Weekend Reads #2

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wardrobe oxygen weekend readsAbove are photos in my phone from the past week or so – enjoying the hammock with Emerson, with my hair stylist Billy, sun streaming in our bedroom (Karl rides his bike on a trainer in there), working at The Wing, lunch at Republic, dinner with good friends. Good weather, good vibes, I'm thrilled that spring has FINALLY sprung in the DMV (District, Maryland, and Virginia)!

I find people with extreme habits or unique passions fascinating. This piece from Man Repeller interviews three women who have such passions and all three of them inspired me.

My friend Kaarin wrote about investment clothes for the Washington Post.  Want more Kaarin (who doesn't she's AWESOME) or more fashion news do check out the podcast Pop Fashion.

Can you be over 40, have big boobs and still rock a bikini? I say HECK YEAH and I plan to this summer.  I just got this top in black from Lands' End (FYI, I usually go up in a cup, but for this one I was better with a DD than DDD) and this bottom (though this one is also cute and has slimming capabilities and this swim mini is retro-dorable) and I think the effect is chic, enough coverage and support without a drop of frumpiness. For my plus sized friends, this similar bikini top from Lands' End comes in cup sizes up to G (why do so few plus sized swimsuits have good bust support?), they have the same cute swim mini, and the same shaping bottom. Once the pool opens I'll force Karl down there with his camera and I;ll try to get some photos!

Always love when Into the Gloss interviews a woman over 40. This is Jill Kargman's beauty routine… and as someone who loves Chanel No.5 but her mom wears it, I'm now interested in trying Jo Malone's Red Roses and consider trying NuFACE again.  Also a good reminder to make an appointment with my dermatologist.

LOL, working moms, can you relate to this?

I was lucky enough to see District of Chic's look in person when we went to dinner together the other week. Yes, she is that chic and effortlessly fabulous in person, while being hysterically funny and down to earth!

Judith Leiber made handbags into works of art; sadly she passed at 97 but her legacy lives on.

I know some of you LOVE your LuLaRoe, but articles like this explain why I will never promote or support the brand.

I wash my oil cleanser off with a hot washcloth, but hate how much water is wasted to get to the point of hot water. Am I crazy for thinking about getting this for my bathroom?

I met Marcus Moore in 2012 when we were both on a panel for PR News on how journalists can work with bloggers. I've followed his writing ever since.  I love this compilation of stories about “dad rock” from The Outline, including Moore's memories of music and father figures though all the pieces are awesome and worth a read.

FYI, through this weekend Nordstrom is having one of their Triple Points Events where you can earn 3X the points in stores or online at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and HauteLook. To earn them, enter your Nordstrom Rewards number at checkout or use your Nordstrom card. It's a good time to order the amazing dress I wore on the blog Thursday!

And for your listening pleasure, the latest song from Florence + The Machine:

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I read the LaRoe article and it sounds a lot like Cabi to me. Both companies justify their high buy-in price as a way to filter out non serious sellers. Both companies do not let their stylists choose their own inventory. Every season (twice a year) all Cabi stylists have to purchase the styles and sizes the company requires (their “samples” so buyers can see the clothes at the at home trunk shows). At the end of a season, the idea is to sell your inventory to make enough to buy the next season’s inventory. However, there is a good chance you are buying clothes in styles and sizes your customers (and you) can’t or don’t want to wear. For example Fall 2017 required all stylists to buy a size 8 and a size 10 bootie. Every single stylist had those items, regardless of client base or climate. I know several stylists that could not sell the size 10 booties (and many other items every season) but could have easily sold size 9 (a much more common shoe size). Why not let stylists pick the sizes/styles that they know will sell based on their clients? The company goes on at length about how well trained the stylists are and the relationship between stylists and customers. If that is the case, then wouldn’t the individual stylists know best what sizes and styles to purchase for trunk shoes based on their customers? Why have 2 pairs of booties for a trunk show if you are in Miami? I think we can all agree that stylists and customers in that area would be better served if stylists controlled their inventory. I know Cabi likes to present itself like it is not a MLM, but legally it is a MLM — that’s why stylists have to pay sales tax when they buy their inventory from Cabi. I have never seen MLMs work out well for the majority of the sellers. To be even more bluntly, I think MLMs prey on women and it sickens me to see them all touting the by women for women garbage. Plus Carol’s husband Jan Janura — at least the way he tells it — was the driving force behind turning the company into a MLM to drive more sales and profit (not to empower women). You can hear him talk about it to Hugh Hewitt or check out his Linkin profile where he claims to be the creator/founder (not co-creator/co-founder) of Cabi, or check out the anti-abortion candidates he gives money to, or check out his disregard of environmental protection laws he’s had to pay fines for, or check out his men’s fly fishing retreat in Montana. Not really looking like a guy all about starting a company by women for women. From what I understand he and his wife sold the company in 2012 to private equity firms, so I don’t know, maybe those firms are all about empowering women? At any rate I think it is very hypocritical to poo-poo LuLaRoe while fully supporting Cabi.

