Friday, 28 March 2008

Work outfits.

Thursday my outfit was work casual. I was getting lots of things ready for the fashion show, so went for comfy and practical.
The outfit consisted of:
Smock top - Vila
Long sleeved t-shirt - H&M
Jeans - ASOS
Blue patent pumps - Primark

Friday my outfit consists of:
Patterned dress - Vila
Black patterned tights - New Look
Black round toe wedges - Faith

I could scream!

I have just found out that the other boutiques that are taking part in the fashion event are all showing two outfits per model! No-one thought to tell me. I have just been to deliver my garments and had I not done this I would never have known. Thankfully I found out in time and have been spared from looking unprofessional.

So this afternoon I now have to get another 5 outfits ready and get them to the venue! I may think twice about getting involved in a charity event again!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Nearly there!

I am taking part in a charity fashion show and thankfully it is almost upon me. I say I am taking part, the truth is that I am providing the clothes for a part of the event.

I have spent all morning putting pieces together, tagging everything, and steaming everything so that it all looks ship shape.
I have had the models in and they have tried on their respective outfits. This was a nightmare.......
Only two of them were the size that I had been told they would be - this meant that I had to steam and organise more garments. They were late (a trait that I can not stand) and then two of them were not happy with what I had prepared for them to wear.
The high waisted craze is not big among the 16 year olds, and to ask them to tuck a shirt into a pair of high waisted trousers is just UNCOOL!

However, I am doing this in the name of charity and free advertising and by this time tomorrow I will have dropped all of the clothes off at the venue and will be planning my own outfit for the evening!
The champagne reception can not come soon enough.........

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Wednesday Work Outfit.

My work outfit today is:

Grey and white tie-dye chiffon top - Vila
Black cropped trousers - River Island
Black cami - Primark
Black patterned tights - Tesco
Scarf - Primark
Black ballet flats - Nine West

And without meaning to be, I am grey too.....

It is all grey.

I am now sick of winter. I have had enough of dark nights, dark mornings, dark clouds and most of all dark clothes.
My shop is full of lovely spring lines in the most beautiful shades of orange, green, yellow and blue to mention but a few. But yet I still am wearing things from my winter wardrobe, this is because it is still far too cold to bare too much flesh yet.

It is late march and I still have all of the heaters on all day, the window lights on all day and my scarf on all day. When is Spring going to make an appearance? This constant grey-ness is getting to me more and more every day......

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

My work outfit.

I thought I would follow up my post about work casual and my work wardrobe with a picture of what I am wearing today.

Todays outfit consists of:
Plum knitted tunic (worn as a dress) - Primark
Black cami (not seen) - Primark
Black leggings - New Look
Scarf - Asda
Black riding boots - Bakers (bought while on holiday in USA)

What is Work Casual??

I am unsure of what "Work Casual" is exactly. Or to be put a better way, what other people interpret it to be.
For me work casual is smart jeans and a shirt/cashmere sweater/smock style top. I tend to dress my style of of work casual on a Monday (usually a quiet day for me) or a day where I am hoovering the skirting boards and hard to reach places. The rest of the time I dress in the styles that I currently have on sale in my shop.

I have found that since I have been working for myself I take a lot more care over my look each day. I plan my weeks wardrobe on a Sunday evening (where possible, I do not turn down social invites to do this) and I try to have things washed and ironed in advance.
I like to keep on top of my hair cuts and make sure that my hair is always clean and styled.

I wear make-up everyday now. Before I used to moisturise and go. But now I make sure that my lip gloss or eyeshadow is a shade that matches my dress or my top. I even carry a small collection of make-up essentials with me in my handbag to touch up throughout the day.

Work casual is now an outfit that I wear very rarely to work. I feel that it does not show myself and my business off in the best way.

I have been thinking about where this change has came from and it came to me quite quickly.
I am the only employee in my shop. I do not have a big advertising campaign. Therefore, I am the face of my brand! So, if I don't make the effort who will?

Monday, 24 March 2008

Should I be giving discounts?

I have started to get some really regular and loyal customers and I am a bit puzzled about what to do to show my appreciation.
Should I give them a little off of each purchase, or should I maybe wait until they are spending a little more than usual and pop an item in the bag for free?

It is quite a hard one as I don't want people to think that they automatically get money off when they shop with me. But at the same time I do want them to pick my shop over others.
I know that I am making this more of a problem than it actually is.....

Could a loyalty card be the answer? For example, five recorded purchases and then get a 20% discount off of the next purchase?
Or should I just be like the chain stores and give nothing for free?

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Trinkets and Things.

