Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blah Blah doesn't mean 'boring' anymore— at least not in Europe

While Americans enjoy the convenience of apps like Lyft and Uber, Europeans have embraced another share service app—BlaBlaCar—which pairs travelers together to save money and lessen the monotony of a road trip. Since 2006, BlaBlaCar has expanded to eleven different European countries, where consumers can connect with others in need of affordable transportation or company (users have profiles with reviews, personal and travel information, and even indicators of their chattiness—hence the BlaBla). Like Uber and Lyft, BlaBla’s success lies largely in its low cost, which is often more affordable than public transportation. In addition, drivers can only charge their companions a fixed price for gas upfront (from which BlaBla takes its percentage), thereby eliminating abuse from drivers looking to make a profit as with other share services. Although BlaBla does not have any plans to expand to the US soon, it could be a sign of the future for the growing sharing economy across the globe.

Monday, June 16, 2014

PopShop—Uniting vendors and clients, wherever they may be.

As a proprietor of artisanal goods, wouldn’t it be easier if the business could come straight to you, or if you could go straight to the business? Well, thanks to the newly founded PopShop Market, now you can. PopShop is a Fairfield based business that organizes pop-up conventions, and puts 50 unique local vendors in contact with hundreds of enthusiastic buyers.

According to, the benefits of pop-up brands increase affordability, reduce commitment, generate a greater buzz, with higher profit results. What could be better than that? In addition to broadening your market, experts at also say that pop-up brands allow more room for experimentation and creativity, and due to their spontaneity, customers tend to feel a sense of urgency to purchase products.

The founders of PopShop model their conventions after the Brooklyn flea market scene and carefully select the most impressive vendors selling handmade, organic, and repurposed products. Between bringing Brooklyn to the people of Fairfield County and bringing local vendors to hundreds of new clients, PopShop will put the move on your business, literally. 

-Sienna Arpi, Intern

Friday, June 13, 2014

“Inside Madeleine” and “Mr. Loverman”

This Sunday in the New York Times Book Review, our clients, Akashic Books and Soho Press, have the marginalized covered as two of their newest books that deal with some of the more underrepresented demographics are reviewed.

Soho Press’ Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer reflects on the female psyche, specifically focusing on the characters’ sexual and bodily identities. According to Dayna Tortorici,

“bodily control [is] a desperate expression of free will: Bomer’s characters starve themselves, stuff themselves, walk until their feet bleed, and smoke up until they cannot move. At every turn they struggle to square their strong personalities with the ritual and class-coded humiliations of being young and female.”

While Bomer’s 229 page novel may lead to grim endings and futile efforts, Bomer seems to be commenting on the societal structures that bind young women.

Akashic Books’ Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo chronicles the life of Barrington Jedidiah Walker, a West Indian man living in Britain. Barrington is a closeted gay man, and at 70-something years old, he’s been hiding his secret for a long time. Barrington is married to a faithful Pentecostal woman, Carmel, but is truly in love with Morris de la Roux.

Mr. Loverman, set in 2010, is replete with flashbacks of Barrington’s life. Furthermore Evaristo deepens her novel as she also incorporates flashbacks of Morris’ life. According to Ellery Washington, seamlessly

“intertwines historical and contemporary issues of race, immigration, generational divides, neighborhood gentrification, sibling rivalries, social progress, social disillusionment and, most directly, African-Caribbean sexuality. 
This is rich territory — dense — and Evaristo clearly knows her subjects. So much is said, so much ground covered so quickly, that one might easily get lost in the interwoven threads if not for Evaristo’s confident control of the language, her vibrant use of humor, rhythm and poetry, and the realistic mix of Caribbean patois with both street and the Queen’s English helping to fix characters in the reader’s mind.”

Both novels, how different they are in style and content, deal with marginalized themes. It is refreshing to see these topics handled in a personalized, but unromanticized manner.

Inside Madeleine
229 pages, $
Soho Press

Mr. Loverman
284 pages, $11.96
Akashic Books

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Work Isn't Working

Today's workplace is a burnout factory for most people, from executives to interns, according to an extremely insightful piece by Tony Schwartz and Christine Forth. The article,Why You Hate Work, describes feelings shared by all of us at one time or another: the sense of being overworked, undervalued, unable to focus, pulled in too many directions at once - the litany of deleterious emotions is seemingly endless.

