Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Luxury Retailers Aim to Digitally Invade China

Shoppers wait their turn outside of the Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai.
When I think about the Internet and China, one thing comes to mind: The Great Firewall of China, which is known as the world’s largest and most innovative Internet censorship program. It's been challenging for global Internet behemoths like Google and LinkedIn to break into China or, better yet, stay without controversy, but the luxury retail industry is doing it with ease.

The luxury retail market in China is huge, to say the very least. Behind Japan, China is set to become the second biggest consumer of luxury goods by 2015, and is eventually expected to overtake its neighbor. In 2009, the country accounted for 27% of global luxury sales, which is pretty astounding considering a luxury consumer market didn't even exist in China 15-20 years ago.

Goldman Sachs analyst, Jacques-Franck Dossin, says, “China is experiencing huge wealth creation, and there is lots of conspicuous consumption related to that. People want to show they are successful.”

Now that China is on a clear and unstoppable path to dominate high-end retail, luxury retailers are hurriedly flocking to China. But because it has typically been difficult to set up shop in China for many retailers, likely because of government restrictions and China’s hefty import tax (up to 40%), several luxury brands have taken to the Internet to breakthrough what is seemingly a difficult country to penetrate.

Louis Vuitton, the Pioneer

It wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about luxury retailers in China without mentioning Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton was the first foreign luxury brand in China, setting up shop in 1992, and has since blanketed the country with its products. Because of its early access to Chinese consumers, Louis Vuitton has been able to grow with the Chinese market, giving it an incredible advantage on the mainland. Opening the door to the Chinese luxury goods market, Louis Vuitton has undeniably designed the blueprint for brick and mortar stores that other luxury retailers have attempted to emulate in China.

Surprisingly, despite its colossal size and rapid growth, the Chinese market hasn’t been an easy target for Western brands because the initial investment in brand awareness, market research, and gaining approval to enter China is extremely high. Consequently, several luxury brands have decided to ride the digital wave into China with hopes of engaging with consumers in new and innovative ways.

The Digital Invasion

Kenneth Leung, Cisco retail marketing manager talks with Bertrand Pellegrin on the changing trends in the China luxury retailing market.

Key insights from the video: Chinese luxury consumers are in transition; they are constantly evolving and going online to learn about new brands faster than ever before. According to consultancy McKinsey & Co., 26% of China's female high-end shoppers checked out luxury brands' websites before making their purchases either offline or online.

Although luxury goods have been available on the web for several years in China, they have mostly been available through third-party retailers who offer an array of brands, rather than directly from the label. As a way to further and better introduce their brands, retailers such as Chloé, Dior, Armani and Burberry are making increasing use of online video and content to engage Chinese consumers.

"This is a strategic move that will open up luxury to the entire nation," said Federico Marchetti, founder and chief executive of Milan-based YOOX, which created a Chinese micro-site for the Giorgio Armani label.

With Chinese women increasingly heading online to search for, research and purchase luxury goods, luxury brands are making a beeline to grab a piece of the coveted online real estate in China.

The Digital Leaders

This past spring, Chloé, a popular French fashion label that currently has 13 stores in China, conducted a major runway show in Shanghai and streamed it live on a Chinese blog that the brand launched last December. This live show would actually become China's first digital fashion show, ever.

With music designed by Josef Fung, a renowned multimedia composer based in Beijing, and world-famous Chinese model Bonnie Chen being featured in the show, Chloé made sure to connect to the Chinese market with a dose of authenticity.

Earlier this year, Chloé boldly revealed that it expects China to become its largest market within the next two years, and is building an online store dedicated to Chinese consumers that will launch in 2013.

But Chloé isn't the only fashion label going digital in China; Burberry, a British-born luxury brand which currently has 57 stores in China, also announced that it would stream its fashion show live from Beijing. Burberry streamed the event on Fashionising, a fashion social network and community whose goal is to "stimulate your visual senses" through impressive high-definition images. Taking fashion and digital innovation to the next level, Burberry utilized virtual image technology, combining live models with animated footage and life-like holograms, to create a visually stunning show. And Burberry didn't stop there - they included a live performance from the popular British band Keane, making it the band's first show in China.

