Your Financial News Roundup
November 29, 2023
1. Economy: President Biden considers new rules to protect Americans’ retirement savings; while shoppers spent $38B this Cyber Week, favoring online over in-store retail.
2. Tech: Binance’s new CEO, Richard Teng, faces a slew of challenges; meanwhile, social app Reddit is seeking to IPO for a third time.
3. World: Ukraine creates a new route in the Black Sea to continue exporting grain; and Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford champions sustainability among her farmers.
Personal Finance Concept [Part 9/12]: Profitable Side Hustles – Art Fairs & Festivals
🚫 Suckers, No Longer: The Biden administration has introduced a new rule to protect Americans’ retirement savings from shady financial advisors. Specifically, financial advisors must act as fiduciaries for their clients, providing advice and recommending products in their clients’ best interest. Self-serving financial advice can cost a saver up to 1.2% a year in lost investments, adding up to 20% less money in retirement! The new rule will save people $5B+ and penalize non-compliant financial advisors. (Yahoo!)
Our Take: The middle class often gets hurt by unethical financial advisors who trick people into holding complex assets, like annuities, that pay advisors big commissions while underperforming for the client. To protect yourself, it helps to be financially literate, clarify your money goals, and consult fee-only advisors from trusted sources.
🛒 The Shopping Scoreboard: Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday (aka Cyber Week), shoppers spent $38B, marking a 7.8% increase from last year. Cyber Monday alone accounted for $12.4B in sales. Major discounts pushed spending in categories like apparel, which saw a 189% spike in online sales compared to October. Likewise, e-commerce merchants saw healthy growth, with Shopify reporting its merchants made $9.8B — reflecting a 24% from 2022. However, Black Friday’s infamous shopping frenzy seems to be a relic of the past as in-store traffic only rose 2%. As we approach Christmas, there will be a lull in deals until 2 weeks before the holiday when shopping picks up again. (Yahoo!)
Our Take: Shoppers are continuing their broader spending spree, though some are hitting their credit limits. As a result, many are relying on buy-now, pay-later options to finance their shopping.
⎈ New Captain At The Helm: With former CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao pleading guilty to violating anti-money laundering (AML) laws, Binance’s newly appointed CEO Richard Teng faces a tough road ahead. He has to keep the company’s crown as the largest crypto exchange in the world while navigating global legal challenges. Binance must grant the U.S. Treasury full access to its books, records, and systems to correct previous AML violations. Despite Teng’s assurances of Binance’s strong financials and ability to meet global regulations, investors withdrew $1B after CZ resigned. (Reuters)
Our Take: Binance offered free trading and access to dozens of altcoins, leading to the meteoric growth of crypto adoption. As the space matures, Teng’s prior experience as a financial regulator gives him credibility to work with governments and change Binance’s culture.
📊 Flirting With An IPO (Again): Social media app Reddit is reportedly exploring an IPO (Initial Public Offering) in early 2024. The company initially planned to IPO in early January of 2021 but nixed those plans for unknown reasons. The move took place mere months after Reddit had raised a $410M Series F round — valuing it at $10B. In January of 2022, Reddit sought to list again at a $15B valuation, though it’s uncertain what Reddit’s target valuation is now. (TechCrunch)
Our Take: Known for its niche and in-depth information on nearly any topic, Reddit is the last major privately-held social media firm. Recently, it has focused on monetizing through ads and API fees, primarily targeting companies heavily reliant on high-quality data, such as those that want to train their AI models.
🥖 Defying Tyranny: Despite Russia’s ongoing threats, Ukraine has continued shipping much-needed grain to the world market, averting a global famine. In August, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain deal, prompting the Ukrainian military to establish a protected shipping lane. The shipments are giving Ukraine’s agriculture-dependent economy a boost while delivering affordable food products to parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia facing food insecurity. (AP News)
Our Take: The delivery of millions of tons of grain to developing nations has helped ease the pressure of high food costs and stabilize global food markets, including those in the U.S. Maritime insurers and allied nations have pitched in with favorable policies and ships to make the new corridor viable and cost-effective.
