Discover more from After School by Casey Lewis
Zombie Style and Tween Girl Summer
"pizza earrings and purses shaped like popsicles"
Good morning from Serifos, Greece. Many of you are probably offline today — as you should be! — but since I can’t physically stop myself from scrolling (even in paradise), here we are. I will be taking Tues off for the holiday and Weds off for my birthday, but I’ll see you back here later this week and have an extra-long letter in the works for paid subscribers this weekend.
Queer culture is the beating heart of Glastonbury; controversies (and scathing reviews) aside, The Idol may get a second season, according to HBO execs; Swifties are playing hooky to see the Eras tour; and why are young people rioting in Paris?
HOW SEPHORA REINVENTED BEAUTY RETAIL, beautyinc
Sephora understood something no one else did: Younger consumers were frustrated with the department store experience. 25 years ago, when the retailer opened its first U.S. location, department stores had a market share hovering at 80 percent; these days, that figure is 19 percent. Department store beauty counters give me hives, and it baffles me that they still haven’t evolved at all.
That skill of identifying and building emerging brands and trends has fundamentally changed beauty — and created a sales juggernaut. Industry sources estimate that Sephora North America has the potential to drive $10 billion in sales. For its part, Macy’s Inc., parent company to Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluemercury, doesn’t break out beauty sales but includes cosmetics and fragrances with women’ shoes and accessories. Together, they generated $9.6 billion in sales in 2022. Meanwhile, Ulta Beauty surpassed $10 billion in sales in 2022 for the first time in its history, but that includes sales of mass, masstige and professional products, as well as prestige beauty and services.
SHOPIFY DEBUTS NEW TOOL THAT AIMS TO HELP CONTENT CREATORS MAKE MORE MONEY, wwd
Super smart: “Collabs Network” is a new application that any Shopify merchant can install for free, enabling them to build up a database of creators to work with to acquire customers and build sales while also allowing creators to search for products and connect with brands and retailers. According to Shopify’s 2023 Commerce Trends report, 30 to 40 percent of consumers under 35 years old consider themselves content creators. The total creator economy is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion, yet only 4 percent work full-time as creators.
BARBIE, MERMAIDS, AND TAYLOR SWIFT: WELCOME TO TWEEN GIRL SUMMER, fastco
Suddenly, everyone — from young consumers to grown-a** adults — is “unabashedly wearing pizza earrings and purses shaped like popsicles,” and “embracing hot pink, sparkles, and friendship bracelets.” “When I was a tween girl, there was very much a sense that you had particular interests that would change when you became a woman,” says Kristin Patrick, CMO of Claire’s, a Gen Xer. “But now, tweens are having an impact on the tastes of other generations.”
GEN ZERS HAD NO DESIRE TO WORK IN FINANCE BEFORE THE ECONOMY STARTED TANKING. BUT THEY’VE SINCE CHANGED THEIR MINDS FOR STABILITY AND HIGHER PAY, fortune
Finance is once again the most desired industry to work in among Gen Z — a stark shift from 2021, when the same age group ranked careers in education and health as their top preferences, with finance coming in fifth. The biggest reason for the change? Anxiety about pay. I think we’re going to see some big shifts in trends re: employment among young people in the next year.
CHINESE COLLEGE GRADS ARE ‘ZOMBIE-STYLE’ ON CAMPUS, wapo
China’s Class of 2023 is celebrating (?) college graduation by posting photos of themselves “sprawled on the ground, their faces covered by their tasseled caps. Bent over railings with their hands dangling listlessly.” They’re often accompanied by hashtags like “zombie-style” or “lying flat.” This is a “response to the ultracompetitive environment that Chinese graduates face as they venture out into the world of work.”
GEN Z’S MENTAL HEALTH DIVIDE, axios
A survey of 800 people ages 18 to 25 found that most straight adults rate their emotional well-being as "excellent" or "good," but only 38% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults say the same. Further, more than half of LGB adults reported having fair or poor physical health compared to 31% of straight Gen Zers, and 71% of LGB adults surveyed said they experienced anxiety the prior day compared to 52% of their straight peers.
GEN Z VIEWERS AREN’T WATCHING TV, BUT THEIR VIDEO-WATCHING HABITS ARE VERY TV-LIKE, digiday
Gen Z viewers’ attentions are consolidated to three primary platforms — YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch — with many not even tuning into streamers. What’s notable is that “the way they watch platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and even TikTok is often pretty similar to how previous generations watched traditional TV: something to play in the background while doing other tasks.”
One last thought: