding Our Way Back To The Real Patagonia

As the years have passed and Patagonia has grown, so have the brand’s responsibilities. These days, we behave as if we want to be in business a hundred years from now. This is reflected in our mission statement: “Make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” The mission statement is a tool, too. Like a compass, its function is to orient our brand culture and keep it moving in the right direction. But Patagonia didn’t always work this way.

In the early years, I ran the business like every other company. Just running it for the sake of getting larger and larger, doing everything that normal companies do. By the 1980s, we were taking off: opening new dealers, developing our own retail stores, and growing about 50 percent a year. You can’t grow like that for very long before you end up in financial trouble. It’s just impossible.

In 1990, the American economy went into recession. After years of growing just for the sake of growing, our sales suddenly hit a wall. The banks got into financial trouble, and so did we. We couldn’t borrow enough money to cover inventory, and we nearly lost the business. For the first time in our history, we had to lay people off—20 percent of our entire staff. Those people were like family, and the impact on our brand culture was a wake-up call. After we had been preoccupied with growth for years, our brand was adrift. Not only did we have to reassess our growth plans, we had to reassess who we were and who we wanted to be.

That was when I took our key managers—about 10 or 12 of us—and we all went down to Argentina, to the real Patagonia. We hiked around, sat down, and asked ourselves why we were in business and what we expected to get out of this. We asked each person why he or she was working for us. Though my ambition had always been to build the best tools, it was during this trip that we discussed our values:

• Make the highest-quality products.
• Consider the environmental impact of everything we do.
• Engage and support our communities.
• Contribute a portion of our sales to philanthropy.

No one said a word about profit.

Once we had collected everyone’s thoughts, we established our brand values by consensus. I’ve always believed in making decisions by consensus as opposed to compromise. Compromise is what the government does. Compromise never solves a problem. Compromise leaves both sides feeling cheated. Consensus is how Native American tribes historically made decisions, and it was the chief ’s job to build consensus. That’s been my role: to set the general direction we’re going in and to get our employees to buy in.

After we got back from our trip to Patagonia, I started leading weeklong seminars to teach our employees about the values that would guide our brand culture moving forward. I wanted everyone to be empowered to make day-to-day decisions that were based on those values rather than always waiting for instructions from the boss. Years later, in 2005, I published everything—my ambition, our history, our growth crisis, our values—in Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman. Like those recyclable pitons, I didn’t publish the book to get rich. I did it because as a reluctant businessman, I had learned an important lesson about business: Regardless of what you sell, your business itself—including your culture and your values—is your product. If we could inspire more values-based businesses, our society and environment would be a lot better off.

Let My People Go Surfing is still selling all over the world. They teach it in high schools, and it’s been printed in 9 or 10 languages—all because people see the Patagonia brand as a different model. We’re not alone in our beliefs. Brands with long-term ambitions and strong values-driven cultures are increasingly demonstrating that profits and purpose aren’t mutually exclusive.

Lasting Brands Move People, Not Just Goods

I’ve always been an advocate for social and environmental causes, but I don’t like being on the front lines. I get too frustrated. Instead, I’ve learned how to use business to effect change. We follow our beliefs, our customers follow us, and positive change tends to follow that. People who believe in what we’re doing gravitate to our message. They become our advocates. That’s why our marketing philosophy is so simple: We tell people who we are and what we do. That’s it. Fiction is so much more difficult to write than nonfiction.

For us, marketing isn’t about moving goods. It’s about moving people. For example, in 2011 we ran a print ad on Black Friday that said, “Don’t buy this jacket.” We sold so many of those jackets! That wasn’t the intent. The intent was to encourage people to reflect on what they buy and to buy only what they need. The best thing you can do for the environment as far as clothing goes is to buy the very best quality, use it as long as possible, and keep it out of the landfill. Repair it. Reuse it. Recycle it.

That Black Friday campaign forced us to make a pact with our customers: If you buy one of our jackets, we’ll repair it forever. If you outgrow it or stop using it, we’ll help you sell it to somebody else. Eventually we’ll take it back and melt it down into more jackets. It forced us to build the largest garment repair facility in North America. In fact, we have a truck that goes around to colleges and teaches kids how to sew buttons on. We’ll repair any of their clothes, not just ours. We practice business this way because our customers are our loyal sales force, and they pay far more attention to good deeds than to lofty words.

