Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sales 101--A Tutorial, of sorts...

I see a lot of Etsy Vintage shops lately, while perusing their offerings for items to add to my personal wardrobe.

There are also a lot of Etsy Vintage shops with Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and Blogs; and I follow quite a few. Some of them are friends, some are online acquaintances, and some are shops that consistently offer quality merchandise at reasonable prices and I don't want to miss a thing.

In past life, I logged an absurd amount of time as an online/marketing/PR/sales-type professional. I am also considered quite knowledgeable about Vintage Fashion. This is meant to be helpful, drawing on my experiences of what works and what does not work, and what I find appealing as an online consumer.

1. SEPARATE YOURSELF: If you have a Twitter account for your shop, have a separate personal account. Establish yourself as a Professional, as a Business Owner who takes it seriously. Here is why: if you use Twitter to complain about slow or no sales, about how many sales you need to pay your rent or to wonder aloud WTF is wrong with people that they are not buying what you are selling--you will lose current and potential customers. A cardinal rule for sales people is to "fake it til you make it." This means, you must look prosperous and successful especially when you are not. The message you are sending is that your stuff is not attracting buyers, for whatever reason. So, instead of the complaints, post up your latest listings with tag lines like, "Limited time offerings!" "This won't last" "I'm keeping this if you don't buy it today!"
Your postings should be positive and engaging. Make us want to see what you found that is not to be missed!

2. LIMIT YOURSELF: Save up posts about your listings for once or twice a week, or at the most, once per day. Really. My Twitter feed looks like the classifieds some days, and I just skip them all. It's too much and I just refuse to sort thru it all. I've asked around, and I am not the only one. Make the updates an occasion, not just so much flotsam in the feed.

3. USE ACCURATE DESCRIPTIONS: This is huge for Retrophiles looking for vintage clothing. HUGE. We want authenticity. We want measurements. We want a true indication of condition and wear-ability. If it needs altering or repairing, or cleaning, tell us the truth. Avoid things like "Mad Men" especially if you have no idea what that means as a descriptive. I don't want a dress from the 80s that "looks" 50s that is "described" as Mad Men-style, which is 60s. See what I mean? Know your product. Do the research.
4. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Where do you shop online for vintage? Which stores/shops are selling out, despite the lousy state of the economy? People are still shopping, you just need to figure out where and why. What are these sellers doing differently? I'm not talking about stealing someone's design aesthetic, I'm talking about basics: ads, photos, descriptions, policies, etc...These are the things that bring customers. What can you do better?

Nothing makes me happier than shopping online and supporting friends and fellow Retrophiles. I loathe chain stores and haven't set foot in the Maul in nearly a year. When I need things, or want things, I go to eBay and Etsy and the online stores.

If you're an Author on this blog, use it to highlight sales or especially choice items--it's free and it's like shooting fish in a barrel for your target market! If you want access, just email me and I'll set you up to post.

We want to keep these sellers in business! It's good for the environment to buy vintage! It's good for Fashion to buy vintage! It's good for your soul!!!

Please take my suggestions in the spirit they were offered: I just want to share what has been successful with all my friends who are struggling with their businesses right now. Holiday shopping season is upon us and there is no reason you shouldn't benefit from it!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Foul Weather Style


Well, I'd like to say "go away," but we do need it. Its just this time of year, I suppose.

I find that I enjoy Autumn more and more each year, but I just can't make my peace with the rain. It chills me to the bone.

So what do we wear in the rain? If it's chilly, wool is certainly more than adequate. A heavy cotton if it's not too cold, but moving into October, I'll stick with the wool or wool/silk blend. Stockings, of course; patterned and colored tights are gaining in popularity, but not strictly an "authentic" vintage look. I see many lovely versions for those who want to do "vintage-quirky." To each his own. Also at this time of year, I'm quite fond of layers. A sleeveless top with a cardigan, or short-sleeved silk with a cardigan or pullover-all good options. A scarf is a great way to add some color and it's useful.


