Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Internal Ramblings of a Fashion Victim Vol. 3

The Returns...

Well, us fashionistas are known to return things once in a while – often when the guilt of a purchase eats away at us and ‘common sense’ prevails. We have built up the purchase, now we have to psych ourselves into the return – which, lets admit is, is a daunting prospect!

So you have the item and you are ready to make the return, you have read the policy, you are within the guidelines and you have the receipt or email and its in perfect condition. You have practised the speech, covering all the bases of why and have settled on a ‘phrase’.   

Ok you are ready, time to make the trip into the store– you open the door, and you are filled with dread – what if they ask you lots of questions, what if they are mean to you – what if they judge me!!! All the inner monologue of a fashionista caught in a return dilemma. Keep calm!

Deep breath and “I would like to return this please” – you are often greeted with a semi –nice response of “is there anything wrong with it” – that’s fine you can handle this, you are prepared – you have rehearsed this – and you utter “Nope, just don’t like it”. You don’t need to tell them that you cannot afford to eat if you keep it and you longingly look at it daily, filled with lust of its magnificentness! Or the fact that your arse looks like a lumpy pillow in the awful fabric – no one needs to know – it can just be a secret! But, what’s this, they want to chat to you – no, that wasn’t in your plan – they want to distract you, while they get a manager, show you other equally lovely things they ‘know’ you will like. The trickery!

What is happening – you need the money back – you don’t need to exchange it – stay strong – you can do it! And then you see it –the perfect piece you have longed for – all hope of a balanced bank account is gone – you are their slave – you have fallen into their trap.  They tell you the super powers the item possesses, why you need it and then finish with grand slam “its on offer with 10% off right now”.

I am positive that sales assistants take classes in witchery – with all their smiles, and magic words that make you agree with them and purchase things – Hogwarts illumni I am sure.

So your easy return has now resulted in an exchange, and you are giving them more money to pay the difference! Epic fail – you have fallen into the trap and are now going to have to find another store location to make this return – repeating the whole process again! But this time, you will prevail, you will come out on top – you have to, or its beans on toast for the rest o the month!

The lesson in this is to shop online, surely! You don’t need to purchase from a person/witch, who tricks you into purchasing fabulous things. Nope, the computer power rules! A simple, easy fill in the form and send it back job – yes please – online shopping it is.... but first you need to set the online shopping mood, the new imac in rose gold – a total necessity!  A selection of candles from Jo Malone and the ‘perfect’ drink in the fabulous glassware you just saw in Zara – so a quick nip round the shops to prepare yourself for your future of ‘hassle free’ online shopping – sorted! How clever you are!

Monday, 24 October 2016

The internal ramblings of a fashion victim vol.2

Navigating the Sales:

Every true fashion follower knows that a sale is something to plan, save for and ultimately grab the best bits you have been coveting for the past season but have been just out of your reach.

Now is the time, whether you have received an email, have the inside scoop or are on count down – with the hope (and prayer) that they will have a sale!  You have saved, you have resisted every temptation to purchase that one thing that is so expensive that you just couldn’t justify living on beans for a month and you are ready. 

Now, will this be an online transaction or will it be a run to the shops, elbows at the ready to fend off the other, equally keen fashion slaves kind of day? What are you prepared for?

Well the online option means endlessly refreshing the home page to get the “SALE NOW ON’ flashing at you with its twinkly, tempting eyes popping across your screen. But, and this is a big but, what if there are too many people trying to purchase – trying to buy the same thing – what if it takes down the site, what if your band width is just not quick enough? These are all valid and totally non-neurotic thoughts! Ultimately the benefits are sitting in your pyjamas, eating a pizza while you casually add the items to the imaginary shopping cart - hit purchase and voila they are yours – but this is very much the positive spin! You could have 2 devices on the go at once- the phone and the computer – maybe even the ipad – just in case – and operate a mini buying computer lab! That’s possible, and you could even have a few sites on the go at once – covering way more ground that if you were running round the shops – that would require a league table of which item was the favourite and that’s just not possible!

Ok so the pros are sitting at home like a slob, casually cruising the sites and purchasing at leisure – then a few days later having a Christmas type experience when they all arrive. The cons – what if the internet has a Y2K moment and the whole thing dies on you – crashed sites, slow internet, people getting there before you and that’s it – you lose it all?! Hmmmmm – ok so the other option is go and get them….

