This week was a whirlwind and I’ve been very much looking forward to this Sunday and having a bit of downtime before another crazy week ahead. It’s always nice to take some time and reflect on the past week, even if it’s just a small highlight or re-noticing something that inspired me. Take a peek at some of the things that caught our team’s attention this week…
Julia – I love all things blue and white, especially my collection of blue and white jars and pots. I’ve been slowly building my collection over the past few years, always searching for ones in vintage or antique shops, etsy, garden stores or random places here and there. A few Christmases ago Thomas got me some of my larger ones from William Sonoma that I can’t wait to bring back out once we move back into our home. Last week I was on William Sonoma and noticed all of their new blue and white accessories with gold details like this peony and hummingbird ginger jar, cachepot and even these coasters. I’ve also scored some beautiful vintage and new blue & white pieces from One Kings Lane. They always have a great selection to choose from, like this teapot, this pitcher, this ginger jar, this bowl, this garden stool, this vase and these lamps. And if you’re looking for some more affordable pieces, this one, this one, this one and this one and these are all under $50.
Thomas – When I look at the world I see assets sitting idle, empty or unused to their full potential. I see cars parked, people “killing time”, buildings unoccupied, food uneaten and so much more. With that, I start thinking about opportunities. I’m especially interested by the opportunities in the travel industry. I’m interested because 1) We love to travel, thus we spend a lot of time on planes and hotels, so I see potential for improvement and 2) These businesses make it or break it based on how well they fill their flights or hotel rooms and at what price they do it at.
The unique thing about hotels and flights is that their inventory is extremely perishable. Unlike a product that can sit on the shelf for days or even months, if a seat on a flight or a room in a hotel goes unsold, they can never sell it. A second unique thing is, the fixed costs of operating are pretty much set and they are high, compared to the marginal costs of an additional passenger which are very low in comparison to the average selling price. Selling an otherwise empty room probably only requires additional housekeeping and a flight, maybe the added meal service. So why don’t we see unsold capacity in these industries get marked down as it gets closer to the date?
Within about two weeks of departure, flights typically increase in price instead of decrease. While this is partially explained by a decrease in supply it’s also has to deal with the fact that most people buying at the last minute are less price sensitive. Such as business people scheduling an unforeseen business trip or people racing home for a family emergency.
There are plenty of tools for helping you find the lowest fare when buying a plane tickets, such as Hopper which allows you to track destinations and they’ll let you know when is most likely the best time to book. But one thing that’s always puzzled me is why travel companies don’t do more in the last minute to get people to pay for upgrades to premium services. Like upgrading from a standard room to a suite or upgrading to business class. When we take long international flights I almost always check the price for business class flights in comparison to normal seats, the prices are always outrageous so we book premium economy most of the time. When we get to the airport we often ask what the upgrade price is and it’s even crazier. Sure enough when we get on the plane there are lots of empty business class seats. With apps and messaging capabilities I’m sure they can fill these seats even last minutes but right now it mostly remains an untapped opportunity.
If you are interested, one new startup that I found is worth keeping an eye on, is called Air Ticket Arena which is live on Android, still in beta on web and has an iOS app coming in March. It allows last minute travelers to bid on flights.
Laura – I’ve got a short and sweet one for you today. I discovered this vintage rug shop New England Loom back when Jess Kirby showed off one of her beautiful living room rugs she bought from them. Lindsey, the co-owner of New England Loom, sources gorgeous vintage rugs from throughout New England and all over the world so you can bring some history into your home. Throughout the week via her Instagram & InstaStories she shares sneak peeks of her recent rug finds that will then go live that following Sunday at 8pm EST. I have a weekly reminder set in my phone to check out what’s new and see full photos of what I had been eyeing from her previous snaps. I have found many that I absolutely love, but the only reason I haven’t pulled the trigger yet is because I don’t have the space in my apartment to beautifully showcase her finds. One day! So for now, if you happen to find a piece for your home I will live vicariously through you. Set a reminder for tonight at 8pm EST!
Margaret – Word Play launched Friday, and it’s worth checking out. What’s Word Play you may ask? It’s Charleston artist Laura Deems’ daring new collection of oil & acrylic works on canvas. This body of work brings a tongue-in-cheek visual mashup of culture’s most heady concepts to the table: mass consumerism, feminism, and society defined by the digital age. Laura’s art is provocative; it sparks conversation. But don’t just take my word for it. Leaders in the art + interior design scene have already spoken: “It’s all about contrasts, opposing forces, yet all lines are blurred;” “LD makes you want to defend yourself, and LOOK, and (hopefully) THINK for yourself; Question the artist’s crown;” “She brings so much intellect to the game.” The titles of LD’s pieces are playful, condensed spins of the big-picture concepts and art history references written within the layers of each work. Fontana the Décor Consult is my favorite pick of the crowd (featured in the Sunday Series image above). I can envision this piece pulling together an eclectic space with antique and modern furniture, as the bold shapes of black ink (a nod at modern art) in the foreground against the muted golden brown wash (an aged, classic aesthetic) create a dynamic juxtaposition. Plus, it looks fabulous above the mantel in our living room. One perk of living with an artist means a wall is never simply bare.