Fashion Industry Fueled by Bamboo Charcoal

Bamboo is referred to as “the Black Diamond” in Japan and Southeast Asia, bamboo charcoal fibre use is an emerging trend in the fashion industry as manufacturers look to combine fashion with function.

Green Earth News previously wrote about the many gains of bamboo charcoal so it must come as no surprise that those positive aspects extend to the fabric made from bamboo. The charcoal is created by heating bamboo at temperatures of 800 degrees and then the charcoal itself is processed and mixed in with fabrics as part of the growing field of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is defined as the “understanding, manipulation, and control of matter at the length mentioned above, thus, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials (individual atoms, molecules, and bulk matter) might be engineered, synthesized, or altered to develop the next generation of improved materials, devices, structures, and systems.” Hence, textile attributes for instance softness, durability, water resistance and breath-ability may be enhanced with the use of Nanotechnology.

The several positive features of bamboo charcoal fabric include:

Easier on sensitive skin – The fabric inhibits bacterial metabolism causing fewer allergic skin reactions than other fibers sterilized with antimicrobial agents.

Reduces Static buildup – This is really a conductive material so it keeps a balanced charge in fabric to reduce static buildup.

Superior Washing and Durability – Bamboo charcoal fibers are quick-drying and because the charcoal nano particles are embedded in the fabric rather than simply coated onto the surface, the fabric may be washed numerous times with no adverse effect on the charcoal qualities.

Moisture Regulation – Bamboo charcoal yarn has a cross-section filled with various micro-gaps and micro-holes so compared to conventional fabrics, it is better at moisture absorption and ventilation. The fabric keeps the wearer dry and comfortable on hot days.

While the bamboo fabric technology is still relatively new, only gaining momentum in Asia from the mid-1990s, its uses are growing widespread ranging from clothing to carpeting to bedding. As they look towards more environmentally friendly fabrics that offer the same feel and durability of synthetic fabrics, bamboo charcoal is often a surprising but strong contender.

Another fine contender stemming from the world’s most renewable resource – bamboo – is viscose from bamboo fabric, offering a wide selection of fashion trends from bamboo clothing to bedspreads, baby blankets to luxurious bath towels.

How SMS Marketing Could Benefit Your Business

The use of SMS marketing in B2C is becoming a popular way to advertise to consumers through their mobile phones. Businesses normally approach mobile phone providers to send off content using SMS (short message service) messages to mobiles. SMS texts can be received by all mobiles making SMS marketing extremely invasive but also effective. The key from a B2B perspective is to find the right balance and use this marketing channel in the right circumstances.

SMS marketing can also be sent through platforms capable of SMS broadcasting such as vMail. The areas where SMS can be of use vary greatly between industries. Mobile phone providers themselves use this method to encourage subscribers to upgrade their service and to let them know about seasonal promotions. People can also subscribe to SMS advertisements and promotions through their phone to receive SMS alerts whenever something new is posted from for example an online retailer.

The automation of parts of the sales cycle is one area where SMS marketing can help out at a B2B level. By allowing users to sign up for newsletters, competitions or updates through their phone, a business can reach audiences that might not engage through traditional marketing channels. By building a list of phone numbers, a company can begin to do promotions or update their target market on new items relevant to their audience. They can send out a mass text message to all the customers that have signed up on a certain date and are due for renewal of their contract.

SMS marketing can unlike billboards, television advertisements and magazine advertisements reach anyone wherever they are. Most people have their phones on them at all hours of the day and will check their phones if they receive an SMS message alert. This allows for a very quick response on campaigns. For example, Walls ice-cream teamed up with o2 very recently using SMS marketing combined with thermal mapping. Walls were able to send SMS messages to people that were in areas of a certain temperature.

One of the key components of an SMS campaign is that the person who is targeted must be able to opt out of the advertising or opt out of their subscription to the advertising. Usually this is done by sending a stop message the SMS. This stop code allows people to stop receiving these advertisements should they no longer want the product and it is a requirement for creating a SMS marketing campaign.

Many phone providers and SMS companies will allow small businesses to buy runs of SMS advertising. This is where a company can pay for just a short code or small run of advertising. SMS marketing can then be tailored for just about any budget and also targeted to phones based on local registration and local telephone service providers.

SMS marketing is a great tool that can be used to help businesses grow and extend the reach to alternative target markets, no matter where they are.

Showing Leadership in Your MBA Application

When faced with any iteration of the leadership question on MBA essays, many business school applicants freak out because they think they have to come up with an example that is their greatest life or professional achievement. In reality, it's not about grand gestures or formal leadership titles. The goal is leaving a footprint on whatever situation you're in and doing more than a good job.

Applicants need to think through their past experiences to find the episodes that best justify their leadership skills. Sometimes, the best examples are not the first that come to mind.

Your leadership essay will often be different from an "accomplishment" or "achievement" oriented essay. Just because you achieved something outstanding does not always mean leadership skills were involved, especially if you did most or all of the work.

One of the central tenets of leadership essays is showing that you can galvanize the actions of other people. You bring out their passions. You educate them. You help them see organizational priorities in new ways. And then they share in the achievement.

