Thursday, March 26, 2009

A financial conundrum…

Who ever said that a designer bag or dress was not an investment, boy were they wrong!! In today’s economy they seem to hold more value then currency. No one really knows (perhaps the FED…. Maybe they too lost track??) the “real” amount of money floating around and we definitely don’t have enough gold reserves to back up all the cash being printed....isn’t it the same with designer products, who know how many items are around and how many real limited edition pieces exist.

Many women strapped on cash are now selling their Birkin bags, Channel tweeds and their best furs to gather extra cash. Joan Lacey, a personal shopper to the Hollywood elite says “I can predict when a women is about to leave her husband by the purchases she makes”. They often buy the items on their husband’s credit card and then take them to stores such as Encore in New York, which is a consignment store that specializes in second hand designer items. Once the item is sold the return to the client is 40 to 50 percent of the cost of the sale. Not a bad deal at all…

Going through a divorce can be hard enough for a woman and to top it all off they now also have to find a way to deal with finances. I wonder why at schools there are no classes that teach us how to take care of our finances…sure algebra 101 is great but then when will that ever come of use in a real life situation?

It is inspiring to know that all situations no matter what it is can create new niche professions – as we have it the consignment personal shopper. This is someone who shops looking for items with high re-sale value.

In Hong Kong we have a store called Milan Station, they buy second hand designer bags with cash. Not only do they sell all the latest items but also they have build up a professional service team to provide VIP service for celebrities and the rich and famous.

Are we now living in a generation of castoff’s? or perhaps we could call it an “eco-effort” to re-use?

….a matter of perception as every happening in life!

C’est la vie

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let the games begin…

As the shows roll on in Paris…the chatter seems to be all about the retail shopping experience, the recession barren consumer and the price war.

All we have to do is take a look around and it is fairly simple to understand why shopping has lost it’s luster. Big global brands are spreading out their wings tampering in a little bit of too much but nothing at all, the high street is now monotonous, no one wants to be wearing the same and the small and unique are being swept away. It will be a battle to re-invigorate shopper, who will win? Those that offer a fresh, new shopping experience along with quality and service. Items that are made with a story, with love and presence will conquer. A great example this is a new philanthropic store in Paris called Merci. The owner Marie France will choose and sell only items she likes and all profits will go a charity.

With times of recession comes times of change and therefore most businesses will have to look out for the changes in the behavior of their consumer. The smartest and surviving companies will be the ones that read their consumer and quick to adapt. Every thing in life seems to move in cycles and so does the consumer, we have become a rather over consuming world, buying more then we could ever use and need. Thus the new shopper does not want more “stuff” but rather an experience they can remember and share with their family and friends.

A lot to be said for the price war that begun at the end of last year with all the U.S stores putting goods on sale starting in November, this created a difficult situation for designer stores, as Suzy Menkes said “ The problem is not really about the price on the ticket but an attitude of the mind”. Many consumers say it will now be hard for them to pay the full price ticket on a designer garment when they know by waiting they can get it at least half off. Often people forget they too have a business to run.

To me…. it seems a difference between price and value. The price of a garment could be quite low but the value quite high. Often we make decisions whilst only considering the price and later realize the value is what is truly important. A relationship whether it be with a garment, a person or anything else that matters to us should always be considered from the perspective of what value it provides us before we decide on whether to pay the price. The price will become irrelevant; the value will always be what matters.

As Galliano said “It is a credit crunch not a creative crunch”…… leave us to create!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our dear Hong the fast lane

My perfect Sunday morning is spent lounging in the sun with a croissant in one hand and the Weekend Financial Times in the other. Although this Sunday there was no sun I did get to read one of my favorite columns in the FT – its called The Fast Lane by Tyler Brule. This week he chats about how different cities are taking on the economy crisis.

This is what Brule says about “Hong Kong: there’s always a bustle about Hong Kong, and, if outdoor media space is anything to go by, then all the world’s major luxury goods companies are counting on HK to help them through the storm. A hotelier friend of mine still had his sense of humor about him, so occupancy rates couldn’t have been too terrible.”

…this left me thinking and excited to step into a new week.