Burberry created a video to advertise the digital fashion show that would air live from Beijing.

Burberry also recently launched on four major Chinese social platforms: Kaixin001 and Douban (China's versions of Facebook), Youku (China's version of YouTube) and Weibo (China's version of Twitter), making it one of the leaders in the retail-social media realm in China.

Above all, these events reinforce how committed luxury brands are to the digital world in China and how committed they are to this rapidly emerging market.

Luxury and Innovation: the Future of Luxury Brands in China

With a global luxury market worth an estimated $80 billion a year, online audiences are being increasingly targeted by luxury brands these days, especially in an emerging and booming market like China. There are huge growth opportunities for luxury brands similar to Chloé and Burberry in China as luxury purchasing power continues to grow and consumers continue to go online to purchase luxury products.

"We think we can create a place [in China] where the Internet will mean beauty and extravagance, not just discount," said Mr. Marchetti, of YOOX.

Now that Chinese consumers have fully embraced the Internet, more retailers can target the fastest-growing web population in the world and give them unprecedented access to their products. Additionally, by going online and utilizing digital tools, retailers can grow in cities where affluent or aspiring consumers may not have regular access to the stores.

As more luxury brands attempt to establish themselves in the Chinese market, there are a few major factors when considering the future of luxury in China:
  • Over the past decade, there's been a 50% increase in the number of Chinese millionaires, with most of them under 40 years old, according to CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets.
  • With an estimated 300,000 millionaires and rising, China is the world’s fourth richest country, which translates into purchasing power.
  • China’s online population became the world’s largest as it soared to 485 million users as of the end of June 2011.
  • An estimated 80% of online shoppers in China are less than 45 years old, according to Forrester Research.
  • China has a population of 1.3 billion, long starved of global retail opportunities.
This simply means that the young are the big spenders and they are doing it online, spending their wealth at a rapid rate and on Western luxury brands, and will continue to do so as more brands enter the market.

When I think about the Chinese consumer, two words come to mind: luxury and innovation. The Chloé and Burberry shows are merely the tip of the iceberg.

*Here are two really fascinating consumer market studies conducted by KPMG: Luxury Experiences in China and Luxury Brands in China.

South Africa Hopes to See You Soon

"Who lives sees much. Who travels sees more." — Arabic proverb

A 'My Mission South Africa' advertisement that utilizes QR code technology.
My fascination with Africa runs deep -- and it all started when I was eight-years-old when Disney's masterpiece, 'The Lion King' hit the big screen. Yes, you read that correctly; it's so cliche, but it's my truth. I vividly remember crying in a Sears when my mother refused to purchase the movie on VHS (her reasoning: I saw it in theaters), she eventually caved (those tears) and I excitedly went home and watched the movie on repeat over and over and over again for weeks, maybe even months. It became an obsession.

One of my wildest dreams is to visit Africa, specifically South Africa. While there, I hope to embark upon an adventurous wild safari ride, where I can spy on lions, cheetahs, zebras, elephants, giraffes and whatever else the scorching sun brings out; I also hope to cruise the gorgeous coast of Cape Town, known for its spectacular views. One day, I hope to make this rather expensive fantasy a reality; but until then, I will settle for planning this fantasy vacation through the "My Mission South Africa" campaign and will start by creating my very own fantasy mission.

'My Mission South Africa'

South African Tourism recently launched "My Mission South Africa," a social media campaign aimed to boost tourism by showcasing the diversity of South Africa's rich landscape and stunning destinations. Interestingly, the campaign is aimed at the UK market and hopes to persuade UK travelers into making South Africa their next travel destination.

Matthew Armstrong, acting country manager for the UK who worked in collaboration with South African Tourism, says: "This magnificent country offers something for everyone... South Africa is a country where just about anything is possible and this is why we’re inviting travelers to create their own mission."

