Recently I bought these Kata tights by Karma at my Pure Barre Studio. AT FULL PRICE. I did this because I love Karma tights (this is my second pair) and I desperately needed a new pair of tights that fit (I bought these in a size SMALL. SMALL!!!!). And they were right there in front of me; I could take them home right then, and wear them to class the next day if I wanted to.
A few days later I was browsing Nordstrom’s activewear section and saw that the pants were on sale there for $68 – nearly $30 less than what I paid for them. Instantly, I berated myself a little for not checking there first (because how did I not remember that they were at Nordstrom? and that they’d go on sale eventually…I AM a shopping blogger…) and getting them for less.
But then, as I thought more about it, I reminded myself that I love the pants, believe they’re worth full-price, AND that I helped support a fellow female entrepreneur by buying from her independent boutique. No one at Nordstrom would have been particularly impacted by my purchase, but I know that my studio owner IS.
If everyone was like me and shopped around like a maniac before buying something, then she might not be able to keep up her retail business available for the other women who rely on her as an easy way to get workout clothing that is high-quality and most of the time eco-friendly. Small, independent boutiques struggle to survive amidst constant discounting and competition, but they are so important.
While I do try and purchase garments that are made in the US – or as with Karma, made in Canada (close by anyway!), I don’t spend enough of my money at smaller boutiques. I have spent a disproportionate amount of my clothing “budget” lately at James Perse and Splendid, so maybe that counts, but I’m not sure it’s “enough.” Part of my frustration is the pricing though, even at Steven Alan, James Perse, etc., prices are very high, and sale cycles are fewer and farther between. Every dollar off helps, so I search around online until I can find the best deal. (sometimes the best deal IS at an independent retailer)
I’m not saying I won’t continue to do that, but I would like to be more aware of what and when I can purchase from a smaller boutique, and in person. I’m enjoying the personal interaction I get shopping in person lately, and I would love to be just a teeny-tiny reason why we still HAVE small, independent boutiques in this country.
So, I’m proud that I bought my Karma tights where and from whom I did.
What about you? Would you ever purchase something from an independent retailer instead of a big-box store? Even if you end up paying more for it? Have you done that? Or is getting the very best deal the highest priority for you?
Am perhaps the worst shopper for bargains in the whole wide world:). So you could slip 60% and still be ahead of me. You’re welcome:).
Lisa´s last blog post ..An Object Of Desire: Metallic Sandals
Grechen Reiter says
haha! thanks lisa 🙂
I really try to give business to small boutiques when I can. I do look for the best deals I can, too, but if I fall in love with something at a boutique, I tend to give them my money and business.
That being said, I do but more online and look for deals…we have a few boutiques where I live, but in general the clothes shopping isn’t awesome, so I tend to shop more online.
Good for you for buying local and spreading the word! I get most of my clothes second-hand, but when I do buy something new, it’s usually in a boutique or direct from the designer/maker. I love going to craft fairs and buying clothes there. In fact, today I’m wearing leggings that I bought last weekend at a craft fair, direct from the designer/maker. They were $49 and are made of bamboo and are uber comfy. Can’t beat that at a big-box store. Also on the weekend I bought a tunic direct from the designer (Veronique Miljkovitch) at a local boutique; she was having a trunk sale and was there for consultation. Her stuff is made in Montreal. Cheaper than big-name designer stuff made overseas. No-brainer really; you just need to know where to go to find locally made stuff. Oh, and thanks for buying Canadian, eh. 🙂
I think this is so great. I wish I had more local designers to support. I live in Santa Fe, and while we are surrounded by art and culture, fashion is lacking. I’m an NYC transplant, so my standards are pretty high! Whenever I go home to NY I am blown away by all of the incredible independent designers all over the city. You can’t beat their prices, either. I like Etsy a lot for this reason…though so far I’ve only browsed, not bought. A new designer just appeared here that is making gorgeous casual clothes (she has a sweatshirt dress identical to JP that is lovely), but the prices are incredibly high, particularly for very casual wear.
I try to support smaller companies when I can. Just placed an order with Emerson Fry…and I tend to shop local boutiques when traveling.
I think that if we stop supporting our local boutiques, they will vanish and then shopping will be relegated to online, which really changes things. Definitely not what I want to see. It’s hard to beat big box free shipping and returns policies, and of crosse no sales tax…though it all goes in line with buying fewer, better things. That’s from the company Cuyana…
Grechen Reiter says
ah!!! have been working on another post featuring emerson fry…and my husband is on his way back from santa fe right now! he wasn’t very excited to go (for a conference), but now he’s saying that we should do a road trip sometime. santa fe is definitely somewhere i’d love to visit, and now i know who to look up when i’m there 😉
you’re right, i don’t want to see the independent boutiques go away…i’m always amazed though, that they do manage to stay open. but from what i know, they have very loyal clientele, many of whom purchase sight unseen, and keep the rent paid… i can’t do THAT, but i can make more of an effort to shop smaller. i do generally shop smaller than say, wal-mart, but not small enough most of the time LOL
Grechen Reiter says
haha! you’re welcome 🙂
i do need to scope out more interesting places here in dallas. there are A LOT of high-end designer boutiques, and steven alan, tenoversix, etc., but i don’t know about the indie designer scene here. in austin, everyone was a designer. or THOUGHT they were …another story altogether!!
Ah, come visit! Santa Fe is a pretty incredible place…good for the soul. I’m glad your husband enjoyed his time here, despite being less than psyched about his trip. Life in the mountains does have it’s perks…
I was raised by a mom who loved to bargain shop. We’d go on all-day shopping excursions, usually hitting up several malls, and scouring them for the best deal before making a purchase. It’s tough to get myself past the hurdle of thinking it’s more virtuous to buy on-sale. But I’ve got a very certain sense of my style and brands, and while my mom thinks that I “over-reach” my station in life, I know that some things are WORTH paying full-price for, and I do. I love the independent boutiques in my area, I’m very lucky to have such great choices close by, and I try to purchase from them when I find something that is on my list. I want them to be in my community for a long, long time!
Grechen Reiter says
you DO Have some amazing boutiques in your area!!!
so funny you brought up shopping with your mom- i never thought about the ways in which we shop similarly, but we do. i remember shopping loehmann’s, TJ maxx, marshalls, etc., but at the same time Jacobson’s (higher-end) and macy’s, so we were exposed to lots of price ranges. she mostly bought on sale, but i don’t remember that it was a priority for her. it’s still the same way; she has things she will pay full-price for, but only after shopping around to make sure she’s getting the best price….
If it’s something that is mass-produced I either wait for sale or buy it from Nordstroms because they haave the best customer service of any store, they do price-matching and have a very generous return policy.
If it’s something I love, one of a kind and a perfect fit from a boutique or when traveling, I am more likely to pay full price.
But I use Hukkster, even for stuff from Anthro and Steven Alan.
I don’t want to play “blame the mom” (!!!), but her attitudes and behaviors with shopping definitely shaped how I see it. I’m trying to unlearn some of those lessons, such as impulse buying just because an item is on-sale and hiding the packages from your spouse when you get home! (That was a regular thing!)