Friday, November 26, 2010

Online shopping keeps getting better

A second post about holiday shopping is a second post featuring the Star’s Holiday Gift Guide and Jennifer Wilson’s Yes, there’s an app for that where yours’ truly was interviewed once again.

Whether you shop online or not, there are so many amazing tools these days to help simplify the task of holiday shopping.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bargainista kicks off the holiday shopping season!

Well, I woke up this morning thinking I had less than a week to complete my Chanukah shopping and the countdown to Christmas had begun since we’re exactly one month away, it’s the U.S. Thanksgiving, tomorrow is Black Friday and sandwiching this weekend will be Cyber Monday.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Marketing to women – it’s not about free stuff

If you build it they will come may apply in baseball but not when marketing to women as confirmed by my recent experience attending two conferences* aimed at influential women online, primarily mommy bloggers.**

She’sConnected Conference built a foundation supported by the strength of relationships with brands and an online community platform. It promised to “connect top brands with Canada’s most influential and powerful digital women” for a one-day conference and yes, there’d be swag, lots of swag because that’s what these women want – free stuff. Really?

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Preparation process for the Clothing Show

Since winning tickets to The Clothing Show last spring, Jean Yee and I have been having a lot of email conversations. Well what do you know, she won them again this fall. Rather than ask her for a recap of the show, I asked if she’d share her preparation process with you. As you’ll see, it’s quite intricate.

Planning and preparation for events can at times, take a life of their own, depending on the importance of the event. And the Fall Clothing Show is no different. Autumn is a time when I can take inventory of my fall and winter wardrobe and decide what items can be revived, recycled or retired.

I pondered what is the most efficient and effective way to transition my wardrobe from one season to the next. By strategically organizing, planning and preparing – it became my project to move in my fall wardrobe and move out my summer wardrobe. Nice in theory, but our weather can fluctuate 10ºC to 13ºC in a day. That means we can have 14ºC in the morning and 27ºC by noon. What this means is my wardrobe at this time of year has to accommodate some summer/fall and fall/winter items.

It’s an opportunity for me to ease my transition from my Indian cottons to my cashmere sweaters.

My preparation process to revamp my clothes closet and maximize my Clothing Show shopping experience is as follows:

1. Take a good hard look at my clothes and accessories and throw away what isn’t wearable, give away – to charity, family, friends – and keep what is still useful

2. Look through magazines, in hard copy or online to suss out what to consider as purchases for body type and style

3. Check flyers and newspapers for any sales

4. Window shop at my favourite clothing stores to see what is out there and take note of prices
5. Check my email for those Clothing Show coupons

6. Check the Clothing show vendor section and look at the vendors’ websites

7. On the Clothing Show shopping weekend with list in hand:
  • Bring cash and bring a credit card
  • Dress minimally to be able to slip on clothes easily
  • Take a walk about at the show and check out the booths and take note of which vendors are a must to shop
  • Take in the fashion shows! The stylists put together some fabulous outfits
  • When trying on clothes or accessories, I chat with the vendors and get their opinion; sometimes in the course of conversation, they've helped me find an alternative item or exactly something I've been looking for!
  • It’s a weekend of playing dress up and seeking new items to match my old, find something new or gently used, so I approach it with anticipation to enjoy the experience and shop ’til I drop!
Did you go to The Clothing Show? What did you think? Do you have a preparation process when you go shopping? Share your tips.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Turn old clothes into new cash all year round

In this week’s baby bargainista column, Jenny shares how she turned her daughters’ outgrown clothing and toys into cash – and how you can too.

For a change, instead of writing about getting bargains, I’m writing about giving bargains – selling your pre-loved baby clothes and toys.

Even though I hunt out sales and used clothes whenever possible, when you add it all up I’ve spent quite a bit on clothes for Girl #1 over the last 5 years – and she’s also been gifted with many adorable outfits that were barely worn as she grew quickly into the school-ager she is today. I happily passed many of these on to #2, and now SHE’S growing out of them!

With no future babymaking plans, and no family or friends expecting in the near future, I decided it was time for these togs to find a new home – and figured I might get back a little bit of what I’ve spent while I’m at it!

When looking to sell clothes that are in good condition, you can’t go wrong with Once Upon a Child. I’ve bought many items there over the years and have raved about them in the past – and I’m happy to report that the process of selling clothes and toys to them is easy, painless, and simple. Just bring your items to the store at any time; their staff will comb through them and offer you a fair price (usually $4 for name-brand clothes, $10 and up for large toys such as bouncers) on the spot.

A few tips to keep in mind before you go:
1. If you bring a lot of items, it can take the staff up to an hour to go through them – so you might want to plan to drop off your things, go for coffee, then come back (or risk spending your time shopping in their store as I did, and end up spending as much as you made from selling!)

2. They won’t accept toys without batteries or clothes that haven’t been washed – so come prepared; do any pressing or mending beforehand.

3. They have a very high standard so you may end up taking more items back home with you than you planned. I ended up bringing home a few items that I had thought were in pristine condition – until the staff pointed out faint stains or small tears. Oops!

4. For best results, call ahead to find out what sizes and seasons they’re buying; you might get a better price if the item you’re looking to sell is in demand, or about to be (for example, August is the best time to sell back-to-school stuff like jeans, jackets, and boots).

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