I took delivery of my spring jewellery collection. It made a nice change for the postman to hand me a parcel, in place of the usual bills.

I am so happy with the range. It is so delicate, feminine and spring like. It is full of pink, blue and lilac stones. One range has little charms attached and another is adorned with stars (very now and very Chanel).

It is all priced and displayed, including around my neck and in my ears. I just could not resist a few pieces for my personal collection.......

Friday, 21 March 2008

It is a Good Friday!!

It is Easter Weekend, lots of lucky people are off work, school etc for a few days and the sun is shinning! It is still bitterly cold (and could possibly snow) but it is a lovely day.
And because of all of these factors (well that and I have taken 10% off of everything in my shop) I have been really busy so far today!

I love days like this. They are what get me through the rainy days where I have no customers! It looks like spring and people start thinking about getting out of black and grey clothes and injecting some colour back into their lives!

People love what I have on offer, I love that people are out and about (and buying from my shop) and everyone is starting to look towards summer!!
I do still feel a little guilty about selling Linen Shorts when the temperature is only in single figures, I am sure it will pass though (the guilt that is).

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

An Afternoon Off.

Yesterday I was very, very lucky and my mum worked the afternoon shift in my shop! It was lovely. I had an afternoon of nothing, no plans, no small talk, no selling just me and whatever I wanted to do!

I love working and I love my shop, but to have some time off is priceless!
Yesterday the weather was very spring like, it was lovely and bright but cool. After leaving the shop I went home changed it some old clothes and headed out into the garden. I did some general clearing up and then I just sat and enjoyed the day. I did not stay out too long as it was not warm enough when I was not active.

I cannot wait for slightly warmer days to enjoy my garden and my free time even more...........

Monday, 17 March 2008


As I have mentioned a million times before my shop is really new (6 months old) and I have not done a lot in the way of advertising.
I was approached recently about taking part in a charity fashion show that a local school are organising, the proceeds are all going to Malcolm Sargent a children's Charity.

I decided to go for it for two reasons. The first being, it is a great cause and the money made locally stays in the local area! The second is, as a supporter of the event I get my shops name on all programmes, fliers, goody bags, posters etc,etc. Therefore, it is free advertising for me.
I am really looking forward to the event.

Last week I was approached again by another charity. This time I was asked to either sponsor a table for a charity dinner, or donate a prize for the raffle or auction. I have done the latter as this way the winner has to come into my shop to collect or spend their prize. Again, I get mentioned on all advertising, programmes etc, etc.

I feel that this may be a better way for me to get my business known in other areas. The costs to me are not as great as newspaper advertising and I am helping to give to charity!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Slow Saturday.

I am having a slow Saturday. It is usually my busiest trading day, but for the last few weeks this has not been the case. This is partly to do with the awful weather and lack of shelter and also that the local council have kindly decided to replace the street lights (digging up the pavement as they do this) on Saturdays and Sundays for the next 12 weeks!!!

So what I need now is a plan to get more customers through my shop doors, after all I still do have to get back the money I lost yesterday!

Friday, 14 March 2008

As they say "Lesson Learned".

I have just (well about an hour ago) had my first encounter with a shoplifter! To be fair it was not much of an encounter......
She came in took two garments (turns out it was three) into the changing room and left with one in her bag!!!
She must have had one snuck in between the others. When I went into clear up after her I put the two garments back on the rails and then noticed a coat-hanger on the floor (tucked under a chair).

I am a very small business owner, and my shop is only 6 months old. I do not have a waste budget, therefore, this is a personal loss! I have also taken this as a personal attack. I am trying not to. The offender was clearly under the influence of something!!
None the less I feel like a fool.

I wanted my shop to be somewhere that customers were not followed around and made to feel like they were being watched. Turns out I was too trusting.
Oh well and I now off to Google CCTV installation.........

I am also thinking of putting a similar sign on display. Is that cheeky???

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The size issues!

I wear a UK size 12, I have done now for about 4 years, my weight goes up and down a bit but I never really move far away from this size. When shopping for new clothes I only ever try on a size 12. If I really like something and I have to go up a size then I will, but usually find that the item will fit badly somewhere or another! I thought this was the normal attitude to shopping, but I have really had my eyes opened in the last 6 months.

I have two customers who come to my shop on a semi regular basis. One is a size 12 and the other is a size 14-16. The are very different customers, but the one thing that they have in common is their attitude to shopping. They both, always, start by trying on two sizes smaller than they wear???

This, to me, is bizarre! It must surely make them feel bad to try two other sizes before one fits. I personally get great satisfaction from trying on an item and it fits perfectly. I think I would no matter the size!

