1. LAVISH LATHERS
Soap’s pretty simple, right? Lather, rinse, repeat. But to some, expensive, high-end soaps have become as much of a status symbol as having the latest iPhone. The United States has the largest soap industry in the world, and it seems to only be growing amid the “self-care” boom.
2. WHY MIDDLE KIDS MATTER
It’s become increasingly less likely over time for people to have more than two children, which means the oft-stereotyped middle child is becoming an endangered species. Some say that’s not good for society overall, since middle children show independence and resilience that oldest and youngest children don’t always develop. It’s easy to make them the punchline, but there’s a lot to learn from middle kids.
3. MAKING TRINKETS WITH TECH
Jewelry giant Tiffany & Co. has created a secret weapon to battle sparkly staleness. At the company’s new, high-tech workshop, jewelers have access to traditionally used machinery, as well as a slew of 3D printers to help them build prototypes for the next big hit to fill their little blue boxes. The workshop is intended to help Tiffany add new products or versions of products all year long. Could other industries benefit from workshops that blend old and new?
4. THE KETCHUP CONUNDRUM
What can the way a person puts ketchup on their french fries tell you about a person? If you ask Medium author Jessica Bloom, a whole lot.
5. PIZZA PROBLEMS
After the latest in a string of scandals, Papa John’s founder and spokesman John Schnatter stepped away from his responsibilities as the company’s spokesman and board chairman. According to Forbes, Schatter fostered a toxic culture at the nationwide pizza chain, and despite the scandal, he seems determined to continue to have a stake in the company. Could the Papa John’s story have implications for other companies that have an individual serve as the face of their brand?
6. LIVING A BRANDED LIFE
You might be surprised to learn that Chipotle is striving toward more than just slinging tacos and burritos. The company announced earlier this summer that it wants to be known as a “purpose-driven lifestyle brand.” But what makes a lifestyle brand? And is it truly possible for any brand to be one?
7. SHARING A CITY
The death of Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold was a huge loss for LA and local journalism. Gold didn’t just review restaurants, he showed his readers that LA did have a culture of its own, and that every part of the city had culture to share.
8. MACABRE AND MEANINGLESS
Netflix recently released and eight-part documentary series called “Dark Tourist,” in which host David Farrier travels the world in search of all things creepy, morbid and dangerous. From Jeffrey Dahmer’s former Milwaukee stomping grounds, to the site of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and more, Farrier covers a lot of ground. But what he doesn’t cover is the effect this type of tourism has on real people, and how those visiting can learn from it.
Takeaway: There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of a disconnect. Being forced to make a mental leap, or figure out how two seemingly unrelated things fit together can make life more interesting. This month’s picks show the full spectrum of dissonance: from finding new ways to present ideas, to going so off brand you lose your job.