Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Being Preggers is so In

by Jenelle Landgraf

Being preggers is so in....or at least that's what the cute greeting cards by Empty George say (yes - carried exclusively at Mapel - I never miss a chance to put a plug in for great product!).

It does seem like there is something in the water, though. So watch out - YOU may be next. For those who are expecting, and those drinking the water, I have a few insights to offer. Obviously everyone's experience is different so I can only speak to what is going on with me and my belly.

I am now 23 weeks along and it has been quite the all started in Italy in early Sept....wait, I think that's going back too far. Yep, you don't need those details (as good as they may be). Fast forward to early October when the tiredness and nausea set in for a good 5 weeks. I sort of expected that because my twin sister already had a baby and our bodies react pretty similar. The part I didn't expect was how weird it was to do "normal" things.
In Leavenworth, Oktoberfest is the "norm" the first 3 weekends in October. In previous years, I have enjoyed tromping around town with large groups of friends / crazy hat-wearing strangers, eating brats and drinking beer, and maybe even the chicken dance. This year, I still tried on funny hats and joined the group, but it's just not as fun when you're completely sober. The drunken breath of your friends make your stomach turn and that chicken dance just isn't as funny when you have complete control of your balance.

Moving into my 2nd trimester, the nausea subsided, my energy came back, and yet - things are still a little "off". Traveling to market in LA last week was particularly eye-opening in that there are few to none ladies "with child" walking around the fashion district. In fact, I don't think most people in that industry are used to seeing "my kind of people" in person because they all seemed to be wondering what was going on in my stomach region. One of my favorite vendor reps thought I might have a "swollen stomach" and others just sort of avoided looking at my bowl full of jelly.

I did have a funny encounter with a man on the street in LA who informed me that "it's going to hurt really bad. You should get an epidural. And I wouldn't recommend breast-feeding". Ummm - why is some random guy on the street talking to me about breast-feeding? Just because my big belly is in public view, some people think my body is suddenly an appropriate topic of conversation. Odd, I know, but it happened.

As strange as this experience is at times, I am enjoying it and finding ways to feel somewhat normal. For me, having jeans that fit amazing is normal (I know I am spoiled by Mapel's denim selection!). I tried borrowing some maternity jeans or using a belly band with my regular jeans, but just couldn't get the right fit. I finally decided it was necessary to fork over the cash and get a pair of Citizens of Humanity maternity jeans, which are AMAZING. I tried on lots of different brands/fits before choosing this one, and I highly recommend getting a pair if/when you have a bun in the oven. I don't have to constantly pull them up, yet they don't feel too tight. The fit is just perfect and I can tell that they will continue to fit as I grow. If you would like a pair, I do "know someone" who could special order them in your size. Even though Mapel does not "officially" carry maternity clothing, we have a fantastic rep at Citizens who will make it happen for you! (I started this blog with plugging product, so no I am ending it that way!).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mission Accomplished

We came, We got lost, We asked directions, We found our way, We saw, We took pictures, We debated, We negotiated, We edited & We Conquered We're crossing our fingers!!!!

Late last night we returned to Seattle from our one week stint in LA. The trip was super successful. Equal to the level of success was the load of work, late hours and at times mass confusion. Our private label research unearthed answers and alot of hope for our own cute little Mapel apparel collection.

Jenelle and I took part of the weekend off to catch up with some friends and soak up some sunshine.

The 2nd half of the trip was reviewing current and potential new brand collections for spring & summer.

Artillery in hand (business cards, vendor info sheets, camera, Luna bars and pre-natal pills) we went into each meeting with an open to buy dollar amount and our trusty trend direction (see last week's blog entry).

Both Jenelle and I are super excited for our incoming orders.

We want to build our current brands that have strong performance and positive customer feedback. We are editing brands that are lacking and possibly not a good fit for Mapel. We are also adding some new brands that will lend a fresh aesthetic to Mapel and exemplify the boutique experience and individuality we want to focus on going forward.

