Strolling from Tribeca to Soho to meet our friends for a late afternoon drink on Sunday, we were accosted by a MAD flock of street vendors screaming “Roless, Roless, hadbag, hadbag,” (Rolex, Rolex, handbag, handbag)! That’s all we could hear aside from the enraged honking of annoyed out-of-towners trying to get into “the tunnel” (not naming any names). “Oh dear,” I thought to myself as I started to explain to my friends (who just had moved to New York) that the situation had gone from somewhat nice and fun to INSANE ;-(. Back in the day, there were local artists mixed in with those hawking designer fakes, all selling their goods from Greene Street to Canal on Broadway. Back then, there was also an open-air market selling various pets, from snakes to hamsters. The animal market, artists, and fake designer product vendors all happily coexisted.

In recent years, due to an industry catering to brand whore tourists and guide books, the local artist have been pushed out by the vendors selling fake Prada, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Dior, and YSL bags and accessories. The aggressive vendors who hang out on the corner of Canal and Broadway with their plastic wrapped cards displaying their offerings of the day/week yell and stare, even if you only walk past them and say nothing. Even for a local, this has become rather intimidating.

The Problem
Locals are overwhelmed by greedy brand whore tourists and pissed off vendors who can’t sell their fakes fast enough. At one point, I heard a vendor of fakes yell at a customer, telling her that she was “a cunt” for buying the same bag from another vendor. What?!?
Wow, this just shows you how desperate they are, as well as the fact that they have no integrity or grace. But, of course, how can they? They are selling knockoffs! However, the bigger issue is how rude these vendors have become–to the point where I’m afraid to walk past them, as I think they might snap at any minute and physically attack me. I think they’re smoking something…

The Fix
Crate an indoor fake destination market that is easy for the brand whore tourists to find, and get Prada, Louis Vuitton, etc. to sponsor it (but naturally, the vendors who sign up for it won’t know this). That way, the real shit (pardon me) gets a cut of the fake sales.

On a recent visit to Dashing Diva in Brooklyn, I was sitting comfortably, getting a pedicure and reading my favorite glossy, when the aesthetician suddenly yelled, “Ohhh…. fungi, fungi here, no good!” as she pointed to the big toe on my right foot.

Oh, shit… I thought to myself. Hmm, well, I must have gotten it here as I haven’t changed my pedicure spot in ages.
Well, 6 weeks later I’m fungi free, and I haven’t had a mani-pedi since, as I simply don’t trust their sanitation method anymore. As a matter of fact, my nails look healthier, feel stronger, and grow a lot faster than they used to.
So, here is my theory: putting the nail clippers and files under a blue light doesn’t clean anything. They used to have a one use rule for all files and brushes, but no longer. It’s a shame because I used to love going there knowing that my nails wouldn’t be manicured with tools that were used on another customer.

The Problem:
Both high-end and low-end nail salons are cutting corners in cleaning their equipment, especially on weekends when they’re busy. Also, it seems like they’re trying to cut costs by using files over and over again until they almost fall apart. In my books, that is just outright gross!!!

The Fix:
Buy extra equipment and sanitize it between uses (for an hour minimum), or buy a sanitizer machine like the one used in dental offices as the cleaning process is faster. Maybe it makes sense to cut the paper files in half to cut costs, but that might make it super hard for the aesthetician to work with.
Use only one file per customer, and offer the customer the file and buffer to take home. If needed, raise your prices to cover the extra cost as customers would rather pay $1 or $2 more for a clean and safe mani-pedi rather than end up with a bad nail fungus.

My co-worker and I booked a ticket to D.C. a few weeks ago on the Acela, which we both agreed was a much more civilized way of traveling to DC than flying. There was no fuss boarding the train, and we had some high-speed internet access, meaning we got loads of work done before arriving at Union Station. But, while walking from Union Station to our hotel, we agreed that the experience, service, and comfort were nowhere near those of the EU and Japanese rail systems. Americans are light years behind when it comes to railway travel and service. I’ll say no more…

The reason for our trip was to celebrate the first year anniversary of Curio Concept. A luxurious, curated boutique located in Georgetown, Curio Concept sells high-end street fashion, including clothing, shoes, jewelry, and home accessories. In 2015 more, my company was lucky enough to be selected as the branding agency for Curio Concept, and I must admit that though I rarely pat myself on the back, in this situation, I had to say, “Wow, we were part of this creation!”
I have no other words except to say how cool and awesome the boutique is, and how proud I was to walk inside. The owner, Lena Faruki, pulled this off entirely on her own. It was 2 years in the making, with loads of unexpected surprises during construction—such as having to deal with the excavation of a horse skeleton from the 1700s in the outdoor tea garden!—as well as having to deal with a very difficult construction team, whose name I won’t disclose here.

The Problem:
There is not one single problem with Curio Concept except maybe that the D.C. woman doesn’t “get it.” Curio is just too cool and authentic for those in government — sorry, D.C. women…

The Fix
Open up a concept store in NYC. Unfortunately, the problem is finding the right retail space, as greedy landlords have made it almost impossible for startups/young companies to have a brick and mortar presence. It’s deeply disappointing that NYC has lost its authenticity to corporate avarice 🙁 Such a shame!

In general, I try to avoid to buying panties or bras at a retail store unless I’m really in dire need, but my emergency to-go place is Victoria’s Secret on Broadway. On a recent visit, everything went smoothly and the staff members were super helpful until it came to check out, where we pay for the items we’ve decided to buy. Oh dear, I don’t think that the VPs of Victoria’s Secret understand this, as the checkout line was super confusing and not very helpful in regard to directing customers as to how the line works. The sales clerk ended up giving me attitude when I asked why they didn’t put up small signs indicating the line or line(s). Her response? “Well, a lot of our customers are tourists and they can’t speak English.” Oh, dear. I bit my tongue and didn’t answer back, as it just wasn’t worth it. On my way out, I almost turned back to say, “Have you ever wondered how these tourists got through customs at the airport and checked into their hotels? But I didn’t, because, hey, I was late to meet my best friend for lychee martini!

The Fix: Wake up upper management! Don’t be lazy and think that the staff on the ground will figure out appropriate customer service etiquette. Also, train your employees to care about their jobs and the company. Give them something to be believe in.