Shop Differently This Holiday Season

It’s Black Friday, the official start of the holiday shopping season. Here at AVC, we recommend shopping where you can find unique items that allow you to express your individuality., of course.


Comments (Archived):

    1. LE

      Wow that’s some nice stuff in that store. I love the colors!

  1. BillMcNeely

    Thanks for the reminder. Looking for something unique non mass commercial for my girlfriend

    1. jason wright

      …of course.She’s unique. That’s what she might like to hear from you πŸ™‚

  2. jason wright

    …of course :)I may have come to understand the design of the back of the Pixel phone. Searching for a video clip on YouTube on mobile in portrait, select one to play from the results list, and the primary shapes exactly match the phone’s back (rectangles and circle). Is this subliminal conditioning by G, or a precursor to a revolutionary design for Pixel 2?I wonder of P2 will have front and back screens, with one dedicated to G Suite-only applications.

  3. William Mougayar

    And if you want to shop *very* differently, then try, considered to be the alt-eCommerce (for now). & they have Black Friday deals too!

    1. awaldstein

      Alt ecommerce my Canadian friend is so a poor term in today ‘s culture.

    2. Twain Twain

      “Alt+right” has completely destroyed the beauty and wonder of being different and diverse.

      1. William Mougayar

        no political innuendos were implied.

        1. Twain Twain

          I know, it’s not you or us. It’s just that the appropriation of Alt in politics has spread into common consciousness, :(.I liked it when it was simply the shortcut key to covert 3 to Β£!

    3. creative group

      William Mougayar:your thoughtful and insightful posts usually exemplifies the appreciation for Canadians.There are few things our current day can’t overcome and the nasty feeling when the prefix is used. “Alt”. The connotation of sleazy, untrustworthy, manipulative, etc.Knowing you had no intention of that usage or effect.

      1. William Mougayar

        I meant “alternative” without any political innuendos intended.

        1. LE

          Can’t believe how you are getting hassled over using that. Such a fucking pc world we live in so unfortunate.Note the google trends on that one attached below. Not even on the radar until recently. (Seems like August 2016!)This reminds me of when I was younger (don’t remember exactly how old though) and was told that “they don’t like being called black anymore”. I remember thinking ‘was there a poll or a vote? When was that decided and how?’ and ‘Who speaks for “they”‘? And what gives “them” the right to?.. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  4. awaldstein

    What’s notable is that while there is a complete revolution in ecommerce going on, selling wine online is still not happening.Amazon has failed three time.Online stores like ClubW are now event/private label businesses.The kicker is that with the exception of the geeks who know what they want, wine needs to be sold, not bought from a catalog.No one has cracked that.

    1. Joe Cardillo

      Do you think that’s true to some extent of art and other, deeper parts of our culture? I’m not sure the technology / platforms themselves are quite there… (a text description and some photos or videos of wine still seems a little short of the actual experience).

      1. awaldstein

        Big question.Some things we buy–Amazon stuff, Gilt sales, Etsy.Some things require deep trust bonds–art to me is one of those. I only buy from galleries I know, demand a discount and feel safe in the purchase.Some things require selling–I don’t think wine is unique in that but it is certainly true and nothing else jumps to top of mind that is like it.I wrote this when I was trying to build a buying community for wine to solve that problem back when. I was not successful.

    2. Salt Shaker

      Amazon Art is a bust too. Will disagree a bit on whether anyone has cracked ecommerce and wine. WTSO, Last Bottle, etc., are doing quite well AFAIK. Not my preferred choice for shopping but have found some good buys (only on stuff I know). Wine clubs are a better model w/ higher trust factor. First time back in NYC in 7 months. Feels like I got an infusion of B-12. Hoping I win Hamilton lottery πŸ™‚

      1. awaldstein

        Wine clubs I believe in though they are a pre buy commerce model where the sale happens around the person or org, not the bottle itself.Some are beginning to crack it but it is all about how you thin slice the community piece.Had a lot of pressure to take the database from my attempt thelocalsip and turn it into a newsletter under me. Haven’t felt the drive to do this as yet.In wine I must admit in NY i love assisted buying. Two of the best wine shops in the country are within 100 yards of my subway stop and I stop and buy a bottle just about every day. Huge pleasure each time.