The work of a leader activates or improves the work of others, so find anecdotes in your professional and extracurricular background that illuminate this kind of pattern.

What kind of experiences will make the best tales of leadership? Think about challenges where the following came into play:

• Identifying / clearing a problem

• Resisting conventional approaches; challenging status quo

• Marshaling resources to address a problem

Motivating others

• Making good use of others' talents

• Being open to new information and input

• Building consensus with appropriate stakeholders

• Guiding strong mid-course corrections; overcoming mistakes

• Building on success

Remember: Leadership is not just about the titles. Some candidates build their leadership essays around the fact that they were selected for or elected to certain positions where they had a high level of authority and responsibility: editor-in-chief of a college paper, fraternity president, captain of the hockey team, director of product development, or vice president of marketing.

But what did you do with this position? An editor of a college daily could write about how he or she was constantly challenged to maintain high levels of editorial excellence, manage staff assignments, and hit all deadlines. This is definitely an esteemed position with many responsibilities, but if you describe your role like that, it sounds exactly the same as the other hundreds of editors-in-chief of college papers also applying this season.

Define the leadership challenges you faced, not the management ones. Did you have to deal with a certain writer who falsified interview notes? Was there a sticky campus scandal that forced you and your staff to walk an ethnic tightrope? Did you have to fire student editors? Did you lead a transition from a weekly to a daily with all of the scheduling and human resources rigors that entails?

Collecting impressive titles does not make someone a great leader-helping a team over great challenges does.

The strongest leadership essays will have heroes other than yourself. If you assisted Terri in accounts receivable realize her full potential on a project you led, showcase her as a hero in your leadership tale.

In the best possible scenario, applicants should map out a good balance at the beginning of their application process between achievement-oriented essays and those focusing specifically on leadership. The good news is that, in many instances, you can still adjust your application fairly late in the process to achieve the appropriate balance between individual achievement and leadership.

Adding in a few sentences about enabling others, or educating and clearing priorities for group endeavors, will go a long way towards rounding out your profile. Many achievement essays can be transformed into glorious examples of leadership when you shine the spotlight on others who were a part of a great collective accomplishment.

Do not forget that leadership is never a solo effort. When it comes to MBA essays, you can not go wrong if you show how you've worked to inspire others and bring out the best in them.

Concierge Medicine’s Best Kept Secret, the Price

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past several years about concierge medicine through observing this emerging health care market, it’s that people really don’t understand that it’s not about price. We think of these pioneering doctors who carry around a medical bag with a stethoscope inside and who come to the aid of our family and our bedside as visionary physicians who want to normalize their practices and get back to practicing medicine as it was before 1960.

According to data analyzed from nearly 1,000 currently operating concierge practices in the U.S. between 2011 and 2013, we’ve determined the national average annual fee for concierge medical services is between $1,400-$1,700 per patient per year. Large networks of concierge medicine and direct primary care doctors have claimed a significant portion of the concierge doctor market share and thus help to keep prices from inflating too high in major metropolitan markets.I have found that some independent concierge doctors, those not affiliated with the larger franchise consulting companies, who are not part of a large group may charge higher rates, $2,500 and up.

If more people are exposed to the cost value of concierge medical care, it will make a big difference in what they spend. A recent story ina widely popular national newspaper supports this belief. The paper reports that the State of Indiana has a high-deductible plan and another that’s a traditional HMO. People in the high-deductible plan spend thousands less than those in the HMO.

‘The average expense in 2009 for patients in one of these [high-deductible] plans was $6,393,’ the paper writes, ‘compared with $8,570 for patients enrolled in a more traditional health maintenance organization plan.’

It’s also a fact that nearly 60% of concierge medical programs across the U.S. cost an individual less than $135 per month. Some programs cost as little as $10 per month for children. Patients typically receive unlimited access to the doctor at their home, work or the doctor’s office along with unlimited technology visits, such as cell phone, web cam, email and texting. Furthermore, many concierge and direct primary care doctors offer access to wholesale pricing on prescriptions, lab tests, imaging services and medical supplies for pennies on the dollar.

Average Combined Annual Household Income of a Concierge Medicine or Direct Primary Care Patient Is:

  • 34% – earn less than $100,000 each year
  • 39% – earn between $100k-200k per year
  • 14% – earn between $200k-$300k per year
  • 5% – earn between $300k-$400k per year
  • 3% – earn between $400k-$500k per year
  • 2% – earn between $500k-$600k per year
  • 1% – earn between $600k-$700k per year
  • 2% – earn between $700k and above per year

In 2010, I submitted this data to a prominent financial publication and told them that ‘Utilizing a blended rate based upon national averages for current fees charged for concierge medical care, an estimated 9,285,714,286 people could be provided concierge medical care with the 13 trillion dollar debt. Carrying this out 928,571,429 people could be provided this care for 10 years. These figures are based upon information obtained through average pricing surveys conducted from 2009-2010.’

Here’s the upshot: When you combine high-deductible health plan policies with a concierge medical program, you empower people and families to make better decisions about their health care, they in turn receive more comprehensive medical care and then the savings happen and stronger relationships occur between the physician and their patients. One concierge physician said it best when she said that her patients can say ‘I no longer have a doctor who needs to look at my chart to know my name.’