How to Dress For Less – High Fashion on a Low Budget

Members-only websites

These websites offer customers the chance to be the first at online sales. Once you’ve signed up you’ll be sent an email alerting you to the start of the sale so you can get straight there and start grabbing those bargains before everyone else.

Join a site that offers registration for free. Also, these sites do tend to email quite often so if that sort of thing drives you crazy set up a separate email account.

Head to designer sample-sale fashion site Cocosa to get your hands on designer pieces with up to 50-80% off. This fashion club offers members insider access to premium designer clothes and accessories. Each sale is announced to members in advance by e-mail. Previous collections include Christian Lacroix and Jonathan Saunders.

Koodo is ideal for fashion fans who want big savings on designer clobber. The site is really easy to navigate and when you sign up to become a member you’ll get early access to top sales so you can grab the best bargains before they go. All you have to do is check the sale calendar, select the sales you’re interested in and Koodos will email you 24hrs before it starts.

Another great website is Secret Sales where you can save between 30% and 80% on lots of designer gear by the likes of Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.

Other good websites to sign up to include Fashion Confidential, Catwalk to Closet, Private Outlet and Dress for Less.

Factory outlets

These offer lots of big label names at cheaper prices. The Designer Warehouse Sales, for example, are held over three days, 12 times a year, in Islington, Central London. You could get your hands on catwalk one-offs, showroom samples and make savings of 60% or more on your favourite labels. Join the mailing list to find out in advance when the sales are going to take place.

Sample Sales

There are some amazing bargains to be had in sample sales. You can find out before everyone else when the next sample sale is by checking Dailycandy which lists the venues and times of upcoming sample sales in London.

Other sites such as Samplesaleslondon, Designersales and Stylebible have their own sample sales diaries too so keep an eye on all four to make sure you don’t miss out.

Vintage Savings

Vintage fairs are perfect for saving money while not compromising on style. From whole outfits to smaller accessories, there’s almost guaranteed to be something unique for every budget. Frockme! hosts a vintage fair several times a year at the Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, Chelsea. Admission is £4, children under 16 go free and students pay just £2. You’ll find clothes from every era, whether you’re looking for 1920’s flapper dresses, a little eighties number or a classic 1960s piece.

Anita’s Vintage Fashion Fairs organises vintage fairs throughout the year at Battersea Arts Centre and 20th Century Theatre, Notting Hill. Expect around 65 stands in Battersea and 28 stands in Notting Hill, full to the brim with fashion, textiles and accessories dating from the 1800’s to 1970’s. Entry is £4 or £2 for students.

VintageFair – which hosts fairs all over England including Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Liverpool – is also worth a look. Click on the links to your nearest location to find out when and where the next event takes place.

For online vintage stores Absolutevintage is a good starting point with lots of accessories, shoes and bags on offer as well as a few dresses. There are detailed descriptions of all the items and although you won’t find any designer pieces it is pretty cheap and there are some gorgeous pieces for anyone on a budget who is looking for that vintage look.

Marthascloset also has some affordable pieces from the 50s right through to the 80s. The sale section at Martha’s Closet is particularly good – you can often find items being offered for under £10.

Pretaportobello sells wares from the ultra trendy Portobello Road. There can be some real treasures and it’s great for finding one-off pieces.

Swap it

WhatsMineIsYours was the first British online fashion swap shop and was founded in 2004 by stylist and personal shopper, Judy Berger. Visitors can swap, buy and sell fashion items making high style affordable and environmentally friendly. There are also boutiques selling the wares of up-and-coming new designers and vintage sellers.

The website now has over 13,000 regular users so there are plenty of items to choose from. There’s nothing to stop you swapping your swaps – in fact, you could keep swapping and get yourself a new dress every couple of weeks!

Don’t buy – borrow instead!

Sites like Girlmeetsdress allow members to rent beautiful designer instead of buying them. All of the items are new or nearly new and with some retailing at thousands of pounds it can be a good way to feel a million dollars without needing the bank balance to match. Handbagsfromheaven works in a similar fashion – opt either for Pay As You Go and hire as and when you like with no commitment, or become a member and get a 15% discount off all prices.

Commercial Agents – Key Sales Pitch Tips and Objectives

Before you as a commercial property agent do a sales pitch to a client to potentially list their commercial property, it pays to understand and set the strategy you will adopt. You need to define your targets of the process. Clarity is important.

Given that each property is different, the strategy and your sales pitch should also be distinctly different and unique given the elements of the property and the circumstances of the market. You are the expert agent and you need to show exactly what is going on out there today.