The 'My Mission South Africa' campaigns invites prospective travelers to create their own South African mission (what they plan on doing while there) and implements several quintessential social media marketing elements:

Celebrity Endorsements

British celebrity, Jamie Theakston, describes his South African mission. 
The campaign tapped four popular British celebrities: Jamie Theakston, Monty Don, Gloria Hunniford and Chris Packham, who will be traveling to South Africa for their first time in September and focusing on their personal areas of interest. All four celebrities will document their experiences on video and then share these experiences via TwitterFacebook, a micro-site and a specially designed mobile application throughout their time in South Africa.


Four lucky couples will be selected to win their chosen celebrity’s mission and will even spend a day with their chosen celebrity in South Africa. All that is required is entering the contest before August 6th, which after watching the "enter to win" video seems like a rather easy task. Likewise, the idea of being on vacation with a popular celebrity can be rather alluring to some, which will certainly attract more entries.

Interactive Social Media

The above dials are fixed to what would be my fantasy South African vacation. 
Prospective travelers will be able to create their very own South African missions online using the interactive 'My Mission' builder. The 'My Mission' builder allows you to quickly and easily build your ultimate vacation itinerary from a list of predefined activities which are considered to be four key attributes of South Africa:

  • Adventure
  • Sport Culture and Heritage
  • Wildlife and Safari
  • Affordable Luxury

Upon creating your fantasy vacation, you can then store the full details online, send to family and friends, and even share on your Twitter and Facebook pages.

Along with these exciting interactive tools, South African Tourism is active on Twitter and Facebook, and has also built a new website dedicated solely to the UK market, which provides everything you need to plan your trip, including airfare.


In life, it's always helpful when you have support from others. And when it comes to promoting tourism within a specific country and more specifically on a global scale, having an airline on your team certainly doesn't hurt. South African Tourism has partnered up with South African Airways who is now the official sponsor of any related initiative, including the 'My Mission South Africa' contest.

Digital Application and Integration

There is no doubt that South African Tourism understands the value of using a digital platform to promote a campaign. Not only are they planning to implement video into the campaign through their celebrity endorsements and stream these videos throughout their vacations, they have also taken advantage of the functionality of QR code technology by placing it in advertisements within traditional media outlets, and also built mobile applications that support smart phones specifically for the 'My Mission South Africa' campaign.

I really love that this is a deeply and fully integrated marketing communications campaign that uses so many social media marketing tools and tactics. It's not often that you see organizations effectively using so many different elements at once, but South African Tourism seamlessly incorporates several social media marketing elements which only further enhances their campaign.

Furthermore, what I find exceptionally fascinating by the 'My Mission South Africa' campaign is that it is aimed at a market outside of South Africa's borders, a market actually on another continent. Given the level of detail in this campaign, South African Tourism certainly sends the message that they not only understand the value within the UK market, but that they understand the UK market and, more importantly, want to better understand each traveler individually. This gives me the impression and the confidence that while any traveler is on vacation in South Africa, it will be nothing short of impressive and amazing. Why? Because they genuinely understand exactly what travelers are looking for in their vacations and are willing and eager to provide those experiences.

Now my mission is to see all of South Africa!

LG Gets Social in Chile

It is every company's mission to dominate a market with their products by way of productive and exciting consumer engagement. In the Web 2.0 era, productive and exciting consumer engagement often means utilizing social media in some capacity, if not entirely. In Chile, no company is engaging with consumers via social media better than LG. LG has been able to better position its brand and market its products by incorporating widespread consumer interests in its social media campaigns.

Paul Meadows, an executive at LG, recently said: "The next wave of our 'Life's Good' brand campaign continues to educate and encourage consumers to get involved in technology. These new initiatives highlight the growing popularity of social networking and our increasing focus in that area… Young people today communicate with their friends and the world around them via social networks."

