AHA Mercancile has given independent brands a voice for some time. Yesturday, they turned a slick midtown apartment into a holiday showcase fulled with slick home decor and decadent jewelry.

We sipped hot bourbon cinder while we perused some of what the site has to offer. Here are a few of our favorite things:

  • OYO box – which has various boxes that hold things that most other brands neglect, sunglasses and watches.

  • This beautiful hand blown glass bowl is part of our teranium goals with beautiful peaks inside, just $97.

  • A coffee set with real stone accents paired with real copper.

Check out Aha Mercancile for all your upscale holiday needs, www.ahalife.com.

As always, check our instagram for more images from the event at tfgnyc.

Happy hump day?

Yvette

Nylon magazine features burton

Snowboarding stores are a niche market that has recently seen a resurgence in popularity despite other sporting goods going bankrupt (sports authority). 

Nylon spread

Nylon  makes it even fresher with a full spread in thier November issue with covergirl above sporting Burton gear that ranges from hats to of course snowboards. 


Some of the snowboards have unique Nylon graphics which showed that magazine had a relationship with the brand. 

Nylon + Burton shopping event

The party included a female DJ, a choice between wine or beer and super sweet cupcakes that surprisingly no one was eating. The gift bags ended the party with Nylon totes.

Prices start at 30 (for hats) and if you are looking for gear as well as snowboards, this is the place.

Happy Hump Day 

Yvette ?

Attention readers this is for both men and women; Macys has decided to no longer offer clearance sections and will  in the near future focus on sales and reclaiming their higher end clientele.

But for now they are giving some seriously deep discounts to quickly get ride of all that clearance inventory. We are talking 70-80% off!! They even gave Micheal Kors and select Coach handbags for $49 and $69!!! My male companion scored 4 pairs of pants for $27!! Insane!! Run don’t walk to your nearest Macys!!!

We had the pleasure of being invited to the preview of the new Off Saks Fifth Avenue store with Gilt Group sub store in NYC. The new Off Saks is three floors and features high end designers as well as mid priced designers all with huge discounts!  We couldn’t get into the Gilt section as it was very crowded but we were told Gilt will start having flash sales there and you can browse some of their products in person as well as order from iPad kiosks they set up.

I was very happy with the selections and couldn’t believe the prices I saw. I was only able to look at the handbags, shoes and sunglasses as downstairs was too crowded to go see the men’s department and women’s clothing. I did ask and their men’s department is fully stocked with clothing and shoes as well. My blog partner scored a Love Moschino logo metallic gold tote for $120 and I scored blue chunky crystallized Prada sunglasses for $100!! (We received 20% off from gilt for being press) I will certainly be going back!

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Moschino Display

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Karl Lagerfeld Display

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Prada Sunglasses

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Hermes Accessories Display

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Rag and Bone handbags

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Leather and canvas collide at this unisex accessories company established in 1981 out in Oregon. The layout of the store matched the idea the brand, rusrics and durable.

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During the holiday shopping event, clams were served and we were able to browse the store which is randomly stocked with multiple accessories. The store does not separate items by sex because they want you to pick up whay you like. The idea seems so gender friendly which has been the mood recently.

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Hats are in the back in cool neutrals including blues and reds from high round brims and classic fedoras. So if you love leather stop by for stocking stuffers as well as presents at this rustic store.

Where: 29 Prince Street New York 10012 US

Online: www.willleathergoods.com

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Quirky gifts of the fab gift pop up store

From quirky to usual, the small 2 story fab.com pop up store featured gifts that you wanted to hoard for yourself this holiday season.

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We attended the opening night that was saturated with guest, which made it hard to maneuver and even harder to take pictures. Free drinks and food were flowing and a flip book station was at the far corner for a memorable keepsake.

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Now on to the fun gifts from shoes that use a usb to keep your feet warm that look like smores (yum) to unique home goods and phone chargers. They even had kid items from a projector that created a night sky to robots. Then they got a little quirky with GI joe men in yoga posses and odd shaped aquariums. All these gifts and more for those hard to shop for friends and aquaintances ( some you don’t like) on your shopping list.

So if you can brave 2 flights of stairs (sorry no elevator) check out the store:

WHERE: 118 Orchard Street (at Delancey) New York, NY 10002

Check out fab.com for more gift ideas and check our social media sites for more fun gifts.

When I heard that Lily Pulitzer was doing a collab with Target I was a little skeptic because in the past a lot of Target Designer collabs look nothing like the actual brand;(Though I still use my Phillip Lin Target crossbody) So I was beyond excited when I heard that Target would set up a pop up shop and Lily fy Bryant Park for one day this past Thursday. The line had hundreds of Lily fans dressed up in Lily’s house line and when I finally got into the shop I was pleasantly surprised!
The collection is very well made and has the spirit of Lily; (though unfortunately none of her actual prints as Target chose artists to create prints that were inspired by Pulitzer and used those for the collection ) There is something for everyone as there are clothing, accessories, furniture, shoes and home goods all with the feel of being in Boca Raton,FL sipping on a Pina Colada!

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Ever so often we write about new brands and websites that create unique customer experience and go the extra mile in what seems the hardest feat in fashion today: creating universal fit structures for everybody type without limitations on style and perks.

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This site is one of the few sites that offers such a rare combination,  and even though we wrote about thier tailor service and wide range of sizes before, their new crop of 2015 dresses are so versatile, they can be used for different occasions past thier moniker. Yes, they sell dresses for prom but also bridesmaids,  brides and other events. Promtimes.co.uk is worth the time to peruse and you will reel at the selection and at the prices. Everything is always on sale with up to 75% off the original price.