        1. Salt Shaker

          I miss the community aspect established w/long term local retailers in NYC. The city has great wine shops, no question. Like w/ so many categories, ecommerce just commoditizes the experience.

          1. awaldstein

            Dunno the scene in Seattle but there most certainly one in Portland as I travel there and know the players.

        2. LE

          Two of the best wine shops in the countryWhat makes a wine shop ‘one of the best’? The selection or the type of buyer that can appreciate the selection along with the advice at the shop? I would think that if those wine shops were where I live they wouldn’t really do that well in terms of increasing sales over the type of shop that anyone could operate (the ones already here with the college student help). In any case many things in NYC are up a notch simply because of the competitive pressure along with the attitudes of the people who live in NYC’s intensity about things. (Something that I noticed as a kid actually).

          1. awaldstein

            selection and the people on the floor to make it fun.both shops have the buyers–the people who travel the world to discover the wines- as the people servicing customers.a rarity. expensive for the store. but makes it special and fun.

    3. William Mougayar

      agreed. the industry is very fragmented by nature, both in production and distribution. that said- what is the problem that needs to be solved?

      1. awaldstein

        How does the fragmented nature of a luxory agricultural product impact access?You’ve lost me my friend.

        1. William Mougayar

          distribution access is fragmented totally. what you can get in New York is different from what I can get in Toronto or Paris or anywhere. On the Internet, we all have the same access rights (as a starting point); yet we can’t buy the same wines. that seems to be an issue, no?

          1. awaldstein

            i don’t think any of that really matters that much.this is not a computer part, it is a luxury, scarce, agricultural product that more and more is bought by the microbrands of the producer more than anything else.the issue is to crack is the relationship between the buyer and this selling process.nothing else is the holdback though there are many structural issues. solving them is skirting the essential behavioral piece in my opinion.pretty certain that i’m right on this one William.

          2. LE

            From someone who knows nothing about wine here is my perspective on why I don’t buy wine over the internet (as opposed to, say, books). Just a few points, not inclusive, just personal thoughts.1) Lack of knowledge of what to buy2) No way to differentiate or understand the offerings3) Usually need it at the last minute (yesterday for example).4) To many choices <– Most important point5) State I used to live in didn’t allow shipping to that state. 6) Not a habit to buy wine frequently or to need it.7) Plenty of wine stores in my area where I can browse or ask questions and walk away with my purchase.8) Secret sauce of liquor is the buzz. My guess strictly a guess is that most purchases are buzz based rather than why you are into wine.The ‘to many choices’ and no way to differentiate them? This is also one of the reasons people buy Apple. Easy to figure out where the products are in the pecking order and easy to make a decision. You remember “Sears Best”, right?Now note that with books there are also ‘to many choices’ but it’s much easier to figure out the differences or to have a motivation to buy a particular book. (Might even be by reference, review etc.) Also easy to enjoy (what you with wine) pleasure by browsing (online or in stores in the case of books).Now interestingly jewelry is sold online and was part of the reason my retail jeweler brother in law was put out of business. I remember him telling me (prior to blue nile) in the 90’s why diamonds would never be sold online. But in the case of diamonds it’s a once in a lifetime purchase (or twice maybe with divorce) high ticket item where it’s easy to categorize the quality and type of diamond (after the buyer has been educated by a retail jewelry store).

          3. awaldstein

            you want someone to sell you something. have fun buying it. enjoy it without having it be a pain.that is why wine is so challenging to platform.

          4. Erin

            Slight change of subject– I discovered espresso-flavored Van Gogh Vodka a couple weeks ago. Everyone in my family is getting a bottle for Christmas. SO good!

