Saturday, July 24, 2021

Australian company introduces eco-friendly Chinese adhesive strips

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 11, 2020

Patch adhesive strips


Nutricare, an Australian company, released Patch, a line adhesive strips described as 100 percent compostable and hypoallergenic. Made somewhere in China (Guangzhou, China is listed on the package) from bamboo fiber the strips are free of plastics, latex, silicone, and harmful toxins, according to promotional materials. They are designed for easy pain-free removal with sensitive skin and aged skin in mind. Each package of 25 strips retails for just under $9 and has an expiration date. The sample packages we received expire June 2021.

“The bandages and all packaging breaks down into soil in just a matter of weeks,” according to a company press release. Four product lines are available Patch Natural, Patch Coconut Oil Kids for abrasions and grazes, Patch Aloe Vera for burns and blisters, and Patch Activated Charcoal for bites and splinters.

In the United States, the products are for sale on the company website, Amazon, Grove Collaborative, Anthropologie and CVS as well as select grocery stores and specialized retailers. The Patch website indicates the company uses a Lyocell production process (a cellulose fabric made by an organic solvent spinning process), “considered to be the most environmentally friendly method of manufacturing bamboo cloth fibre. This is because it is more sustainable than most common chemical processing methods.”

According to the product website, the brand uses “specially curated pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) formulation, made from a combination of minerals and applied with nano technology process (think tiny suction cups)” to adhere to the skin. According to a press release Nutricare is an “environmentally conscious and solutions-focused brand” working to create natural solutions to common health care items.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 2, 2020


Swiss watch shop and bar opens in Miami

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 20, 2019

 Maison F.P.Journe

Although the space is called Maison F.P. Journe the sign above the store reads F.P. Journe Invenit et fecit.

Photos: Kris Tamburello

Last month Francois Paul Journe and Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte opened Maison F.P. Journe, a watch boutique offering upscale liquor and Petrossian snacks, in
Miami (270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Suite 101, Miami, Florida 33131, 305-993-4747, The 3,200 square foot space will sell 15 Swiss watch models in different iterations. The shop has seating capacity for 42. It includes 10 bar seats and two lounges inside the boutique, as well as seating for 20 on the outside Terraza Astondoa, a cigar lounge. The exterior sign of the store reads: F.P. Journe Invenit et fecit. The last three words, according to a spokesperson, translate to “invented and made” from Latin, and is meant to certify that “each of the watches carrying FPJ’s name results from an entirely original conception with rigorous craftsmanship.”

Inside the shop

The shop has seating capacity for 42.

The owners expect the shop to attract affluent people in Miami, liquor connoisseurs, watch aficionados, caviar fans and “anyone who enjoys an elevated bar and retail experience.” The space includes Bar Journe, an upscale bar that serves curated bites, Petrossian caviar and rare liquors. The outdoor lounge area outfitted by Spanish yacht-maker Astondoa is described as offering stunning views of Miami and cigars by La Flor Dominicana.

François-Paul Journe, co-owner, Maison F.P.Journe

François-Paul Journe, co-owner, Maison F.P. Journe

A “fine and rare” collection includes about 24 antique and aged items. Watch prices range from $11,000 for the Electro Mechanical Elegante in 40 millimeters for ladies or men to 711,000 Swiss francs. Prices are offered in Swiss francs “because the price in USD is given at the time of purchase to accurately reflect the conversion,” according to a company spokesperson. One watch, the Tourbillon on a baguette set platinum case and bracelet, sells for $939,900.

Sample prices for liquor, spirits and wine include $8 for a beer, $55 for a 2 ounce serving of 1942 Don Julio Añejo on the rocks and $385 for a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. The caviar is from different farms around the world and prices range from $98 to $990. The shop sells three types of caviar, Royal Shassetra, Alberta President and Ossetra President, at 30 grams or 125 grams accompanied by yuca chips. There is also a suggested pairings for each caviar and a tasting menu priced at $485.

Happy New Year 2019!

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 2, 2019

Best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. 

Is Hispanic consumer confidence dropping?

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 12, 2018

Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director, FAU BEPI

Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director, FAU BEPI

Photo: College of Business at Florida Atlantic University

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) believe Hispanic consumer confidence stalled in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of the year. They drew their conclusions from a new national consumer sentiment index conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) in FAU’s College of Business. The conclusions were derived from a recorded survey online and by landline of 850 Hispanics 18 years or older.