Now to the footwear. This is perhaps the stickiest point for me in cold weather. My feet are perpetually cold. No matter the outside temperature and no matter the Season. I have cold feet, and if there is any precipitation, so much the colder. The Gaytees boots were all the rage, and I was lucky enough to score a like-new pair in black, low heel with a "fur" trim. I also have a knee-high pair of Eskiloos, lined in sheepskin. These babies are warm. Both of them. I can with only stocking feet in them, and my feet are toasty, no matter the weather!


(this is a 1930s ad, mine are 1940s-50s, so a bit different)

A good trench coat is a must. London Fog, Burberry, whatever your checkbook allows! Traditional tan, with a zip-in fur lining, and belted. It goes with everything.


The hat is optional, I rarely wear one in the rain. My hairstyle just doesn't support it very well, and in the nasty weather, why take extra chances??

Besides, I generally get "door-to-door" service when it's foul weather...and so should You. Insist upon it.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being Sick, with Style


There are several ways to accomplish this, depending on your personal proclivities. I tend toward the Bombshell variety, so I can advise on that particular method quite well...

One of the most important elements in the whole thing, from the Bombshell perspective, is the clothing. Pajamas, of course, but not just anything will do. When you feel lousy, something filmy and flowing probably isn't going to be comfortable, but you can't go all-in for flannel, either. So, to keep your reputation in tact, some cute baby doll pajamas should do nicely for this time of year. Also, this is no time to forsake cosmetics. You can get away with less- some good powder (try MAC Mineralize), black mascara (waterproof), and lipstick. Plenty of moisturizer.


Next, you need a large bed. It's just better. You can stretch out, across, and still have space for the things you need next to you: pink princess phone, pink tissues, TV remote, lots of pillows and of course, the cats. They always know when I'm sick and they love it when it's Nap Time all day.


The night stand should also be close at hand, to hold books, the radio, various beverages and prescriptions, hand cream, pens & paper, and lip balm. I also keep my reading glasses and crossword puzzles handy, as well as a lamp. I don't like bright light when I'm sick.

Have all the good old classic films on DVD: I've spent the day with Doris Day & Rock Hudson/Cary Grant/David Niven. Of course, you can just watch whatever is on TV, but why leave it to chance?


Last, but certainly not least, a handsome hunk of a husband to check on you, buy you boxes of chocolates and bottles of bourbon, cook dinner and pat your head, and, most importantly, know when to leave you alone.



So, if you manage those things, you should be able to find some small joys in being sent to bed sick. I know I always do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Advice for Wannabe Starlets!

Starlet Miss Amanda Lee takes yet another call to her dressing room, who can it be this time?

"You are going to be a star and a star does not carry groceries......

Whenever you go out in public, you dress to the teeth!..... don't go around in slacks, you dress and look like a Star"

Miss Amanda Lee wears "The Countess" She takes Mr Zanuck's telephone advice very seriously!

Like Mr Zanuck's advice, this dress is very exclusive, you could move fast and make it yours!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Embracing my Inner-Brando

Ever since my Grandma Carol made me watch The Wild One on television when I was a child, I have been fascinated with classic movies and motorcycles. As I pursue my renewed interest in two-wheeled mayhem, I found something that combines two of my favorite loves. Cigars and motorcycles.


Sucker Punch Sally's (an Arizona based maker of custom choppers) has teamed with CAO cigars to produce a gorgeous chopper. Hand painted by resident virtuoso Sara Ray, the bike is a bobber throwback. It's a beautiful bike that I would love to take for a spin but you can't buy it for any price. You have to win it.

CAO is a top-notch cigar producer, making classic yet unique smokes. I am a longtime fan of CAO products, and encourage any cigar smoker to become one as well. I've admired Suckerpunch Sally's bikes and to see this collaboration is amazing for me. So check out the website to enter or just drool over the pics.


You can enter here. Even if you are not a motorcycle rider, the bike is a work of art. Check out the saddlebags made of beautiful hand-tooled leather. The artwork could have come from the turn of the last century.


If you are looking for a cool ride and you feel lucky, then enter for a crack at this bad bike.