          5. awaldstein

            craft spirits with a lot of infusions are in a renaissance. everywhere from brooklyn to pittsburg to detroit.did a panel a few weeks ago with some very young, quite brilliant fermentors infusing everything possible with natural ingredients.check out my friend bianca’s company uncouth in this post:

          6. Erin

            What a bunch of interesting questions at the bottom for the natural fermenters. You must write a book.

          7. awaldstein

            Thinking about it.

          8. Kent Karlsen

            Agree. I know nothing about wine, I simply shop out of price and country mix (to test something different).Then I started to use the Vivino app, where you simply take a picture of the label on the bottle. Viola. You get the wine and reviews from others. After some time it creates your taste profile as well after you have rated your favourites. Test it out, it’s great also for amateurs.I still do not shop wine online as we have laws preventing that.

          9. LE

            Wow never heard of that app. (Isn’t that always the issue with apps?). Seems like a great idea thanks.Here is the modification that I would make to the app. Allow close scanning (with a video) of all of the bottles in a particular area. Then tell me how each bottle is rated. (Haven’t tried it but it assumes I have already figured out one to even think about!)

          10. awaldstein

            know them, the app well.super tech and cool database.know no one in my community of over 30k wine geeks that uses it however.ties to commerce are idea, behaviorally for me a non starter.

    4. kevando

      We learned the same thing is pretty much true for eyewear. But we try anyway! 8)…

      1. awaldstein

        If you can’t sell, actually sell online, then I agree this is a hard one.

      2. Matt Zagaja

        Even with a good return policy buying clothing and wearable type items online is so hit or miss. You can’t always tell what it’ll look like exactly and even if there is a return policy, it’s much more of a hassle than having tried things on. I got Warby Parker frames but went to their Newbury St store.

    5. Twain Twain

      To what extent does it have to do with the fact that websites measure engagement rather than taste experience?I first learned about the taste wheel as a teenager working in the product labs of a major chemco.@wmoug:disqus — This is partly why my system classifies data for AI in much richer ways than FB, Google, Twitter et al do it. I took that teen knowhow and integrated it with art, data science and AI knowhow to invent. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

      1. awaldstein

        i think very little for two reasons:-its super easy to figure out how to get something someone likes by asking a very few questions.-people don’t want to buy, they want to be do you do that on a website?

        1. Twain Twain

          Videos of dinner parties where the wine is served. With commentary from diners about why a certain red / white / rosΓ© goes well with the beef / fish / chicken.Have you seen this site?

          1. awaldstein

            Yes–well done but not a big fan.Never use it. Honestly can’t find anything compelling.You like it?

          2. Twain Twain

            No, networks like vivino are all very “flat” and factual.What sells wine is music, atmosphere and conversation — which video is better at showcasing.

    6. Lawrence Brass

      Not an exclusive online case, but a local chilean successful business case is the “Club de Amantes del Vino” or wine lovers club, organized around a subscription model. You get monthly a box delivered to your home with an assorted selection of wines (3-4 bottles) and their magazine. Now they also have a few stores and even a restaurant and organize wine tasting events, but the main business are the boxes. ( site could be better )

      1. awaldstein

        thanks.clubs work. churn rate is low. all the work is on the front end.for countries. for personalities. for orgs like wsg. every wine shop does a few. i have as well.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          My pleasure.I think wine has a social component that has to be considered to build any business around it. It is a passion to share, a gift from the gods, at least for me. Have to confess that now and again I open a bottle just for myself.

          1. awaldstein


    7. jason wright

      i remember a drinking evening of local red wine from a two litre plastic bottle (alert) out of a shop by Lake Balaton, Hungary. it came straight from the slopes of the local hills, and i think only the day before. pure poison.there’s so much mystique swirling around wines. education does seem to be the key. without it there’s only the bottle, the label, and colour to inform. are QR codes being used on labels, and do they have the potential to ‘tell a story’ and educate?

