Category Archives: Classroom Activities

The Rise of Used Clothing Purchasing

There is no doubt that the pandemic changed shopping habits – both what we buy as well as how we buy. Work clothes such as suits and ties are trending down, and more relaxed and casual clothes are trending up. But that’s only part of the story. Sustainability in clothing is also on an upward trend.

To learn more about this, a survey by Adweek-Morning Consult surveyed 2,200 U.S. adults about where they buy clothing, and how they dispose of clothing they no longer want. Among the survey results findings was that 70% of Americans think sustainability is at least somewhat important when deciding how to get rid of unneeded clothing. And, 65% said that sustainability is at least somewhat important when selecting clothing to wear.

Other findings:

  • 79% have purchased used clothing at some point.
  • 20% buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 30% of Millennials buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 18% of Gen Z buy used clothing at least most of the time.
  • 72% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennials said sustainability was at least somewhat important.
  • 79% said they considered donating clothing as a sustainable option.
  • 59% felt selling clothing was sustainable.

While the numbers are promising, the proof is in the implementation for clothing companies. A recent agreement between Madewell and clothing resale platform thredUP aims to capitalize on this. Madewell (owned by J. Crew) will have a dedicated microsite the its website and will offer a curated selection of used (or ‘preloved’) Madewell jeans.

Old jeans can be brought to Madewell stores, which then assesses the condition of the clothes. If the clothing can live on, it is sold to someone. If the jeans are a little too worn to be sold, they are recycled into housing insulation through Blue Jeans Go Green. The lower price of Madewell jeans on the resales website also opens up sales to a market that is unable or unwilling to pay the high price of new jeans.

What did you buy lately?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What types of clothes do they buy? New or used? Where? Why?
  2. View thredUP’s 2021 resale report: https://www.thredup.com/resale/#resale-industry
  3. Show thredUP website: https://www.thredup.com/
  4. Show Madewell preowned site: https://madewellforever.thredup.com/
  5. Show Blue Jeans Go Green site: https://bluejeansgogreen.org/
  6. In teams, have students go to these websites and browse clothing items.
  7. Have them consider price, style, etc.
  8. Now that they have viewed resale websites, have their attitudes about buying and clothing changed?
  9. How can sustainability issues be addressed by other clothing manufacturers and retailers?

Source:  AdWeek

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The Future of Parking Garages

When is the last time you left your car in a public parking garage? It may sound a little crazy to ask this, but what was your experience? Most likely, it just was parking and nothing else. Nothing special. Boring. Repetitive. Unattractive. Expensive. Time consuming.

Now, think of the potential business opportunity to give those car owners something else to enjoy – and spend money on – in addition to keeping their cars safely tended. The parking garage could actually become a ‘mobility hub’ or a ‘silo’ that could provide restful parking for delivery drivers who might need restrooms and food. After all, those large concrete buildings are usually in valuable real estate located next to destinations such as entertainment, shopping, and events venues.

Innovation is now coming to parking garages. In Chicago, an underground parking garage downtown is being converted to an e-commerce delivery center. Los Angeles parking garages house shared commercial kitchens. Denver and Seattle parking garage roofs are being used as urban greenhouses and farms. San Francisco is redeveloping a garage into a mixed-use complex with affordable housing. Other garages are using parking spots for autonomous vehicles and EV charging stations, adding integrated access controls, kiosks, valet parking, and more, all synced through mobile devices.

Technology plays a large role in the future of parking garages. High-tech cameras can read license plates, enabling drivers to buy passes online and bypass ticket taking and payments, reserving a parking spot in advance. Some garages work with car-sharing companies, bikes, food trucks, and scooters to help patrons quickly access transportation. Others are considering how to combine workspace, retail, fitness centers, and housing using pre-fabricated modules.

What would you like to see in a parking garage?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What has been their experiences with parking garages? What is negative? What could be done to improve parking garages?
  2. View FlashPark website: https://www.flashparking.com/products/
  3. Show video – why parking lots will disappear: https://youtu.be/XMt4zEEHxv4
  4. Discuss the impact of ride-sharing services and autonomous vehicles on parking garages.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a parking garage in the area.
  6. Research the garage, number of spots, footprint, revenue, usage.
  7. Have each team redesign the garage to be more innovative and useful.
  8. Debrief the exercise and select a winning design.

Source:  Axios; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Peloton Recalls Treadmills

Peloton has been riding high for the past year as gyms closed and people took their fitness routines into their homes. Peloton stock and sales are at an all-time high. To be clear though, high sales volume has given the company problems with supply chain and manufacturing during this time period. It even has a recall due to problems with broken pedals on its bikes which caused injuries.

However, a more recent and critical problem for Peloton has been a number of cases of injury to adults, children, or pets being pulled underneath the rear of the treadmill. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been at least 72 reports of adults, children, and pets being pulled under the treadmill, including 29 reports of injuries to children and one death of a six-year-old child. Serious issues indeed.

The recall notice was issued by Peloton, but only after an urgent warning from the CPSC that forced the company to change its initial stance about the problems. Peloton is now offering a full refund for owners of the treadmill.

What should companies due about hazards to consumers?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the components of public relations and crisis communications.
  2. Show video about the problem: https://youtu.be/RiAjg4RXLMQ
  3. View Peloton’s statement on its website: https://www.onepeloton.com/press/articles/tread-and-tread-recall
  4. Show the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice for Peloton: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2021/peloton-recalls-tread-plus-treadmills-after-one-child-died-and-more-than-70-incidents
  5. Show additional recall notice for a separate Peloton recall: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2021/peloton-recalls-tread-treadmills-due-to-risk-of-injury
  6. What are the basic components and steps to handle crisis communications?
  7. How did Peloton initially handle the problems? What did they later do?
  8. Divide students into teams and have each team select a company/product. Then, have teams determine the steps to take during a crisis for that company.

Source: CBS; CNBC; New York Times; other news sources

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