Portland, OR. Friends of Noise is a Portland-based non-profit that provides young artists with a well-rounded introduction to the music industry. (Wavy Josef, is shown playing an outdoor show above.) With professional workshops in everything from designing fliers and merchandise, to lighting and sound engineering, to networking and performing, the organization invests in its community to better prepare artists for the business side of music. Non-profits have not had an easy year, and this organization has shown that it is resourceful in keeping on track to serve local youth. With ongoing projects heading into 2021, and a long-term goal of opening an art-focused youth center in North East Portland, Friends of Noise is committed to coming out of 2020 stronger than ever.
Many local businesses were forced to halt all activities in March 2020 to slow the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, and Friends of Noise was one of them. The young community that the non-profit serves, however, was highly active in social justice causes as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum all over the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Andre Middleton, Executive Director of Friends of Noise, delivered amplification equipment and other sound assistance to marches and protests around the city. Andre felt compelled to provide the non-profit’s sound equipment to a noble cause, “I wanted to make sure that the community’s cries for justice and change would be heard.” Friends of Noise continued to be an ally for these social justice events, which also validated the idea that outdoor spaces would become a viable option for their artists.
Members of the community stand in solidarity for a common cause.
The non-profit went on to hold numerous shows in NE Portland parks throughout the summer and even hosted a social-distanced Black Lives Matter rally in Cathedral Park on Labor Day that drew a crowd of 2000. These live music events were welcomed by these neighborhoods and provided much-needed revenue for the artists and showrunners that had relied on concerts in the past. Friends of Noise makes it a point to compensate performers and showrunners, and believes it is incredibly important to show the community of artists that their time and work is valued. By showing the young artists this now by paying them for their work, Andre hopes they will take that sense of value into their futures: “We’re all about teaching and giving kids opportunities to practice what they learn, and then working to get them paid opportunities to develop this as a career. We work to make sure that young people are seen as valued members of our local music ecosystem.”
In 2021, Friends of Noise will be launching live-stream programming as an ongoing way to feature their growing youth artist directory. This programming will be a collaboration with local music venues that have been closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, creating a connection between the artists and the theaters. They have partnered with theaters like Mississippi Studios, the Star Theater, and the Roseland Theater. The shows will also be multi-generational, pairing young artists with older artists, and will eventually incorporate a local dance group as well. The programming will be consistent, and the non-profit hopes this will represent the Portland music scene as a diverse and harmonious entity. This project is set to launch in January, and Friends of Noise hopes it will help sustain the local music industry through these uncertain times.
The band Out of Luck plays an indoor show before the pandemic.
Engagement in the Friends of Noise community has not slowed down with this pandemic. As a non-profit that serves Portland youth, its artists are looking for more ways to connect and be inspired by their peers. Friends of Noise knows that it cannot be a replacement for school, or other social activities that are no longer safe, but hopes that by building a strong community it can provide comradery through work and expression. This new live-stream project will support this ideal harmonious and collaborative music scene. When speaking about the future of the music industry in Portland, Andre is optimistic, “I have every confidence that young people will be pushing the envelope and be as innovative as they always have been. If we can create an ambience of collaboration over competition, this next cohort of musicians are going to be in an even better position in the future.” Friends of Noise is participating in Willamette Weekly’s GiveGuide, and you can also donate or volunteer on its website.
From Friends of Noise: Friends of Noise is a non-profit, educational, all-ages organization. Our mission is to provide safer and productive spaces for all-ages concerts, focused arts education, and leadership opportunities for youth with a focus on providing marginalized youth and youth of color access to performative creative expression. Our long-term goals are to contribute to the development of a region-wide network of young people and adults that are learned and ready to pursue a career in the music industry on stage or backstage and to grow into a youth-centered arts center that resides in a music-focused arts hub in an underserved community within our city.