With this in mind, LG heightened its level of engagement on social networks across the world, especially in Chile. It is tough to describe the scope of LG’s reach in Chile because they go beyond just having a presence on different social media networks -- it is truly about consumer engagement with LG. Here are two recent social media marketing campaigns in which LG capitalized on the public’s interests to promote its products and engage with consumers:

LG and 'The Social Network'

Last year, LG invited 400 people to a premiere party for the blockbuster hit The Social Network.’ At the premiere, LG also introduced the Plus -- its latest touch screen and social networking enabled mobile phone.

The movie premiere not only afforded LG with the opportunity to host a great event, but also allowed them to get invaluable feedback from attendees on LG, its latest products, and its widespread use of social networks, specifically Facebook.

Although LG has a number of country specific Facebook sites, most only have a few thousand fans. However, the official LG Facebook site in Chile is enormously popular with close to half a million fans. Among the top Facebook pages in Chile, LG ranks 21 and is the only product line in the top 25, which is made up of sport teams and entertainers.

LG & Copa America Argentina 2011

Copa America, what is considered the most important sporting event in Latin America in which national soccer clubs compete, is currently being held in Argentina with LG serving as the main sponsor. As a way to promote its brand and get the public engaged with the tournament, LG announced a contest where consumers can enter to win its latest mobile devices and a 3D TV by using Facebook and QR codes to participate. Although this contest is being held across Central and South America, the campaign is being heavily promoted in Chile because of LG's popularity there.

Social media is increasingly used by businesses of all sizes for effective marketing campaigns, but the success of a campaign on social networks not only lies in good planning and adequate resources, but having creativity as a fundamental element. When you’re a tech brand like LG that has new products to constantly introduce to the market, it can be challenging to be creative, break through clutter and reach consumers without seeming overbearing.

LG has been incredibly successful in engaging a large portion of Chilean consumers by asking for feedback on the company's product range; as consumers, we tend to value companies more that are willing to hear what we have to say -- especially when they take our thoughts and ideas into consideration. Likewise, LG has been successful in getting Chileans involved in company-related activities and events because they're willing to pay attention to their interests and meet them where they already are or, better yet, where they're headed. Rule #1 in understanding consumers: pay attention to their behavior.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kolumbus: Norway’s Social Bus Network

In 2007, buses transported more than 290 million passengers over a staggering 2.3 billion miles on city and country roads in Norway. With buses being a primary source of transportation, it didn't take long for a transit company to consider reinventing the rather boring experience of public transportation.

Kolumbus, a leading transit provider that covers over 2,800 routes in Rogaland County, has set out to socialize the mass transit experience through its adoption of quick response "QR" code technology. Before we get started, here's a little nugget of information about QR codes: Born in Japan way back in 1994, QR codes are those robotic-looking two-dimensional barcodes supported by smart phones; upon being scanned, the code redirects the user to a company's website and displays information. While Japan uses them extensively in almost every industry, it has taken nearly two decades for QR codes to invade the West.

Now back to Norway…

Kolumbus recently launched a campaign aimed at providing the most accurate bus arrival and departure information by embedding an estimated 4,500 QR codes at over 1,200 bus stations across Norway. The codes allow passengers with smart phones to track buses in real-time using geospatial technology. With millions of people relying on public transportation for their day-to-day activities, QR codes could prove to be invaluable when it comes to time management and may become an essential part of life. But Kolumbus didn't stop there…

The transit company teamed up with Tales of Things, a research project exploring social memory in the Internet age, to create a location-based social network with elements of foursquare and Facebook. Here's basically how it works: You're at a bus stop with a few minutes until your bus arrives, you scan the QR code at the bus station to check for the exact arrival time and notice you have a few minutes to spare, you then log on to Tales of Things to peruse previous passengers' messages, pictures, tips, stories, etc. that they posted while waiting in the same spot, which may or may not entice you to chime in and begin sharing also. Oh, and because each QR code is unique to its location, each message, picture, tip, story, etc. is also unique to its location providing an endless adventure and an unprecedented way to socialize in a public transportation setting. Pretty neat, right?

