Tuesday, July 31, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 8 Things Happening in August--

It's August and 2012 is moving quickly.  Here's a list of great things happening this month:

1. Back to School
Whether you're in grammar school or graduate school, hitting the books is right around the corner.  As the school year starts, it's also a great time to get healthy.  August is National Immunization Awareness Month as well as National Cataract Awareness Month, so be sure your system and eyes are where they need to be.

2. Louis Vuitton continues their battle in trademark protection
After lawsuits against Hyundai and Warner Brothers for "Hangover 2", LV has had their hands full in court lately.  They're appealing the court ruling ultimately allowing the moviemaker to keep scenes with fake bags in their film.  We'll be watching this one for sure!

3. Louboutin keeps fighting their sole battle
After losing a case with Zara over red-soled shoes, and still working to protect their trademark shoe bottoms against other designers, Christian Louboutin is most certainly tired of court.  However, those fire engine red bottoms are not only a major fashion statement, but also setting a new tone in trademark law--and of course blazing a trail in fashion law, too.

4.  The Wood Star Fest
Chicagoland native, Shannon Brown of the Phoenix Suns is hosting a great weekend of events, including a celebrity basketball game and concert.  Check out more details in Fashion & Philanthropy.

5.  National Parks Month
It's summer, and although most of the country has been slammed with 90+ degree temperatures, we've still had some nice 80-degree days for getting outside and enjoying parks.  Before we face whatever fall and winter may bring, enjoy the parks in your area.

6.  Football season is preparing to return
Surely the Olympics are fun to watch, but August also means training camps are getting started and the NFL will be back in a matter of weeks.  Can't wait!

7.  August is also Black Business Month
Although we are supportive of all small businesses, here are a couple fitting the festivities for this month:

*August is also highlighted by President Obama's birthday, August 4....and mine, August 19.  Go Leos! ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Spotlights

Alysse Dalessandro of Ready to Stare--

I had the great pleasure of meeting Alysse by chance while getting my nails done by Spifster--as any true Chicago fashionista would do.  We sat and chatted, and found out we both have a special love for fashion and fashion in Chicago.

Alysse wearing Green Dino Earrings 
Photo is by Kelley Mullarkey for Majestic Disorder 

I was able to sit down with Alysse again--this time over tasty doughnuts--to chat about her Etsy store and all things fashion.  Here's what she told me:

Alysse came to Chicago from the Cleveland area for college to study journalism.  She planned to write about fashion and even covered the business side of the industry for AOL.  After taking a metalworking class, Alysse knew she'd be able to do something great with her passion for design.  "It was my most influential class in college".  

After finding friends with similar interests, they paired creative talents with business, launching "The Sometimes Store".  Their store was set up in one of their homes, only open sometimes, and had a variety of vintage pieces.  This opened the door for Alysse's ability to shine as a designer.  She gained more exposure to the business side of fashion and was well on her way to creating Ready to Stare
Harness-available by email. Model is Brittany Julious. Photo taken by John Cousert at the Raw Artists Showcase 
Although she loves the Chicago fashion industry, Alysse has also had national exposure through her work for AOL and The Mall, her online shop with everything from Clueless-themed candles to custom accessories.  But, when asked about the Chicago fashion industry, she donned it as "...really nice.  It's not cutthroat, and everyone is willing to work together.  You get the sense of the Midwest love people have and everyone knows we can do this together."    She expressed the importance of the industry "getting somewhere by meeting people and helping each other.  It's all about helping."  Our sentiments here, exactly!
Oversized Circle Ring, available here.  Nails by Spifster

Alysse continued to tell me about linking her artistic talents with business and how she managed to figured out legal particulars.  "The creating piece is second nature, but the business side takes a bit more thinking."  She credits someone she met at The One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart with teaching her about Etsy and keys to marketing her products online.  

Just as she was sure to credit her Etsy mentor, Rebecca George of Purple and Lime, Alysse told me credit was her main challenge with protecting her brand in the market.  "I make sure everything is credited and the credit is mine.  Things show up online everywhere, and if there's no credit noted, people don't know where they can get the products."  She noted being vigilant online is important in keeping her brand safe from copiers and driving customers in the right direction.  

Customers should be coming in her direction, because as you can tell from these pictures, her work is amazing.  She not only has talent, but a unique eye for what she can create.  I asked her how she's making her mark on the Chicago fashion scene, and she confirmed what I already noticed.  "What I'm doing is different.  I try to think outside the box, using traditional metalworks with non-traditional materials and ideas.  I'm always putting things together that don't belong."  