Schwartz and Forth's study along with Harvard Business Review found that when people have the following four needs met, they are more fulfilled and and enthusiastic in the workplace:


How people feel at work affects how they perform at work. Yet employers and entrepreneurs often ignore these issues.

Tips From the Study: 


Take a break. Stand up and stretch. Look away from your monitor and do something else for 5 minutes. Read, grab coffee, and walk down the hall. Give your brain a chance relax and refresh. Physical activity gives the brain a chance to recover and rediscover solutions to problems.


People spend the bulk of their day at work so make time to listen and care about co-workers issues or concerns. Publicly commend people for successes and achievements.


Make the workplace and workload manageable by shortening meetings, discouraging improper behavior such as aggression, anger, demeaning commentary and reward conflict resolution.


If you see a coworker or staff member in contemplation, don't assume they're slacking off. They might be in deep consideration of an issue or problem solving.

I urge you to read this article because it's a great reminder that some simple restructuring of attitudes and practices can generate both higher productivity, profit, and satisfaction. No one expects their office to be a warm and fuzzy place all the time but improvements can be made. Here are some of the attitudes we try to display at Benay, but as with all businesses, is a work in progress.
  • Our daily meeting is short, 15 minutes, and at 10 AM so everyone gets away from their desk and interacts with one another at least once during the day.
  • I want to urge staff to take lunch either in the office or out, but not with their computers on. Everyone needs a break to revive his or her body and mind.
  • We all try to inquire about staff's family, friends, or weekend activities. It only costs a few moments to show that not only do we care how they are doing but gives us all license to acknowledge that we all have lives outside our business that are more important than what we do between 9 & 5.
  • I try to reward suggestions and initiative with small gifts or words of thanks, and publicly acknowledge good ideas at our daily meetings. Offering to get coffee, buy lunch, or even just get a candy bar from the corner store is a daily occurrence by our team. This may be why my diet is constantly thwarted.
  • Offering flexibility in terms of our work schedule is key: my motto is I don't care how or where the work gets done, as long as it gets done. So hours are flexible when possible and people can work remotely when needed.  

We need to acknowledge that people can't be busy every second and require moments of downtime. Whether it's a closed door, headphones to block out other conversations, a silent moment at the desk to deal with all the issues facing us before 9 and after 5, or just getting outside for 5 minutes, we all deserve the chance to mentally and physically recharge and intentionally up our game at work.

Not everyone loves their job but they certainly shouldn't hate it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

iPad Giveaway Winner

Benay has just chosen their iPad Mini winner: Tiffany Salvia. Congratulations!

We want to thank everyone for entering. You can still be a winner by signing up for our bi-weekly newsletter on our website. You can also look forward to great information and advice from business leaders, future giveaways, and more!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Benay President, Dawn Reshen-Doty, Gives Advice at the Inaugural Boot Camp for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Dawn Reshen-Doty, president of Benay Enterprises, gave invaluable advice to foreign entrepreneurs looking to set up in the US at the recent Withers Bergman "Boot Camp for the Inbound Foreign Entrepreneur." Along with three other panelists, Reshen-Doty elaborated on "the complex array of legal, accounting and business management decisions that face foreign entrepreneurs when they are establishing a presence in the U.S."

From the Greenwich Time: "Chris Raines and Dawn Reshen-Doty provided insight to help foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up shop in the U.S. plan for the transition at the Withers Bergman inaugural 'Boot Camp for the Inbound Foreign Entrepreneur" on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel in Greenwich, Conn. Photo: Contributed Photo"

You can read more on the Greenwich Time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Granta & Tin House Receive Recognition for Their Fantastic Short Stories


Another literary win is in the bag for Benay clients, Tin House and Granta. The O. Henry Prize recognizes great pieces of short fiction and is “intended to ‘strengthen the art of the short story and to stimulate younger authors.’” Tin House has two winners with Kristen Iskandrian’s “The Inheritors” and Dylan Landis’ “Trust.” Granta has one winner with Mark Haddon’s “The Gun.” 
You can read “The Inheritors” in Tin House’s summer 2012 “Summer Reading” Journal Issue 52.

You can read “Trust” in Tin House’s summer 2013 “Summer Reading” Journal Issue 56.

You can read “The Gun” here (but you must be a subscriber to Granta Magazine).

Benay is always excited and happy to see our clients get well-deserved recognition. We wish Tin House and Granta the best.