In an International beauty member newsletter, I recently read about a product called Blue Lagoon Hydrating Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30, which is apparently THE waitlist worthy product to try!

What? Really? I’m not buying this. It says, “Contains minerals, geothermal seawater, and silica, direct from the Blue Lagoon in Iceland,” and claims benefits that are supposed to “protect and strengthen the skin’s barrier function” while also “minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles”! Wow, that’s quite a mouthful. I don’t think I’m buying this in a 50ml tub for $89.

The Problem
There is no such thing as natural or organic geothermal seawater. The geothermal water from the Blue Lagoon is the excess water from a nearby geothermal plant that is pumped into a lava field right outside the plant. Secondly, this “magic cream” seems to do too many things at the same time, and in my book, its claims are so extravagant that I simply don’t trust it.

The Fix:
First of all, the International Skin Care Sales Manager for Blue Lagoon Iceland should know the difference between features and benefits and not make claims that might not even be true, as they aren’t supported by clinical studies—at least, not any I could find.

Secondly, do your research before entering the international market with regard to what claims are acceptable and what claims are not, as they vary wildly from Europe to the US.

Thirdly, I’d like to suggest that the BL management stick to what they know best, which is catering to tourism, something they’ve managed very successfully for over 10 years.

Also, I find it super sad that the Blue Lagoon has completely lost its focus on the root mission, which has always been to help people who suffer from psoriasis and severe eczema.
If you have time, dig deep and you’ll find the true story of the Blue Lagoon.

The other day, I placed an online gift order from Calvin Klein for my best male friend. This included a two-piece pajama suit in XL, which I had shipped to my office. There was nothing wrong with the order, it arrived on time for his birthday, and the size was perfect, fitting him like a glove. Phew…it’s always such a hit or miss with sizes, and sizing charts can often be a bit off.
So, A+ to Calvin Klein for super clear + fast service and not messing my order up 🙂

The Problem
After my super happy e-shopping at CK with a seamless experience placing my order magic loan – centrelink loans, however, it turns out I’m not so super happy with the CK e-marketing after order strategy…

Now, a month later, I’ve reviewed over 60 CK emails promoting various male clothing options and new arrivals in sizes L and up. This means I’m “spammed” twice a day with unasked-for and very annoying CK promotions—even though I specifically checked the “do not notify me” box during the checkout process!!

Ugh… and the worst part is, if I unsubscribe, I’ll suddenly get spammed with emails from various brands, all of which are either related to or affiliated with CK, or are brands/companies that have purchased a list of names that have engaged themselves in e-commerce with CK. See”style=”border: none; color: #333333; font-weight: normal !important; text-decoration: none;”> official website

The Fix
Brands need to relax their “buy me now” and “buy one, get one free” e-promotions. It’s crucial to become more educational and culturally involved to truly understand what it means to be a brand personality.
The old way of marketing is long gone!
Effective marketing to people requires a keen ear. Stop shouting, and start listening…

As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Iceland, in a very traditional Icelandic family where we ate cod + boiled potatoes for most dinners and cod fish liver oil + skyr for breakfast. Our snacks consisted of raw licorice (which was sold at the local pharmacy), rhubarb, dried fish, and, on occasion, homemade cookies and cakes. Brand-name items such as Cocoa Puffs, Coca Cola, and Prince Polo (Polish chocolate wafers) were only for special occasions such as holidays and birthdays.
Now, everything Icelandic seems super popular, especially the yogurt-like dairy product known as skyr. Basically a byproduct of the cheese-making process, skyr has been part of Icelandic cuisine since approximately 900 AD.

Problem: An Icelander who got homesick while living in NY, Sigurdur Hilmarsson decided to make his own homemade, Icelandic skyr. After a few years of “fiddling around” in his kitchen, he recreated his Grandma’s skyr recipe and brought this wonder yogurt to market.
I was super excited when I discovered Siggi’s Skyr in one of my neighborhood markets, and I bought some even though I thought the price was rather steep (in the old days, my dad used to buy kilos of skyr that we had to order from the local dairy maker).

I slowly opened the tub and dipped my spoon in the skyr. Anticipating my childhood treat, I shoved a full tablespoon of it into my mouth. Oh dear… hmmm… I was confused: this wasn’t the skyr I remembered. I read the ingredients on the label and realized, much to my shock, that this wasn’t real skyr as I remembered it: too much sugar, plus a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients. I closed the lid and tossed the skyr tub I was eating to of in the garbage ;-( Then I took the rest to my office to see if my co-workers liked it and they did. Hmm… maybe I’m being too harsh, but I just haven’t warmed to Siggi’s Skyr as I don’t think it’s the real thing.

The Fix: Don’t FAKE IT! If you are asking people to try something “authentic” from your home country that they’re not familiar with, then deliver the real deal. There is no need to add “modern” ingredients, which, unfortunately, turned out to be mostly sugar and synthetic flavors that are often extractions of “natural” ingredients. If you do need to fake an authentic food, then just be honest about it. Position your brand and product as “based upon an old tradition of Icelandic Yogurt.” Or say, “a modified version of my ancestors’ recipe.” Don’t invent some hideous story about it being “inspired by my grandmother’s recipe.” Ugh…That’s just old and it reeks of fakery and deception…

One of my co-workers is expecting a baby girl. In honor of the parents, the Mother of the soon-to-be-Mama invited us all to attend a baby shower.
So, I looked at the registry and ordered a few items to be shipped directly to my co-worker’s house. Because I didn’t want to arrive to the shower empty-handed, I also decided to venture to a Baby Gap on 5th and 17th in NYC.
I opened the front door, stepped inside, and there wasn’t a soul in sight. I looked and looked and finally found a sales person to direct me to the baby section.

I went downstairs and, yet again, there was no one there. Only after walking around in circles did I finally find the newborn section.

The Problem: Even when I finally got to the right section it was, quite frankly, a disaster!! First of all, why the hell is everything categorized boy/girl? It made me think that the Gap designers and marketers are still stuck in the 90’s. Have they never heard of the term “gender neutral”? Seriously, everything was either pink, blue, or decorated with rockets, stars, ballerinas, or hearts. Ugh…I would never dress my child in this!

After going through a rather frustrating curation of baby items, I found 3 outfits that I thought could work but they all had stripes. Oh dear, I hope I didn’t buy outfits that will make everyone dizzy!

I’m not even going to describe paying for my gifts, which was an entirely different and yet equally frustrating experience that I’ll address another time.


The Fix: Clean up your stores! For instance:
– Have a sales clerk on each floor
– Fold the clothes so they’re not randomly stacked in disorganized piles
– Attend to your customers—they might have questions!
– Minimize the checkout waiting line. This is probably where most retailers lose their customers.

Just FYI, I had to wait 20 minutes in line as there was only one checkout clerk available and the line kept getting longer and longer. During that time, 2 customers gave up and left.

The Gap’s management is clearly stuck on the 90’s and isn’t up to speed with reality. I recommend shaking everything up and hiring new blood.
Look at other stores who get it right, like Bonobos, and use them as your role model!