I think it all comes down to the fact that, generally, as women we would almost always like to be smaller than we actually are.......

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Easter Event.

I have decided that I am going to hold off on the advertising for now (it is was too expensive) but I have another plan......
I am holding a 3 day Easter Event! Basically 3 days where I will be taking 10% off of every item in my shop!
I feel that it is worth a try.

I took myself along to the local printer and gave him the details of what I wanted put on a poster to put in my shop window. He does all of my printing for me, so he knows what font, colours etc, etc, etc. I left my poster in his very capable hands........

Fast forward 3 days, I get a call from the printer to say that my layout is ready.....
Clueless, I ask what I layout is? Does he mean my poster?
He kindly explains that they are unable to do a poster in the size that I want, so he has come up with a design and put it on a disc for me to take to another printer!!!!!
Why oh why did he take the job?

I have had to pay for the layout and I am now 3 days behind with my poster (which is my advertising).
Will I try and save myself money in the future??

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


It is really all that I have to say on the matter of customer returns! I am aware that customer has the right to return any goods that are unsatisfactory in standard, faulty or do not do the job that they are intended to do. But what most people do not know is that, by law, retailers are only required to refund or exchange goods that are proven to be faulty.

So today in strolls a customer with one of the tell tale carrier bags (one from my shop). She explained that after getting the item home she has decided that she no longer needs or even wants it! I usually always exchange goods or offer a credit note as a jesture of good will. As I am still building a name for myself and my shop!
However, I ask that goods are returned within 14 days of the purchase date, they still have all of the tags attached and that the sales receipt is provided.

Of course the said customer had removed the tags before she decided that she did not want the garment! This lead to some disscussion back and forth and with her claiming that she was going to report me to trading standards! Thankfully, I am aware of my rights (I had a far uglier situation some months before) and was able to show her from the booklet that I received that I was in fact doing nothing wrong.

It would be nice to have a waste budget to absorb loses and keep customers happy.......
But, really that is never going to happen is it??

Monday, 10 March 2008

Do I have to spend money to make money??

I am not sure what to do, my shop is doing well I am getting customers through the door and they are even parting with their cash. But should I be doing more? Should I be advertising, making myself wider known?

I have ran promotions, champagne eveningsa and had seasonal sales, I want to keep my ideas fresh and themed as I feel these will have more of a draw than an advert in a local newspaper!
But, am i right? Does it pay to pay for advertising? Is word of mouth the best advert there is?

Why oh why is this so complicated and expensive?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Am I becoming a business woman??

I am finding it harder and harder to switch off when I leave work, my partner and I will be having dinner or lying in bed and I will suddenly start to make lists of things that have to be done! I have my diary with me at all times, it is like a lifeline and the thought of (god forbid) losing it fills me with dread! I have taken the precaution of making a list of all my suppliers and customers details elsewhere, just in case!!!

I am planning on expanding my business this year! I want to do it before we start to expand our family!
My shop has only been open 6 months, is it too early to expand?
I can see huge potential for the shop and the twon that it is situated in and I want to get in there and expand before anyone else does!

Thankfully my partner is also in business (in a very different field) so he is not put off with my lists, stresses and late nights after early starts!

Anyway, enough with the slacking, I better get back to building my empire!!!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

My favourite kind........

I have just had my favourite kind of customer in my shop!
They wander around OOhh-ing and Aahh-ing. They then start gathering up the things that catch their eye and head to the fitting room. They then after 10 minutes burst out of the fitting room and delightedly dump all of the garments onto the counter and exclaim "I'll take them all".

So can I head home now then?


Fashion is a funny old thing! The main aim is to have everyone lusting over a creation!! So why is everyone in the fashion industry so secretive??

I have decided to expand my business and sell menswear as well as ladies. I had my first appointment with an agent for a male label........ It was awful!
The majority of my agents for ladieswear are ladies. They know their stock, they know their market and most importantly they are very nice to deal with!

The male agent I met could be a one off, but he was awful. Truly unprofessional and completly fashion clueless! How can that be possible?
He was rude to me and to his staff. He repeatedly tried to tell me what my business needed and basically kept trying to boost his commision. When I pointed out that I did not want one of his suggestions he had a childlike tantrum!

After an hour of torture I was leaving and he asked where I was going. I explained that I had an apoointment with someone in the same building! I almost laughed out loud when he told me to remember not to mention any of what had gone on in his showroom!!!

The only positive part of my day was that my female agent friend (who I popped in to see while out and about) told me that the guy I had been to see was notorius and was known in the business as "Bullshit Billy".