For our 2016 Black Friday campaign, we decided to give all the revenue away to environmental causes. Not just the profits. All of our revenue that day. As a result, our sales quadrupled, from $2.5 million the previous year to over $10 million for Black Friday 2016. We gave away all $10 million—in addition to the $9 million contribution we made that same year in line with our annual commitment to contribute 1 percent of our sales to charity. Philanthropic campaigns like this don’t cut into our sales. In fact, 60 percent of our customers from these campaigns are new. Just think about how much it costs most companies to get new customers. The social media aspect of this campaign cost us nothing. We let the word out, and in turn, our customers helped spread the word for us.

At the end of the year, we measure success by how much good we’ve done and what impact we’re having on society, not by profit. Honestly, if you ask me how much money we’ve made in the last year, I would have to look it up. I know that we are extremely profitable. I also believe in karma. Karma and profits coexist here because every time we’ve made a decision in service of doing good, our customers have noticed. And when our customers get behind us, more good things follow.

Write Your Own Rules, Don’t Master Someone Else’s

I know it’s unorthodox to be guided by both karma and profits, but that’s just one of many ways we break the rules of business these days. I think of Patagonia less as a conventional brand selling products than as an experiment, an evolving means of using business to solve social problems.

If you look around and see who’s working here, we all have degrees in subjects such as anthropology, zoology, and English. Only a few of us actually have degrees in business. We’re all learning how to run a business by asking lots of questions and approaching things as beginners. We’re successful because we have the confidence to write our own rules rather than master someone else’s.

Maybe that’s why we’re comfortable being a guinea pig and trying new things. We’re making healthy food and producing films about society’s impact on the natural world. We’re even thinking about starting an immersive nature school for kids. As unconventional as these programs may sound, all of them are firmly rooted in our ambitions and values. Ultimately, the next generation won’t care about nature if they don’t think they’re part of it. So while our values haven’t changed, the way we choose to express those values to new generations of customers is always evolving.

At Patagonia, it’s not that we’re just looking for ways to stand out for the sake of standing out. We behave differently because our ambitions are different. We also measure success differently—on the basis of long-term contributions, not short-term profits. When you chase short-term profits, you either keep doing what you already know will work or copy what someone else is doing. We don’t do that. When we stand out, it’s because we’ve found a new way to express our long-term ambitions.

In the mid-1990s, for example, we took a stand against chemically intensive cotton and began making all of our clothes with organic cotton. It was a challenge, and a lot of our manufacturing partners walked away from us, but we learned by doing and ultimately developed our own private cotton supply chain. Most people aren’t willing to jump right in like that. But that’s the way I like to deal with everything. Most people want to figure things out to the nth degree before they ever take a step. In the end, they won’t even take that step because it feels too unfamiliar. Not me. I immediately jump in and see how it feels. That’s how I know we’re on the cutting edge—when we step outside conventions and lead the market rather than follow it. This approach takes vision and perseverance, but it keeps us in a category of our own. As the saying goes, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”

I was on a panel during the recent recession, and it was all surf industry CEOs and people like that. We all talked about our businesses, and I talked about how much effort we put into cleaning up our supply chain and trying not to cause unnecessary harm. One of the CEOs from one of the largest surf companies told me his company had been making a few organic cotton ball caps and T-shirts before the recession but had cut back when the economy slowed down.

I said, “How are your sales?” He said, “Well, we’re down about 25 percent.” Patagonia was up 30 percent. That company ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Today the surf industry is on the rocks, but we’re doing great because we’re riding our own wave.

The Secret To Lasting Is To Keep Playing Your Own Game

I’ve been in business for over 60 years. I’ve survived bad times. I’ve thrived in good times. I believe the secret to lasting is never sitting still. Some people see change as a threat. They hate it. I thrive on it, as does every ecosystem as well as every business that cares about its legacy in the making. I’m not talking about change for the sake of change. I’m talking about evolving and adapting as if you intend on being here a hundred years from now; it’s about never losing sight of where you came from or what inspired you in the first place.

Although we try to run Patagonia as if it’s going to be here a hundred years from now, I tell my employees that doesn’t mean we have a hundred years to get there. Continuous change requires a sense of urgency. That’s why my job these days is to combat complacency and instigate change. There’s a falconry term—yarak—that means super-alert, hungry, and ready to hunt. Along with our other leaders, one of my responsibilities is to keep the company in yarak.

