Whether that big idea strikes during an all-hands-on-deck Zoom or a three-day charette. Two cocktails in on a bar napkin. Dreamy and dreary eyed in the wee hours of night. Or sitting through the school play. We all have it in us. An idea. Inspiration. A theory that we’re certain will work if we run with it. Question is, will you?
We did, and we continue to do it every day with our clients. We explore ideas, create momentum and drive results. Our name is a reflection of this attitude and ethos. Taken from the Hemline Theory of economics, we believe to remain relevant you must adapt to the times—and all while keeping the core fabric of who you are intact. It’s our theory.
What's yours? We’d love to know.
Curious of what other quirky, yet arguably relevant, theories people heed? Here’s a few for your enjoyment.
So, the theory goes when the economy does well, hemlines go up to match the feel-good vibe. They fall back down during harder times, reflecting a more modest and uncertain mood. Think short skirts, 20s and 60s, bullish markets, and long skirts, 30s and 40s, bearish markets. An economist at Wharton in the mid-1920s is said to have created this fashionable index to explain why the hosiery industry had explosive growth in the 1920s—shorter skirts meant nicer hosiery to show off the gams. Fast forward to today, where asymmetrical skirts are the racks and we suppose it’s anyone’s guess on which way the markets are heading.
Hold off on buying the partridge. And the pear tree. They could be way more expensive this year. The PNC Christmas Price Index® is a whimsical holiday tradition, measuring the cost of all of the items in a full verse of the “12 Days of Christmas.” While most of us won’t be buying seven swans a swimming, we can look to this index to reveal broader trends in the U.S. economy.
We’re not talking roses, either. In 2001, The Economist began tracking the R-word index. (The “R-word” is for recession, in case you hadn’t arrived there already.) The idea behind the indicator is that an economic downturn coincides with a surge in the frequency of the word “recession” appearing in articles in The Washington Post and The New York Times. The index surges when recessions are on the minds of people and financial journalists. We’re hoping the assignment desk moves onto other topics soon!
Former Fed chair Alan Greenspan always thought outside the box. Or was it boxers and briefs? In the 1970s he brought forth this idea that you could tell the state of the economy by the sales, or lack thereof, of men’s underwear. No one really sees them, so the theory goes, and as such, guy garments may slow in sales because men are saving their coin for more important outer threads during tighter times.
A newer theory, this one evolved out of 9/11. Estee Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder noticed that the purchase of cosmetics, lipsticks especially, tend to go up during economic downturns, as women replace more expensive purchases with small pick-me-ups. Twenty years later, at the height of the COVID economic downturn, Estee Lauder’s CEO Fabrizio Freda said that the lipstick index had been replaced by a skincare item as customers donned masks and worked from home. Our Hemline office definitely proved this theory.
Who knew a simple cardboard box could wield so much power? (Well, besides our friends at FedEx.) Turns out, the cardboard box index is considered a key economic indicator and a way to assess consumer goods demand. With over 75% of non-durable goods, like food, office supplies and cosmetics, being shipped in a box, analysts assume that with more production comes more boxes (meaning more consumer demand). All this usually indicates a healthy economy.
Economists started watching RV sales after the 1981 recession, assuming that if people were uncertain about the future, they would hold off on big-ticket purchases like RVs. Not as many RVs hit the road in 1989, 2000 and 2006 before subsequent recessions. Interestingly enough, while few economic indicators predicted what was to come in 2020, the ever-reliable RV index showed a decline in RV sales in 2018 and 2019. We’re still hopeful there’s a Hemline-branded RV in our future.
Whether you’re just starting out or decades down the road and a bit out-of-touch, we’re experts at helping you find voice. Our deep experience in customer experience makes Hemline uniquely qualified for today’s rapid business and consumer environments.
Let’s see what happens.
Contact us today to schedule a no-commitment brand exploratory conversation.