Below are a few "teasers" for our dear blog readers. I hope you are as excited about our new goodies as we are!!! Cheers to a new year and strong product assortment.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spring-Summer '09 Buying Trip

Jenelle and I are heading off to LA tonight and will be back next Wednesday. We spend our first 2 days in LA devoted to meeting with production facilities and deciding if we want to invest in a private label. I'll have to muster up all my previous knowledge about fit, pattern, sourcing trims, construction quality, etc. etc. Wish me good luck!!!

I'm spending the weekend socializing with some old friends (this visit has been long overdue.... sorry Ali).

The last half of our trip is meeting with our product vendors to peep out spring and summer collections. Both Jenelle and I have analyzed sales reports, vendor performance, margin precentages and many other data reports.
The best part is that we have been in business for over a year- so we have great sales history.
We now have all the date artillery we need to make some educated decisions.

Outside of sales history records we must rely on the "gut instinct" that leads us to edit collections and choose THE product for Mapel. I've compiled a list of trends I will be keeping my "trained eye" out for.

*Pink (my sister should be happy about this one)
*Colorful Cardigans
*Carryall" Purses
*One Shoulder Dress
*Graphic Prints
*Big & Bold Jewelry (maybe even enamel- your welcome Brooke)
*High Water Pants with Stilettos

Below are spring '09 ready to wear runway pics to highlight said trends:

Chloe Spring 2009

Burberry Prorsum Spring 2009

Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2009

Marni Spring 2009

Roberto Cavalli Spring 2009

Salvatore Ferragamo Spring 2009

Dear Readers,
For those of you that got this far into the blog and are still reading please leave us a comment with your trend prediction for spring & summer. Let us know what trends, vendors, silhouettes, colors, price points, etc. etc. etc. what you want Mapel to showcase this spring & summer.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Conceivable, Believable & Attainable

Lightning struck me last Saturday night when I was talking with Allison about New Year's Resolutions. Most of them are so cliché and almost annoying.
However- Allison shared her resolution from last year and I was immediately inspired. Not only
was it entirely attainable but totally valuable and almost novel. (are you super curious what it was......?)

Last Year Allison resolved to minimize and hopefully diminish the amount of to-go coffee paper cups she would use. She gathered a handful of washable coffee tumblers and kept them in her car. When a java urge arrived she grabbed one of her tumblers and immediately reduced her carbon footprint.
Super easy, specific to her lifestyle and has nothing to do with the gym. I love it!!!!!

This made me realize that New Years Resolutions don’t have to be annoying and cliché’. I sent off a quick email to a few friends and asked for their “Conceivable, Believable & Attainable" resolutions and was quite impressed with my findings.

Penny Gowen:
“So you know all of those gwp (gift with purchase) bags you get from Clinique, Lancome etc. I am going to keep some in my car and use them for grocery bags. That way I don't have to use the plastic bags from the store or buy tote bags and I am totally using something I already have that was otherwise sitting and collecting dust. You know we all have these somewhere in the back of the closet :)”

Brooke Prince:
“I forced myself to eat more (as well as use new and different) vegetables & fruit on a regular basis. I signed up for weekly organic veggie & fruit delivery service that also supports local farms, fair trade and all that. Now I can say I have eaten kale, mustard greens & ugli fruit.”

Jenelle Landgraf:
“This year I resolve to stop letting my mail pile up at home to the point I feel so overwhelmed I can't stay on top of sorting, filing, etc. I am headed to an office supply store to purchase a new filing system. Only this time I'm going to buy some fun/pretty file folders to make filing/sorting a bit more pleasant!”
Cleary O’Farrell
“Dave and I are going to resolve to do a 1-month diet (no meat, just fish), because of the obvious killing of animals/inhumane treatment thing. Hoping it will cut the cravings for animal products, get us (him) used to not eating so much meat & it's just healthier!”

Happy New Year!!!!