Retail concepts

Roberto’s ‘up yours’ to the recession




Politically correct or no, I’m loving all the latest reports of credit crunch defying antics. From Balmain’s now infamous sell-out £1000 jeans to Christian Louboutin’s Lesage-embroidered tart’s shoes… it means I can live vicariously through those who aren’t suffering as much as me. Personally, I’m still trying to spend a wee bit to keep the economy afloat. What I do is on the days that I’m working from home I have Heinz tomato soup (not the organic one though – too expensive) or beans on toast for lunch, so the tenner-a-day lunch budget saved goes on a Wagamama/Busaba/Harvey Nicks lunch on the days I’m out and about. (Back in the days when I had an office job I was laughed at for my lavish takeaway lunches but I’m sorry, I don’t do sandwiches – too depressing – plus I need a hot meal and lunchtime is the highlight of my day!)

Anyway I digress. Roberto Cavalli has collaborated with Mastercard on a super-swanky credit card. Here’s the blurb:
‘Created for those who thrive upon excellence, elegance and quality, “The Cavalli Card” promises cardholders a host of premium benefits – each specifically tailored to their needs and lifestyle. Dedicated VIP services at every Cavalli boutique across the world; access to special sales, both in Cavalli retail outlets and online; exclusive invitations to prestigious events, fashion shows and trunk shows: these are just some of the many “deluxe” services offered to the carholders.’

Sigh. See anything wrong with this picture? My problem isn’t the at-odds-with-the-times flashiness but with the brand itself. I’d love all those benefits, just not with Cavalli. However if Acne, APC, Margaret Howell or Chloe decided to do the same, I’d sign up straight away.



Pop-up shop alert!




Recessions stink but if there’s one small redeeming factor it’s the Dunkirk spirit that seems to be bringing out the creative mojo in everyone. I’m loving the idea of ‘Rag and Bow’ a pop-up vintage shop that will be in situ at 47 Lambs Conduit Street, WC1 for two weeks only! Resourceful recessionista, Hazel Holtham is the brains behind the business. Hazel usually brings her vintage fairs straight to customers’ living rooms (with free champagne and retro Ipod tunes thrown in) but from 16th- 27th February you’ll be able to browse her wares while chomping on a bespoke cupcake or two.

[Pic: www.myspace.com/ragandbow]



More on trunk shows



Further to yesterday’s post, retail blogger Bish Shops alerted me to the following news on trunk shows:

NEIMAN MARCUS PLANS SHOWS TO ENTICE TOP CUSTOMERS TO BUY NEW LINES AT FULL PRICE
Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus Group Inc is to set up special trunk shows and meetings with designers for its best customers in a bid to get them to buy new fashion items at full price.

Engaging Neiman’s core, wealthy customers are the retailer’s “best chance of turning the tide” of deep discounts that is drowning company profits, chief executive Burt Tansky said yesterday.

“The challenge that we have is to get the customer back into the store to buy at full price, because none of us can continue to sell at promotional prices and deep discounts,” Tansky told the National Retail Federation annual convention in New York. “First of all, there’s no advantage to it. Second of all it leads to hell … and it’s got to stop.”

Privately-held Neiman Marcus is testing several marketing ideas across its 40 signature stores, including bringing in groups of 20-30 shoppers for special events, Tansky said.

“We have a number of things going on and already we are starting to understand that our customer, the affluent customer, will come into the stores if we create the right environment,” he said. He noted that some clients said they felt uncomfortable “shopping ostentatiously… Our challenge is to break through that mindset”.

[Source: WGSN]