As Alysse continues to make her mark on the industry, nationally and locally, she pointed out the disconnect between local consumers and their hometown designers.  "Local designers are great about working together, but there's a disconnect between consumers and their awareness to buy local."  The unity among designers is comforting to hear, but the gap between them and consumers must be filled.  Chicago has a great fashion industry; it just takes a collective effort to keep pushing it. Surely Ready to Stare is a leader in this effort. 

Camo & Gold Earlace
Model is Rebecca Langley

I felt it was a bit cliche, but I had to ask Alysse what was next for her and Ready to Stare.  She said she wants to "continue to grow organically...grow in boutiques and grow my brand in Chicago.  I'd like to do a fashion show, and eventually have a store."  

We can't wait.

Thanks again to Alysse for her time and contribution.  It was great talking to her, and we're excited about showing more of her creations to you all.
You can follow her on Twitter, and definitely check out her stores:
Ready to Stare - Events, styling, etc.
Ready to Stare Etsy Store 
The Mall

We also appreciate her sparking the idea for our B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Shops Local page....coming soon!!
*If you're interested in being listed, contact us here!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

The Gents of Fashion Law & An Industry Overview-
By Elspeth Crawford

Elspeth has done an amazing job researching fashion law.  She put together these great infographics, highlighting tips we've shared here before, as well as some great guys in the fashion law niche.

She's awesome.

You can find these on the Fashion Law Files page as well.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 9 Legal Issues for Etsy Sellers - Part 2
In collaboration with Elspeth Crawford of Attorney Fee

Last week, we gave you the foundation of this e-commerce trailblazer and their legal concerns.  Here's the rest of this story:

Working with Etsy, sellers are protected, in some aspects, from many possible legal predicaments. Etsy’s terms of use operate as an agreement for sellers and any other users of the site, and provide a legal policies. For instance, Etsy cannot guarantee true authenticity of the sellers, buyers or items for sale, but will step in if issues arise between parties. Parties may file “claims” with Etsy over many issues, including invalid transactions and copying, and Etsy reserves the right to correct problems.

Another top Etsy seller, Cindy Lee of the jewelry shop ‘edor’, recently found another Etsy seller using one of her original photographs in her shop without Cindy’s permission. “I researched about copyright infringements online and read the Etsy copyright policy and decided I had a good reason to file a complaint through Etsy. The issue is now resolved and Etsy notified the seller and the photo has been taken out of her shop.”
What if Cindy’s photo was being used commercially by a non-Etsy business, could Etsy still protect her rights of copyright? Etsy’s ‘Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy’ does not make reference to such instances that arise outside of the web site, so Etsy sellers would have to consult an attorney.

This raises the question: Do Etsy sellers need lawyers? In certain instances, attorneys are needed to protect such businesspersons from legal liability and could be needed to mitigate. However, of the Etsy shop owners questioned, their online business was a primary, if not sole, career and none had ever consulted a lawyer. 

Because all brick and mortar retailers must impose state and local sales taxes, they often lose sales to e-commerce merchants.  The main culprits these days are Amazon, eBay, and rising star Etsy.  These marketplaces do not have to impose taxes if their merchants don't have a physical presence in the state where the consumer is purchasing.  Many states have attempted to right this electronic wrong by strengthening their tax codes to include any nexus to the state or other requirements to capture tax revenue.  This has pushed some online retailers out of states, hurting job markets.  It is also a struggle for businesses solely with a presence online, because lower prices is how they survive.  

There have been bipartisan bills circulating in Congress over the last few years to provide a national fix, but because of votes wavering and heavy lobbying, the fight between physical stores and virtual stores remains.

Unfortunately, counterfeiting is easy on the internet.  Website are set up, and knockoffs go up for the taking. As of late, legislators and lobbyists have worked to find solutions, including some which online marketplaces find over-inclusive.  Much of the proposed legislation holds the site, like Etsy in a lot of cases, responsible for not policing counterfeit goods posted by their clients.  This is tough seeing as the internet is updated literally every second.  In many instances, merchants will post what appears to be a genuine product, but ship a fake.  Some are bold enough to even just market the fakes.  Prices are always attractive, regardless of the approach they take.  Again, this is a rough circumstance for online retailers, as they often only have their sites as revenue streams.  These limits bring challenges and compromises, like seeking legal counsel--to protect their brands and also be sure they are marketing within the law.  

