Archive for May, 2009

In these trying times, it is more important for companies to hold on to their loyal customers, and what better way to do that than good customer service. Why don’t companies get this simple fact straight? Why will I part with my hard-earned money to someone who is unfriendly?

Yesterday I went to the MAC counter at Macy’s. I LOVE Mac beauty products, and have been using them for years. The only things I don’t buy from MAC are pencil eye liner and Mascara – I prefer Lancome. I went there to buy eyeliner brush, and thought of buying an eye liner as well.

Me: A liquid eye liner brush is key to applying liner. How will I know that MAC brush is good if you remove brushes from testers?

Salesguy (giving me 3-4 tester versions): Take these tester versions and don’t double dip.

The tester brushes are crappy and ruin my eye. I ask another salesguy to give me eye makeup remover. The remover does not remove the liner – has MAC gone cheap on its materials due to recession? Damn.

Me: I would like to buy this liner brush. Is it good for liquid? How will I know that the liner brush is good if I cannot test it? Is the liquid always this thick?

Salesgirl looks at me like I am crazy and she did not know how to answer the question.

Salesgirl: Sorry I was attending another customer so bye.

No “can you ask someone else” or calling out to someone else to attend. She walked away WITH THE BRUSH I WANTED TO BUY. That was all I needed to change my mind about spending my money and I left.

Beauty companies negotiate square footage allotted to the brand and number of salespeople per square foot, so the salespeople really don’t care. I am sure beauty companies have contracts lasting a number of years with department stores. The stores are willing to negotiate based on sales driven per square foot per salesperson. Clearly, MAC “pulls” the customer and Macy’s has to allocate a decent amount of space and body for their counter. There were way too many people at the counter – 8-10 people with one at the cash register and one more attending to a customer – the remaining were just chattering away and cleaning up. Do they really need so many people? I expected more from MAC, and they need to revisit their contracts.

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Why do vendors have to send large files (3-5MB)? I don’t understand the logic. Does anybody have the time to read them? I respond to ALL of them letting them know not to send such large files without prior communication. Its soooooo annoying. That and the automatic opt-in for emails. UGH.

Today one vendor called marketing a search service. He did not even know our website. Gee, how long does it really take to type my company site? Ridiculous! If you don’t have the time to check out my company site before calling me, why will I take time out to review your services? Agencies, especially search, are dime-a-dozen.

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Herve Ledger is hands down my favorite designer. I love his bandage dresses. He is extremely creative in adding different elements of color and style to make his dresses all look different. Gilt had them on sale, $2,ooo pieces for $400-$500. Not surprisingly, within a day they were all sold out. They were such gorgeous pieces and such a pleasure to look at, every one of them. I looked at all of them very closely. You have to have a to-die-for hourglass figure to carry his clothes off. They are very fitted. Blair Waldorf wore one on Gossip Girl with a cardigan and looked gorgeous. Bloomingdale’s does not have the gorgeous ones that were on sale on Gilt. Anyway, enough of my blogging. I have to go check out appliances and my patient husband is waiting in the next room. Hee.

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I LOVE Betsey Johnson jewelry. Her pieces are quirky and different, and you will not find something like it anywhere. I have two pieces from her previous collections and love them. I bought two more last weekend and did not like one as much. Unfortunately I bought them from her Soho store and they do not do returns or exchanges for jewelry. One complaint I have is that her jewelry does not stay in place. She has asymmetrical flowers and bows, and they keep turning around. Also, her jewelry gets entangled easily and you have to wear it with the chain a certain way to make sure it looks perfect. So many complications… I bought the tiered necklace with black bows and the double layered bee necklace. The bee necklace is 30% off online; I got robbed of $15 and paid full price. I sould have known. NEVER EVER pay full price in the US; everything will eventually be on sale.

This time BJ’s collection is not as good. Its not as quirky and doesn’t stand out as much. The two old pieces I have are the stars of my jewelry collection, and very different. One has an eagle pendant which is truly priceless, and the other has a vintage look with peacock feather-like design. She should make more gorgeous pieces like that instead of charm jewelry. Her charm jewelry is difficult to wear.