Here are some ideas and processes to feed into the presentation:

  1. Firstly get to the real facts of the client and their needs today. They will have special concerns about taking their property to the market today. They will also have certain criteria that must be satisfied for the marketing and negotiation to be successful. Ask the right questions until you really know what they want to do and why.
  2. Given the previous point above, develop a clear understanding of just what the target market is for the property today. As the local agent you should have a database that gives you a typical profile of the enquiry coming in to your office at the moment and how it can be converted to the property.
  3. The defining of the target market will give you specific ideas as to how you can reach the target audience through direct marketing and consistent effort.
  4. Take plenty of photographs around the property before you see the client. You can then put the images on a rolling slide show on your laptop computer to supplement your discussions with the client. Given that the photographs are only of their property, it tends to attract their attention far better than any other laptop use or presentation material.
  5. Have some market evidence and comparable property detail to show the client and to support your discussions. Real numbers and facts from the local area are hard for them to refute.
  6. Carry a variety of marketing examples of similar local properties today. Show the client just how you would use the material to the best of its advantage in attracting more enquiry and better inspections to their property.
  7. Tell the client exactly what the market is looking for today and how you will use that to your advantage in marketing their property.

Far too many agents approach the pitch process generically without much planning. Given that you only spend a small amount of time with the client in the presentation and that the other agents in the local area will be pitching for the same listing, you really do need to think about the sales pitch process before you see the client. Preparation is the key.

Commercial Law – Payment of Commission – Commercial Agency Regulations – Commercial Agent

The case of Heirs of Paul Chevassus-Marche v Groupe Danone and Others (Case C-19/07) [2008], involved a determination on community laws relating to commercial agents. According to Article 7(2) of Council Directive (EEC) 86/653 (On the coordination of the laws of the member states relating to self-employed commercial agents) (“the Directive”):

“A commercial agent shall also be entitled to commission on transactions concluded during the period covered by the agency contract either where he was entrusted with a specific geographical area or group of customers… And where the transaction has been entered into with a customer belonging to that area or group…”.

Article 10 provides as follows:

“(1) The commission shall become due as soon as and to the extent that one of the following circumstances obtains:

(a) the principal has executed the transaction; or the principal should, according to his agreement with the third party, have executed the transaction; or…

(c) the third party has executed the transaction.

(2) The commission shall become due at the latest when the third party has executed his part of the transaction or should have done so if the principal had executed his part of the transaction, as he should have”.

In 1987, the first respondent in this case concluded an exclusive mandate with C. The applicants in this case were heirs to C’s estate. The exclusive mandate concerned the first respondent’s representation of C’s subsidiaries, namely the second and third respondents, in their dealings with the importers, wholesalers and retailers of their goods in a specific geographical area.

Before the termination of that contract, C requested payment of various sums. Such sums included commissions relating to purchases made by two companies established in his geographical area.

The requests for payment were refused on the ground that the purchases concerned had been made from central buying officers or dealers in metropolitan France, an area outside the control of the respondents, and without any action on C’s part.

C then brought an action concerning payment of commission.

The national court made a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The question concerned a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Article 7(2) of the Directive. The question referred by the national court was as to whether Article 7(2) of the directive was to be interpreted as meaning that:

“A commercial agent entrusted with a specific geographical area was entitled to commission where a commercial transaction between a third party and a customer belonging to that area had been concluded without any action, either direct or indirect, on the principal’s part”.

It was held as follows:

The court was of the opinion that

· Article 7(2) of the Directive had to be interpreted as meaning that a commercial agent entrusted with a specific geographical area did not have the right to a commission for transactions concluded by customers belonging to that area without any action, direct or indirect, on the part of the principal.

· Article 7(2) merely refers to any transactions concluded during the period covered by the agency contract. There is no requirement that those transactions had to be entered into with a customer belonging to a geographical area or a group of customers for whom the commercial agent was responsible.

· There is not an express requirement for action on the part of the principal, and there is no requirement for action on the part of the commercial agent.

· However, it should be noted that when considering Article 7(2) in conjunction with Article 10, the commercial agent’s right to commission arises either:

§ when the principal has (or should have) carried out his obligation; or

§ when the third party to the agency contract, namely, the customer, has (or should have) carried out his obligation.

· The presence of the principal in the transactions for which the commercial agent could claim commission was indispensable. It therefore followed that the commercial agent could claim commission. The commercial agent’s claim for commission could be made on the basis of a transaction only to the extent that the principal had acted, directly or indirectly, in the conclusion of that transaction.

· As a result, this meant that it was for the national court to establish:

“Whether or not the evidence before it, assessed in the light of the aim of protecting the commercial agent and of the obligation on the principal to act dutifully and in good faith, allowed it to establish the existence of such action, be that action of a legal nature”.

© RT COOPERS, 2008. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.