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Crocs' decline in popularity forces company to close Quebec plant
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesCrocs, the once popular shoe, has fallen out of favour. The company announced it was moving a factory from Quebec to Mexico.
Crocs aren't hip anymore - news that may make you ecstatic or depressed, depending on your fashion sense - and workers at a Quebec City factory are paying the price.
The namesake shoe of Colorado-based Crocs Inc. isn't bringing in the same rush of people as in their peak in 2004, forcing the company to ship its Canadian manufacturing south to Mexico after less than six years in operation, putting more than 600 employees out of work.
It only took two years for the company to go from the largest footwear IPO in history to back-of-the-closet obscurity.
"Crocs bites the dust," Robert Samuels, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., said in a note.
Crocs CEO Ron Snyder blames the slowdown in demand on poor Croc-wearing weather and a dismal retail climate, but the more obvious answer, as with any of-the-moment trend, is that people are shunning the shoes many feel are just plain ugly.
"The brand's popularity is in sharp decline, and it is tough to argue otherwise," Mr. Samuels wrote.
The plant's closure is the negative twist in what was almost a great Canadian success story on two fronts: A Quebec City group developed the shoe while a Vancouver company has seen huge growth distributing it. The closure is much to the dismay of Crocs Inc.
In 2002, shoe company Western Brands bought the rights to a non-slip, breathable resin clog developed by Quebec-based textile company Finproject NA Inc., which was already supplying the footwear to other retailers in Canada. After Western rebranded themselves as Crocs Inc., and added a strap on the back of the shoe, an international fad was born.
The promise of comfort in a rainbow of colours made them a hit amongst nurses, gardeners and anyone who spends the day on their feet. By 2003, the shoes were selling in 9,500 stores in 70 countries around the world.
In 2004, Crocs expanded its product line, added warehouses and shipping programs, and acquired Finproject, beefing up production while cutting off the factory's other distributors, like Vancouver-based Holey Soles Holdings Ltd.
In an attempt to squeeze out their competition, Crocs started launching lawsuits against companies with similar shoes citing patent violation, but two international regulatory bodies have recently overturned their claims to intellectual property rights.
"Western Brands was selling the shoe in the U.S., and we were selling it in Canada," Holeys CEO Joyce Groote said in an interview. "They bought up Finproject and then cut off the supply to everyone," she said, adding that they had to move their manufacturing to China.
Ms. Groote sees Crocs' lawsuits as a business strategy rather than a legal entitlement.
Tuesday, Crocs said it will seek a review of a recent ruling by a U.S. International Trade Commission judge on whether Crocs may be allowed to block U.S. imports of what it considers copycat footwear.
Judge Charles Bullock found on April 11 that there was no violation of Crocs' patent rights by companies the shoemaker claimed were making and selling knock-offs, the commission said.
Holeys has actually seen their sales grow from $60,000 to $18-million in just four years.
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The Connected Parent: Building Confidence : Clever Parents
Does the answer, “Wrestling!” come to mind? Many of the confident, capable, courageous girls I know have families in which vigorous physical play is a tradition. It’s an unsung activity that is far more important to children’s development than we’ve guessed.
What advantage does wrestling and horseplay give our daughters? There are many reasons why it’s great for girls. (It’s wonderful for boys for the same reasons, but let’s focus here on girls, as they are socialized not to participate in this kind of play.)
Knowing their bodies and their strength gives girls a grounded confidence. We humans have faced many dangers in our evolution, and in order to feel confident in the world, we need to test and train our “equipment” intensively. Children need to tumble, jump and fling themselves into piles of pillows or into a waiting parent’s arms. They need to climb on their parents, ride on their backs and bounce on their tummies. Children need to playfully push grownups over, run from room to room, throw pillows hard, then harder. They love getting bounced around by the pillows that are thrown back. The more girls can play like this, the stronger they become, and the surer they are that they can handle a challenge.
This confidence develops over time. Having “wrestling time,” “puppy pile time” or “pillow fight time” on a regular basis gives girls a setting in which they can practice their moves, learn their capabilities, and become more daring in play. Parents create a kind of human gymnasium, providing just the right amount of resistance and challenge for each child. Little equipment is needed. With excess furniture moved aside, a bed, a carpet, maybe a blanket and a few pillows are all it takes. A parent might start on hands and knees, saying “I’ve got 100 kisses for you! Here I come!” with a grin. Then, a rousing game of catch and release ensues. The parent tries hard, but the clever girl gets away often, giggling in the struggle and the victory. The parent doesn’t tickle, but keeps doing what will bring laughter, a sign that the play is just right for her at that moment. Usually, what brings the laughter is the child winning the upper hand as they play. The girl wins most contests, and as her confidence builds, the parent challenges her a little more. Gradually, her stamina builds. Laughter pours. Perspiration blooms. And, over time, a confident girl emerges.
