It's been another weird week in retail. Ikea took a note from streetwear brands, restaurants started offering a particularly useful side and distilleries have something new on the menu.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Ikea drops season's hottest merch
The retailer, known for meatballs and flat-pack furniture, made its first foray into luxury fashion back in April 2017. Designer Demna Gvasalia created a leather bag for Balenciaga reminiscent of the iconic polypropylene FRAKTA shopping bags. But instead of retailing for $1.49 — or, you know, the price of a hot dog — the designer bags were priced at over $2,000.
Who wore it better? Balenciaga or IKEA? pic.twitter.com/LCB9Qri2xN— Mikael Pawlo ???? (@mpawlo) April 18, 2017
Shortly after, Pleasures and Chinatown Market reimagined the totes as caps, selling (for the slightly more attainable, but still absurd) price of $38.
Well, Ikea is finally ready to cash in on its own work. The Swedish retailer can now add "streetwear designer" to its repertoire with its release of a new product. The KNORVA is a bucket hat designed from the same materials as FRAKTA bags and even has a band resembling the bag's strap.
I WANT AN IKEA BUCKET HAT SOOOO BAD— ana (@vladlvr) March 19, 2020
do i need an ikea bucket hat pic.twitter.com/eIkjSb0boe— worm gemma (@sleeplessphiI) February 29, 2020
But instead of the huge markup many streetwear labels put on their merchandise (looking at you, Supreme), Ikea's hat comes in at just $3.99. Sometimes even hypebeasts are ballin' on a budget.
Restaurants feed consumers what they crave most
In recent weeks, consumers have stockpiled on essentials, clearing shelves of otherwise plentiful items. One in particular? Toilet paper.
As people were warned to practice social distancing, and therefore limit exposure to crowded places like stores, consumers stocked up on TP, a product that generally has a pretty predictable buying pattern.
The restaurant business, which has had to make adjustments of its own, like closing dining areas and only accepting carryout orders in some places, took this as an opportunity to expand its menu a bit.
Restaurants across the country, including ZaRonis in Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Tennessee Pizza Company in Seymour, Tennessee; and New York J&P Pizza in Mount Airy, Maryland, have offered guests an option to purchase toilet paper as a side or receive a free roll with carryout orders. Amid uncertainty and unease right now, the world could use a little more community acts like this.
Where boozy meets healthy
Like toilet paper, hand sanitizer has been in short supply recently. Seriously, you could consider it liquid gold at this point.
Retailers like Costco and Target have begun to limit the number of these essential items each customer can purchase, and Amazon started restricting the sales of face masks and hand sanitizer as a result of sellers price gouging and trying to make a profit off the pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content to effectively do its job, so something like rubbing alcohol or ethanol would work well. Some people, looking to make their own hand sanitizer at home, suggested using Tito's Vodka, to which the brand quickly dismissed because it only contains 40% alcohol (save it for your Moscow Mules, anyway).
But several distilleries across the country are temporarily adding the product to their menus to help stem the shortages. Shine Distillery in Portland, Oregon, in early March began making their own hand sanitizer to hand out to guests who needed it.
And two Washington, D.C.-area distilleries, Cotton & Reed and Republic Restoratives have created their own products using 66% ABV rum and 140-proof ethyl alcohol, respectively. Consumers in the area can pick up the hand sanitizer at a walk-up window at Cotton & Reed, or order through Republic Restorative's website (where each spirit order comes with a free bottle of hand sanitizer).
D.C. friends! Our local rum distillery, @cottonandreed, is distilling hand sanitizer.— Emily Atkin (@emorwee) March 18, 2020
You can get a free bottle if you buy a bottle of rum. The distillery will be open from 12-4 tomorrow and Friday.
My brother, who works there, appreciates your help keeping him employed. pic.twitter.com/s49DWvcEWJ