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I went to Topshop two weekends back, and purchased a very lovely pair of necklace. The necklace is of golden leaves and very Greek-like. Only when I wore it to work the next morning that I realized that the edge of the leaves is so sharp that it hurts my neck. Argh! Each time¬† wear it I have to be careful; if I am on the phone and twist my neck, the leaves cut my neck. I have rashes from it today. What a price to pay for fashion! I still love the necklace and will wear it. Usually I like being comfy, but the piece is so original…

Back to Topshop. Did it live up to the hype? No. Was I disappointed? No, because I read negative reviews on Yelp before going, so I knew what to expect. First the good. Topshop has clothes from all over the world. You will find light cotton embroidered tunics and tops from India, patterned tops from Romania, etc. It has a lot of variety and truly original stuff. You will not find the same style of clothes and jewelry elsewhere. The jewelry is IN THE FACE, and I mean in the face and not your usual statement-jewelry. Really large pieces, multi-colored strands of necklace that would look gorgeous with a solid strapless dress, large earrings, and bracelets. Its hard to buy stuff like that and wear it on a regular basis. Now for the bad. It is pricey, much more expensive than it should be for the quality. The jewelry pieces are glued on but can fall off very easily. One piece came off while I was trying. The jewelry is too large.  That is the biggest problem I have with the store Рquality does not match price. The packaging is cheap as well. My jewelry piece was a bit delicate, but they did not pack it in a box or zip-lock. They put it in a paper bag and that was it. Even the shoes are not packed in boxes at the cash counter. Really cheap.

Its worth checking out once though just for the variety and some cool pieces. I will wait for sale to get one of the Made in India cotton embroidered tops. I cannot resist embroidery, I was really good at it once. Kate Moss is the face of the brand. Her stuff was okay, nothing to write home about.

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I went to Topshop two weekends back – more on that in another post. I saw a petite girl wear jumpsuit-shorts, maybe I should just call it jumpshorts. Just checked and Topshop is calling it a playsuit. Whatever. Anyway, she looked really cute in it. What helped was that the waist was held by an elastic ruching, which made it look very chic. My pet peeve with jumpsuits is the area between the waist and thighs, which may tend to balloon up. But the elastic waist here actually gave it some shape. To think of it, the ruffle one-shoulder took the eye away from the ballooning part as well…So yeah I am warming to jumpshorts with elastic waists… but that is it. I will not budge from my original stance that I HATE jumpsuits and wish the trend would just go away.

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Today at work I presented interesting facts about social media craze. Social media is such a black hole, and marketers are still figuring it out. Does social media have the potential to drive sales? How does it help in branding? DVF’s fan page on Facebook is brilliant. A really good way to capitalize on free media. Their customers post photos in DVF clothes and they choose fan of the week. I would love to do that for my company. People could see complete outfits from us, get a better idea of how clothes would look on real people in different sizes, and buy them. Such a good way to give styling advice and build a community!

Check out some cool facts:

  • Twitter is expected to double its user base from 6MM in 2008 to 12MM in 2009, ~4% of the US population; its retention rate is 40% on average. Growth is driven by 25-54 year olds. In fact, 45-54 year olds are more likely than average to visit Twitter. WOW!!! Who would have thought? I guess that is a good way to spend early retirement.
  • 1 in 9 visits on the Internet are to social networks, down from the last 2 years. However, visits to Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn have increased, but declined for MySpace by 4%. MySpace is a crappy site, and they don’t even allow brands to have their own fan page. They have monetized everything. Who goes there anyway. The pages look crappy and juvenile, and are now relevant just for music. Although they are trying to find relevance and make money.
  • Facebook averaged 1.4 BILLION visits in April 2009; unique visitors was 77MM, over 25% of the US population.
  • On YouTube, 15 hours of video content is uploaded in one minute, equivalent to 8,600 full length Hollywood motion films per week.
  • 28MM users update their blog at least once a month.
  • 97MM users read a blog at least once a month; this number is expected to increase to 128MM in 2013, or 58% of US Internet users

Wow, just wow. With Facebook you have access to over 25% of the US population, which is really cool. Question is, how do you reach that user base? How do you enter that black hole and not get stuck? I visit Facebook 2-3 times a week, sometimes less frequently. I am on YouTube every single day. I don’t want TV anymore and watch all shows on YouTube or the Internet. I watch international shows on YouTube. I probably spend an average of 2-3 hours per day on YouTube on a weekday, and 4-6 on a weekend. There is so much to watch, discover, and learn on YouTube. And of course you can rewind Bush’s video of almost getting hit with shoes umpteen times.

I don’t frequent Twitter; there are too many updates to have the time and patience to read.

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