We seek to create a non-profit, all-ages arts venue that is youth-oriented and youth-driven. We envision a safe, inclusive community meeting place for arts events, with a strong educational and mentorship component. We intend to engage young people in all aspects of event planning and production within this space, in order to encourage real-world skill-building. We believe these skills will serve students well in their future endeavors and help them become cultural leaders and engaged citizens in their communities.
Government Camp, OR. Mt. Hood Skibowl is now open for skiing and snowboarding. Ski Bowl managers say they’ll be operating with limited terrain on Multorpor, via the Lower Bowl (West Side). Skiers and Riders will be directed to the West Side and lift tickets will be sold on the west side only. The Eastside will be supporting Tubing operations.
As usual, the resort will host Cosmic Tubing®. Every weekend and holiday during the winter (and through Spring Break), the resort’s Snow Tube and Adventure Park transforms into a one-of-a-kind snowy scene complete with pulsing colored lights and bumping music. It’s all part of Ski Bowl’s Cosmic Tubing experience
There are over 600,000 LED lights, laser light shows, black lights, colored lights, rocking music, and more.
For tubing, Skibowl has Mt. Hood’s only dual conveyor lifts.
Night skiing operations are slated to start Monday and will operate through the week weather permitting.
Here’s a video about Cosmic Tubing:
Cosmic Tubing is open *Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays. (*Fridays after December 18th). It’s $38 dollars for adults and $33 for kids. Be sure to check with Skibowl before you head up to the mountain.
Our mission remains to make Skibowl fun and accessible for all families who want to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities. Less than an hour east of Portland, Skibowl has emerged as a family-friendly alpine resort with something for everyone. For Skiers and Riders, Skibowl provides snow riders with 960 acres in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The resort features 34 fully lit night runs, 65 runs total and a vertical drop of 1,500. The longest run is the 3-mile Skyline trail, starting at 5,100 feet. With the most Black Diamond runs anywhere in Oregon, Skibowl appeals to accomplished riders, night and day. Those in the know are lured to Skibowl’s Outback, the legendary expansive terrain with forested steeps, open glades and ungroomed slopes that are nothing short of heavenly.
Portland, OR. Local families are in need of help after a year of unprecedented challenges. Pacific Northwest communities have supported causes like Black Lives Matter, record-breaking fundraising for political parties, and support for small businesses forced to close due to Covid-19. Nonprofits are hoping that they’ll receive much-needed year-end donations this holiday season. (Causes like Children’s Book Bank, pictured above, represent one of many local nonprofits that serve local families).
There are many meaningful actions that donors can take to help local communities in need of shelter, food, basic necessities, or toys for Christmas morning. On PortlandSocietyPage.com we have a page with a list of nonprofits, here’s a link to our partner’s page. Below is also a list of diverse nonprofits that may inspire those who can afford to offer time and resources to help these imperative causes thrive into the new year.
Volunteers at Blanchet House are encouraged to apply and follow strict Covid guidelines to ensure the safety of the community.
Blanchet House provides food, shelter, and aid to any in need with mutual respect and compassion. You can sign up to volunteer and learn more about donations on the non-profit’s website. Blanchet House is also participating in Willamette Weekly’s Give Guide and are trying to raise 35,000 dollars by December 31st.
The Christmas Family Adoption Foundation makes it possible to support an entire family in need during the holiday season. The PNW families are nominated to receive Christmas gifts from a wishlist. You can contribute in multiple ways on the foundation’s website so if you are unable to adopt a family, you can still support this worthy cause.
Oregon Food Bank is another excellent way to make sure those in need have a warm meal this winter. The organization has extended it’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser, and are also participating in Willamette Weekly’s Give Guide. With 1,400 food pantries all over Oregon and SW Washington, and you can sign up to volunteer and help keep the business thriving on it’s website.
Children’s Book Bank is a wonderful organization to give to around the holidays. This non-profit knows how important books are in children’s lives and has donated over 650,000 books to children in the Portland area. Book donations are being accepted along with monetary contributions, and you can volunteer with Children’s Book Bank virtually.
