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Friday Follow-Up | Totally Random Thoughts

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YESTERDAY’S OUTFIT:
6397 Shorty Jeans

Petit Bateau t-shirt | I got mine secondhand via SLOWRE
James Perse cashmere cardigan | sold out
admonish customer leather tote
Robert Clergerie Alice slides 

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Reading

Patagonia’s circular Economy strategy – takeaway quote:

There should be no end of life of anything. Nothing should just sit in landfill.

AMEN.  I strive for that when choosing what to buy.

As Kathryn posted yesterday in a comment, several designers are donating portions of their sales this weekend to Planned Parenthood and other such organizations; Rachel Comey is donating 50%, which is significant. And I appreciate what she says at the end:

The march, she believes, is “not a partisan situation at all. Of all the opportunities for things to stand up for, it’s just a really easy one.”

Everlane launched their 100% human collection a couple days ago, donating $5 to the ACLU for every piece purchased. Almost everything is sold out.  I was going to buy a piece, because I like the sweatshirts, but then I thought: I don’t need another sweatshirt, I won’t wear it, I should just donate to the ACLU instead.  And more than $5.  So, done.

I’m conflicted about those kinds of sales tactics, which is generally what they are, let’s be honest.  Yes, donating a portion of profits is a good thing, but it’s also a really great way to drive sales.  Rachel Comey’s donating 50% is even better because that means she’s (probably) donating all of her profits and then some.  Still, I think it’s probably better to just donate directly to the cause you believe in instead of feeding more consumerism.  If you’re me, and have a slight too-much-stuff-problem it is anyway ?  And I just feel better about making direct donations.

I listened to two great James Altucher podcasts: This one by Susan David is BRILLIANT – don’t let the title/description fool you, it’s not really about that, although it sort of is.  She talks about her book Emotional Agility, and speaks really to how to shift, and be emotionally agile, learning how to adapt to life in a better way.

And this episode with Kamal Ravikant, who went on a pilgrimage, was great.  Some tidbits I picked up while I was listening and working on this post:

Transformation comes from consistency
so much of our pain comes from resisting what’s happening
say yes, to life, to now.

Shopping

I got my Jungmaven hemp tee (the Baja woman’s style in 100% hemp) and I love how it feels; so much softer than linen. The fit is meh, I appreciate the open neckline, but it’s too long on me and bunches up around the waist, as usual.  Just another reason  I’ll always stick with James Perse for t-shirts.  And the black isn’t BLACK black, which always irritates me, but it’s not a deal-breaker.  I will definitely keep it, and wear it.  I’m very interested to see how it washes, since that’s always a turning point for linen tees – they ALWAYS lose their shape and stretch out with wash/wear.

I also ordered a sports bra from Pansy (organic cotton/recycled spandex) which I was ridiculously excited to try, and it is WAY TOO SMALL.  The sizing advice does say to size up, but since I’m an a cup (34-36″ around), according to Pansy’s site, I thought I’d be a small, so I sized up to a medium.  But they don’t have specific size info for the sports bra, it’s just for their regular bra, which in hindsight, seems much stretchier.  Anyway, I couldn’t even get it over my head to try on, it’s that small.  SO DISAPPOINTED.  And I can’t return it, so it’s going up on SLOWRE.  Ugh.

I haven’t bought a new sports bra in 5 years – I just wear the ones I’ve had forever by C9 from Target.  They’re fine, actually, and still wearable, but I do want to try and start replacing them with more sustainable options.  Maybe I’ll try the Pansy bra in large, maybe not.

FYI, pretty much everything I order from Garmentory I order with credit I earn via my referral link (when you sign up, you get a $20 account credit and I do too) and I usually have to add $ on top of that.  But I definitely use that money to order things I can review here – new designers, new materials, etc.  so hopefully you don’t have to make as many mistakes as I do!

This last order really got me thinking about shopping online and shopping from independent designers & boutiques specifically.  It’s frustrating.  We want to support them, and buy from them, but it’s challenging with complicated return policies (or no returns) and high prices.  But I always try and use my online shopping experiences to get ideas for SLOWRE – what I can do better, and what I might need to change.  So I’m working on a two issues specifically: returns & shipping.

Returns : final sale SUCKS.  I understand why designers & boutiques do it (I do it for SLOWRE – it’s hard enough to manage the accounting and finances without taking into consideration that items might be returned), especially for “lingerie,” but it’s really hard to think about spending $68 for nothing, especially if you don’t have an outlet to re-sell it.  So, I’m trying to figure out a way to allow returns on SLOWRE for more items.  Maybe for items over $50? The problem for me is that my margins are so minimal, and I have to pay out commission fees, that my window for accepting returns would be very small, and I can’t afford to be out the shipping costs either.  But I’m going to try and make that work. Somehow.

Shipping : SHIPPING IS SO EXPENSIVE.  And more and more independent boutiques are charging $10+ for shipping.  Even theRealReal charges for shipping ($11.95!), which I gladly pay.  I understand wanting free shipping – heck, I hesitate and often don’t buy unless I can get free shipping – or I’ll add a certain $ amount so I can earn free shipping – but I don’t see how it’s sustainable for smaller businesses.  Yes, Nordstrom, etc., will always be able to provide free shipping because they can “eat” that cost easily; their margins are higher than smaller stores and designers, but smaller business? forget about it.

If you haven’t looked at Elizabeth Suzann’s “Money Talk” post, it’s a good look at what a typical piece costs to produce, what her operating costs are, and then how much profit she actually makes on an item (less than you might think).  Operating costs are HUGE, and honestly, shipping is consistently a large part of that.

I think it’s important to know “how the sausage is made” if you will – I didn’t realize it truly until I started SLOWRE.  It’s much more of a struggle than I thought it would be; actually trying to make money on a retail business and not just break even.  It’s okay to run a business and not make a profit for a little while, I think, to build it up and earn more business, but unless you’re a venture-backed company, or have friends & family money to use, it’s not a sustainable business model.  Amazon can do it, I cannot.  Not for a whole lot longer anyway.

SLOWRE’s not going anywhere, I just have to figure out how to make it worth spending more time on, and it will have to start making money at some point.  I love it, and do it because I enjoy it, and think it’s providing a useful service, I’m just going to have to make a few tweaks here and there to make it more sustainable as a business.  I welcome feedback, and always try to take into consideration any ideas for improvement you guys have!

And lest you think SLOWRE is just a place for me to sell my own things, I’ve been so grateful to have accepted MORE THAN 250 items on consignment from readers & customers in the past year.  That may not sound like a lot, but it’s HUGE to me, and I’m so excited about growing in 2017.  So thank you so much, to everyone who’s supported the shop by either consigning or purchasing ?

Happy  Friday! We’re off tomorrow to Atlanta for our nephew’s bris, and I’ll be back home on Tuesday. Quick Trip, and I’ll try to post while we’re gone.

SOURCE: Grechen’s Closet – Read entire story here.


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