Wednesday, November 4, 2015

every day is a holiday

Paul Stuart Catalog Link

If it's not obvious, I must tell you - I am obsessed with luxury retail.  It's in my blood.  Anyone can learn any retail point of sale system, discover the heritage and codes of a House or brand, and practice the recommend sales techniques desired.  You can teach the systems of retail and provide the tools for success.  But you can't force the necessary passion, excitement, and quest for excellence.

On the professional side of retail, we're always planning ahead - usually 6-12 months, on average.  Designers are creating, sewing, and crafting their visions for 2017.  Planners are already allocating merchandise for summer 2016, and it's just barely fall 2015!  Sales history, market demographic demands, and consumer trends all help formulate which items go where, in specific color and quantity, to tell a specific story, set a specific trend, and provide "just enough" inventory "just in time" for the consumers.

On the customer side of retail, we always want "just enough" merchandise "just in time" - you want to see the trends from magazines, pop culture, and celebrity influence, a moment or so before you actually want to buy it.  You hope your purchases are seasonally appropriate, in both color and fabric weight, but still en trend.

At this time each year, customers always comment / complain that "Christmas (items) is coming sooner and sooner".  Maybe it's the strong nostalgic characteristics I hold close to my heart - but I absolutely love it.  Holidays are everything to me - because they represent quality time with family and friends, with a joyous and warm atmosphere, filled with cheer and positivism.

When someone wishes me a "Happy Hannukah" or a "Blessed Eid al-Fitr" with a warm smile and twinkle in their eye, even though I'm not Jewish or Muslim, I take it as the highest compliment and best wishes.  It's more specific than "have a great weekend!" and more personal than "have a good day".  "Happy Holidays!" seems very generic, non-specific, and forced.  And there's nothing generic, non-specific, or forced about luxury retail.  Luxury retail is all about the relationship - knowing your clients, their tastes, their preferences, and their practices.  As a salesperson, I would send a tailored, holiday-appropriate card with wishes for a myriad of holidays and celebrations. If I didn't know someone's religious or cultural affiliation, I'd defer to "Merry Christmas / Happy Easter" - a safer, yet still genuine, greeting. If nothing, clients knew that, as a practicing Roman Catholic and Christian, those holidays are important to me.

This really is the most wonderful, whimsical time of year.  You know that feeling you get when you're wrapped in the most luxurious cashmere cardigan, when the air is crisp, and you've spent an extra moment decorating your home, enjoying the company of friends and family, feasting on fabulous food and drink?  That's what luxury retail is like for me every day.  It's comforting, it's encouraging, it's enjoyable, it's special. 
Woodland Creatures Scarf link

Paul Stuart's Zig Zag Ripped Stitch Cashmere Cardigan 
• Zig zag ribbed cashmere
• Button & Zip front
• Ribbed mock neck, cuffs & waistband
• Contrast cashmere flannel inside placket
• Made in Italy
US$ 1,547.00

Paul Stuart's Woodland Creatures Silk and Wool Scarf
• Woodland creatures
• Silk & wool
• Reversible
• Self fringe
• 12" x 72"
• Made in England
US$ 247.00

If you're not familiar with Paul Stuart, imagine the sartorial solution for living with style + class.  With more than 70 years of consistent contribution to the world of luxury and living with purpose to the best of your ability, Paul Stuart is an American brand for the edited, the edgy, and the exceptionally dressed.  Love, not logos.  Perfect patterns.  Durable, delightful fabrics.  When you're wearing Paul Stuart, your words are colored and your verbs are textured.   Seamless.  Purposeful.  Top notch.  Think Cary Grant and Fred Astaire.  Paul Stuart is many things.  He's glamourous.  He's jetset.  His wife is even more beautifully presented.  Classic elegance for a better tomorrow.  The Paul Stuart Man is a little dangerous, a little dashing, has a reckless disregard for the impossible, and is intrinsically elegant everyday.  He's many things.  And the Paul Stuart Man is equally not a lot of things.  Paul Stuart is not pretentious, stuffy, rigid, or out of touch.  On the contrary, Paul Stuart is aspirational, inspirational, and truly extraordinary.

I must admit - I don't own anything from Paul Stuart. Yet.  But after seeing the great care, love, and brilliance sewn into every fibre, I know this is a brand I'll grow to love and appreciate.  If you value style + class, refinement, and an everyday elegance, I know you'll love it, too.  I imagine Paul Stuart like Christmas, your birthday, and the swankiest New Years' Eve Party, all rolled into one gorgeous ensemble.

Beyond.  Beautiful.  Be well. 

Check it out for yourself:
New York: Madison Ave. at 45th
Chicago: 107 East Oak and 208 South LaSalle
Washington, DC: 906 I Street NW
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