Additional legal concerns for Etsy sellers include:

7.  Online sales taxation
8.  Contracts, terms of use, and policy breach
9.  Improper business formation or incorporation

Thanks again to Elspeth at AttorneyFee for the bulk of this article.  She did amazing work!

We hope this info was helpful, especially to our small business and Etsy readers.

Friday, July 20, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Acknowledges

The Colorado Theater Shooting--

It is with great sadness we acknowledge the shootings in a suburban Denver theater last night.   Like in many instances, people just wanted to enjoy family, friends, and have fun.   This was taken away from them in more ways than one.

Of course gun violence is something we hear about everyday in the media, and it gets nothing but tougher each time.  Let's all reflect on this encounter and consider what we can do to make it better.  Check on people who might need you, volunteer to help social programs spread their message, and consider the plight an increase in guns has brought to our society.  Let's make mental health and personal well-being priorities for ourselves and one another.  

Prayers and best wishes to the City of Aurora, CO and all those impacted by the shooting.

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Events

NBC's Fashion Star Open Call--Chicago

Be there!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 9 Legal Issues for Etsy Sellers - Part 1
In collaboration with Elspeth Crawford of AttorneyFee

This week, we're not only giving you the beginning of a prevalent trend in business today, but plenty of detail to help get the point across.  

Etsy, the largest e-commerce host to homemade and vintage goods, allows individuals to sell their products from a single portal. The perks to having an Etsy store instead of just a website for a business are many; the notoriety, popularity, and search capabilities of Etsy arguably make items easier to find than scouring the world wide web. Additionally, the sellers on Etsy are essentially small business owners, and can control the size of their business, or hobby, accordingly. 

As many Etsy sellers do maintain their Etsy stores as their primary career, the time and effort they devote to their store operates as the means of income for their families. Coryn Enfinger, owner of the Etsy store ‘Dark Cycle Clothing’, says that Etsy sales have grown to contribute 75% of their household income.

“My husband and I owned a screen printing shop prior to opening our Etsy shop, and we were doing our own designs as a side project. I envisioned selling a maximum of a few shirts a week on Etsy. Our transition into selling full time was very surreal; it went from selling an item every few days or weeks to selling 20+ items a day, quite literally overnight.” Almost three years later, Dark Cycle Clothing is one of the top sellers on Etsy.

Etsy is a perfect gateway for craftspeople and suppliers to run their own show, only requiring a computer and internet as overhead business costs. However, maintaining e-commerce businesses come with many legal threats and issues for the owners. The freedom of the internet intrigues many sellers to a seemingly barrier-free realm to sell their products, and often they overlook properly protecting their brand and taking other important legal moves in operating their business.

To give you the start of our Tops, here's a few of the concerns facing Etsy sellers:

1. Copyright infringement
      a. content sharing + virality of social media
      b. photos used commercially by other on Etsy and otherwise

2. Trademark infringement
      a.  branding

3. Cease and desist letters

4. Payment issues

5. Shipping and Delivery issues

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

In the meantime, glance over at AttorneyFee for more great articles.

Monday, July 16, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Events

*Reminder--Chicago Sidewalk Sale!

If you're in downtown Chicago this week, or just want some creative additions to your wardrobe, stop by the Chicago Sidewalk Sale.  You'll see fashionable talent and great deals!  The runway show is sure to impress.

July 17th & 18th --

Friday, July 13, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Events

Chicago Sidewalk Sale!

If you're in downtown Chicago, or just want some creative additions to your wardrobe, stop by the Chicago Sidewalk Sale.  You'll see fashionable talent and great deals!  The runway show is sure to impress.

July 17th & 18th --

Thursday, July 12, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Loves Chicago

The Food Truck Edition--

Today we're taking the Chicago food tasting on the road.  Here's a sampling of some popular food trucks, as the City embraces this thriving market.  Tweet to see where they are, and ask they come your way!

Credit and thanks to the Chicago Sun-Times for the list!