You have to dress the part, first and foremost – get your look ready – the perfect balance of   ‘I love fashion as much as you v’s I mean business and can move like a ninja around this store’ . Once that’s down, you then must plan your moves – which item means the most to you – that is your first stop. If possible you could always plan to purchase items where they are under one store – that would be great – but they may not offer the best discount – again major research and strategic planning must be put into this!

So my main advise is to wear trainers or ballet flats – great for running through the doors like a woman possessed, have a small cross body bag – so you are not having to put it down while you rummage – nope that’s not practical and you may lose it in the caos. You don’t want scarves, hats or any other loose items that are going to get in your way of quick manoeuvres – think streamline, sleek and ready to pounce.  A bottle of water is a necessity, as is a little energy snack – this could turn into an all day affair and you will require nourishment!

You have to remain polite, keep you composure – you don’t want to seem like a total nutter – then add a smidge of ‘I am the boss, don’t mess with me’.  You certainly do not want to be one of those devil ladies in the Daily Mail on boxing day – wresting last seasons Gucci from the clutches of another, equally mental opponent – that is just embarrassing. You make your decision quickly and get to the checkout FAST! You are done. Repeat all these steps for every purchase!

Avoid the need to buy non-coveted, desired items no matter what the discount  - you don’t need them – your mission is to get in and get out, get the things you love, have been wanting for ages and have 101 outfits ready and waiting for its arrival. The non-essential purchases will weigh you down; will not be used and next season something better will be waiting in its place!

You are ready – on your marks, get set…..GO!

Friday, 14 October 2016

The internal Ramblings of a Fashion Victim Vol 1.

For the next few blogs I am going to write about my internal ramblings…..

The internal Ramblings of a Fashion Victim Vol 1. 

The obsession….

Every fashionista knows this feeling, a desire so strong that you dream about said coveted item. You plan endless outfits around the piece you don’t own, give yourself 100 reasons why you NEED it, what you could use it for. The list goes on and on. The obsessive need to talk about it with fellow fashionistas, without giving too much away so they don’t steal your fashion plan and beat you to it. You trawl the internet looking for the best deal, voucher codes, loyalty schemes – anything to make the item within reach until….finally it is yours!

The day arrives, if you are going into town to make the purchase it would be rude not to dress up on such an important occasion. You plan your look, do your hair just right, and figure out the plan of action. Now, this is an important decision, one that has to be carefully reviewed and mulled over – to take someone with you, or not?

Do you take your friend A who may not understand the need for the item, try and discourage you – giving you 100 reasons why you should not make the purchase and then end the conversation rather grumpily with “well its up to you”.  She’s right it is a lot of money; I do need to eat, travel, work and well, basically survive this month. What if we think about it, yes that’s sensible. As you look at the sales assistant and say those dreaded words “we’ll come back, we are just going for lunch and will have a think’. No sales assistant believes this, everyone knows your stalling, that friend A is going to work her magic on you and taint your special purchase day!  As you plop off to lunch and eat carbs, followed by sugar your weigh up the pros and cons – pros you have all the outfits in your head ready to go, plus you know of at least 3 events, no maybe 4 that you can wear it to. So that’s good and resourceful, no? Cons, you cant afford it. Well that’s only one con when I have 3 possibly 4 reasons why I can have it.  Maybe it’s the sugar overload but you suddenly feel inspired. Yes, it is ok, I can have it – I just wont buy another thing for at least 2 months – ok maybe until I get paid again – but then it will just be a small thing – only a perk me up thing – just to keep me going until the next ‘IT’ thing. It’s fine, she will understand – wont she? She wont mind going back there, oh well she might. Maybe I could just go back – maybe I leave and go back – I could sneak there – this is ridiculous, I am an adult. Ok, nope I am sneaking she looks ready to leave – yup going alone….”SO, I was thinking I am just going to go home and think about the (fill in the blank)…BYE” now you’re free to purchase in peace – oh nope that bitter taste of friend A’s opinion is still there – maybe you will just go home and think (obsess) some more and see if there are any deals/sales/vouchers that are new – or anyone going anywhere abroad soon that could get it at the airport – yes that’s what you’ll do – plan the purchase, refine it, and ultimately perfect the purchase plan.

