Thursday, May 17, 2007

U Village Sale

Shop to Make a Difference – May 18-20
Purchase a 20/20 for $20 and receive 20% off at participating stores and restaurants May 18-20. Every dollar goes directly to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to further their quest to cure cancer! Cards can be purchased at participating retailers, check back for a complete listing of participants.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Shop 07

On Monday May 14th, I attended the first ever Shop/07 put on by CraveParty. The purpose of the day was to bring together boutique owners and learn what others in the industry were doing. The day was set up with several panel discussions. It was insightful and at the same time could reassure you of what you were doing right or wrong.
The first panel of the day was "How does your market grow". The panelist included Luly Yang, Fran Bigelow, and Allison Olsen. The three discussed what it is they do, how they got to where they are today and strategies for success. One theme became very clear, Stay true to your vision and yourself. Logically, duh but really thinking about it becomes something harder to apply. It is easy to see what others are doing and try to emulate them however to be successful you must remember why you are in the market you are in and what strategies you decided to employ.
The second panel was "Promotions". The panelist included Victoria Roberts, Lisa Myers, and Karen Lorene. The main concept was to use promotions and events strategically. You do not want to be held in the same regard as Macy's and the One Day Sale. (Honestly, when aren't they having a one day sale). Promotions can differentiate you from others and draw customers in for different reasons such as rewarding the loyal customers or even clearing out inventory.
I skipped the next panel and took a long lunch since the tourist industry just doesn't do it for me.
In the afternoon session, there were breakout sessions. I chose to attend sessions related to the internet. The first was regarding what type of website do you have whether it be informational or e-commerce. It was an interesting discussion on which way to go. The second was related to e-newsletters and emailing customers. The theme that resonated here was similar to promotions, don't overdo it. When sending out a e-newsletter make sure that you have something to say to your customers that they will find of value specifically latest offerings, sales, specials, events, etc.
The final panel was Press Release Straight from the horses mouth. The panel was interesting related to getting PR with Daily Candy (Jasmine Moir), Seattle Magazine (Shannon Borg), and the Seattle Times (Monica Soto Ouchi). Each have their own style as far as contacting them, what they are looking for, lead times, etc. A person from the industry who handles PR would have been nice to learn what styles they use that are successful and what has been complete flops.
Overall it was a great day. Melody Biringer put on a great conference with some very informative speakers. Not bad for coming up with the idea 4 months ago.

Friday, May 11, 2007

NYC Shopping

Recently I spent 3 days in NY for a business conference. Being the hardcore shopper that I am, I definately found time for some shopping. This wasn't my first trip to NY so I feel a little like a native when I am there. I know exactly where I want to go and what I want and don't want to see. I no longer need to see Rockefeller Center, NBC, Radio City Music Hall, etc. What I do want to see is lots of stores. As such, I have a small little rant. Tourist in Manhattan can be so annoying. They travel in packs, move at their own pace (slow) and stop right in the middle of a walk way. It does not bode well for natives or hard core shoppers. There is a lot to see and typically not much time.
Imagine all the top designers in one place. That place is Sak's 5th Ave. While the people working there are not particularly helpful, you will find whatever designer or item you might be looking for all under one roof. I saw Jimmy Choo shoes, Nanette Lepore dresses, and Prada handbags. It was like dying and going to heaven. Of course, reality sank in real quick when I look at the price tags. As my mother always said, if you must ask the price, you can't afford it.
Another great place to check out if the Tiffany's on 5th Ave. The store covers several floors and the jewelry is broken out by silver, wedding, childrens, etc. It makes the Seattle store look like a boutique. I think that it is the largest one that I have been in and I have been into Tiffany's in several cities.
For practical shopping and great bargains there are two stores that have very fashionable items at very reasonable prices, H M and Zara. They each have a couple of locations throughout midtown. H M has every type of item. I bought a great basic t-shirt for $5.90. It was a thick soft cotton. The only issue with their clothes is that you need to try things on as the items run small. Zara is very similar. There are a couple of things that I like about Zara more than H M, first there is a Zara in Vancouver, BC. I think the closest H M is in California. The second thing about Zara is that they have a classic line which includes items that are suitable for work. The prices are reasonable however their items also run small.
Just an item to note, is that there are several Gap and Banana Republic located in Midtown. You would think that they are the Starbucks of shopping.
I didn't get a chance to venture into some of the trendy neighborhoods but that just gives me a reason to go back at a later date.