I don't know about you, but any time I use public transportation here in DC it's like I become mute; let's be real, interacting with others is the last thing on most people's minds when using public transportation. Between funny smells, crowdedness, or a lack of AC during the hot summer months (I'm talking about you, Metro), most people are more focused on their destination than each other. I find this a rather fascinating way to get people interested in connecting with those who are ultimately sharing the same journey as them and who, although close in proximity, rarely interact with each other. This is a model that can be replicated a thousand times over across the world; which has me wondering: why did it take so long for someone to promote the interconnectedness of public transportation?

Passenger shares his bus ride in Norway on YouTube.

Kolumbus' social bus network, the first in the world, is essentially tied to time management, but underscores the value of connecting with people, particularly in unorthodox ways. It creates excitement! Incorporating the underutilized QR code technology and promoting socialization via public transit is truly a revolutionary approach. Just imagine this Norwegian mentality in Washington, D.C.! Hey, you never know, maybe people will be inspired to be friendlier! Isn't Norway the happiest country on earth? We can clearly learn a thing or two from the Norwegians!

P.S. Leave it to a transportation company named "Kolumbus" to revolutionize the way people move about! That world-famous navigator Christopher Columbus would certainly be proud!

Friday, June 10, 2011

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

In an ever-increasing social world, it didn't take long for the social bug to bite professionals. I'm talking about the LinkedIn/Spoke/Ecademy/FastPitch/etc. brigade. If you haven't noticed already, everything is moving to the web. The eponymous site Networking for Professionals is -- you guessed it -- a networking site for professionals! How creative...

There are dozens of professional networking sites on the web; LinkedIn reigns supreme in the states, but Xing (German-based) and Viadeo (French-based) dominate in Europe. All three of these multi-million dollar dot-coms were started within a year of each other (between 2003-2004) and collectively have over 150 million users, serve over 200 countries and illustrate that Relationships Matter and Your network is more powerful than you think! It's pretty phenomenal to think of the growth these sites experienced over the last few years, especially when you remember that the global economy, along with jobs, have experienced a rapid decline since their conception.

According to a study released last year, members of the Class of 2010 entered the worst job market for young people since World War II. That's an unfortunate and proven fact that only underscores the importance of networking -- which is exactly why I find professional networking sites so valuable. I don't know about you, but I definitely believe in the old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." My job hunt has proven that to me time and time again.

Networking is powerful -- it always has been. Long before we typed "www" into a search bar (we don't even have to do that anymore), long before we "googled" everything, long before the idea of the Macintosh and Windows floated in the minds of Jobs and Gates (those links include the most inspiring pics of those mega-billionaires, do click), people relied on networking for nearly everything: doctors, schools, dating, event planning, jobs, etc. It only makes sense that the most powerful form of engagement moved to what is now the most powerful platform for communication -- the Internet.

In this day and age, especially in this tough economy, I think it is safe to say that networking and relationships matter more than we want to admit. When it comes to finding a job, a lot of times it works in our best interest when we have a connection through a past employer/colleague/friend/etc. who is willing to step up and say: "I know Erika and she was a great employee for me and I have confidence she will be for you, too." In essence, that's what those public recommendations on LinkedIn are for -- they act as a seal of approval, an "I am Barack Obama and I approve this message... I mean, person" kind of thing. Kudos to LinkedIn for providing a feature that effortlessly offers credibility to its users.

While I have some mixed opinions about networking sites in general (life is becoming way too public for me), I won't underestimate their value. Just recently, LinkedIn went public with shares initially priced at $45 rising to $122.70 in the first day of trading (someone hit the jackpot). I should add that LinkedIn now has a total market value of roughly $7.4 billion -- there is clearly an extraordinary value in that!

Whether you see the value in professional networking sites or not, you can't deny the value of professional networking... you just can't. Therefore, you can't really deny the value of professional networking sites. Wow, what a conundrum. Obviously the real value lies in each of us individually, our experiences, our history and our real-life connections; these sites only exist for us to leverage that value and use it to our advantage -- and they invite and encourage us to do just that.