OR do you take friend B who eggs you on, the one who gives you the final push, reaffirms it gorgeousness, and agrees that you MUST have this item in your life? OH but this type of friend is dangerous – not only do they tell you that you need the already well out of your budget coveted piece, but why not buy the matching shoes/bag/wallet or whatever vaguely related item there may be. Now you are really screwed! You feel elated at the time, nodding in anticipation of all the fabulouness that is about to be bestowed upon you – ‘yes, she’s right – I DO NEED the matching gloves – they would totally complete the look’ – you go along with it all and hand over your card willingly – smiling ear to ear, as they wrap it up in its finest packaging – as the sales assistant rambles on and on about all the magical properties the new items posses. You skip away with your new purchase, off for lunch, to celebrate your epic fashion prowess – and then it starts. The slight panic, you ignore it. You will just have the salad, oh wait the garlic bread is cheaper – you will just have that. Your not that hungry anyway – you needed to lose a few pounds. Oh I wonder if this restaurant is on a voucher app – maybe we can get a deal. You get home, you place the new item careful on your bed and stand back and admire its specatualrness and congratulate yourself on such an amazing purchase. Didn’t you do well!!! Oh, the other item is in there too – you haven’t really fallen in love with it yet – but its ok, you will, of course you will.

While lying in bed that evening, smiling at your cleverness of being such a fashion forward thinking individual you get the panic – the dread – the sudden realisation that you have 101 bills to pay, a holiday to plan, food to order –

Its ok, be rational – you can deal with it in the morning – but those weeks of dreaming about pretty things, planning outfits and events are now filled with nightmares – how will I survive – I wonder if I can steal from the office fridge – no one will notice – right? At least I will look fabulous, right – nope it’s tainted. The only solution is to make the mature, sensible decision to take back all your ‘add-ons’ the bits your ‘supportive bestie’ told you that you needed. Return them and keep endlessly checking your bank account until the money has cleared – if required you can phone your bank and or store to hurray it along. Yup that’s what I have to do. BUT, now your really thinking – do I need the original item, was that a frivolous, waste of money – no one likes a friend who cant pay her way! What if I lose my friends?  What if they all talk about me and my bad spending, poor taste, oh god this is awful. What if I just wear it once, then return it – that won’t hurt will it? OR what if I make myself a deal and keep it for 6 months – count the amount of times used and figure out the price per usage – if its paid its way then fine, if not – ebay? Yes, that’s the plan – return the add-ons and ebay the original. Sorted…..just as well I am a logical, practical person who has a positive spin on everything – right?

Lesson learned – never go shopping with friend B again – or maybe she could come with me when I return these bits, just for company – I did see a great top I would like her opinion on. AND SO IT CONTINUES… new rules of shopping for a ridiculously over priced and prized object – go alone!

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Wild West of East Scotland

A little hidden gem in my home town of Edinburgh is our Wild West! 

We have a hidden set that looks like it has just come out of a cowboy flick. I love westerns and when I found out - I moseyed on down to check it out myself.

Hidden down an alley in the Morningside area of Edinburgh there is a Wild West painted set. I believe that It was built in 1995 by Michael Faulkner as part of a furniture business, which specialised in Southwestern American style. It took 6 months to complete, and was painted by one of the artists in residence who happened to be a set designer for Euro Disney - very handy! 

It is listed as an 'attraction' on Trip Advisor although if you blink you will miss it ! Morningside is one of the nicest parts of the city, and if you are at a loose end and fancy a wander try and track this little alley down and take some cowboy inspired snaps. Although the weather may not be that of the desert - the set sure does look like a bar brawl may burst out of the swinging doors and onto the the 'mean streets of the Burgh' - its a fun find and well worth a look when you are next in town! 

address: Springvalley Gardens, MorningsideEdinburgh

Monday, 23 May 2016

My Business Influence

Some may know that I was a Fashion Stylist for a LONG time (well long in terms of fashion) - working for high profile publications, international brands and celebrities. It was great, I travelled the world, made great friends, worked hard and was well respected and 'known'. 