Store To Door makes sure that seniors and those with disabilities receive the groceries that they need through volunteer grocery shopping and delivery. This busy non-profit is always in need of volunteers and have many different ways that you can contribute. Store To Door has been improving the quality of lives of those in need since 1989.
Rose Haven works to ensure the safety of women, children, and marginalized genders that are experiencing homelessness, poverty, and other traumas. This organization provides a safe and stable community for these individuals, along with health resources and emotional support. Rose Haven’s volunteer positions focus on to-go meals, door-to-door services, and Covid-19 support currently, and there are many ways to donate to this worthy cause on the non-profit’s website.
Sunshine Division is another organization that will be in full swing ensuring that Pacific Northwest families get everything they need this winter. Food donations are always appreciated by this organization (with new Covid restrictions in place), and the non-profit hopes to continue to help families in the Portland area through monetary contributions this holiday season. Sunshine Division’s annual Winter Wonderland event runs from November 27th through January 2nd, and you can enjoy the drive-through light show from the safety of your car.
Sunshine Division organizes this Covid-safe family activity to support a great cause.
West Linn Food Pantry provides West Linn and Lake Oswego families with emergency food donations. They accept curbside food donations every Thursday between 1PM and 6PM at the non-profit’s West Linn location.
Hands-On Greater Portland is an excellent resource for finding out how you can volunteer and get involved this holiday season. This non-profit works to connect volunteers with projects and will help you find the best way to utilize your resources to help our local communities thrive. The site keeps an updated project calendar as well, to keep you updated on when your help is needed.
Portland, OR. You could find your next Christmas gift at the Arts Council of Lake Oswego Holiday Marketplace. It showcases work from over 30 local artists including fine art, wood, ceramics, jewelry, handmade gifts, ornaments, textiles, confections, accessories, and more. The Holiday Marketplace is open for in-person, online, and curbside pickup shopping from Nov 28 to Dec 30.
During the two-week freeze that started on Nov 18th by order of Oregon Gov Kate Brown, the Holiday Marketplace is able to still offer in-person shopping with a lowered capacity that is limited to ten people including employees.
“I think what’s great about it is that we still are able to offer some sort of in-person shopping experience and from artists who are local,” Executive Director, Nicole Nathan, said. “So, while it may look a little bit different, we’re still able to offer the same core [values] at the heart of what we do and support our artists while also supporting the artistic community in Lake Oswego.”
The 2019 Holiday Marketplace.
In its fourth year, the Holiday Marketplace is one of the only in-person local gatherings of artists for the Portland and Lake Oswego area. Purchases directly benefit the artists and community-enriching programming of the Arts Council and this year the Holiday Marketplace can be found at the ARTspace Gallery.
For those who would like to stay local and stay safe while shopping, an online option will be available for the first time due to COVID-19 coinciding with the opening day of the Holiday Marketplace on Nov 28. The online shopping platform won’t feature everything from the gallery, instead, a few pieces of work from this years’ artists will be available to browse.
Nathan believes that this will be a good option for those who either live far away or might be sheltering place, because of travel restrictions, since they might not be able to come by in person. The online Holiday Marketplace will be able to reach those from further afield and still be able to enjoy some work, by local artists, or artists who they love and have seen before.
Some of the artwork offered at the Holiday Marketplace last year.
With restrictions in place, the Holiday Marketplace will look different this year with fewer wearables such as clothing and textiles. Vendors will also be further spread out to adhere to the six-foot guidelines. With the few pieces of clothing that are offered those will be disinfected between each visitor among other extra precautions.
ARTspace Gallery is taking all the safety precautions for a safe visit including:
Face masks are required to visit
Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the gallery
Safe distance decals and public capacity are enforced
Sanitizing and cleaning after visitors
Contact-tracing – provide information where the public can check-in
Requesting people to stay home if not feeling well
According to Nathan, “We have an incredible number of artists who’ve been with us in past years and some new work as well. There’s some beautiful work, that you can get for yourself or your loved ones; It’s really in great support of not only our artists but helps support the arts council throughout the year.”
From the Arts Council of Lake Oswego website: The Arts Council of Lake Oswego works to ensure that arts are an integral part of life in our community, now and into the future.
Portland, OR. For the first time, visitors who attend ZooLights will be able to enjoy a light display of 1.5 million bright lights, animated animals, and immersive tunnels of lights from their car. This experience has been designed to provide a safe way for the community to continue this holiday tradition. The Oregon Zoo is known for the ZooLights display, but the annual walk-through is suspended along with daytime operations from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2, due to a two-week freeze put in place by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Visitors drive through ZooLights from earlier this year in a test run-through.
The two-week freeze has taken effect in Oregon, but the state’s most populous county will see those restrictions for even longer. Gov. Brown issued the freeze for at least four weeks in Multnomah County.
Oregon Zoo’s ZooLights runs from Nov. 22nd, till Jan. 10th, with the exception of Dec. 25th. Tickets are available online and must be purchased in advance. Here’s a video about the drive-through ZooLights experience:
“Everything’s been a little different in 2020, and ZooLights is no exception,” explains zoo events manager Nikki Simmons. “Like most of this community, our biggest concern right now is protecting everyone’s health and safety. We’re just thankful we could come up with a good way for the community to enjoy this holiday tradition.”
A child and adult enjoy some of the ZooLights from a test run-through earlier this fall.
How it will work; visitors can purchase one ticket per vehicle and join a queue to check-in curbside then proceed to the drive-through entrance. The route will go through the widest paths of the zoo which includes some behind-the-scene areas around the outside of Elephant Lands taking approximately 30-40 minutes.
A map of the drive-through ZooLights.
To help ensure a safe experience for all, the following measures will be in place during this year’s ZooLights:
Timed ticketing/limited attendance: All guests, including members, must reserve their ZooLights tickets in advance via the zoo website. Tickets are only available up to one week in advance of the visit date.
Masks/face coverings: Drive-through guests do not need to wear masks while enjoying the lights from inside their vehicle. Masks are required, however, during check-in and other interactions with ZooLights staff.
From the Oregon Zoo website: The Oregon Zoo inspires the community to respect animals and take action on behalf of the natural world. We do this by creating engaging experiences and advancing the highest level of animal welfare, environmental literacy, and conservation science.
A Lifestyle Story: Portland, OR. The coronavirus is changing the way people live in many ways. With more families isolating together, many are craving more spaces outside of their primary residence where they can relax in places like Central Oregon. (The home above at 61794 Tam McArthur Loop in Bend is listed at $3.7 million with Sotheby’s.) People see the valuing of time with family, friends, and time spent together in the great outdoors. Also, many professionals aren’t tethered to their desks because they’re working remotely. Consequently, the real estate industry is seeing some new trends. There’s an uptick in sales of second homes in markets that are drivable from cities.
According to industry statistics, the number of pending sales in the Bend area was up 53% in June. And some prices in Central Oregon are sky-high.
In Central Oregon, according to Bend Premier Real Estate, million-dollar home sales are breaking records. “Over the years, as various sections of Bend were developed, the luxury market expanded into Pilot Butte, Awbrey Butte, and the various golf communities in town such as Awbrey Glen, Broken Top, Pronghorn and Tetherow.” Bend realtors say they are in the midst of one of the most active summer selling seasons in years and struggling to find homes to list.
It’s part of a national trend. People are fleeing their glass-enclosed, high-rise apartments for larger second homes with outdoor space.
There has also been a surge of interest across California, spanning from San Diego all the way up to northern coastal regions, such as Montecito, Carmel and into Northern California’s wine country. Here’s a video of another hot spot; a $65 million dollar listing in Malibu, California.
According to Real Estate veteran, Karen Durrett, on the Northern Oregon coast, second homes are getting harder to find. The median price is also up.
In Manzanita, second homes for over $1 million have been snapped up all summer and now there are very few left for sale.