I don't envision professional networking sites dominating in the social networking arena, but I do envision these sites growing and dominating in unforeseen ways. Only time will tell. Until then, remember: your network is your net worth.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Social Revolution (Weekly No. 12)

While researching what classes to take back in August for my first semester in this program, I have to admit, I was hesitant to take a class on Social Media. What possibly could I learn? I have spent so much of my time on Blogger, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Tumblr, etc. I am, by no means, an expert, but I felt like I was a social media pro going into this class. Little did I know, I would learn so much.

Taking this class made me approach and question social media in an entirely new way: What is it exactly that I am getting by utilizing all of these social media tools? Why do I invest so much of my time using these tools? Is it worth it? It truly made me analyze myself and my behavior, and the only logical answer I could come up with to explain my excessive usage of social media tools was connectivity. Go figure.

According to freedictionary.com connectivity is defined as:
  1. The quality or condition of being connected or connective.
  2. The ability to make and maintain a connection between two or more points in a telecommunications system. 
Social media makes me feel connected to people. It makes me feel social, even when I'm sitting at home on my couch alone. Again, go figure.

This brings me to William Powers' Hamlet's Blackberry. How is it that I am alone, but still feel connected to people? And I don't mean an emotional or spiritual connection. If these tools didn't exist, would I feel lonely when alone? Probably not, but you get what I'm saying. Hamlet's Blackberry laments that technology is pulling us away from real life by our overwhelming need to be connected all the time. Powers suggests that such alone time should be used for reflection, a time to smell the roses, a time to enjoy life. Put it down and walk away. Now, I definitely need to put my Blackberry down and walk away, but I can also argue that there have been countless times I have been alone with my Blackberry and have had revelations. Revelations that have allowed me to enjoy life to an even greater extent. My Blackberry practically houses a virtual diary within the Notes application -- there you can find to do lists, recipes, and some of my deepest thoughts -- and even my personal statement that I wrote for my application for admittance into this program. It's a healthy relationship. Well, kind of, sort of...


Although I feel like I have become a slave to technology and social media, it truly has--as cheesy as this sounds--helped me to discover a layer of myself I didn't know three-four years ago. And that's what I think is good and bad about social media.

I certainly haven't discovered who I am through Facebook, but I have cringed at past outfits. Seriously, what was I thinking? However, Facebook has allowed me to connect to my social world outside of my immediate friends. Frankly, something that wouldn't be possible without it because I wouldn't put in the effort. Oddly enough, Facebook has also moved me to protect those relationships and friendships that I hold dear to me by not discussing or displaying every little detail about them including our status. I find it rather strange that I am more scared of Facebook than Google. Facebook has turned me into an intensely private person when it comes to my real life. Of course I fell into the trap, as everyone has, and have shared my life on Facebook through pictures and words, but for the most part, those days are long gone. I can't tell you how many times I deactivated my account to later return. I'm currently on. Three weeks from now? We'll see.

My blog poor & fly helped me channel one of my greatest passions-fashion, and the other allows me to share photography, music and quotes, also things I am extremely passionate about. To me, this is a good thing, because these are the things I am passionate about and none of them causes harm to anyone, not even myself. Except for maybe sore eyes.

Then I think about the people who take advantage of social media and abuse the tools. Last week's lesson was frightful; it showed me that we are all passionate about things, but not everyone is passionate about quotes and fashion and music. Some are passionate about harming and killing others. That was painful to learn. I remember Kate whispered to me: "What if Jesus had a YouTube feed?" Clearly, social media has done some amazing things, but it has also turned some incredibly dangerous people into easily accessible and manipulative forces. Very scary, but therein lies the power of social media -- it is readily available to anyone who wishes to use the tools.

I think to determine if social media does more harm than good is like asking if people do more harm than good? After all, we are the operators of these tools. In my opinion the good outweighs the bad. Here's the way I see it: there will always be people who violate morality, take advantage of things and people, break the law and want to cause harm to others; that is why we have a judicial system and prisons. But I'd like to think, and maybe this is a naive thought, that most people are good at heart and have pure intentions in life, especially when using social media tools.