Taquero Fusion
Pollo Chon tacos — shredded chicken in natural adobo and potato
Flame asada tacos — grilled arrachera steak

The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck
Truffle, white cheddar
Artichoke, spinach with goat cheese and thyme
Smoked bacon, roasted mushrooms, blue cheese

“Cream, Dreamy Chocolate” — a chocolate cupcake topped with a vanilla butter cream frosting.
“Paradise Island” — pineapple rum cupcake with a coconut cream cheese frosting
“Curious George” — Banana chocolate cupcake with a light, salted caramel Italian butter cream frosting

Beavers Coffee & Donuts
“Grandma” donut — honey and graham cracker crumbs
“Turtle” donut — chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and chopped pecans

Bridgeport Pasty
“Chic-pot-pie” — pastry, chicken breast, peas, carrots, Bechamel, seasoning
“Yooper” — pastry, seasoned beef, onion, potato, rutabaga, garlic, parsley, seasoning

Brown Bag Lunch Truck
Hickory smoked brisket, cherry wood pulled pork, bahn mi chicken taco

Ste Martaen
“Fire Banger” — breaded and baked tofu, sliced Ste Martaen cheese, grilled jalapenos & onion, tartar sauce
“The Bernstein Shebazzle” — a large flour tortilla filled with scrambled tofu, jalapeno cheese and spinach

Sugar pie café
Peach cobbler, apple twists, Butterfinger blondie bars

Sweet Ride
Sweet potato cupcake — spiced infused sweet potato cake and cinnamon maple cream cheese frosting
“Whoop It Good” whoopie pie — Belgian dark chocolate cookies and delicate marshmallow frosting Stefano Esposito

Eat up!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 6 Tips for Ex-Offenders

Yes, this one is for ex-offenders.  Summer is unfortunately high time for crime, often for a lack of better things to do.  However, many are looking to get themselves back on track and be productive members of society.  To do so, ex-offenders often need guidance on where to look and how to keep themselves out of trouble.  Depending on how long they were incarcerated, this could be a challenge.

Hopefully, these tips will be of some help.

1. Make staying out of trouble a priority.
When you decide you want a different lifestyle--away from crime--stick to it.  Sit down and figure out a plan for where you want to see yourself by the end of the year.  Work with your parole officer to see what options you have as resources.  Do everything you can to stay committed.  You'll need to keep a strict schedule of tasks, including job search and even volunteering.  This will not only help you make the change you want, but you could also be an asset to someone else--saving them from the wrong path.

2.  Polish your look.
Of course we have to make a fashion note, but it is important.  You must polish your look.  This will not only separate you from the look of your former self, but also contribute to your fresh start.  Consider a haircut.  Make sure your clothes fit properly, and remember there's style at all price points.  

3.  Cut ties.
This one is major.  When starting a new life away from crime, it is high and likely you will have to cut some of the ties you had in your former days.  It may be tough because loyalty runs strong, however, what's best is best.  You don't want to be guilty by association, and although anyone seeing or knowing of criminal activity should report it to police, you may not feel comfortable in a position to do so.  Focus on your renewed goals, and build a new, crime-free network.

4.  Get positive reinforcement.
In cutting your ties, you'll need to get support from non-criminal sources.  Start with family if possible, and continue searching from there, for people with the same positive goals and values you have.  Talk with other people in your situation and keep a circle which motivates you.

5.  Take advantage of local resources.
There are more resources out there than you think.  Start with your parole officer.  They should be able to refer you to local programming to help you keep your goals on track.  Connect with community groups as well.  This will help you promote positivity in your neighborhood, and help others do the same.  See what can be done about your record.  Some offenses can be sealed, making getting a job a bit easier.  Know this process takes at least 4 months, so get started as soon as possible.  If your record cannot be sealed, look into programs for ex-offenders.  Many organizations offer work to ex-offenders turning their lives around.  This is a good start to getting back in the job market.  Check with your local legislators for available programming. Talk to lawyers if possible.  If you know any lawyers (or hey, meet some) chat with them about keeping clean and resources helpful to your situation.

6.  Don't give up.
This journey will have some challenges, but they will make your results all the more worth it.  Stay focused on your new lifestyle, and remember the options you have in making it work.  The more you work at it, the better things will get.

Best of luck!

Monday, July 9, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

So You Want to Get Into Fashion Law?

As an attorney passionate about law and proud of the "Esq." behind my name, I get excited about meeting other lawyers eager to pair the profession with the field of fashion.  Over the years, I've connected with law students and attorneys, and we've all found different ways to make our place in the industry.  

With the nice growing and making its validity clear, many often inquire about what to do to "get into" fashion law.  Past the absolute musts of going to law school, taking Copyrights and Trademarks, Entertainment Law, Medial Law (all of which I loved!) and any similar courses, one should definitely take these points into consideration:

-Immerse yourself in the field.
Read all you can, follow fashion law blogs, and if you're on Twitter, follow fashion lawyers, law students, and the Fashion Law Institute.  They are all sharing info and news on the field and love to chat fashion law.