“Hispanics are less optimistic of their financial situation and the short-term economic outlook of the country,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director, FAU BEPI. “They’re concerned about what they perceive as a rising cost of living, gas prices and interest rates. All of this leads Hispanics to be less eager to consume more.”

The second quarter Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index (HCSI) dropped from 98.9 in the first quarter to an 86.4 in the second quarter, according to the 11-page report titled Hispanics Consumer Confidence Stall in Second Quarter of 2018 Cost of Living on the Rise and Less Likelihood to Buy a House or Car. Information provided by the university indicates that the HCSI continues to trail the general population score of 98.2 as published by the University of Michigan in June 2018.

When asked by email how researchers identify respondents Escaleras said, “Respondents self-identify as Hispanics. Specifically, this is the question that we ask: Are you of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? If the answer is yes, then they take the survey. If the answer is no, then the survey ends.”

The poll, available to respondents in English and Spanish, was funded by the Dean’s Office in College of Business at Florida Atlantic University, according Escaleras, who declined to disclose the budget for the project.

“We use two modes of data collection: online and landlines,” she said. “The online sample is supplied by Survey Sampling International. For the landlines, the Hispanic phone lists are supplied by Aristole, Inc and then the questions are recorded in both languages English and Spanish. Finally, the we use a computer software call Stratics to randomly pick phone numbers and call. The calls are automated and the questions are pre-recorded or what is call robocalling. IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response which is a technology that allows respondents to interact with surveyor (which pre-recorded the questions) via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition.”

Hispanics’ short-run economic outlook for the country dipped, with only 50 percent saying they expect the country as a whole to experience good business conditions in the upcoming year, down 11 points compared to the first quarter. Among survey takers 52 percent said they think it is good time to buy big-ticket items, compared to 69 percent in the first quarter.

Four out of five poll takers said the cost of living has gone up, a 21 percent rise since the first quarter. Per the press release, this perception, along with increasing concerns over their level of debt, rising gas prices and interest rate hikes, may explain why only 51 percent said they think it is a good time to buy a house (down from 59 percent in the first quarter), and only 49 percent said it is a good time to buy a car (down from 62 percent).

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they were born in the United States; 65.5 percent self-identified as Mexican, Mexican-American or Chicano; 50.5 percent were men; 36.5 percent said they were employed full-time; 64 percent said they owned their home; and 42.5 percent were between 18 and 34 years of age.

According to a press release, the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative conducts surveys on business, economic, political and social issues with a focus on Hispanic attitudes and opinions at regional, state and national levels via planned monthly national surveys. Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. The same release indicates the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students through 10 colleges at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 2, 2018

Wishing you a healthy, joyful and success filled 2018!

Cities with Latinx populations among those committing to LGBTQ equality

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 8, 2017

By Milagros Chirinos
Bilingual media manager-Spanish
Human Rights Campaign

Milagros Chirinos, bilingual media manager-Spanish, Human Rights Campaign Foundation

Milagros Chirinos, bilingual media manager-Spanish, Human Rights Campaign

Photo: Jeff Martin

While the equality fight for the LGBTQ community is facing more challenges than ever in recent history, cities and states across the United States continue to embrace LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices. These initiatives make communities not only stronger, but also more attractive to equality-minded businesses looking to locate in places where their employees are embraced and protected from discrimination. Click to read entire article Cities with Latinx populations among those committing to LGBTQ equality

As our population ages there is rising inequality

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 25, 2017

Preventing Ageing Unequally

Preventing Ageing Unequally

Photos: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

In the United States, employment among the prime working age population is lower now than it was in 2000, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 2000, 82 percent of 35 to 44 year old men and women worked. By 2016 only 79 percent of them worked. It is one of few countries studied by the organization where that is the case, leading researchers to conclude that is one of the main reasons for the growth of inequality.

In Preventing Ageing Unequally, a 256-page report the OECD released recently, representatives from the Paris based organization suggest that ensuring more people work for more years may result in higher retirement incomes in the future. Data in the report, which is available for online purchase as a PDF file for $42, indicate that more than four-fifths of the highly educated working age population have a job, but only about half of those with low education levels are employed.

According to the report summary, income disparities among today’s young and prime age adults are significantly higher than they were among the Baby Boomers when they were the same age. The income of the richest 20 percent of those of working age is eight times higher than that of the poorest 20 percent today.