The best way I keep us from sitting still is by using what I’ve learned to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders, which includes the following:

• Have an ambition to develop better tools.
• Growth can be toxic, though culture can be a tonic.
• Move people, not just products.
Be distinct in everything we do.
• Evolve and change to remain unique.
• Long-term values can guide quick decision-making every day.

As the authors of this book say, “The making of a legacy is personal, behavioral, influential, unconventional, and perpetual.” These lessons don’t expire, and through education they can transcend generations. So I share my story—as I have here—to pass my legacy forward for others to carry on.

The business world talks about the importance of long-term thinking in a short-term world. It’s true, though it’s never easy. Conventional business will fight you every step of the way. Long-term investments in programs such as our brand’s employee childcare center and our pollution standards always look negative on our financial ledger. But because we think long-term, we know we have responsibilities beyond our conventional bottom line. So do you. So does every great brand leader.

You may already believe that your culture is your product, not what you sell. You may also believe, like me, that companies shouldn’t exist simply to be sold for a profit and broken apart. Of course, this isn’t how conventional business works. Conventional business treats companies like fatted calves to be auctioned to the highest bidder in the shortest amount of time. It’s the American way. It starts when we’re young, when they say, “Okay, kids, line up on the starting line and let’s see who can run the fastest! Now line up over here, kids, and let’s see who can jump the highest!” That way of thinking produces one superhero and a bunch of losers. But, I wanted to do something different. I always have.

Growing up, I was as good as anybody at baseball and football and other sports. But when it came time to line up and perform for a crowd, I couldn’t do it. So I’ve been a climber, a kayaker, a falconer, a Telemark skier, a spear fisherman—all noncompetitive sports. All individual pursuits where your only competition is how high you set your personal ambitions.

That’s my advice to you as you build your legacy in the making: Invent your own game. Ask yourself what you hope to get out of this life, let that enduring ambition guide you, and if the right tools don’t exist to accomplish it, design your own tools. Be the only person who does what you do the way you do it. That way, you will always be the winner.

~Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Marc Miller and Lucas Conley with the permission of McGraw-Hill. Excerpted and adapted from Legacy in the Making: Building a Long-Term Brand to Stand Out in a Short-Term World

The Blake Project Can Help: Please email us for more about our purpose, mission, vision and values and brand culture workshops.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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10 Summer Pieces I’m Eyeing From The Men’s Section

Overall, my style tends to be pretty frilly — ruffles, sheer fabrics, long skirts, bows, and florals are all mainstays in my wardrobe. But as I’m getting older, I’m realizing: Why should we commit to just one aesthetic? Just because I love a good midi dress or puffy-sleeved top doesn’t mean I can’t also dabble in, say, normcore — even if that means wearing clothing that’s more “masculine” than what I usually go for. So, in an effort to expand my look, I’m giving that whole dad-on-vacation look a try.

It just so happens that the best place to get these staples is straight from the men’s section (yes, it’s that easy). While some womenswear labels have reworked pieces like the chunky sandal, the fanny pack, and the graphic tee, attempting to make these ironically-trendy pieces actually trendy, if you want the best version of the items ahead (and that cool, oversized fit), we suggest going straight to the source.

Since it’s 2018 and all clothing should be fair game regardless of whether it’s designated as ‘men’s’ or ‘women’s,’ here are 10 pieces I’m borrowing from the boys — just because I can.

The Long-Sleeved Skater TeeWith bike shorts or denim cut-offs, this will become a vital part of your weekend uniform.

Jaw x Jaw Shop, $130, available at Tictail

Baggy ShortsTrust us: These will look sweet with a plain white tank or crop top.

The North Face, $35, available at Urban Outfitters

The Bucket HatShield the sun in the most stylish summer staple.

Acne Studios, $130, available at Acne Studios

Crew SocksSometimes you just need a good, thick sock for your Nikes or Vans slip-ons (or, if you’re really feeling the aesthetic, with a pair of pool slides).

Kith x Stance, $18, available at Kith

The Rain JacketBecause those summer storms are inevitable, and I refuse to buy another deli umbrella.