Today’s record-low mortgage rates are also fueling interest. Since most experts forecast that mortgage rates will remain in the 3% range throughout the year, homebuyers are jumping on the low-cost mortgage train. This could help offset the higher house prices in some real estate markets.
Portland, OR. The President of the Portland Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is feeling optimistic about the future of race relations in the Rose City. Rev. E. D. Mondainé, a renowned musician, and U.S. Army/Air Force veteran took the helm of Portland’s chapter in 2018. His voice has become increasingly important during this time of downtown protests and civil unrest. Mondainé’s says, “Even though times are bleak, we can make change. Portland is a perfect storm for change in this country and the ninety-plus days of noise is the start of revolution.”
While many organizations and individuals protesting are calling for a complete defunding of the police in Portland (and across the nation, for that matter), Rev. Mondainé says that the NAACP does not stand with the goal of abolition, but rather, reformation.
Starting in May 2020, demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd have been held in the city of Portland, concurrent with protests in other cities around the United States and around the world.
When asked about the death of George Floyd and the reverberations across the nation, Mondainé’s said he believes Floyd’s death was nothing less than a “horizontal, modern-day lynching” and not to be convoluted else wise. (Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.)
Reverend E.D. Mondainé believes in Portland and the ability of residents to confront nationwide and global equality and equity. “We’re on a mission for justice, truth, and equality. And we’ll never stop fighting for that.”
The Portland NAACP has taken a stand on many issues including renter’s rights in 2019.
Mondainé’s spoke to Portland Society Page reporter Daniel Chilton about his views on the strategy of the Black Lives Matter movement and where the NAACP stands regarding the policing institution, as well as the prison industrial complex.
While the public conversation has primarily revolved around police institutions and police brutality, Mondainé also discussed the often-absent subject of the prison industrial complex. With Black inmates outnumbering whites by a large margin until very recently (according to Pew Research Center, this gap has begun to narrow) Rev. Mondainé says that the NAACP is trying hard to keep this conversation going and has major plans in the future to continue to address both police and prison reform; that one cannot exist without the other present.
Thousands marching into downtown Portland; a photo strikingly familiar to those of the 1960s civil rights march on Washington.
About the Portland NAACP:
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.
To find out more about Portland’s NAACP branch and any upcoming events, including their monthly meetings downtown, click here. If you’re interested in donating to their cause, you can do so directly here. To register to vote for the upcoming election and make your voice heard for change, you can do so here.
Portland, OR. Most piano teachers and students aren’t able to sit side-by-side these days; they’re learning via zoom. That’s the case with the young teachers at the Play It Forward Foundation. It was originally established by famous Portland pianist Michael Allen Harrison and has aimed to keep young musicians moving forward since its inception. It primarily operates with two distinct missions: the first is to take in donated instruments (primarily pianos) to rehouse them in public school programs and student homes; the second aims to keep these musicians in lessons while offering new teachers consistent work.
The first mission, wherein donated instruments are rehoused into public school programs and particularly talented young musicians’ homes, is just a part of how the Play It Forward Foundation is helping the community. The program’s Executive Director, Marietta Harrison, says that they look at nearly three hundred pianos a year, ultimately accepting around one hundred of these (with sometimes up to five calls a day for potential donations). These pianos are vetted and reconditioned prior to being donated in order to offer better services to the school programs or child’s home they end up in. In a time when public school’s art funding seems to be ever-declining, the organization pays for these services out of pocket in order to better serve the community.
With classes moved entirely online for the foreseeable future, potential barriers are further erased.
Rather than simply donating and dipping, so to speak, the second part of their mission aims to keep a consistent hand within Portland’s musical community. The nonprofit’s goal here is to remove any potential barriers between the students and their music– whether that be economic, logistical, or otherwise. Started in 2017 with a mere twelve students, the program was up to one hundred students by 2019.
