120 DAYS UNTIL ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT BLANC

With four months to go, I am entering the final weeks of preparation for the highlight of my yet so young running career. Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc has been the reason for why I have relentlessly been collecting miles week over week. Now, at the end of August, three years after I had witnessed the start of the 2015 edition, I get to run this epic trail myself.

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FRANKFURT HALF MARATHON 2018

It was the first race since my battle with the Swiss alps at the Eiger Ultra-Trail last July and I had not been running much since December - I had travelled to Australia and I started my new job in Frankfurt. So, when I was waiting at the starting line, just outside the Commerzbank Arena, I was not entirely sure what to expect. Naturally, I always set out to beat my previous personal best, but this time, my goal was to just run and to see where I stand with my training and my fitness.

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THE BILLION-DOLLAR GREY MARKET IN WATCHES UPSETS BIG BRANDS

No one is immune to a bargain — not even those who can spend GBP 30,000 on a watch. At Watches of Switzerland, an authorised dealer, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak automatic in rose gold sells for GBP 42,600, but the same watch is on offer at "grey market" website Chrono24 from US dealer Watch My Diamonds for USD 34,850 (GBP 27,227). It is impossible to ignore that the grey market is becoming a powerful force in the watch industry, which is worth USD 62.5bn, according to Euromonitor.

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HOW GLOBAL BRANDS ARE THINKING LOCAL

Today’s world is unmistakably and increasingly interconnected, as growing Internet access, travel and trade accelerate the integration of global markets and the worldwide exchange of ideas, information, people and products. But with globalisation comes an opposite, if not equal, reaction. “In a globalised world, there will inevitably be many similar trends across the globe. And these, in turn, will generate opposition in the form of localisation, as people try to assert their own identity, which is only natural,” observed Mr Yanai, chairman, president and chief executive of Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo. “In order to do business anywhere, we need to have a firm grasp of what it means to be global and what it means to be local.”

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DELIVERY-ONLY GHOST RESTAURANTS ARE CHANGING TAKEOUT

Tech-backed delivery start-ups, in the form of UberEATS, AmazonGrubhub, Deliveroo, Foodora and other on-demand services, have long been changing the access to restaurants. Now, restaurant owners are tweaking the industry business model, moving away from brick-and-mortar dining rooms and trying their hand at delivery-only services, known as virtual restaurants. 

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SNEAKER RESALE HEATS UP

After the announcement of LVMH Luxury Ventures investing into Stadium GoodsGOAT, the world’s leading digital sneaker marketplace, today released a public statement revealing a merger with sneaker consignment pioneer Flight Club. The merger brings together two leading brands in the sneaker space that combined, will deliver unparalleled mobile, web and retail shopping experiences. 

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THE BIG BUSINESS OF SECOND-HAND CLOTHES

Depop was launched in 2011 when Simon Beckerman, an Italian entrepreneur, decided to make a new, hip online marketplace by creating an app that merged editorial and sales. He realised most of the decision-making in buying fashion was based on social references. So, his team designed the app with Instagram-style features, with “follow” and “like” buttons, comments and chat, already familiar to social media users.

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WHAT DREW AMAZON, ALIBABA & CO. TO BRICKS-AND-MORTAR

The world’s online shopping giants are following smaller web retailers into what might appear to be the merchandising past. Amazon, Alibaba and most recently JD.com, are operating brick-and-mortar stores, joining companies such as the formerly web-only Warby Parker and Outdoor Voices and reoccurring pop-up events by the likes of Gymshark and Aday. Even Tencent, the Chinese games and social media giant, is doing deals in retail.

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PERSONALIZATION IS KEY FOR RETAILERS AND E-COMMERCE ALIKE

Call it the brick-and-mortar versus e-commerce problem. However, merging the two offers an opportunity to create a truly personalised experience both online and offline, which is why personalization is a top priority for organizations in 2018. Research shows that nearly three out of four consumers responding to personalized offers, recommendations or experiences.

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SWEDE SUCCESS

Acne Studios is a thoroughly modern fashion brand that is based in Stockholm, where it was launched in 1997 by a media agency who made 100 pairs of jeans to gift to friends. Since then it has moved from a denim label to become a high-fashion brand that shows collections in Paris and has shops that look like art galleries.

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HIGHSNOBIETY RAISES USD 8.5 MILLION VENTURE ROUND

Investor interest in the streetwear space is growing rapidly. After Supreme joined forces with The Carlye Group, highly influential streetwear and youth culture title Highsnobiety has raised an USD 8.5 million Series A round led by London-based venture firm Felix Capital, with additional details on the deal remaining undisclosed. Highsnobiety plans to use the new funding to help scale its branded content, e-commerce and events businesses. 

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HOW VEGANISM HELPED THE F1 WORLD CHAMPION TO GLORY

It was in September last year that Hamilton revealed that for health and environmental reasons, he was to become a vegan, removing all animal-based products, such as meat, seafood, dairy, even honey, from his diet. Many people questioned this mid-season lifestyle change. They talked of the potential harm to his "racing edge," due to a possible drop in testosterone, the lack of protein, iron and Vitamin D deficiency. However, the dietary change did not do the 32-year-old any harm. Two months after announcing his switch, Hamilton won the world title, creating history in the process by becoming the first Briton to win four F1 world titles and made Hamilton feel "better than ever".

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A BREAKOUT BRANDING MASTER CLASS FROM GLOSSIER, SWEETGREEN, AWAY, AND WALKER & CO.

Salad. Suitcases. Razors. Face wash. None of these products typically race eyebrows and inspire enthusiasm. However, when associated with certain fast-growing ventures, the reactions may change. Sweetgreen’s Nicolas Jammet, Away’s Jen Rubio, Walker & Company’s Tristan Walker, and Glossier’s Emily Weiss talk to Fast Company about creating products that provoke passion.

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INSIDE THE FURNITURE STARTUP BELOVED BY INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, CASPER, AND EVERLANE

In 2005 Petrus Palmér co-founded the studio Form Us With Love straight out of design school in Sweden. By 2012, FUWL’s clients already included Ikea, Cappellini, and Muuto. It was hard to imagine how things could go better, but Palmér felt a nagging discontent in what he was doing. He was stuck between designing for the biggest mass market imaginable or for the 1% who could afford a USD 10.000 couch.

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HOW INSTAGRAM IS CREATING ITS OWN MARKETPLACE

An Instagrammer with over 1,000 followers can get paid upwards of GBP 130 for a single promotional post. Big social media stars with hundreds of thousands of followers can make thousands from one post. Being an Insta influencer is now a bona fide career. More so, as Instagram has started to allow its user to shop-as-you-scroll by adding a new level tools and nurture the Instagram’s billion-dollar influencer economy.

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