Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Latest in Kids Fashion??

I was just watching NBC Today's show and they had a segment on children's fashion today. They featured a little girl wearing a rainbow striped sweater, plaid pleated skirt, brown and pink polka dot leggings and black military style boots. And for some reason the host stated that if parents came dressed like this we would look like we just got out of bed, but for kids it works. Um...I hate to tell you this but NO it doesn't! Who in their right mind would dress their kids like this? It looks like they dressed themselves in the morning and walked out that way. Or that dad dressed them. Just teasing dads!

It gets me to thinking: how often do we look up to designers telling us what is hot for the season? If you haven't noticed, most items fit for the runway are not fit for regular every day people like you and me. They are designed for a particular body style and will only compliment that style and no other.

I leave it up to the every day moms and dads out there to decide what fashion truly is. If no one buys it, then who cares who designed it?

Have you ever walked by a display and all the manequins in the window were layered in what seems to be every item of clothing in the store? And yet, no one ever actually wears the clothing that way? It may be a little known secret that visual merchandisers responsible for the displays in stores layer things to show options and to fit as many items as possible onto one manequin so you can see a larger variety of clothing. However, since real people don't dress that way, it doesn't always work effectively.

There's a story my parents tell that when I was young (about 6 perhaps) I asked if I could do the displays in their store window (my parents owned a retail store in Oklahoma City, OK). I could use whatever I wanted. So, I went about looking for items to dress the display manequins and what I chose were every day items that you would wear by themself, not layered. You can imagine how shocked my parents were when they sold out of those items that same week! Another time, I was an assistant manager at a clothing store in Plano, TX and at one point we didn't have a visual merchandiser to do the displays so I took it upon myself to change them. I used actual matching pieces and accessories, clothing that you could easily see putting together as an outfit and walking out of the store looking great. Perhaps I'm crazy like that, but those particular items were the first to sell in the store. So much so that I had to constantly change our displays because we would sell the outfits right off of the manequins!

And then the corporate office hired a VM and it went back to layers and layers and less and less sales. Sadly, that company soon went out of business. Turns out, not everyone appreciates paying cheaper prices for something that falls apart after one wash. Myself included. But hey, it was a job and a stepping stone for my Neiman Marcus experience.

I guess fashion has always been in my blood, and I know what I like when I see it. That's my hope for the boutique as well, that I can offer the best in children's fashion without sacrificing quality. I won't sell anything that I don't think fits with my goals for the boutique.

And you won't find pictures on the boutique of kids wearing multiple layers. ;)

Dreaming up new ideas daily,

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Happened to Customer Service?

It's almost that time again! The Christmas shopping rush is about to begin. Stores are already putting out their holiday items and decorations. We've somehow bypassed Halloween and Thanksgiving Day here in the US to target one of the most commercial holidays that exists. The problem I have isn't that stores are rapidly feeding the upcoming frenzy, but the lack of proper customer service that accompanies it. Many of the workers are part time and new to the store and can't answer simple questions. If you have a problem with an item it's hard to get it replaced or your money back. I've eaten at restaurants where my food was cold by the time I got it, my order was messed up entirely, and in one case the waitress actually lost my credit card (thankfully another patron found it and turned it in). And none of those places offered any type of consolation for what happened, just an insincere apology.

Now, we ate at a great restaurant one day in Denton with friends and somehow our order was misplaced and it was an hour before we got to eat! We were enjoying time with friends and chatting but Aidan was getting restless. The waitress brought him out some milk for free, and the manager comped most of our meal...and we never even complained! Talk about service! We weren't upset by it, we weren't complaining about it, and yet they felt the need to be proactive and take care of us. We love this restaurant and of course we'll eat there again. But, the lesson is one about customer service in today's society.

Because it is so important for my customers to have a satisfying shopping experience, I am completely proactive when things don't go as planned. I take pride in the fact that I will do whatever it takes (within reason) to make you happy. You aren't my customers, you're my friends. If you've ever ordered from the boutique, I hope you had an enjoyable experience. We have a guestbook page and we appreciate the wonderful comments we've received. If at any time you are unhappy with your service, please call us directly at 1-888-548-7641 or email daretodream@dreamscapesbaby.com and we'll take care of you. That's our pledge.

Oh! And if you are one of the millions of people who are dreading the crowded shopping malls this holiday season, feel free to stay in your pjs and order from us online or over the phone! We can even box up your gift for you and your shopping is done. Not sure what someone would want? We also carry gift certificates in varying denominations to make the pickiest person happy. Taking care of you is what we do, and it's what we enjoy doing.

Dreaming of a Snow White Holiday,

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hello, I'm Amber, and I'm a workaholic...

Now that it's the close of the Labor Day holiday, I am officially back at work doing everything and anything with the store and our upcoming Spring 09 season. That's right people, it's already that time again when we buyers are out there at the markets making our choices on our Spring lineup. And let me tell ya, we have quite a few surprises in store! Unfortunately, those details are first disclosed through the Dreamscapes Baby newsletter. If you haven't joined up yet, go to the Dreamscapes Baby website and on the left side is a newsletter subscription box! Trust me, I won't be spamming your inbox every day. That would take a lot of time and with two kids, time is something I don't fool around with! So right now, we're doing a monthly newsletter and every month is a discount coupon just for you!

You know you love your job when you can't turn your mind off of work. Even though my family spent the holiday at the lake with more family, I was completely at a loss without my cell phone, email, and internet! I guess I have one of those creative minds that just won't turn off and without an outlet, I go crazy!

So what's on my mind? First off, the Appaman Labor Day sale kept me extremely busy! It's already got me thinking about the next sale or promotion. I think it's only fair that we offer something special every once in awhile. On top of that, we just created our own signature giftwrapping! To add to the shopping experience, we want to offer a unique gift wrap option for certain items (unfortunately, we can't do giftwrap on all items...yet). We already wrap our warehouse items in blue and black tissue paper to make it extra special, but our giftwrap will add a black box to the packaging with a beautiful blue satin ribbon. The option for giftwrap will start appearing on special items this week! Perhaps we'll make a list of brands that are included and pricing options on this blog after it's all said and done.

What else? Well, the Spring line of course! I can't wait to reveal the new Spring Appaman, as well as let you in on the new lines we plan to carry!

I'm also enjoying blogging about life and children's fashion, and I hope you enjoy this blog as well. Thanks for recent comments on the PoshMama award! Now I have to live up to the hype!

Off to Dreamland,