Noah, $988, available at Noah

Swim TrunksSheer muumuus are cool and all, but I would much rather throw on some striped trunks as a cover-up. Over a one-piece, it’s a look that can take you from the water to the bar with ease.

Onia, $145, available at Onia

The Fanny PackIf you still haven’t hopped on board, what are you waiting for? These hands-free life-savers are key for summer adventures.

Nicce, $28, available at ASOS

The Graphic T-ShirtForget that white Gucci logo tee everyone has; this one stands out in the crowd.

Gucci, $480, available at Mr. Porter

The Crewneck SweatshirtFor chilly beach sunsets and Friday nights in.

Outdoor Voices, $60, available at Outdoor Voices

Statement JeansIf we’re talking menswear, we’re talking Raf Simons, and as a fan of the 1981 film Christiane F., these jeans are the perfect excuse to go a little punk this summer. (And, yes, black jeans are a year-round staple).

Raf Simons, $947, available at MatchesFashion.com

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Move Over, Millennial Pink. Melodramatic Purple Is Here

 

melodramatic purple

Melodramatic purple adds sophistication and visual interest to any space. Image: Elad Gonen

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Millennial pink has had its day. The warm shade shaped a number of decor trends in 2017. 2017 is over, though, and the new year is bringing hot new hues. One of the hottest is actually a cool, calming color. If you haven’t already been exposed to melodramatic purple, let us introduce you.

This color started its climb to the top just recently. The name “melodramatic purple” came into the spotlight in August of last year, when Lorde stepped onto the red carpet in a dress of this color. Now, it’s cropping up as a go-to shade for fashionistas and interior decorators. Why?

Melodramatic purple replaces the youthful vibes of millennial pink with sophistication and subtlety. While the pink was ideal for accent pieces and pops of color, this chic purple stands in for neutrals and shines when featured in major design pieces. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can incorporate melodramatic purple into your home decor.

Melodramatic purple yard decor

Decorating your outdoor spaces can be challenging. You want them to feel fun and fresh, but you also need to consider colors that can hold up when exposed to the elements. Fortunately, this year’s favorite purple can come to the rescue. Because melodramatic purple is already a soft hue, it doesn’t change much as it fades in the sun. It’s an ideal color for any outdoor upholstery and umbrellas.

Or, if you’re looking for a more natural way to incorporate this trending shade, grow it. Lavender bushes thrive with infrequent watering, making them ideal for black thumbs and water-conscious gardeners alike. Mexican sage is another low-maintenance way to add splashes of purple to your yard.

melodramatic purple - patio

This purple hue dresses up a patio and wears well in the sun. Image: British Association of Landscape Industries

melodramatic purple - backyard

Purple blooms keep your yard looking fresh without overwhelming it with color. Image: Peter A. Sellar

Melodramatic purple curtains

If you’re attracted to melodramatic purple but don’t want to be married to it forever, turn to your curtains. The changing season is a great time to swap out your window coverings and refresh your home. Add purple curtains to your dining room to give the space a luxurious feel. Remember, purple is the color of royalty. The soft touch of this drapery swap will make your space feel lush and inviting, even as it adds an air of sophistication.

This curtain swap is also ideal for rooms where you want to add a sense of calm, like a nursery or office. If you’re feeling frazzled sitting at your desk, this soothing hue can help you recenter.

melodramatic purple - dining room curtains

Melodramatic purple curtains look lush and rich. Image: Austin Bean Design Studio

melodramatic purple - office curtains

Add a sense of calm and softness to any space with curtains in this color. Image: D’Apostrophe Design

Melodramatic purple furniture

Even if you find an affordable piece of furniture, there’s still the time-investment factor. There are many choices to consider: shape, size and fabric. Statement couches in vibrant hues are fun and add a notable design element, but will you get sick of the color?

Melodramatic purple provides a happy middle ground between the same-old neutrals and high-saturation hues that could go out of style. The mellow but interesting color adds a cosmopolitan touch to any living area without overwhelming the space.

melodramatic purple - couch

Complement the soft purple hue with neutrals to add depth to a room. Image: Amy Schwartz Interiors 

melodramatic purple - sofa

Melodramatic purple couch and armchairs help create a warm and soothing space. Image: LA Home Photography

Melodramatic purple is making its mark on the design and fashion world. When you incorporate it into your home, you’ll not only be on-trend, you’ll also work an interesting but balanced shade with staying power into your decor.