      1. awaldstein

        huge topic.the more people know the easier it is to weave a talk but i think an education first is a very poor is a about people and face, vintage and variety are fading fast as the key determinants of a wine. the place and maker are what are a world where the top wines are being made by hundreds of tiny winemakers everywhere this is a world of small allocation mini brands that pour down the shoot from place to importer to distributer to shop to you. each is a hand off in the value and transparency and story is just fermented juice.i so love it.

        1. jason wright

          educate…inform…telling a story…sell.

          1. awaldstein

            if only marketing was that simple.

    8. Ruth BT

      We sell black opal online – something that is unique, each a one of a kind with a high price point. Prior to us it had never been done well or consistently. As some others and yourself have said people are buying the person and the idea of being part of a community. 3,000 plus YouTube videos and lots of free content means embodied trust which is what translates. I would LOVE to buy wine from a model similar to ours and I’m sure it can be done. I’ve just lost my local wine guy who would tempt me with amazing wine and call me when he had something special. He was at the local chain store but he also knew that the relationship was built on trust and I would buy (and enjoy) whatever he recommended or even from his curated section. My 2 cents worth.

    9. panterosa,

      I begin to think games are best sold that way. You sell the experience. Marbles The Brain Store does that pretty well with a small SKU list.

      1. awaldstein

        Been a while but when I built the software division for creaf, i had a educational lineup and that was my approach in general.

  5. Joe Cardillo

    During the holidays I try to shop for items that might help people create things (art supplies, music gear/instruments etc.) because, regardless of ones’ politics or values, that tends to stick us together more and increase our understanding and appreciation for what’s different from us.I do love Etsy… recently bought my friend a vintage Stax Records letter jacket for her wedding present (she’s a huge soul / rock & roll music fan) and the discovery aspect is straightforward and encourages looking at things you might not necessarily think of off the top of your head.

    1. Erin

      A vintage Stax Records jacket! Wow what a find! Five stars for that gift.

      1. Joe Cardillo

        I was kind of worried if it would be on-point, but she’s wearing it a bunch so I guess I got lucky=)

  6. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:”of course”

  7. Kent Karlsen

    Go DisCo = Discovery Commerce. Back to 80s πŸ™‚

  8. David C. Baker

    I love discovering local artists nearby via Etsy’s filters. It’s a particularly great way to find artists who aren’t established enough to have a presence at local galleries.

  9. Richard

    We shame people into holiday gift giving, year after year, and it is sad. For a large proportion of people, gift giving simply results in an increase in credit card debt. Holiday gift recipients should be reserved for kids and the poor. The best gift that you can give to your love ones is an investment in yourself via investments in your mental and physical health.

    1. LE

      For a large proportion of people, gift giving simply results in an increase in credit card debt.Agree. It’s unfortunate social pressure for many people that can least afford having to buy presents for multiple people. Not to mention people jamming into Walmarts fighting over flat screen tv’s.

      1. Drew Meyers

        100% agreed as well. Gifting rubs me the wrong way, simply because the vast majority are unneeded by their recipients — and because so many are bought with debt. I’ve been telling my family for a few years (ever since I started traveling) I don’t want any gifts, they are finally starting to listen.

    2. awaldstein

      Whose ‘we’?

      1. Richard

        Better question is who is not a part of “we”

        1. awaldstein

          You are an economist. I’m a behavioralist.We both are fitness and health fanatics.For the rest, we think of the world differently.

          1. Richard

            Not sure what differently means? But that said I would reccomend reading the book, “thinking fast and slow”. The important point is how many things did society do as a group 100 years ago, that we no longer do today. It’s hard to see https://uploads.disquscdn.c… it when you are in the eye of the storm, but it’s happening now as well. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          2. awaldstein

            hmm. I’ll check out the book, thanks!

  10. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Definitely finding some cool jewelry and housewares. Great reminder to not just default to Amazon.

  11. panterosa,

    We are about to run a promotion for all our backers and friends to scoop up games for half off. “Our locals” if you will. Includes many familiar AVC faces.Celebrating our first store in Paris, Deyrolle, and Canada.