    1. Since working with cabi, I’ve met dozens and dozens of cabi stylists. Women who just started a year ago, and some who have been with the company for a decade. Most of them have had a positive experience and have ended up in the black after their first season. They don’t need to have a team below them to find financial success, and their product changes each season so it’s not as though their circle or community gets tired of the product (what I experienced and have seen happen with many other at-home sales companies). Also the quality if anything has improved over the years unlike LuLaRoe.

      The issues with the stylists getting such sizing isn’t because it is an MLM. When I worked retail, I’d deal with the same exact issues. I don’t know their reasoning and it likely does suck for a lot of stylists to be stuck with the same things but I know I dealt with the same working for multiple apparel companies that were not MLMs.

      I do think a lot of MLMs do prey on women and it also sickens me. I know many women who bounce from one to another progressively getting more in debt. These are companies where women who got in early may be making bank but now the market is saturated because those women didn’t make profit from selling product but having a big team. Corporate pushes them to buy more and more, breaking up packages to get lower priced items for a better profit, etc. I know, I did Body Shop at Home and experienced all of that and it hit me hard financially.

      One reason I like cabi is because they don’t force the stylists to buy the merchandise. They place orders and the merchandise doesn’t come from the stylist’s basement but the cabi warehouse. That’s a major difference that really impacts the bottom line of those who work for cabi.

      And yes, Jan is no longer associated with cabi and hasn’t been for a very long time. I don’t think it’s fair to judge a company in 2018 for what it may have been a decade ago, especially under new management.

      1. Many people that are in MLMs are not truthful about how they are doing. For many of them they know they are doing poorly but hide it because they think they are the only ones struggling and that it is their fault. They are embarrassed and feel like failures. Others deceive themselves by not counting expenses and their time. And of course there are those that make money, but that is not most people in a MLM (ANY MLM). If you aren’t seeing tax returns you can’t know how well people are doing. Cabi does not stress “building your team” as hard as other MLMs, but you do get pretty good bump ups for recruiting. Also, if you talk to stylists that are no longer working for the company you will find plenty that could not make a go of it and lost money — I’ve hired 2. Just like every other MLM, Cabi upline made these women feel like they were failures — they were told they weren’t working the system right and that you get out what you put in and that they just needed to work harder. I don’t think that was the problem, the market here is pretty saturated. We are a pretty small town and we have too many stylists for the demand — another thing MLMs never worry about or disclose. If these companies really want to make it work for their stylists they would stop taking new stylists from very saturated areas or at least disclose how many stylists cover an area. In terms of buying inventory, if you are a true business owner, you control what you buy. I have a small retail children’s shoe store. I carry speciality lines and would be considered the “buyer” I buy the styles and sizes that I think will sell (and I don’t pay sales tax on my inventory purchases). I’ve had a few lines try to pressure me into buying more sizes/styles than I think I’ll need. The reason they do that is to move their product. Cabi doesn’t want to be stuck with product, but to make runs profitable, you need to run a certain number of items off your “run” Each size/style is a different run. You need a minimum run size for the cost per item to be low enough to make it worthwhile to run. Every manufacturer winds up with some runs that they can’t move (a lot of what you see at TJ Max’s). Cabi is a small retailer compared to say Talbots and that makes their runs smaller and riskier (and the more runs the more risk which is why small companies often only offer a small range of sizes — no plus, no petite, etc.). Cabi gets around some of that problem by pushing less popular sizes onto the stylists. No matter what Cabi says about styles being “sold out” they often aren’t — that’s why you see several sellers from China on eBay selling some of the pieces brand new after every season (that’s from the factory — things that didn’t sell). The eBay sellers never sell the sizes that stylists were required to purchase (Cabi “sold” those). I’m not going to argue about the “quality” of Cabi clothes. I will say that they use to use many more high end fabrics and fabrications many years ago, but fashions and tastes in fabric quality change and many people (even retail people) don’t know quality fabric or construction anymore, so most companies don’t produce it anymore. Cabi clothes are cute and lots of people like them and are willing to pay the MLM markup. I don’t support any MLMs. As far as talking about the founders, Cabi loves to tell its origin story, but like LuLaRoe, its story is questionable. You are free to support who ever you like. It’s your blog, time, and your income, I just find it hypocritical. And I think we will just agree to disagree. Otherwise I love your blog — I just skip over the Cabi posts. They are not for me, but I’m sure there are plenty of readers that love them.

        1. Thank you for this. I respect your opinion and sharing your feedback on this, and appreciate that you’re cool with us not being on the same page with everything. <3

  2. I’ve been reading about LuLaRoe for some time now. The company practices are less than stellar, even for a pyramid scheme. I know they owe a lot of folks, mostly women, a lot of money. I didn’t like them for that, the huge $ buy-in, and a lot of other reasons. But now I read that consultants were pressured to get gastric surgery and were given relationship advice?!

    I don’t know if the people who LuLaRoe were full on crooks from the beginning or if they started something that they didn’t have the skills to handle. Either way, I hope they get nailed and are forced to pay back everyone they ripped off.

    1. LuLaRoe started out not being my favorite because I personally didn’t find the clothes appealing. But over the years I have heard more and more horror stories that go beyond pinholes in leggings and badly-placed patterns and it makes me sad that so many women were swindled and hurt by this company.

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