👩🏼🌾 Reviving The Heartland: Leading the century-old $19B dairy cooperative, Land O’ Lakes CEO Beth Ford collaborates with farmers and retailers to expand rural Internet access, restore the land, and preserve food resources. Her efforts align profit and nature by benefitting food producers, decreasing carbon emissions, and making Land O’ Lakes an ag-tech leader. Although shareholders and prominent politicians have been vocal against environmentally sustainable practices, Ford continues to champion economically sustainable practices. (CNN)
Our Take: Ford’s biggest success is gaining the buy-in of different groups and creating win-win situations. Her leadership is a great example of how companies can align with their stakeholders while integrating sustainable practices into their business models. Such an approach benefits the long-term viability of food production and the health of rural communities
Finance Concept of the Week
Lucrative Size Hustles [Part 9/12]: Art Fairs & Festivals
Earn extra income on the side and live on your own terms
If you’re itching to do something creative in your downtime, consider making crafts and selling them at local art fairs, conventions, farmer’s markets, or other similar venues. Art fairs and festivals are a great way to boost your visibility as an artist and build relationships with potential buyers and other artists while making money.
How to Get Started
Consider your artistic style and the type of art you want to sell, whether that’s jewelry, candles, crochet accessories, keychains, pins, etc. Depending on your branding and target audience, you will do better at certain fairs than others. So look into the location, size, reputation, audience, etc. before applying to vend at a fair.
Most art fairs and festivals have an application process and requirements for vendors. Pay attention to application deadlines, fees, and any documentation or images needed to showcase your work. You should set up an Instagram and website for your brand since most event organizers will request access to your portfolio to ensure your work aligns with their audience and the overall vibes of the event.
Once accepted, decide which art pieces you’d like to bring and how you want to display your work. First impressions are crucial, so spend some time designing an attractive and inviting booth. Plan the layout, product placement, and overall aesthetic to make your space visually appealing.
Before the event, ensure that you can produce enough inventory to meet potential demand. You should also consider selling products at different price points to cater to a broader audience and create promotional materials, such as business cards or artist statements. Other factors to think about include having clear pricing, setting up payment processing, and marketing your participation on social media.
At the event, be prepared to engage with visitors to your booth and build relationships with other artists. Being friendly and networking can lead to potential sales or collaboration opportunities in the future.
Top Platforms to Use
- Faire: Faire is an online wholesale marketplace that connects independent brands with retailers. Typically, small businesses list their products on Faire for 50% of the retail price, and retailers purchase the items in bulk.
- Eventbrite: Eventbrite is an online platform that allows event organizers to set up customized event pages, sell tickets, and handle registrations. If you are looking for art fairs to vend at, scroll through Eventbrite to find local events in your area. If you are in San Francisco, for instance, popular art fairs include Queer Art Fair, West Coast Craft, and Sunset Mercantile.
- Art Fair Calendar: ArtFairCalendar.com aggregates art fairs and other art-related events nationwide, separating the website by different regions. They also have a free mailing list you can join to receive regular updates on art and crafts fairs in your area.
- Artfairmag: Artfairmag is a global art fair database, listing art fairs taking place around the world. You can search for events by location, date, and type of art. Additionally, you can glean insights from art fair directors to get a better understanding of different art fairs before applying.
- Direct Interaction: Art fairs provide a unique opportunity to get your work in front of new potential customers. You can foster personal connections with your audience and get a better understanding of their preferences through in-person interactions.
- Exposure and Networking: Participating in art fairs can significantly increase your exposure within the art community, attracting buyers and potential collaborators. As you vend at more fairs, you can build a sense of community among other artists as well.
- Immediate Sales: The face-to-face nature of art fairs allows for immediate transactions, allowing you to make sales on the spot and receive direct feedback. You can also decide your payment types, including credit cards, cash, Venmo, Zelle, etc.
- Market Research: Going to fairs is a great way to test the water in terms of your product types, pricing, and branding. You can always play around with the types of art you create and the price you want to charge.
- Costs and Fees: Participating in art fairs often involve expenses, such as booth fees, travel costs, labor costs, and materials. If you are a brand-new artist, these costs can add up and become a major investment.
- Variable sales: Success at art fairs can be unpredictable, and sales may vary from one event to another. Factors such as weather, location, and the overall economy can impact buyer attendance and purchasing behavior.
- Incorrect Pricing: If you underprice your products, you could end up losing money from vendor fees and material costs. If you overprice your items, you risk deterring potential customers from purchasing them.
- Time Commitment: Art fairs typically require a significant time commitment, including preparation, attendance, and follow-up. Balancing these activities with other aspects of your career can be challenging.
- Competition: The presence of numerous artists in one space means increased competition for attention. Standing out in a crowded field requires effective marketing and presentation strategies.
What Else Is New?
- A 41-state lawsuit against Instagram owner Meta alleges violations of child privacy laws.
- Some Millennials regret leaving cities mid-pandemic for suburbs and smaller towns.
- Fast fashion retailer Shein is eying an IPO next year.
- Months after Silicon Valley Bank’s abrupt collapse, the bank is close to securing a new office in San Francisco.
Personal Finance Resources
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