Tag Archives: retail

WCE VS CTA

Like I’ve said before, the buzz is flying all over the St. Louis area about a women’s only resale shop in south county getting a reality TV deal with the Style Network…. I have personally never shopped at this particular store before, in fact, I had only heard of this store a handful of times before hearing about the TV deal.

So naturally, I began to look into it. From a glance it looks to be an amazing opportunity for this store, as well as, an opportunity to bring St. Louis resale into the national spotlight. Of course this is excellent (general) news for the St. Louis resale community (myself included), but looking into the company’s reviews from it’s customers, my impressions are beginning to shift from optimistic to more concerned.

Here are a few that I found within just a few minutes on google.

I found this a decent place to shop for designer clothing items, however unless they are on sale, the pricing is not much better than retail. Most disappointing was their attitude about consignment, I’ll go elsewhere in the future for that. One day I brought in about 40 items, most of them were formal gowns and cocktail dresses bought in the last year or so and worn once. A few had matching shoes and purses. I was shocked that they turned down ALL of them! 40 really nice items and they could not accept even ONE??? Unbelievable! No explanation nor reason was given. Shocked! Maybe they were over-stocked or something, but if so it would be nice to be told that before I hauled it all inside. If you’d like to consign designer clothing, it may not be worth the time and trouble to bother bringing it to Women’s Closet Exchange. Many of the exact same items were accepted at other ‘upscale resale’ shops. – A WCE customer review – 3 weeks ago.

I feel the same. I brought in formal wear several of which still had the tags on them, but I cannot wear them as I have lost a significant amount of weight. While I spent time shopping for an outfit for a wedding, they were supposed to be evaluating them. When I was finally called, the “Buyer” was so rude, telling me that these were not what they are looking for at this time and “take your items right out; unhuh huh right out,” repeating this several times across the store as I was carrying my dresses out. I was made to feel like I had brought in rags. This was my first time in this shop and my last. I understand each business has a right to say yes or no, but to be rude about it was unnecessary. Do yourself a favor, shop somewhere else. – A WCE customer review – About a year ago.

I’ve never felt so disrespected. I brought four bags of carefully folded clothes from high quality brands (Banana Republic, J. Crew, Ann Taylor) worth over $1000. I wanted to get an estimate of what the clothes would be worth were I to sell them to the store. They offered me $20. They put down many articles of my clothing as they were disrespectfully rummaging through my bags (commenting that many of them were too small for their shoppers – size M!) and then shoved the clothes back into the bags. I pointed out that my clothes had been folded when I went in and they had the nerve to sass me and tell me that they didn’t have time. Needless to say, I left with my clothes and intend to sell them for a fair market value on eBay. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS PLACE. The women working there should be ashamed of the scam that they are trying to pull. – A WCE customer review – About 2 years ago.

Now I know you can’t please everyone, but these are minor, and should not have made it all the way to a customer writing a poor review due to defective attitudes from the staff.

This honestly makes me want to throw my arms up in frustration!. Here, this company has the most incredible opportunity, that many of us could only dream about, and they are squandering its full potential. Their focused appears to have shifted from bettering the company and the community, to bettering only themselves. This truly is a shame, not only for this company, but for the rest of us that are trying to bring the resale industry up in St. Louis, and bad business just makes the rest of us work harder to make up for their downfalls. Bad reviews don’t hurt individual resale shops, per say, but they damage the overall industry. We want to grow the percentage of resale shoppers, and these reviews aren’t helping.

It truly is time for something better.

Time to step up our game, and hit this area with everything we’ve got.

WE WILL show the STL area what this industry is truly about.

This is why our company is hardcore about community improvement and involvement, we stay true to our roots!

STL = Show The Love

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When life changed…..

When I talk to people about my past I always refer to the times as either before or after I “changed”, and this change was when I drop nearly 100lbs and discovered a WHOLE new lease on life; which took place between Fall 07 – Winter 08.  

I lost it, and didn’t realize it.  I started working for H&M in October 2005, and I was super-chunky….lol, and what scared me was that my boss at the time (temp store manager from NYC) told us when we were hired, “If you don’t stay fit, or lost weight, you are NOT doing your job properly, and I’ll fire you!” She was mean, but she was right!

……so yea…….I ended up dropping from a size 18 down to a size 4/6 and just shy of 100lbs total.  

To me, it was a miracle! I had finally achieved what everyone said I wouldn’t and got I wanted more than anything else in life, and almost more than life itself.

 …..More than money, more than fancy things, more than air to breath….I wanted to be healthy and I wanted to be beautiful (not perfect, but pretty).  I wanted a beautiful body, and after a little over a year, I finally had it.

I BECAME STUNNING….I turned into exactly what I had imagined myself as….ever since I was little, and I would get beat up…I always held on to this physical fixation about myself. I ultimately achieved the “impossible”, and the reaction from the public was overwhelming….almost to a fault.

This is where I found out that the grass isn’t always greener, and this was showing true in some aspects of my new “life”

The first thing I noticed was it was not difficult to get attention from really anybody.  This was polar opposite from what I had been used to.  I would go walking down the street and have random cars pull over and ask if I needed anything. I would always just smile, giggle, and decline, then go about my business.  Before, people would go out of their way just to avoid me. It was just so different…I almost didn’t know how to handle it.

The part I loved the most (besides knowing I was healthy) was that I NO LONGER HAD TO WORRY ABOUT MY LOOKS! It was no longer on my mind.  I no longer had to wonder if someone didn’t like me because of my weight….I knew that if they didn’t like me, it was because they didn’t like my personality.  Which for me, was waaaayyy easier to accept than “oh you’re just too fat”  LOL — Twisted, but true.

