Before Comfort One Shoes' sole experts are allowed to fit a single shoe to a customer's foot, they must graduate from Comfort One University and undergo a mentorship process. It's only then that they can help shoppers find their desired footwear, whether it be lace-up Ziera boots, On running shoes with CloudTec technology, or Thierry Rabotin shoes, handmade without uncomfortable, rigid components. Alongside men's and women's footwear, the shop stocks an assortment of bags and accessories such as colorful iPhone cases from Triple C Designs that protect phone exteriors and conceal scratches from the last time you transformed into a werewolf.
Comfort One Shoes also seeks to better the world through creative philanthropic efforts, such as collecting 25,000 shoes for those without and offering their employees half their pay and time off to volunteer in the community. Perhaps such initiatives are part of the reason Comfort One Shoes earned the National Shoe Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award in 2011.
On the showroom floor at Bensons Jewelers, display cases sparkle with diamonds, necklaces, watches, and charms from jewelry makers such as Reed & Barton, Elle, and Breuning. Rings missing gemstones or cursed tiaras in need of de-hexing can turn to the full service repair shop, where a jeweler with 20 years of experience fixes and restores baubles, backing all work with a six-month guarantee.
Andrew’s Ties USA’s seasoned haberdashers ensconce torsos in Italian-made ties, shirts, and fine accessories. The Collection tie’s ($69) heavy silk cuts a resplendent blaze across dark-hued formalwear, and the Pari Pari's ($49) woven diagonal stripes bespeak classic elegance while offering advance camouflage on battlefields filled with barber poles. Pants stay obediently hip-bound courtesy of striped or polka-dot suspenders ($59), the flashier twin cousins of more business-minded leather belts ($69). A black check dress shirt ($99) lends gravitas no matter the occasion, and a crisp silk bow tie ($55) adds aplomb to tuxedos and football uniforms alike.
Seth Godin has revolutionized marketing with his innovative approach to communication and community. He is the founder of Squidoo, a former vice president of direct marketing for Yahoo!, and currently authors one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world. Godin's books—many of them best-sellers—have done more for marketing than Genghis Khan did for nomad marketing. The most recent of Godin's books, Linchpin, explores how employees can make themselves indispensable to their company by tackling tasks with the same sort of emotional commitment that an artist brings to his or her work.
Shoes by Lara festoons feminine feet in designer footgear appropriate for both everyday wear and elegant occasions. Slip toes into stylish stilettos from designers such as Nine West ($29–$69), Anne Klein ($29–$69), or Franco Sarto ($29–$59). By cushioning arches in soothing soles by Naturalizer and Easy Spirit ($39–$59) specially designed for comfort, feet can stay fashionable even on long walks to the office or Olympic long jumps to the grocery store. Toes with an eye for the upscale can opt to put this Groupon toward more indulgent heel shields with runway fashions from Jimmy Choo ($298+) or Balenciaga ($298+), and a wide range of equally opulent ankle adorners are on sale daily for smart shoppers who prefer to pair their penny loafers with a bit of penny pinching.
The abilities of the artisans behind Vintage Jewels can be seen in the ornate twists of their work. Those pieces might combine Victorian and vintage influences with contemporary gloss and technique. More concretely, they'll also incorporate vintage components such as swarovski crystal, czech glass beads, and bits of antiques. The jewelry pops up at trunk shows, in an online shop, and in a permanent retail location.
At that location, the artists and affiliates at the nonprofit organization behind Vintage Jewels also get the creative gears turning in children's brains with bead-related classes and events that emphasize improving art education for the DC-area youth. The Bead Studio hosts seasonal festivals spotlighting a slew of artisan-bead vendors to raise money for their mission and benefit other philanthropic, bead-related foundations such as Beads of Courageand BeadforLife. More than a dozen types of workshops led by instructors with impressive portfolios also benefit these causes, covering kid-centric beading techniques and business-related tips for adults wishing to start their own bead shop or kids looking to barter with the local ice-cream man.