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The new crop of dresses have a demure elegance that seem to extend it beyond the most obulent occasions.  We love the sleek fit and the subtle addition of exotic fabrics added to unique design details similar to what celebrities wear on the red carpet.

So stop by promtime.co.uk, not just prom dresses, a variety of sizes, styles and colors with a perpetual sale that is never ending. What more could you want?

Some of these logos represent manufactured fashion brands. Can you tell which ones?

We watched over the years designers turn into brands and vice versa and wondered if it was ever a good idea. We heralded Target’s invention of the capsule collaboration but shunned the pop star turned designer ethos of K-mart. In any case, brands that embrace inspiration from high-end designers to TV shows (Olivia Pope for The Limited), brands thrive on reaching crowds through innovation and the constant need to look and dress like the ones we admire. However, it has not worded for designer brands like Noir. Juicy Couture and Betsy Johnson (who have both morphed into a brand) found that gimmicks destroy rather than increase loyal customers for designer brands. In this case study, we will explore what they did wrong and how you as a designer, can avoid the same fate.

Why not become a brand in the first place?

Some may argue that becoming a designed brand is possible but that is just fiction. Two aspects define a brand, they focus on trends of the market and the price is friendly to most of the population. Designers produce work unique to their point of view and the price reflects the uniqueness of their product. Crafters produce products with a unique point of view and a friendly price. If you happen to design your work on a raising trend with prices not too friendly to the consumer, you become a designer brand which is the kiss of death as Betsy Johnson found out. In retrospect, BJ never really found her niche market and worst her prices were too high to sustain general interest. A designer brand must go one way or another either lower cost and to compete with others who produce the same or similar products or limit distribution of your work to your niche market. In any rate; you will loose money the longer you stay in between until you either go out of business or sell. If you sell, you will be reverted into a brand as your products become manufactured and you will no longer have any influence in future production. You will no longer be a designer and your name will be attached to a brand. Nothing is more humiliating. So here are some points to make sure that does not happen.

Manufacturer brands can copy designs that can lead a designer to go out of business, the trick is to design items that are not worth reproducing because of cost or a niche market.

Discover your Niche Market and Expand it

The problem with designers is that they are increasingly fighting with manufacture brands for reproduction of designs that sometime borders on counterfeiting. So if you create broad trendy products like urban or kitschy (like Juicy Couture and Betsy Johnson respectively), you will be pushed out of the market as manufactured brands copy your looks for a cheaper price then you can afford. If you wish to continue your work then find another market where the style has not gone mainstream but still desired (BJ in Japan anyone?). Juicy Couture’s journey into a brand was also because urban chic became a staple in America but London is still on the rise and by expanding to that location could of saved them from becoming a brand.

Expanding to new locations does not necessary mean outside the US, you can move from Cali to NY if you create bohemian chic products since that trend is on the rise here but not mainstream as well as take urban chic to Chicago or Normcore to Seattle. In any rate, expand and save.

Too many sales or a sale at high percentages can hurt rather help your designer credit.

Keep your prices in the right market and don’t compromise

Lowering your prices only work if you want to become a brand and continue to produce trendy products while reaching that broader market. If you want to retain your name and make money from your designs then take a page from Michael Kors and limit sales. Do not let seasonal and holiday sales deter you from holding firm to your price points. If you do have sales limit them to no more than 25% so you do not seem desperate for sales. People are weary of sale items which now are damaged or faulty. Keeping sales few and between will increase customer loyalty. If you do need to clear away product, consider offering loyal customers a discount that others will not have access. This is a great way to build loyalty without sacrificing profit.

Create a consistent Voice

Some designers can feel detered from thier vision when sales take a downward turn and decide to go with gimmicky collaborations to entice new customers. I knew a designer who paired with a celebrity that not only did not take his brand into consideration but also put out a collection of questionable morality. Needless to say, it ended up not doing much for sales. It may have been better for him to take a look at his inventory for inconsistency.

1. Clean house: Remove products that are not selling and focus on the ones that are selling. Decide what is similar between all these products and develop a voice through these similarities. Alternatively, toss out all other products or re-invent them using your new viewpoint you just discovered.

2. Commit: Only produce the products in step 1. Even if you like a design, it is important to make a profit because that is what drives your future as a designer. It is how investors decide rather you are a risk or not and how you can file for grants or incubators.

3.Stay away from craft selling sites: Sites that have a variety of products will limit how many customers come your way because you will always be in competition with other designers as well as crafters who have more price friendly products. Build your own website to your voice so customer can get an idea of who you are as soon as they enter.

In conclusion, take care to create products that are unique and price within the market you want to attract. Stay away from producing products that has become mainstream or too trendy and hence picked up by brand stores.

Ok so I know it’s Christmas Eve and as I sit here sipping gourmet hot chocolate from my crystal encrusted mug I keep getting bombarded by emails from various stores who STILL want you to get that gift to your loved ones!

Sears-offers same day pick up until 6pm tonight!

Amazon-in certain cities (I know NYC for sure has same hour delivery!

Kmart-offers E-giftcards

Yankee Candle-Malls are open until 6 or 9pm tonight and Yankee candle is offering by 2 get 2 free!

New York & Co- all day door busters including ALL scarves, hats and gloves for $7.99!!

So hope you get out there and get those last minute gifts so you won’t have to look like a Scrooge lol! Merry Christmas Everyone!!