Online piano recitals with both Michael and Marietta Harrison present.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, the program would offer work to young teachers seeking experience who would often travel to the school or the student’s home in order to better erase these potential barriers faced. Currently, the program has gone completely online and classes are being held through Zoom meetings. Given everything going on in the world right now, Marietta Harrison says that this program has always aimed to be proactive rather than reactive; establishing itself in the community as an organization that erases barriers for students and encourages musical growth.
About Play it Forward:
Nearly 20 years ago, the City of Portland passed a measure that cut critical funding to music education in our public schools. Having benefited from free music education in public schools, that eventually led to a successful career as a composer and pianist, Michael Allen Harrison could not watch this happen silently. Play It Forward, affectionately known as PIF was born. Play It Forward distributes gently used instruments gifted by donors to students and music programs throughout the Portland Metropolitan Community.
If you’d like to donate to a great cause, you can do so here.
A Lifestyle Story: Portland, OR. More sailboats and motor-yachts than usual are plying local waters. On the Willamette River, Jeff and Susan Lyon join Zach Francis and Amy Jeuck for a cruise, and it’s part of a national trend. Coronavirus restrictions are limiting travel and activities, but boating naturally allows people to abide by social distancing guidelines. The National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) is seeing an increase in sales.
The industry organization Discover Boating, has seen unprecedented growth in June compared to the same period last year. The organization’s website DiscoverBoating.com is also attracting more females and younger audiences.
NMMA says this spring 70-percent of marine dealers nationwide say their sales have increased. The biggest growth is coming from smaller, entry-level boats, which NMMA says indicates more people are boating for the first time.
“Many first-time boat buyers invest in a boat to replace other summer traditions canceled due to the pandemic,” says NMMA rep John-Michael Donahue.
Jet skis are one purchase for first-time buyers entering the marine market. NMMA found people bought 75% more personal watercraft this May than May 2019. Wakeboard boats and other small boats like cruisers have been popular this spring.
Local sailing races and regattas, like this one on the Columbia River, include the Oregon Offshore, Swiftsure and Pacific Cup. The Portland Yacht Club also partners with the Willamette Sailing Club to offer youth sailing programs.
A record number of yacht sales is also being reported.
In the Portland area, major motor-yacht club cruises with Portland Yacht Club include Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day events. There are stag cruises, ladies cruises, and a closing day cruise to Beacon Rock.
Discover Boating is seeing consumers gravitate toward website content that helps them get started in boating and learn how to operate their new boat. Some of the articles consumers seek out are listed below:
Local people interested in boating will need a Boater’s Education Card. Oregon law requires all motorized boat and PWC operators who are at least 16 years old and will be operating a boat over 10 hp to pass a boater safety course and to carry a boater education card. Here’s a link to the online course.
Portland, OR. A lifestyle story: With crowded stores becoming more of a distant memory since the COVID-19 crisis, some financial analysts are evaluating the impact on luxury goods. A team from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company offered research material about the topic.
Below is an article by Antonio Achille, a senior partner in McKinsey’s Milan office, and Daniel Zipser a senior partner in the Shenzhen office.
While it’s too early to quantify COVID-19’s total financial toll on the sector, the pandemic has certainly shaken some of the foundational aspects of the luxury industry—and some of these changes could be permanent.
As stores remain closed in many parts of the world, e-commerce is a crucial channel for keeping sales up, communicating with customers, and forging a sense of community around a brand. Accelerate your digital investments and shift media spending to online channels, with a focus on customer activation rather than brand building. Aside from enhancing your own websites, also consider partnerships with reputable e-retailers. Digital marketing could help not only boost online sales but also entice consumers to visit stores once they reopen.
Louis Vuitton in Beverley Hills
Wholesale Darwinism. Even before the pandemic struck, independent luxury-goods wholesalers in Europe (many of which are small, family-owned boutiques) and some of the large North American luxury department stores were already struggling—in part because of luxury brands moving to vertical integration over the past 20 years and, more recently, the growth of e-commerce. This pandemic might force some of them out of business. The damage could extend to brands that have not yet fully transitioned to a vertically integrated distribution model, as well as to upstart brands that need wholesale channels to reach new customers and to finance the development of their full collections. To survive, wholesalers are likely to adopt aggressive commercial and discount policies—which, at least in the medium term, could hurt the luxury positioning of brands that don’t have a concession model.