Laughter creates a path well worth following. As she plays, a girl will “show” you issues she has. If there’s name calling going on at her school, she’ll call you the names that are circulating there. You can up the ante in play when she does that: “Ooooh! Anyone who calls me “poo-poo head” gets a really big kiss on the foot!” She doesn’t want to insult you. She needs to see a playful version of someone sticking up for him or herself. Do it with vigorous affection, so she can laugh hard. The laughter dissolves her name calling compulsions (but not her eagerness for this kind of play with you). If she laughs when you say, “You can’t climb that sofa! You’re not strong enough!”, respond with great amazement when she clambers up the sofa back and stands there triumphant. Do it again, and again. The fun of surpassing your expectations makes her feel elated, and draws her closer to you.
She’ll get hurt, then recover and learn. In this kind of play, a girl will inevitably get hurt. There will be a bump, a bruise, a cut lip, or an unexpected collision. This is not a reason not to play hard! Especially with timid girls, these moments of pain and upset provide a prime opportunity to offload the fears that keep them confined to meek and unadventurous behavior. The bump occurs, the child bursts into tears, and the wise parent will go to her side, but will not make a fuss. You don’t need to run to get a band-aid. You don’t need to run for the ice. Your child needs your warm, confident attention while she processes what just happened. Her mind needs the chance to unload the fear that instantaneously shot through her system. The bump is small, but that fear may be big, and if it is, it will take her awhile to cry it through. When you’ve listened until she’s done crying, her mind will be free to make sense of what happened, and notice that she’s safe and well. She will have become sturdier. She’ll learn that her body is resilient, and that she has the power to heal. She’ll also learn that you care, and that you don’t panic when things feel hard for her.
For instance, you’ll want to be a very tame bucking bronco for the first five or ten rides for a timid girl. Jiggle her gently, so she succeeds in clinging to your back, or only slowly slides to the carpet. If she’s laughing with the challenge of hanging on tight, you’re playing the game right at the edge of her comfort zone. The laughter builds her strength and confidence. You don’t have to feel badly if she falls off once, and cries because her head thumped down on the carpet. She will benefit from a good cry in your care. As long as you listen until she is finished, she’ll play with less fear afterward.
She’ll feel closer to you, and more hopeful in your family. Wrestling and horseplay are great for helping children feel connected, creative, and seen. The attention you pay as you play seeps into their every pore. It bathes them with reassurance that they are liked. It lets you show your sense of humor with them. It gives them the chance to be swift and clever, while you suffer loudly in the slow and bumbling role. What a relief after long days at school or day care, where grownups are very serious about being in charge, and about knowing more than children!
So get some play fighting, pillow fighting, wrestling, chasing, thumping or bucking bronco riding going at your house. If it’s challenging for you, start with a timer set at five or ten minutes, so you can build your confidence and tolerance too. Start with the toss of a pillow, or perhaps the offer of a horseback ride. The play that follows will delight your daughter. Over time, it will bring her confidence, closeness, and a very handy sixth sense about people that will stand her in good stead as she decides how she wants to use her fine intelligence in our challenging world.
Here’s how it can work. (We wish we could guarantee these particular results after every pillow fight!)I had been having trouble with my seven-year-old daughter’s pickiness and uncooperative behavior. She was becoming increasingly hard to live with at home—she had many complaints, and seemed to want to be upset at me at the drop of a hat. I brought this to my Hand in Hand support group, and the leader suggested that her sense of her own power might be dwindling, as it often does when girls get older. The thought was that girls get directed strongly toward reading and sedentary skills, and there are too few physical challenges to inspire them and remind them that they are good and powerful people.
So I have begun doing good hard pillow fights with my two daughters (the younger one is now three.) Yesterday, I had a nice and rough playtime with both of them. We fought and wrestled hard on the bed and the floor. After we were finished, they decided to go into their room and announced, “Don’t come in here!” Well, a couple minutes to myself cannot be argued with, right? About 20 minutes later they invited me in to see their hard work…a completely clean room (bed made, shoes in pairs, toys put away, the works)! I continue to be amazed by the power of a good pillow fight!