However, after 8 years styling, it was time for a change. I had always fallen down the vintage look, often picking items that had that 40's or 50's flavour to them. It was something that I had worn for years myself, scouring vintage and charity shops. I felt it was time to leave styling, and jump head first into the vintage biz. SO, in 2013 thats what i did! 

Now, I have to explain, I am not a 'business brain', I am terrible with numbers - but I am great with ideas and the final outcome. However, I am very, very lucky: My father is a well respected and very successful business man - who kept me on the right path while I dreamed of prom dresses and bowling shirts. What makes my dad so successful is that he has the perfect pairing of creativity and business brain - he understands where I am coming from - and often encourages my madness - but then reigns me in when i have gone to 'crazy town'. 

It has always been hard, I often wake up and think ' I want a normal job' or 'I want a 9-5' - to do something that is easier than working for yourself. The problem is I have never seen that, my dad has always been self employed - he is his own boss. I also don't have the brain to sit and do one task - when I have had had jobs - I am off trying to restructure or push for new things - or new brand ideas - I cant just be! 

As a woman, and especially one that was so young when I decided to branch out by myself - I needed support and guidance - and better still, someone to call and share all the good and not so good things that were happening. This is something we all need in life, never mind business - but I am fortunate to have both. 

When it came to starting Campbell Crafts, my father thought I was mad - he didn't quite get the vintage inspired boutique idea - however he was on board and as the orders started to come in - he was there to help me steer the ship. He did all the work on Bonnie our Airstream Boutique, turning her from a rusty tin can to a shopable glamazon! 

In 2015, we won our first award ' Best Online Boutique' at the National Vintage Awards - something that I am hugely proud of! However, my father, Alistair Campbell trumped any success I will ever have and was awarded his OBE this year - for services to the Economy and Town Regeneration. Never had it been more deserved! 

I work very hard, and I am conscious of peoples opinions of ' you wouldn't of got where you are without your father'. You are absolutely right, I wouldn't of. However, to say it in a way that implies that I have not worked hard, dug deep, sacrificed or that the only reason I have achieved anything is because my father did it for me is false. Campbell Crafts is my business and I am very proud of it - and I am also very blessed to have an amazing business brain to pick when the times get hard or I need advice or some silly jargon explained to me!!!! 

2016 is sure to bring yet more surprises, and I am ready for what it has to offer!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Digital Vs Vintage

In the digital age we are now living – it is a direct juxtaposition to the vintage life we all lead – we may wear girdles and dream of driving cars from 1955 but we post about it all and shop for it online!

I of course own a vintage inspired boutique – which is predominantly online. We attend events, have concession stores and hopefully we will look at pop up boutiques. I shop online too. I am always looking for vintage pieces on Etsy, or scrolling Facebook pages for amazing one offs, never mind all the amazing repro brands out there! Yes we stock a number of them – but sometimes you want something you don’t have! It’s a thrill, now we don’t always wear vintage, I am prone to the joggers, glasses and vest top, while slobbing around in the house, and that’s what’s even more interesting, we can be purchasing these fabulous frocks from the 40s yet living in a very un-40s way!

I love it! its all about contrast, mixing old and new worlds. The same goes for vintage, now there are some vintage snobs out there, who really dislike the idea of repro. I get it – you want to be authentic. But is it authentic that you are posting the photos of you sporting your amazing wears on Instagram? No! Repro has a firm place in the vintage world, they are produced with new technology, making them machine washable (yipppeee) and to modern day sizing – meaning you can be over 5ft3 and a UK10 to wear them. 

Just as much as we adore shopping the digital way, it is nice to touch and feel, plus try on – of course I get that. But some days, you just want to sit at home, and do nothing . What better way of feeling like you have achieved, even something small – than when you score that fabulous Mexican jacket for an absolute steal price online. It opens up the world to us, we can shop in Australia, America, France, we can chat to other like-minded people across the globe and see how they are representing the vintage life.

I love that we mix and match our lifestyle, and have created anew vintage, not a crappy 80s does 50s but a new authentic way of being vintage mad! Long may it live, and screw what Orwell said – the digital age has its perks – like a 50% off sale on shoes you just need to have…. in America!!!!