Since incomes in retirement depend on the earnings of workers throughout their lives OECD analysts expect inequality in the working age population to lead to higher inequality among future retirees. This is particularly alarming in the United States as old age inequality among current retirees is already higher than in all other OECD countries, except Chile and Mexico. See OECD Income Inequality in Old Age chart below for details.

The report predicts that younger generations will face greater risks of inequality in old age than current retirees, and that the experience for generations born since the 1960s may change dramatically. Also since family sizes are dropping, there is higher inequality over working lives, and reforms have cut pension incomes some groups will face a high risk of poverty, the new report suggests.

Across its member countries Preventing Ageing Unequally found that in 1980, there were only 20 people aged 65 and over for every 100 of working age; by 2015 there were 28 and by 2050 the analysts projected it will almost double to reach 53. Many OECD and emerging economies are aging much faster. In the United States, the country summary indicates, there are only 25 people over the age of 65 per 100 people of working age at the moment, but this is expected to rise to 41 by 2050.

The report also anticipates that future elderly will be in more diverse situations, where people may live longer but more will have been unemployed at some point in their working lives and earned low wages, while others will have enjoyed higher, stable earning paths.

Chart: OECD Income Inequality in Old Age

Click to enlarge

Inequality begins at an early age, according to the findings. For example, a 25-year old university educated man may live almost eight years longer than his less educated peer, on average across countries; for women the difference is almost half (4.6 years). Health impacts the ability to work and earn, the report summary indicates; and over a career, poor health reduces lifetime earnings of low educated men by 33 percent and 17 percent for highly educated men.

In the United States, health problems also contribute to increasing inequality, according to the country report summary. It indicates that Americans are far more unhealthy than their peers in other countries; that people from low socioeconomic backgrounds are affected by bad health more than those from high socioeconomic ones; and that this is demonstrated by the large life expectancy gaps between high and low educated groups.

Disabilities, depression and obesity are widespread, according to the report. More than one third of American adults are obese, more than in any other OECD country. The report proposes that the authorities institute policies to target vulnerable groups as early in life as possible to prevent health, labor market and other socioeconomic disadvantages.

Preventing Ageing Unequally, published October 18, 2017, examines the development and interaction of two global mega trends of population, aging and rising inequalities, within and across generations. According to the website description, the report has 13 tables and 120 charts, shows how inequalities in education, health, employment and earnings compound, resulting in large differences in lifetime earnings across different groups; and suggests a policy agenda to prevent, mitigate and cope with inequalities. The OECD, working with over 100 countries, is a global policy forum with a mission to promote policies to improve the economic and social well being of people around the world.

Americans want more natural, chemical free facial creams, Mintel research indicates

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 7, 2016


According to Mintel, consumers are most likely to be interested in products with vitamin C, fruit based ingredients, oatmeal, and honey.


Last year, facial skin care and anti-aging cream sales declined after experiencing steady growth for years in the past, according to research company Mintel. Although anti-aging products remains the largest segment in the category, it suffered a sales decrease of 6.3 percent from 2014 to 2015. Also, 21 percent of consumers who responded to a Mintel survey said they do not use and are not interested in using anti-aging products compared to 18 percent of consumers who use them.

The overall facial skincare and anti-aging market experienced a 1.4 percent decrease in sales in 2015, falling to $6.6 billion, according to Mintel. Baby Boomers, consumers 55 and older, who took the research company’s survey were the least likely to report usage of nearly every facial skincare product they surveyed, with one third (32 percent) not using any of the surveyed products compared to 19 percent overall.

“While the facial skincare category has experienced tepid sales over the years, in 2015 we saw declines for the first time in five years,” said Shannon Romanowski, category manager, Health, Household, Beauty and Personal Care at Mintel, in a press release. “Moving forward, the category’s success will rely on younger consumers and the growing facial cleanser segment, with an emphasis on natural, recognizable ingredients and innovation like ‘waterless cleansing.’ To broaden the appeal of these products, brands should be proactive in addressing concerns surrounding cost and usage instructions.”

According to Gastronomia Global Beauty and Personal Care Trend, a Mintel survey of 1,613 adults who said they use skincare products, consumers are interested in milder, natural formulations that shield against pollution. One in seven (14 percent) of the respondents believe pollution impacts the appearance of their skin.

Survey takers also said they view lifestyle as an important factor in their skin’s appearance. Many said they are convinced hydration (44 percent) and diet (36 percent) impact skin’s appearance more than using skincare products (26 percent). Another 38 percent said they believe stress impacts the appearance of their skin. Among the  survey takers 30 percent said they seek anti-aging products making anti-stress claims.

“Consumers are embracing healthy, holistic living, and our research shows that these lifestyle changes are driving the facial skincare and anti-aging market. In such a saturated marketplace, products featuring natural formulations are standing out to consumers who trust identifiable and natural ingredients,” said Romanowski. “The link between diet and skin is evident, and as consumers increasingly associate their lifestyle with their skin’s appearance, product formulations with added food-based ingredients and vitamins stand out among the competition.”

According to the Mintel report, consumers are most likely to be interested in products with vitamin C (85 percent), fruit based ingredients (78 percent), oatmeal (78 percent) and honey (76 percent); and 72 percent of consumers are interested in products featuring probiotics.

Texas swimwear maker seeks to increase US sales

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 24, 2016

Lume bikini

A Lumé bikini

Photos: Lumé

Paula Daza was born in Colombia and raised in the United States. As a young woman she decided she wanted to raise funds for people in her country of birth. In 2014, she founded Lumé Swimwear, a Katy, Texas based company Daza describes as “a 100 percent ethical luxury fashion brand that combines fashion, art, and giving back.” Lumé makes swimwear, beachwear, mochila bags and shoes from nylon and spandex in Medellin, Colombia and sells the vast majority, 90 percent, to customers in Europe. She hopes to grow her domestic market share.

The company, which Daza says follows fair trade practices and supports underprivileged children, offers 49 styles, including men’s trunks, ranging in price between $140 and $170 each. A page on the company website features photos of people with sewing machines in the background holding signs that say “I made your clothes” at the top. At the bottom there are photos of adults and children some of them holding toys. Lumé donates 10 percent of proceeds to the JuanFe Foundation ( To date donations have reached $4000.

Paula Daza, owner, Lumé Swimwear

Paula Daza, owner, Lumé Swimwear

When asked about her company’s charitable donations Daza said by email via her publicist,“…and every summer I spent it in Colombia and would see the need of the people, the homeless children without shoes, the poor living in slums and it would just break my heart. I promised myself at that young age that one day I would find a way to give back to my native country in some way how ever little it may be.”

Before establishing her own company Daza worked in merchandising, buying and developing and launching other brands and designers. After many years in the fashion industry in New York City she found a path to follow through on the promise she had made herself. Overcoming a period of life changes led her to decide she wanted to start fresh by pursuing her three passions in life: fashion, art, and giving back. That in turn prompted her to establish her company.

Art by Edgar Medina

Euphoria, a painting by Edgard Medina, served as inspiration for Lumé products.

Lume beachwear inspired by Euphoria, a painting  by Edgar Medina

Lumé beachwear inspired by art by Edgar Medina

To make its swimwear products Lumé transfers the original paintings of artists into prints for women who like fashion and art, seek to be unique while at the same time like purchasing items that are sustainable and eco-conscious. In exchange the artists receive a 10 percent license fee and exposure for their art. The 2016 collection features the work of two artists, including Edgar Medina whose art appears above. Medina is a Houston, Texas based abstract painter originally from Mexico.

“The process of picking artist to collaborate with is a very organic process, many artist write to us and some we have found by seeing there art work first,” Daza said when asked how she selects the artists she works with for the designs. “We also look to work wth artist that are involved in their community, it is important to work with artist that share that same vision of giving back and helping other through art. It is important for us at Lume to work with artist that are both an exceptional artist with unique work and at the same time philanthropic, because that is at the core of our co mission.”

“The reason I participate in this model is because I liked the idea to have my work in swimwear collection,” said Medina by email. “But, what made me fall in love even more is the charity work behind Lume Swimwear. A percentage of the sales goes back to a charity of choice. As an artist, I am very committed to give back to my community and help others in need through my work. I am so blessed to be able to give back to my community through my work. It is so satisfying to see the proceeds from a sale of an Edgar Medina original go to help a child with cancer, provide medical services to low-income teens or send a child with Muscular Dystrophy to camp. It is very important to me to give back to the community in honor of all that I have achieved and overcome in my own life.”

According to his bio, Medina originals have been shown across the country at galleries in Chicago, New Orleans, Santa Fe and Houston; and Medina has been a featured artist at Art Chicago, The Los Angeles Art Show, Art Santa Fe and Red Dot Miami. He works out of his studio space in Montrose within Native Citizen, which features his gallery where clients can visit him at work.