From global traveler to local shopper. The luxury sector appeals to a global consumer: 20 to 30 percent of industry revenues are generated by consumers making luxury purchases outside their home countries. In 2018, Chinese consumers took more than 150 million trips abroad; we estimate that purchases outside the mainland accounted for more than half of China’s luxury spending that year.1 Asian shoppers buy luxury goods outside their home countries not only to benefit from lower prices in Europe, but also because shopping has become an integral part of the travel experience: buying a brand in its country of origin comes with a sense of authenticity and excitement. With the recent travel restrictions, an important driver of luxury spending has come to a halt, and we anticipate only a gradual ramp-up in international travel, even after the restrictions are lifted. That said, Chinese consumers remain the biggest growth opportunity for the luxury sector. Brands, clearly, will need a new approach to attracting luxury shoppers. To reactivate Asian luxury consumers in their home countries, brands can focus on creating tailored local experiences, strengthening their digital and omnichannel offerings, and engaging more deeply with consumers in tier-two and -three cities. The latter will be challenging, given the limitations in both retail infrastructure and customer-service capabilities in those cities.
Shows without live audiences. Fashion weeks and trade shows have been essential ways that brands have maintained vibrant relationships with consumers and trade partners. While we expect some return to normalcy on this front, we also believe that the luxury industry—in close collaboration with fashion-week organizers and trade associations—should explore alternative ways to deliver the same kind of magic that these events offer when there are restrictions on international travel and large gatherings. Industry players might also consider pushing for a coordinated revamping of the fashion calendar, with brands simplifying and streamlining their presentation calendars.
From ownership to experience, and back again. “Experiential luxury”—think high-end hotels, resorts, cruises, and restaurants—has been one of the most dynamic and fast-growing components of the luxury sector. Millennials (those born 1980–95) opted more for experiences and “Instagrammable moments” rather than luxury items. Baby boomers (born 1946–64), too, were moving in this direction, having already accumulated luxury products over the years. While we expect the positive momentum of experiential luxury to persist, it will slow down in the short term as consumers temporarily revert to buying goods over experiences.
Hyperpolarization in performance. Even before the crisis, it made little sense to talk about the sector in terms of averages because growth rates and profit margins were so widely spread out. Even within the same segment and price point, luxury brands’ growth varied from 40 percent to negative percentages and earnings from 50 percent to single-digit percentages. We expect further polarization based on three fundamentals: the health of a brand’s balance sheet prior to the crisis, the resilience of its operating model (including its digital capacity, the agility of its supply chain, and its dependence on wholesale channels), and its response to COVID-19.
Another chance for ‘rare gems.’ Over the past decade, European luxury conglomerates, private-equity firms, and, more recently, US fashion groups and Middle Eastern investors eagerly snapped up attractive acquisition targets. As a result of the current crisis, some of these acquirers—particularly those that aren’t luxury companies themselves—could find that they have neither the core competencies nor the patience to nurture these high-potential brands, and thus might be willing to put them back on the market. Acquisitions that were once forbiddingly expensive could become viable in the postcrisis period. Such developments could result in further industry consolidation or even the formation of new luxury conglomerates.
Time and again, the luxury industry has proved capable of reinvention. We are confident about the sector’s long-term potential. But some brands will emerge from the crisis stronger, while others will struggle to preserve the integrity of their business. Much will depend on their ability to respond to the short-term urgencies related to COVID-19 while simultaneously planning and executing for the future.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has made for a challenging 2020, we are confident that, with careful planning and deft execution, the luxury-goods sector can successfully weather the crisis and emerge even stronger. The actions we’ve outlined here can help you and the other leaders in your organization navigate the challenges of today while building and strengthening your business for the longer term.
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