This field of law is so new, there's room for everyone.  Like the fashion industry itself, fashion law is flexible and creative.  By writing, you build credibility in the niche and keep yourself sharp on what's going on.  Whether it's for your own site or you contribute to other publications, write about what you find--any length is fine.

While immersing yourself in fashion law, be sure to talk fashion, law, and fashion law with others.  The niche is built on legal cornerstones like contracts, employment, taxation, intellectual property, business, and so much more.  The more you talk about it and share ideas, the more expertise you'll create.  

With the Fashion Law Institute stitching tightly at Fordham, and local bar associations in NY, Chicago, and DC offering seminars on fashion law, there are plenty of ways to stay up to speed on the topic.  D.C. even has Fashion Law Week, sponsored by Howard University Law School.  This not only keeps you informed on new issues and cases, but gives you the chance to meet others with the same interest.  If you're not in one of those cities, many seminars will send you the materials, offer webinars, or teleconferences.  Surely more are to come and Fashion Weeks (September for NY and October for Chicago) are a great time.

Fashion Law Friend Charles Colman has also included some ideas on his blawg, Law of Fashion.  Take a look!

Also, don't forget to peruse our favorite Fashion Law Blawgs:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Fix - For Gents

Custom Looks for the Smooth Gentleman-

Ever want to get your suits and shirts customized, but was unsure how?  J. Hilburn is here to help.  You can get garments made of the finest material crafted to fit you perfectly--and even include your initials.

See what this happy customer has to say and make your way to get tailored!

"I love my J.Hilburn custom shirts. They're made from the finest Italian fabrics and fit better than anything else I own. Even better, a Style Advisor comes to you so it's easy. Order through my link and get a friends-only discount of $50 off your first product purchase of $100 or more."
Tell them Sean sent you!
Click here to get started.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 8 Careers in High Demand!

It is no secret we're in a tough economy, but some fields are thriving.  Check out this list and see if any are just waiting for you.

Good luck!

These include - Product manager, business development manager, product marketing manager, marketing manager/director, account manager, marketing communications manager
Median entry-level salary: $66k
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree

Someone like a - Project manager (information technology), Java developer, Web developer, .NET developer, SharePoint developer, PHP developer
Average entry-level salary: $56,750
Required Education: High-school plus equivalent experience or bachelor’s degree plus experience; certifications are available for both entry-level and experienced workers

3. Network and computer systems administrators
Commonly called - Systems administrator, network engineer, network administrator, system administrator, systems engineer, SharePoint administrator, Linux systems administrator
Likely entry-level salary: $55k
Education: High-school plus equivalent experience or bachelor’s degree plus experience; certifications are available for both entry-level and experienced workers

4. Medical and health services managers
Typically known as - Director of nursing, clinical manager, medical director, nurse manager, nursing home administrator, practice manager, director of pharmacy, program manager rehab
Median entry-level salary: $73k
Suggested Education: 52 percent have a bachelor’s degree; 41 percent have a master’s degree

5. Industrial engineers
Most common job titles - Quality engineer, quality manager, process engineer, manufacturing engineer, project engineer, test engineer, design engineer, product engineer
Median entry-level salary: $60k
Education: 62 percent have a bachelor’s degree

6. Occupational therapists
Known as - Occupational therapist, OT
Average entry-level salary: $60k
Necessary Education: 85 percent have a master’s degree

Common job titles - Occupational therapy assistant, certified occupational therapy assistant, occupational therapist assistant
Average entry-level salary: $53k
Necessary Education: 96 percent have an associate degree (O*Net data) 

Typical job titles - Clinical research associate or coordinator, research scientist, clinical laboratory scientist
Median entry-level salary: $57k
Requisite Education: 81 percent have a doctoral/professional degree

Monday, July 2, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Promotes

DeVawn Accessories Fashion Blogger Contest!

DeVawn Accessories is relaunching their online fashion jewelry and accessory boutique. With that, they are reaching out to fashion bloggers worldwide to help create buzz for the relaunch celebration and of course provide them with prizes in return. 

Below you will find the video with instructions on how to participate in the contest. The contest will end on July 31st.

1. You must have your own fashion blog. Vloggers welcome too.
2. Send your name and link to info@shopDeVawn.com


Enter now, and good luck!!

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Sports

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