How will you use melodramatic purple in your home? Let us know in the comments.

The post Move Over, Millennial Pink. Melodramatic Purple Is Here appeared first on Freshome.com.

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What Nonprofits Want Companies to Know About Giving

givingprograms.jpgCorporate giving programs
are an increasingly central part of
social impact
efforts by businesses across the world. Employees want to give back, and companies are making that ever easier with tools like automatic payroll deductions, matching gifts and crowdfunding campaigns. Modern approaches have made donating more convenient for employees, which spurs greater spikes in overall giving.

But what works best for nonprofits? We asked leaders at several top nonprofits – International Medical Corps, Feeding America, Save the Children, UNICEF and America’s Charities to list the top three things that they wish donors knew about how they could be more impactful with getting more money to nonprofits faster. Here’s what we heard:

    Year-round donations, e.g., payroll deduction or monthly giving, are desired and provide consistent support.
      Providing complete donor contact data is key to relationship building and stewardship.
      Giving via a platform that is user-friendly for both donor and nonprofit

Let’s be clear: how you give matters.

The most direct and cost-efficient route that donations take from giver to recipient is the goal. “No matter how you donate, nonprofits always incur a cost for processing donations, recording donor information, preparing tax receipts, and other administrative costs,” said Jim Starr, President and CEO, America’s Charities. “But some donation methods cost nonprofits more than others.”

Starr notes that workplace giving sometimes costs as low as 4% of the donation, often covered by companies so that 100% of an employee’s donation goes to charity, making it one of the most cost-efficient ways to support nonprofits. On top of that, companies often offer to match employee donations, allowing donors to double the charity’s impact. Compare that to credit card, PayPal, and check donations, which usually cost between 15-30% of a donation, or gifts made through a charity’s fundraising event, which costs nearly 50% (!)

The form of your gift matters, too.

Most nonprofits prefer an unrestricted donation that empowers them to direct funds where they’re needed most.

“Unrestricted funds means we will have the ability to respond quickly when disasters strike; meet new needs in chaotic environments; or innovate programs to meet the local context,” says Erica L. Tavares, Senior Director, Institutional Advancement, International Medical Corps. “Unrestricted funds also allow us to leverage larger, institutional funding that often requires a match – and in fact, for every unrestricted dollar International Medical Corps receives, we can unlock, on average, $30 in funding and donated medicines and supplies.”

The timing of your donation also matters.

But ultimately, giving in any capacity – and giving consistently – is the name of the game.

“Whether donations arrive by check, electronic fund transfer or gifts of stock, the format is less important than the consistent support from our donor partners,” says Ashby Brown, Manager, Employee Engagement at Save the Children. “Recurring donations (rather than one-time gifts) are particularly helpful because it means we can focus our efforts providing assistance where it is needed most around the world, rather than spending time on fundraising.

Many nonprofits must wait until the end of year or for episodic events to receive a large share of their donations. But “workplace giving provides reliable funding year-round,” says Starr. “This allows charities to plan how to use donors’ gifts more strategically and make a stronger impact.”

Teresa Gruber, Manager of Employee Engagement, at Feeding America agrees that timeliness of receiving donations makes a difference. “For Feeding America, having the donations right away mean that we have funds to support food donations and program implementation at our network of food banks. We are able to help people more quickly.”

Recurring donations also allows for a deeper relationship with a nonprofit that allows givers to be tuned in to impact. “It means donors will respond quickly with us when a disaster does strike, so that our doctors and nurses have the resources and tools they need to save lives when they arrive on the frontlines,” says Tavares.

Tavares believes that a strong relationship with donors helps them understand how International Medical Corps works and how that work makes an impact on survivors of disasters and underserved communities worldwide. “When donors give to International Medical Corps, they are making an investment in the success of our programs. We believe in turn, they deserve clear, concise communications about what their donations, pooled with other funds, have accomplished.

Gruber agrees that the ease of pulling information from online platforms and having access to donor data can help connect donors to impact. “We want to share communications with the donor and steward them so they know how their investment is making a difference in assisting those who struggle with hunger,” says Gruber.

Open up all methods for giving

No matter how you get there, nonprofits really want one thing from your giving program: your money. The sooner they have it, the faster they can get to impact.