Life isn't meant to be lived in isolation; it truly fascinates me how social media has caused a social revolution -- the name of this blog, if you haven't noticed. Never before have we ever been so connected to people whether they're right next door or in Japan. Whether or not it is a true connection is another story, but for the sake of this class and final blog post, it is still a connection. Never before have we had so much information at our disposal. Social media has allowed so many of us to gain so much knowledge about people, things, governments, places, etc. It has minimized the time we spend searching for things and maximizes the time we spend connecting -- or attempting to connect -- to others.

In an ever increasingly social world, I don't see the social media "fad" fading away any time soon. It is intensifying at a pace that is difficult to keep up with and it is almost hard to believe that there was a time when these tools didn't exist.

I never approached social media as more than just a user--as a bargainer--but I was really surprised to learn how much depth this sphere had. Exploring social media has been adventurous, scary and even self-revealing. I appreciate the lessons that this class has taught me and I value the challenges that came along with learning about social media and the people behind it -- all of us. We are all a part of this social revolution.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Team (Response No. 3)

Being the only girl to play sports growing up within a blended family of six girls and one boy (think Kardashians), you can imagine how happy my father was. I remember "training" with my brother in our basement where we had a treadmill, punching bag and a weight bench. My brother was a football and basketball player; my sport of choice- lacrosse. Oddly enough, and unlike many parents, my parents never pushed me to play sports, it was something I took on myself. They'd much rather me play the cello and that be that.

During my high-school's off-season, I played on a traveling club team that traveled up and down the east coast participating in tournament after tournament. Talk about exhausting! I was captain of my club team along with a friend of mine who attended a rival school. She went on to play for Virginia Tech. I turned down scholarships because for the first time in my life, I didn't want to do anything but be a student. That being said, the idea of sports and how they unite countries, communities, even families has always been something that fascinated me. I even studied sport management in undergrad at Florida State (Yes, we did just lose to Tech in the ACC championship game.). I was convinced I was going to be the female equivalent of Jerry Maguire. Hey, who knows what the future holds. Eh, I'm actually over the sports industry, at lease the idea of working within the sports industry. I much prefer the fan side. This brings me to Jessie's post on her beloved E-A-G-L-E-S.

While I can't say I'm a fan of the Eagles, I will say that Michael Vick has really impressed me with his performance; and that's coming from a girl who owns two pit-bulls! We all deserve forgiveness and an opportunity at redemption. But enough with that. Let's talk about MY teams! Well, actually, my dad's teams:
  1. The Washington Redskins
  2. The Georgetown Hoyas
  3. The Baltimore Orioles
  4. Wait for it............the Los Angeles Lakers
Seriously? The Lakers? Now, I can understand the Redskins, the Hoyas, and the Orioles being that he's from suburbs of DC, but the Los Angeles Lakers? I still haven't figured it out...

It truly fascinates me how people come to identify with place. Italians identify with Italy because that's where their heritage lies. I mean, it makes complete sense. But how someone from New York or even North Dakota is a fan of the Dallas Cowboys just blows my mind away! And let me tell you, there are so many "Dallas fans." I will say this though, my father has been a fan of the Lakers since he was a little boy and I don't think any losing season (they never lose) will change that, because it sure doesn't change a thing for Redskins fans!

Anyways, I've talked about everything besides what I initially wanted to discuss. For the first time in my entire life, I can finally cheer for the Hoyas as a student! Woohooo! I grew up a Hoya fan, largely because of my father, but always felt so disconnected because, let's face it, I was never a part of the student body. Even though that didn't stop me from cheering for Georgetown while I was attending FSU. Needless to say, I am really excited for the season! We're 9-0, baby! I am especially thrilled to attend a game with my father. When I was accepted into this program, he was beaming with pride; it will be really special to cheer for GU with him by my side since he grew up loving the Hoyas and I am now a Hoya. Georgetown is finally my team! (: