Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Picture Says a Thousand Words


I’ve probably mangled the quote but it is true that pictures tell us a lot. In regards to on-line stores pictures say just about everything. If you don’t have a good picture of the product people will have no idea what you are trying to sell. While a description of a product is essential, having a picture is critical. I can guarantee that few if anyone will buy a product sight unseen; although I’m sure someone would I’m not one of them.


Pictures are important in that they show exactly what you are selling. You can use stock photos and many websites do, but it doesn’t always convey the right message. Many people set up websites, use stock photos and even drop ship their products from the warehouse. There is nothing wrong with this strategy except it can be off putting to some consumers. Some consumers like to analyze which is super easy on the internet.


People like the seller to give the impression that they actually have the product in stock. A photograph taken by you of the product shows that at the very least, you had one. Additionally, stock photos can be used by everyone, your own photos can give a unique view of the product that no one else has with their stock photo. This will give you an advantage because you can show different angles or close up shots. The more detail the better.


There is so much competition on the internet. There are thousands of websites selling the same thing and somehow you have to get your site to the top. If someone is buying a watch they will probably shop around, it’s easy on the internet. If your pictures are better than everyone else’s the consumer might buy from you and not them. It only takes a little time and you don’t have to have tons of pictures because a really good picture tells the consumer exactly why they should buy from you.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Describing an On-line Product


On-line stores are everywhere. The internet is a vast ocean of stores with catchy names and unique products. I know many women who have reached a certain age and have decided to go into business. Many make amazing jewelry, soaps and candles, but are afraid in today’s economy to make the jump to a retail location. The overhead can quickly eat up your working capital.


Are these amber earrings or amber earrings with sparkling facets that catch the sunlight?
This is why on-line stores are so popular. The daily overhead is kept to a minimum. If you’re computer savvy or know someone you can construct an impressive store where customers can order your products on-line and you ship to them. It’s a great way to test the waters and to see if that hobby of quilt making can really translate into cash. Since an on-line store isn’t physical you have to be able to describe your products eloquently.


Is drusy interesting or organic with a rugged appeal?
Describing a product isn’t as easy as many people think. I’ve seen ads were a bar of homemade soap is basically a list of ingredients and size. While this information is important you need to add some character to make your soap stand out from the sudsy crowd. How does the soap look, describe the color, feel, smell both dry and wet. How will the soap make the customer feel after using it, refreshed, clean, smooth or fragrant? Remember to use verbs and adverbs in your sentences. The soap won’t just make you feel refreshed, but magnificently refreshing and amazingly clean.

Is this a gold watch or an intricately crafted gold watch with skeleton face and rope edge finish?
Yes, these can make a sentence seem silly or overblown but you are describing a product that you want someone to buy. You have to give them incentive to want to buy. An accurate description of a product also makes it clear that you know what you are selling. You only get one chance to show your product when a potential customer clicks on an item on your website, make it count. Tell them what they need to know and also what they want to know. The more information a customer has the better they can make a decision to buy your product.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Viking Jewelry

A beautiful gold brooch with inlay

No I’m not talking about jewelry with Vikings as a theme, this is actual jewelry discovered in Denmark and was worn by Vikings. Apparently even a Viking chick loves her bling. The discovery illustrates how even Viking culture placed value on adornments made from gold and gemstones. The jewelry dates from the late 7th to the early 11th century.


A pendant with intricate designs
The jewelry was an unexpected find in this mostly agricultural area. Apparently jewelry of this quality was generally worn by the Viking elite. It is associated with royalty and those in the ruling class. The researchers have discovered that the area may has links to the first royal seat of the first Danish Dynasty known as the Scyldings. These royal members were famous enough to be mentioned in the poem “Beowulf.” Now that’s cool.


Close up of workmanship on pendant
The jewelry discovered is quite intricate. You have to remember that this is end of the Iron Age and jewelry making was very difficult. While there were many craftsmen, jewelry was not as easily made as today and most metals and gems were a considerable luxury only afforded by the very wealthy. It wasn’t easy to make a copper or gold pendant and the example shown is intricate in its workmanship.


Lattice work design
It is fascinating to see these ancient examples of jewelry. Every culture has its own concept of beautiful design and artistic expression. A creative soul probably spent hours crafting these pieces and felt quite honored to have them worn by some lovely lady or gent. It also goes to show that jewelry is always in style, no matter what the era.
Beautiful handcrafted jewelry

Friday, July 26, 2013

Can Shorts be Chic?

If Victoria Beckman can do it, so can we

As the summer weather heats up many turn to shorts to keep cool. As a youngster I didn’t worry about how short my shorts were, I put on shorts and sandals and was done. Now that I’m older I have to be careful about the image my shorts will project. Wearing shorts while pursuing some outdoorsy recreation isn’t the problem, it’s wearing shorts while sightseeing or going out and about that can be tricky.


Keep it structured
The first lady got a lot of flak for wearing shorts while on vacation so I guess there is a lot of negativity associated with wearing shorts after a certain age, even if you’re sightseeing. When wearing shorts it’s important to remember a few key issues. Keep it neat, a sloppy short with a sloppy t-shirt only looks good on a kid and even then it’s questionable. Find shorts that are tailored, linen or twill in fun colors look great and if you do go with denim or khaki always have a finished or rolled hem.


Long sleeves with short short, short sleeves with long shorts
If the shorts are very short, wear a long sleeved shirt. Remember not to show too much skin and keep everything in proportion. Shoes are another important element. You want to emphasize your legs and make them appear as long as possible. While you might think heels, it doesn’t always click once you get older. Try a wedge sandal in rope or rattan, it will add length, make your legs look incredible and keeps a casual air. If you're going for a more dressy look, a leather wedge with cutouts are super cute.


Add tights and a scarf and this outfit transitions to fall
To keep things polished, try a jacket or sweater. The accessories you use are very important. Adding a linen blazer with three quarter sleeves over a light camisole looks tailored and neat. Never let your bra straps show, it looks cheap. Pair your wedge sandals with a structured handbag and a few pieces of jewelry. A long necklace or a few bohemian beads give a nice finishing touch. Anyone can wear shorts after a certain age and with a few careful choices they can look super chic.
A long vest and bright shorts are a sure hit

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Licensed Products II


Yesterday I wrote briefly about licensed products and the popular licensing agreements that some jewelry stores must meet in order to carry particular brands. This is only a small portion of licensing. Licensing can encompass product development, marketing and of course distribution. Anyone who purchased a licensed sports team baseball cap is holding a product that probably went through many steps before it got to the consumer.


All those t-shirt, caps and jackets had to go through a process whereby the licensor approved concepts, prototypes and final products for distribution. This can be a very expensive process for the licensee who sometimes foots the entire bill for development of a product. Usually the payoff for the licensee is the exclusive use, manufacturing, wholesaling and distribution of the product. They eventually make back their investment through sales of the finished product.


This can be a problem when others illegally use the brand or trademarked item without permission or any other agreement. We’ve all seen products sold on the internet that feature a well know sports team or TV show but may not have the necessary agreement in place. Basically they made a product then began selling it cutting out the owner of the intellectual property or those who have legal licensing agreements.


This is illegal and those who own the intellectual property do have rights. They can sue but sometimes the violators are not located in the US. Foreign countries do not always take a hard line against companies in their own country who are manufacturing products without a license. Also some are simply creative individuals who assemble individual, unique or one of a kind products for sale. It’s kind of hard to catch the “here today gone tomorrow” vendor. Either way you slice it, it makes it hard for those with licenses to compete.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Licensed Products

Mickey Mouse doll from 20s or 30s, most were not licensed by Walt Disney

Licensing means the renting or leasing of an intangible asset. This intangible asset could be anything from a cartoon character to a song or a logo. Think Mickey Mouse dolls, popular songs used in car commercials or products manufactured using sports or sports team logos. Licensing is big business as it allows the licensors the ability to market their product without sharing ownership.


Authorized retailers sell David Yurman
Probably one of the most common licensing arrangements in the jewelry industry is authorized dealers. This is where a licensee or owner of a particular brand allows retailers to sell their brand. Popular and noteworthy brands include David Yurman, Rolex watches and Pandora. While there are probably thousands of brands for sale in a jewelry store, having a big name brand adds prestige to the retailer.


Only buy a Rolex from an authorized dealer
This prestige can mean sales for the retailer and instill a sense of quality that will be associated with the jewelry store. Generally licensed brands come with strict rules and marketing restrictions. Authorized retailers must meet certain requirements, purchase a minimum quantity and maintain particular standards outlined in the agreement. Some are easy to meet, some are very difficult but the main reason is to maintain a quality standard associated with the brand.


A very copied brand, Pandora
This is where unauthorized retailers or outright counterfeiters can destroy a brand’s business and their reputation. Since unauthorized individuals do not have to pay a licensing fee or meet standard they usually sell their products for less. This dilutes the market and makes it difficult for authorized dealers to compete. So in order to maintain fairness always check to see if the product you buy is authorized. If the price seems too good to be true it’s probably not the real deal and may have unseen flaws that can cost you money in the long run. Remember authorized retailers meet high standards which translate to a quality product for you and a warranty.
Vintage is sometimes a safe bet, although know your product

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What Came First, the Model or the Clothes?

Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy

I will be the first to admit that I sometimes have a problem with fashion. I love a lot of looks and I see things in print ads and featured in magazines and I love it. Then I think about it. What would this look like on me? Will I look as sleek and smooth as the model in the ad or will I just look silly? Sometimes it’s hard to tell what will look good on our own bodies since models aren’t actual depictions of real life.


Loulou de la Falaise
You always hear about some model who was the muse for some fashion designer. They gathered their inspirations from this person and hence the beautiful clothes. Since the muse was the inspiration it stands to reason that the clothes look great because they were made to flatter that particular body, how can it not? Any figure flaws would be covered up and only the best would be emphasized.


Loulou de la Falaise bangle
Givenchy had Audrey Hepburn and created the little black dress. Loulou de la Falaise designed jewelry with Yves Saint Laurent back in 1972 after she served as inspiration for his fashion designs. Even the iconic Birkin handbag was inspired by the model Jane Birkin on a flight from Paris to London when the contents of her bag spilled on the floor in front of Jean-Louis Dumas, creative director of Hermes.


Jane Birkin
Granted many of those who are muses look really good anyways. You could dress them in a burlap bag and they’d still wow the audience. Their sense of style is what is shining through and the clothes are just a reflection of their inner elegance. I still wonder and have to ask, do the clothes look good because of the model or is that designer really that great? The world may never know.
The iconic handbag

Monday, July 22, 2013

T-Shirts, T-shirts Everywhere

Basic white t-shirt outfit

I’m a big fan of the t-shirt and based upon how many are available at any given clothing retailer I would have to say most of the population are fans. T-shirts are great, comfortable, affordable and completely wearable for just about any occasion. If accessorized correctly a good quality t-shirt can be worn to work. Think slacks, blazer and a nice scarf or statement necklace.


Try a pattern for interest
There are tons of ways to wear a t-shirt. You can wear the standard white t-shirt with jeans or slacks, dress it up or dress it down. Pairing a t-shirt that is either a graphic print or has a pattern is also a “do.” Just make sure that the print isn’t overpowering or too busy. Keep the other pieces neutral, black jeans and a graphic t-shirt look great especially when paired with a denim shirt. Also don’t forget the jewelry.


T-shirts and denim
T-shirts can also be worn with skirts. Maxi skirts look good with a t-shirt just make sure that you keep it untucked to keep your torso in proportion. Add some cute wedge sandals, a clutch and a bold necklace and you’re ready for an evening out. For work, pair a solid colored t-shirt with a pencil skirt, pumps and a sweater and you’ll look professional and keep cool. Remember to keep the t-shirt tucked in and wear a belt to help define your waist.


Try a maxi skirt
T-shirt dresses are also popular. They’re great for hot summer days and easy to wear. Throw on a t-shirt dress, a denim jacket, a pair of flats and you’re ready to go. If you really love that t-shirt dress you can add tights, a scarf, and leather boots and wear it into fall. I know I write about t-shirts a lot but it is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in my wardrobe, funny how that is, the lowly t-shirt, wear it anywhere.
Try a t-shirt dress

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pearls Pearls Pearls

Classic cultured pearls

While the price of gold continues to drop, it’s still expensive and many people are priced out of the gold market. What makes the high price of gold bad is all the jewelry that is made from gold. When the price of materials goes up so does the finished product. One way around the high cost of gold is to buy jewelry that doesn’t have gold in it. This is easier said than done if you’re looking for quality jewelry, unless you think pearls.


Pearls come in different shapes and colors
Pearls are beautiful and they’re a classic. If you’re thinking that they’re a classic but pretty stuffy, think again. Pearls now come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The classic cultured pearl with it’s perfect round shape and creamy ivory color isn’t the only pearl in the spectrum. There are Akoya pearls, freshwater, Tahitian and South Sea pearls to name a few and each has its own characteristics.


Interesting colors
Akoya pearls are probably the closest to the classic cultured pearl. Round in shape they are usually white or ivory with undertones of rose, silver or cream. Freshwater pearls are cultivated in freshwater as opposed to salt water, they have a more natural shape and come in a variety of colors. Tahitian pearls are known as “black pearls” and are quite striking. South Sea pearls are among the largest pearls and produced in the South Seas.


Floating pearl necklace
Designs for pearls have changed a lot and the use of mixed media has made pearl jewelry more innovative. Multiple strand necklaces made of pearls, leather, and chains make interesting statement necklaces. Freshwater pearls with free formed shapes used to punctuate chains are not only fashion forward but inexpensive as well. So if the high cost of gold is getting you down, look for some pearls, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Even imperfect pearls are beautiful

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Would You Go Braless?

Jennifer Aniston makes this look good

Since the weather is turning super-hot I’m sure there are a lot of uncomfortable women out there. We’ve already dumped the pantyhose in favor of bare legs and sandals, but have you ever considered going braless? Depending on your age this probably isn’t a relevant question. After a certain age no matter what the temperature outside may be, you wouldn’t dare leave the house without one.


Not sure if Gwyneth Paltrow should have skipped the bra
I’m sure for the younger less endowed crowd you might be brave enough to go out in public without a bra but it’s not going to happen with me. In fact I’ve seen quite a few celebrities that probably should have taken that advice. Remember Gwyneth Paltrow and her poor choice of undergarments? Even the best bodies can look a little odd without the right bra. Although celebrities do get an out because they are trying to accommodate evening wear.


Haley Berry went short and braless
As dresses get more and more daring we’re seeing a lot more of the celebrity crowd going braless for fashion sake. Plunging necklines and backless styles would look horrible with a bra strap cutting across the design, but do these celebrities really go completely braless, I don’t think so. New material and engineering have produced bras that can hold it all together without straps. Glue on bras, strapless and backless is now possible. You get your support without any visuals.


This dress isn't as flattering on Anne Hathaway as it could be...
While some women may opt to go braless, there really isn’t any reason to go completely au natural. Camisoles with built in bras, form fitting crop tops, and even those stretchy bras without all the underwire gear can substitute for a bra on a super-hot day. Places you will always wear a bra no matter the weather, your office, weddings, church and anything that involves public speaking. Sometimes there are no substitutions.
An engineering marvel, the backless bra