The concerns and priorities of nonprofits when it comes to giving is why Causecast has made every form of giving accessible and instant for the companies it serves through its online giving and volunteer platform. We offer more frequent processing options, don’t make nonprofits have to register with our system, have no hidden fees, and we write checks for nonprofits on behalf of companies so that nonprofits don’t have to wait to receive funds.

Ultimately, when managing a giving program, you need to ensure that your donor dollars get where they need to go as fast and as regularly as possible so that you can have more impact in less time. Flexibility, speed and consistency are what helps nonprofits most and best supports them to serve their missions.

Sign up for our free webinar on July 27th at 11am PT / 2pm ET

“Corporate Activist Employees: Your New CSR Team”

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The best bras you can buy

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

best bra

The Insider Pick:

We know that finding a bra that’s so comfortable that you forget it’s on sounds impossible, but it’s not. With an intelligent fit finder quiz, half sizes, and carefully designed bras that are as sexy as they are comfortable, ThirdLove makes the best bras you can buy.

Ladies, we’ve gotta take care of our ladies. Like us, they deserve the utmost respect and support, like us, they should never settle for second best. To that end, buying a bra that does your breasts proud is just about the best thing that you can do for yourself.

Alright, fine — That’s probably something of an overstatement, but the sentiment rings true. Buying bras may not be the most fun experience, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Luckily, there are a handful of companies that are looking to make the bra-purchasing process less of a hassle. But more importantly, the results are everything that you’ve ever wanted for your chest.

Your primary consideration when purchasing a bra should be comfort. After all, unless you’re letting the girls run free all the livelong day (which is fine!), you’re likely going to be wearing your bra for at least the eight-hour workday. That means that your underwire can’t be digging into your ribcage, that your straps can be tangling uncomfortably against your shoulder, and that your clasp can’t be scratching your back.

Then, you should also consider what style of bra you’d like. Are you looking to make an impression by pushing the ladies up, or are you looking to be a bit more inconspicuous with a classic t-shirt bra? There’s no wrong answer, of course, but there are certainly different bras for different occasions.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to keep fit in mind. After all, an ill-fitting bra will be neither comfortable nor stylish (regardless of what you’re trying to achieve), but sometimes, figuring out exactly what bra size you are can be a bit difficult. This is especially the case when you’re doing your shopping online. Luckily, that’s not the case with a number of our favorite bra purveyors, who have gone to great lengths to ensure that you and your bra get along.

Regardless of which of these bras you choose, we’re confident that you (and the ladies) will be well satisfied.

Best bras overall: ThirdLove 
Best delicate bras: Journelle
Best bras for $10 to $20: Hanes 
Best for atypical shapes: Natori
Best strapless bras: Wacoal
Best bras for E (DD) to J: Trusst 
Best bras and bralettes for $35: Lively

Updated on 7/18/2018 by Valis Vicenty and Malarie Gokey: Added Trusst and Lively bras based on testing.

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.The best bra overall
ThirdLove

Why you’ll love it: At ThirdLove, it’s all about the fit, and oh, how these bras fit, thanks to the intelligent Fit Finder quiz and optional half sizes (starting at $68).

Face it — Today’s standard cup sizes aren’t always exactly what your body needs. And luckily, at ThirdLove, no one is expecting you (or your breasts) to fit into a predetermined mold. In just 60 seconds, Thirdlove will help you find a bra that feels as though it was actually tailored to your body, all without your ever having to leave the couch.

It all starts with ThirdLove’s Fit Finder tool, which as the name suggests, helps you find your actual right size. You’ll input the cup size and band measurements you normally abide by, as well as the company from which you’ve historically purchased your bra. But then you’ll also talk about where the shortcomings are — how much of a gap there is, how well the band actually sits against your back, and to what extent you find yourself adjusting the straps.

Most importantly, you’ll tell ThirdLove about the shape of your breasts, because yes, that will impact what bra is ultimately recommended.

Once you’re done with the full questionnaire, you’ll input your email address, and you’ll be shown what your bra size should be (it may be different than you previously imagined based on your answers), as well as a recommended bra. And best of all, if your bra size comes in a half cup (because yes, that’s a thing), ThirdLove can send you a bra that comes in a half size.