When I “changed” I didn’t just change physically, but my outlook on the world around me changed along with it.  Mostly good, but some bad.   One of the bad aspects was when I had truly realized HOW MUCH IMPORTANCE is placed on appearances.  How I dressed & presented myself would dictate how people I interacted with treated me in return.  Not a favorite trait from our society, but if you can’t beat em, join em.

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To Whom It May Concern:

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You have to take negative situations and find a way to turn them into positive solutions, and I feel that this has been accomplished by dedicating many years into designing a company that has a simple, yet powerful, mission statement — Unite first class with secondhand.

This letter is to provide you with an insight of what we do, what we plan to accomplish, our current projects and efforts, and most importantly, how we plan to become an established brand and a recognized leader within this booming industry.

We have all felt the financial crisis affect each of our lives in one way or another, including myself, regardless of: social status, financial situation, or educational background. Everyone from the struggling college student to leaders of local Fortune 500 companies; we’ve all had to take a step back to reevaluate our own unique challenges, and begin to utilize more cost-conscious decisions as consumers, as well as, business owners. This company is designed to do just that without the need to sacrifice quality, service or value to our customers, and doing so, in a cost-conscious and sustainable manner.

Cargo Train is an apparel exchange company, privately owned, that offers clients and guests to: buy, sell, trade, and consign a wide-range of new and pre-owned, designer and name-brand merchandise, such as: clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry and select interior decor items at industry competitive prices. What we do is nothing new, but HOW we plan to utilize our resources and network, will clearly set Cargo Train apart from local competitors.

If you are unfamiliar to the resale industry, these types of businesses are commonly known as “thrift” or “secondhand” stores; however, Cargo Train is designed to be much more than this common ideology, and even more, we strive to be the first resale provider of its kind offered to the residents and visitors of our target location. It would not only be a great addition to the resale industry, but more importantly, a great addition to the City of St. Louis due to its focus on community engagement, That will benefit, not only our clients and customers, but several local charities and non-profit organizations. We are a company that continues to create innovative ideas that give back to our communities and actively pursues a ‘pay it forward’ attitude.

As I continue to publicly promote this company through the means of several social media platforms, local news publications, word-of-mouth advertising, and launching an informational website, my biggest challenge is locating a strong financial partner and/or investor(s) to secure start-up capitol, and take this company to the next level in its physical and social developments.

My strategies are primarily based on direct observations and market research from a vast background working for top private retail labels, including global retail giant, Hennes and Mauritz (H&M); where I focused my time in the areas of: visual merchandising, loss prevention, customer relations, and employee growth.

The location I have chosen is based upon on-site, real-time area analysis collected over a time span of three (3) years; with a heavy focus on high volume pedestrian traffic. All aspects of the primary location offer the most idealistic conditions that will make Cargo Train a successful venture, and offer the future opportunity to aggressively expand through out the Midwest region.

I have further discovered through my research, the primary location I have selected is found to be an open market opportunity. There are currently no known competitors that specialize in apparel exchange within a 5 mile radius of where Cargo Train will be located.

Again, this venture is time sensitive, and taking advantage of the open market availability will quickly set Cargo Train’s foundation within the City of St. Louis and officially become part of a 13 billion dollar industry. I strongly urge interested persons to contact me for further information about how I plan to make this company an innovative success.

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Ready to Risk it All!

Sitting in my office, enjoying the few moments of down time from dispatching on the radio. I start scrolling through my Twitter time line and coming across another story of success for a new start-up company that has secured (what is to me) a massive amount of funding, $250,000 to be exact, and all I could think of was “OH MY GOODNESS! I ONLY NEED A FRACTION OF THAT AMOUNT TO LAUNCH MY FIRST LOCATION”. I felt jealous and motivated at the same time. It’s an awkward feeling, and it’s an experience I have had many times before since I start putting my ideas into motion. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I can see all of the vital pieces I need to reach my goal in opening the Cargo Train headquarters/home-store, and it gets tougher the more time passes by and you still haven’t found what you are looking for. This is one personality characteristic that I do have, which is a lack of patience, especially when I am trying to be the first store and company of its kind in an open market area. I want to take advantage of having some breathing room to establish my company and begin building its reputation and customer loyalty without the competition smothering me, or being branded as a ‘knock-off” or “copy cat”.

As of right now, the closest location of my main competitor is over 15 miles away from where I want to launch.

Feelings of despair trying to knock you off course and try to make you lose your focus, and all you have to keep yourself going is knowing what an amazing opportunity your company really is, and not just for me, but for my future partners, employees, customers, and for the community itself. The biggest challenge is getting the ones who have the ability to take your venture to the next level believe in your idea as strongly as you do. Strong enough to confidently partner up and bring all of the pieces together.

I know I will be an incredibly strong force to be reckoned with in this particular industry. My strategies and advantages give me leaps above my competitors, and I am keeping those strategies very safe and quiet until the time comes to utilize them. The connections and relationships I have been developing and growing over the past 10+ years, & everyone who is standing by waiting for me to inform them that we’ve secured a financial partner(s) and are finally ready to hit this industry with everything we’ve got, is the pivotal moment that I am waiting for.

I’m working for that opportunity to prove what I’ve been speaking out about for the past year, and to show what I am fully capable of doing. After all, I was born and raised in the “show me” state…ironically.

My husband and I are currently in talks of relocating our family from what was our dream house into a much smaller place, as well as, begin to sell off as many of our belongings as we can. All of the money saved and earned will be going into, what I am calling, the “CTA Dream Fund”. This will be the beginning of the financial foundation of my company. It breaks my heart to let everything we’ve worked so hard for go, but this company means much more to me than my possessions right now.

A big part of getting to where you want to be is having the strength to let go of what you have. – Me

We are currently searching for available places to call our new home.

():-)

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