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Nutrition Tips For the Sexes - 24 Fit Club
5 Nutrition Tips for Women
Pile on the iron
Due to monthly cycles, pre-menopausal women simply need more iron. Iron-deficiency anemia is very common in young women. The recommended iron intake for pre-menopausal women is 18 mg, and the recommendation increases to 27 mg for pregnant women. Regularly include iron rich foods such as meat, shellfish, beans and enriched cereals in your diet.
Build up your bones
Calcium is important for building healthy bones and teeth, as well as maintaining a normal heart beat and regulating blood pressure. Studies show that women with vitamin D deficiency have a harder time absorbing calcium. So, incorporate a meal plan that lets you stock up on both.
Green veggies are packed with vitamins A and C, fiber and phytonutrients. And because of their high folate content they are a very important food for mommies-to-be.
Berrries, the friendly fruit
These tiny fruits pack a powerful punch. Loaded with vitamin C, folate, fiber and phytonutrients, they are some of the most powerful disease-fighting foods available. Cranberries, for instance, are shown to decrease incidences of urinary infection in women.
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day
This is one cliché that holds true. Breakfast gives you fuel to start your day and gets your metabolism going. Skipping this meal makes your body think it’s in starvation mode and slows down your metabolism. It also tends to cause us to over eat at lunch. Try including at least three food groups in your breakfast so that you do not need to prowl for a mid-morning snack.
5 Nutrition Tips for Men
More Calories, please
This is definitely an unfair advantage. Men do need to ingest more calories per day than women. I t only makes sense since the average man is larger than the average woman. Men need a daily caloric intake of at least 2900.
Men’s protein needs are proportionally greater, especially if you’re active. Men have a tendency to over do it on the carbs and under do it on the protein. Be aware of this and make it a point to add more protein to your meals.
Calcium Is Vital
Some things are the same for both sexes. Men's need for calcium is one often-overlooked similarity between men's and women's nutritional needs. Osteoporosis tends to be looked at as a “woman's disease,” but this is not always the case. In fact, one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in his lifetime.
That’s right guys. While low doses of alcohol in woman can increase the chances of breast cancer, in men low alcohol intake appears to reduce the risk of heart attacks and certain strokes. Just avoid chugging your alcohol “frat boy” style.
A good fiber intake protects against constipation and hemorrhoids. Insoluble fiber--found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables--may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Beans, oat bran, fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber, which studies suggest helps reduce cholesterol levels.
Exercise and Build Muscle Mass. Increase the rate of burning of calories by taking on additional physical activities like aerobic exercises, walking, swimming, cycling or running. You should combine this activity schedule with some muscle strengthening exercises. During moderately vigorous physical activity, you elevate your metabolic rate by a factor of 10 or more, expending hundreds of extra calories.How to Boost Your Metabolic Rate and Stimulate Your Body to Burn More Calories » Personal development for a perfect life
The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you use per minute.
Increase Movement in Daily Lifestyle. The more you move, the more you burn. You can actually make a significant addition to the number of calories you burn each day by relatively minor changes in lifestyle. This can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator; park a distance from the mall or office; window-shop with your best friend rather than sit over coffee; walk the dog instead of just let him out; do a little gardening or clean house while you talk on the phone.
Make friends with people who are equally interested in physical activity. Having a friend while doing physical activities can keep you motivated.
- Avoiding alcohol, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, increasing fiber in the diet combined with adequate and regular physical exercises yield far better results than fad diets and dietary supplements.
- Eat small, regular meals. Eating smal meals or snacks at regularly timed intervals seems to result in a slightly higher metabolism than eating in an irregular fashion, at least in overweight women. Eating in this way also discourages hunger, so you are less likely to feel deprived and overindulge. If you are changing your eating habits to eat more frequently, be sure you are not adding calories.
- Consume protein. It takes more calories to digest protein, and a high protein intake may reduce hunger. Replace high carbohydrate, empty calorie foods with proteins such as eggs, beans, soy products, fish, nonfat dairy products and lean meats
Sleeping habits. You might think that since you use more calories awake than asleep, getting less sleep would help you to lose weight. Research shows that this is not the case. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, women who got less than four hours of sleep per night had a slower metabolism than those who slept for a full eight hours.
Eat breakfast. There is a reason for the cliche about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. That is because after fasting all night, your metabolism is at its lowest point in the morning. You need to stoke the metabolic fires with a good breakfast that contains both carbohydrates and protein. Breakfast first thing keeps this from happening and gives you energy to start the day.