PLUS: How brands are botching their diversity efforts.
🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear Juliet and Jacob talk about the future of weddings, AR social networks, Walmart drones in Arkansas, and more.
The big idea
Wedding party economics are getting out of hand
Being asked to be a bridesmaid or groomsman should be an honor. It means you get to play a special part in somebody’s big day.
But thanks to a number of factors, more people are looking at the role as an obligation due to the high costs it entails, per CNBC.
… bridesmaids and groomsmen spend $825 to be in a wedding party, according to a recent survey by LendingTree. Some factors contributing to that expense include:
Rising fuel prices, which have made traveling to bachelor(ette) parties and weddings more expensive. In April, flight prices were up 33% YoY.
Inflation, which has led to increased costs for wedding attire, which 32% of bridal party members say was their biggest cost.
Supply chain issues, which have led to limited inventory for wedding attire, complicating matters further
Of the consumers that were surveyed, 50% incurred debt to participate in a wedding party, and 40% regret spending some of that money.
Making matters worse…
… this year there are expected to be ~2.6m weddings in the US, compared to 2.2m weddings in 2019. The jump is partly due to postponed ceremonies caused by the pandemic.
That means there’s a good chance some bridesmaids and groomsmen will take on those duties in multiple ceremonies, leading to an even steeper financial burden.
But just because you get asked…
… doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Roughly 20% of people who were asked have turned down a wedding party invitation, and of those folks, 69% say the decision didn’t hurt their relationship with the bride or groom.
If you do decide to go that route, here are some tips to politely decline an invitation.
Board moves: Jack Dorsey left Twitter’s Board of Directors. Shareholders also voted to remove Egon Durban, Co-CEO of Silver Lake Partners. Durban is a long-time backer of Elon Musk.
Integration season: Stripe launched an app marketplace that brings in functionality from third parties, including analytics, CRM, marketing, and e-signature tools.
Big news for Shorts: Google rolled out ads for YouTube Shorts, its TikTok competitor. The company also reported Shorts is garnering 30B views per day, up four times from last year.
Gas problems: US prices for natural gas reached their highest point since 2008 due to low production and storage levels that are ~17% lower than the 5-year average.
Small bay warehouses? Handymen, contractors, and ecommerce outfits need these self-storage units now more than ever. Access our research report on the lucrative real estate trend.
Makeup shake-up: Glossier founder Emily Weiss has stepped down as CEO. Nike vet Kyle Leahy will replace Weiss, who will remain on the board. #ecommerce-retail
Retrofitting old dams could add hydropower in the US. The nation has ~90k dams, only 2.2k of which generate hydroelectric power. #clean-energy
Friend bots: New York State is giving out robots to 800+ older adults. The bots will make conversation, contact friends and family, and track health goals. #emerging-tech
Metacash: Andreessen Horowitz announced a $4.5B Web3 fund, a third of which will go to seed deals. #fintech-crypto
Cruise control: Apple Music is now integrated with Waze, letting users listen to its library of 90m+ songs while on the road. #big-tech
What’s happening in China?
In the US, April retail sales were up 8.2% from a year earlier. In China — not so much.
Strict covid lockdowns across major cities, where most malls and stores have been shut for months, led to an 11.1% YoY decline in April consumer spending there.
Starbucks, with 5.4k locations in China, saw first quarter sales drop 23%. For Adidas, sales dropped 35%. Hilton’s fell 45%.
Earlier this week, Airbnb said it decided to remove all mainland Chinese listings due to a lack of demand since its launch there in 2016. Certainly the pandemic wasn’t a big help.
But hotel operators are praying that think demand will rebound soon. Hilton, for instance, is opening 20% more rooms in China in 2022 than it did last year.
If you still craft every email with love (from scratch), we appreciate you.
For those of y’all who ain’t got time for that, you can appreciate us instead.
Here are 25 hot-and-ready templates to save your salespeople time while maintaining that endearing touch. Created by experts at Sandler Training, Breakthrough Email, and HubSpot.
As Walmart deals with backlash over its attempt to commercialize Juneteenth with ice cream, other brands are being called out for dubious diversity initiatives.
… adopted an informal policy in 2020 that required the company to interview at least one woman or person of color (POC) for jobs with salaries $100k+, perThe New York Times.
But several current and former Wells Fargo employees say that meant some candidates sat through bogus, time-wasting interviews for positions that had already been filled.
One Black wealth manager was submitted to fake interviews twice, according to an ex-employee. The man was eventually hired in 2018 in a more junior role, then laid off during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, at Netflix…
… the streamer’s loss of 200k subscribers and plunging stock prices have led to layoffs.
Many recent layoffs at Tudum, Netflix’s entertainment website, included women and people of color who said they’d been lured away from stable jobs just four months before they were let go.
And last week’s layoff of ~150 full-time employees and several contractors included many employees who worked on channels dedicated to POC and queer audiences, perThe Los Angeles Times.
Netflix also canceled shows in production like “Boons & Curses,” an animated series with an all-South Asian writers room and voice-over cast that Netflix previously hyped as part of its AAPI programming.
Layoffs often disproportionately affect women and POC…
… when diversity is not spread throughout an organization, and because they are more likely to be contractors, perProtocol. That means companies must be conscientious with their efforts — not just what they look like on paper.
AROUND THE WEB
🧛 On this day: In 1897, Bram Stoker’s Draculahit the shelves of London, bringing the legend of vampires into mainstream culture. The novel is told through letters and articles — you can sign up to receive it, in order, via email here.
🎮 That’s interesting: The story of Van Tran, the video game dev who created the first console game with a female protagonist.
😑 Useful: Need a face for your ad or website? Generated Photos has a ton of them, all generated by AI.
🤐 How to: Do you find yourself rambling or talking over others in meetings? Here’s how to stop.
🦙 Aww: And now, could anything be more delightful than these leaping alpacas?