Tag Archives: Small Business


by Peggy Fincher Winters, Arthur A. Winters, Connie Rauen, Jack Rauen


Are you close to any children or pre-teens who spend most of their free (or demanded free) time with digital companionship?  Are they in a world of virtual experiencing and so-called learning?  Could a “Digitie”, as we have termed them, get more from in-person, face-to-face contact with friends, family and teachers?  Have you noticed any decrease in the verbal skills of heavy digital users?

Drawing by Art Winters
Drawing by Art Winters

These issues are making people of all ages fidgety with all the “Digities”.  Yes, the genie is out of the bottle and we cannot go back in time, nor would we want to.  However, we do need to pay closer attention to the changes being made to our society and to our actual brain structure!  Much is being researched and written about this current development and we in our industries must be aware of how it is affecting our business and our students, children, employees and colleagues, not to mention ourselves.

Young people from pre-adolescent to their twenties want to live in a world of digital devices — such as smart-phones, laptop computers, tablets, and all of the newest digital inventions.  They have been born into this new world and don’t really know a life without PDAs.

Some of our observations include how many “Digities” are more engrossed in texting, social networking and playing videos or games than in downloading and reading books.  They do not or rarely use snail mail and the “talking” part of a phone.  Most if not all of their business transactions of buying, selling, bill paying, etc., are done on-line.  We are seeing that most smart phone users prefer quick texting over slower-to-open email!  And did you know that January 23rd is National Handwriting Day?  How many schools are teaching cursive writing?

Now you may be thinking that what we have here is a huge generation gap or fissure occurring.  Well yes, that may be part of it.  But when we have seen students struggle when required to hand write their authentication statement on their college-standardized tests… And when we hear that grandchildren cannot read their non-digital grandparents’ letters and greeting cards??   You might remember the quote from the 1967 movie, “Cool Hand Luke”  — “What we have here is a failure to communicate!”

We don’t mean to add to our culture’s stress level nor stop progress.  And, we are not joining the Luddites and Troglodytes.  However, we would suggest that we might all need to seek a balance between the non-digital and full-on digital worlds.  We do wish to avoid a digital divisiveness in the wave of progress.

A Digital Life Style (DLS) may now employ devices that provide self-oriented creative experiences in a world of their own.  This could make an individual more inclined to rely on technology than on themselves and others.  They could be so attached to their screens that there is no opportunity or desire to use teamwork to create in the classroom and the workplace.  Current surveys indicate that teamwork is a key requirement in innovation and creativity in the workplace.  Our world depends on cooperation and coalitions.  Other studies are showing how we are losing our skills for deductive reasoning by being presented with “information” or “factoids” without any attempt to connect the dots and develop understanding in context and actual development of knowledge.

It is now more evident that those living in the digital world are producing even more worlds of their own.  Are they going deeper down the digital rabbit hole?  Is this already a permanent condition and chosen lifestyle?  Do they or we have the option to not join the “Digitie-Age?”  It is not difficult to surmise that an overuse of digital technology can and most likely is separating the “Digities” from interactive, non-digital experiences with others, as suggested above.

So, should or could there be limits placed on Internet digital connectivity and total reliance on these resources?  Many parents and teachers are fighting with this difficult situation everyday!  Studies are showing both youth and adult “Digities” suffer withdrawal pains when separated from their digital devices.  The travel industry is offering “disconnected,” device-free vacation sites around the world to encourage people to take a break from being available and wired 24-7.  Some parents are calling in all their children’s PDA’s at a set bedtime and prohibiting them at the dinner table.

It may take many years to fully evaluate the evolving effects that this “world of their own” could and is having on a developing human being. Will they be more intelligent and able to handle our world’s problems without more interactive experiences with others?  Will they have the judgment of critical thinking to develop actual wisdom for making sound decisions?

One development is the advancement into “Artificial Intelligence — AI”.  If humans create AI that becomes self-powered and more intelligent than us, without our human values, then where will we be?  This is not a science-fiction movie any more!

There is no denying that individuals are more and more living in a world of their own with the help of digital devices.  We see in the fashion world that they are literally being woven into our textiles and clothing!  Body implants are in use with GPS devices.  How long before knowledge implants are de rigueur?  Imagine implanting a Rosetta Stone language disk into your brain without having to study and practice to become fluent?

So the big question becomes: Who will be in control?  What will be our choices?  And even more so, will technology in the private “worlds of their own” decrease or increase our creative, strategic, abstract, and moreover, critical thinking?  Who will be capable of making the critical decisions of our time, “their time”?

Will we be able to think for ourselves or will we all be drunk on “Techila?”


Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Learn How To Sell Your Products Online With WordPress

online store

Do you want to sell clothing, shoes, jewelry or anything you can make or distribute online?

Learn how to use WooCommerce, the leading WordPress plugin which creates online stores, to build your own store.

In this hands-on class you will build your eCommerce site to sell any kind of product or service.

  • Learn how to add and manage your products, complete orders and understand reports
  • Set up a payment gateway
  • Set shipping and tax preferences
  • Find your theme that is suitable for WooCommerce
  • Learn which plugins are needed to safely and smartly run your online store.

This class is taught by Bud Kraus, veteran web design and WordPress instructor at FIT.

Prerequisite: You need to be familiar with basic WordPress capabilities.

Next class begins Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 6:20PM.

Questions? Ask Bud at bud@joyofwp.com or


em(BARK) on a new path…

Meet our Instructor,  Robin Droescher!

Robin Droescher teaches SXF 225: How to Style, Plan and Merchandise a Pet Products Line.

So, tell us a little about yourself…

I worked in the women’s fashion apparel industry for many years in design, product dev. and manufacturing. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and my last position was at Liz Claiborne. Six years ago I combined 2 of my loves – dogs and design. I launched Robin Meyer NYC. We produce a line of clothing and accessories for dogs with a fashion meets function point of view. A portion of my business has evolved into consulting for a couple of other dog manufacturers as well as doing private label for Barneys New York Dog and Orvis.

Bark Place Store

We’ve heard that you’ve emBARKed on a new job path…
I recently opened a retail boutique and grooming salon called Bark Place. I carry my line of products as well as other manufacturers. We have a full product assortment of coats, sweaters, beds, toys and treats. It is a great way to test new products and if they are successful to go into a production run the following season. The grooming business as been doing extremely well from the day we opened. I wanted to create something modern and state of the art – a place where people feel comfortable leaving their 4 legged children and are pleased with how they looked when they are picked up. I believe we have succeeded!

Bark Place store

What is exciting in the pet market right now?
I think one the exciting things in the pet market now is that apparel and accessories for dogs really follows the trends of what is happening in the human apparel market. I am starting to work on Fall 2016. I have spent the past few days shopping stores, looking through fashion magazines and browsing trend services on line. I know what sells in my line but it is a matter of taking the basis of what works and making it look fresh and new for the coming season.

Bark Place store Bark Place store

Can you give us a sneak peek of your class?
I have taught my class several times now. The first class I ask my students what they really would like to learn and take away. Each class I modify slightly to accommodate their requests. We spend time merchandising an assortment so it is focused, cohesive with a clear point of view. I then teach costing exercises using different classifications of product: coats, sweaters etc. We start with the cost of all the raw materials, add labor, shipping charges etc. to come up with a first cost. We then work on the mathematical formulas to bring the 1st cost to wholesale with margin implications and then to the MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price). I also talk a little about how to import from overseas factories.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us!

Robin Droescher teaches SXF 225: How to Style, Plan and Merchandise a Pet Products Line.