While you may not think that a web-based survey could actually take you to a better fitting bra, think again. As soon as I put on my ThirdLove Classic T-Shirt Bra, I knew that I’d been wrong with just about every other bra I’d ever worn. This is easily one of the most comfortable and truly supportive pieces of lingerie I’ve ever worn, and whereas other bras seem to work only with certain outfits, I’ve managed to wear this particular bra under cocktail dresses and sweats alike.

Although the T-Shirt Bra is the classic choice, ThirdLove has plenty of other fantastic options for you to choose from as well, including a racerback, a lace racerback with a front closure (which is beautiful, by the way), and another personal favorite, the lace balconette (for special occasions).

Several other women on the Insider Picks team have tried ThirdLove’s bras and love them. Since we’re all a range of sizes and shapes, it’s impressive that we all love these bras.

Reviewers at People called ThirdLove bras “the most comfortable…that [have] ever been on my body,” while nearly 22,500 customers have given the Classic T-Shirt Bra a 4.5 out of 5 stars on the company’s website.

Pros: Careful sizing guide, great fit, and comfortable material that doesn’t irritate the skin even after a long day of wear

Cons: The Classic T-Shirt Bra isn’t the sexiest bra in the world, but there are other options for that, too

Shop the ThirdLove collection beginning at $68

The best delicate bra
Journelle

Why you’ll love it: If you want to feel like an airy princess, Journelle has just the bra for you in the Isabel collection (starting at $84).

One of the best things about Journelle is that it’s both an online and offline shop with a truly boutique experience. Just ask our friends over at The Gloss, who called shopping for a bra at Journelle “the best experience at a lingerie store ever.” But perhaps even better than the friendly sales associates (and truly, they’re difficult to beat), is the Isabel, which just so happens to be Journelle’s very first complete lingerie collection.

It combines Journelle’s two favorite things — French lingerie and “having things exactly how we want them.” And trust me, you want this bra. The classic French demi silhouette is delicate, whimsical, and feminine in the best of ways. There isn’t a detail missed on this bra, from the scalloped trim on the peek-a-boo straps to the floral lace pattern.

But don’t think that just because the Isabel is terribly pretty it won’t be terribly useful. This bra will do what it’s meant to do: keep you lifted and supported all the live-long day. That’s likely thanks to the two-part cup construction. The seaming helps to create shape, add comfort, and of course, aid in support.

And no matter what size you may be, the delicacy of the Isabel Balconette can indeed be for you. The bra comes in cup sizes A through G, and band sizes range from 30 to 36. Because it’s constructed of 100% nylon, it’s actually surprisingly comfortable despite all its fine lace detail.

Folks over at the Lingerie Addict note that the Isabel may be “a replacement for [their] favorite bra,” and the Isabel has solidified a spot on Journelle’s best selling list of lingerie. With the matching Isabel underwear, which comes in both a bikini and a thong, as well as a suspender belt, you can adorn yourself with a full Isabel set.

Pros: Sexy, delicate, and oh so feminine, all while being as supportive as a bra should be

Cons: At $84, the Isabel isn’t exactly the most budget-friendly buy   

Buy the Isabel by Journelle for $84

The best budget bra
Hanes

Why you’ll love it: You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good bra, and Hanes is here to prove it (starting at $10).

High prices don’t always correlate with high quality, and similarly, budget buys don’t mean budget quality. No one knows this better than Hanes, the classic underwear brand that makes one of the best wire-free bras on the market.

Whether you want to call it a bralette or a wireless bra, you’ll certainly call it supremely comfortable. The Comfort Wire-Free bra line by Hanes is one of the sturdier bras you can buy. Sure, it’s not made of sexy lace, but as a result, it can withstand quite a bit of wear and tear. It doesn’t lose its shape or stretch out in unattractive ways after several cycles in the washing machine, and because it doesn’t have an underwire, it’s incredibly lightweight and flexible.

But don’t think that a lack of wire means a lack of support or structure. As folks over at Good Housekeeping noted, “I liked that this bra did not have an underwire, yet I felt fully supported. It was soft and comfortable…I almost forgot I was wearing a bra.”

Because the Wire-Free bras are fully adjustable, they also stay put quite well. Over 2,000 folks on Amazon have given the Hanes bra 4.4 out of 5 stars. Reviewers note that the bra “holds everything where it needs to be without wires and without binding or squishing or pushing things higher than they need to go.” 

Pros: Extremely affordable, wide range of colors, good support, and straps that stay in place

Cons: There are a limited selection of cup and band sizes, so chestier women may not be able to find a good fit  

Shop the Hanes Wire-Free collection starting at $10

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

8 fun cases that protect your Kindle e-readerThe 100 best products on sale for Prime Day 2018 — that we’ve recommended in our buying guidesIt’s your last chance for these 15 interesting and unexpected Prime Day deals you would never find yourself

SEE ALSO: The best women’s underwear you can buy


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Upgrade Your Vacation Wardrobe With Amazon Prime Day

If you find your Amazon Prime account to admittedly be a little too active all year round (guilty!), well, now is NOT the time to pull back. Prime Day is here, and it’s time to shop. Right now, as it does every year, Amazon is slashing its already low prices — and we’re not just talking flat screen TVs and fancy espresso machines (but why not get one of each while you’re at it?). So while you may have felt like all of summer’s style-related sales have come and gone, it turns out you can still add some new pieces to your wardrobe for a fraction of the cost.

Sure, we could pick up a new pair of shoes or quirky fashion find, but it’s summer, and we’ve got vacation on the brain. And though you can’t book a getaway via Amazon Prime (at least, not yet), you can snag all those must-have travel essentials on deep, deep discount. From the one-piece swimsuit that’ll have you tossing your bikini collection for good to the sundress you’ll want to wear straight into fall, in two days time (because Prime is a lifesaver), you’ll be packing for your next tropical retreat. Next stop: the beach!

P.S.: Not an Amazon Prime member? Don’t fret. Sign up for the 30-day free trial that’ll get you all the deals you want and need, no string attached. And who knows, maybe it’ll stick.

There’s a lot of product out there, some would say too much. No doubt this has left you with an overwhelming set of questions about the latest must-haves. Luckily we’ve got answers. At Refinery29 we are here to help you navigate this epic world of stuff. All of our editorial market is independently selected and curated by the team. But if you buy something we link to on our site Refinery29 may earn commission.

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3 companies you didn’t know offer free 2-day shipping perks to Amazon Prime members

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Sometimes I find myself abandoning my digital shopping cart before purchasing just because I don’t want to pay the extra shipping fee. It’s a hurdle I think plenty of people have trouble with — it can be hard to stomach an extra $10 for shipping when we’re so used to the “free” two-day perk from Amazon’s Prime membership

Despite the fact that you technically pay for that shipping from Amazon in the form of a $99 annual fee, having a Prime membership makes it difficult to justify the shipping cost from sites that were once our go-tos. 

It turns out, however, that Prime’s free two-day shipping perk isn’t just limited to Amazon.com. 

As Amazon continues to acquire more and more online retailers, it’s also started spreading the benefits of its membership program to customers of those websites. This has mostly applied to the fashion brands they own, but recently expanded out to others as well. Though the list is pretty short right now, we have a feeling that the more companies Amazon buys, the more websites they’ll end up adding Prime perks to.  

Below, you’ll find a quick list of sites that currently offer free two-day shipping with your Amazon Prime membership:Shopbop
Shopbop

Check out everything Shopbop has to offer

Shopbop is an online destination for luxury and designer clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories. Though they carry plenty of relatively affordable staples like Levi’s, Soludos, and Jeffrey Campbell, you’ll also find high-end names like alice + olivia, Cinq a Sept, Ganni, and Oscar de la Renta on the site. 

When you place your order, you can sign into your Amazon account to access free Prime shipping on nearly everything.

East Dane
East Dane

Check out everything East Dane has to offer

East Dane is the brother of Shopbop, selling luxe menswear from both mid-range and high-end labels like Golden Goose, Ted Baker, Kenneth Cole, and Ferragamo. 

Just like Shopbop, all you have to do is enter your Amazon account info at checkout to get Prime shipping. 

Woot!
Woot

Check out everything Woot! has to offer

Woot! is an Amazon-owned startup that hosts daily flash deals on discounted products — from sports and outdoor gear to tech gadgets and electronics. The site feels somewhere in between Amazon’s Deal of the Day section and Groupon, but a little cheekier. 

To take advantage of your Prime shipping perk, just log in with your Amazon account before checking out. 

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SEE ALSO: These 15 little-known perks show why Amazon Prime is so much more than free shipping


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