Monday, October 8, 2012

Fashion Issues - Counterfeit Merchandise

Hello, and Happy Monday!

Today, I want to take the time to address an issue that is a pretty big deal : counterfeit fashion and cosmetics.

It seems harmless, purchasing a bag with the Louis Vuitton logo for a super small fraction of the cost. But purchasing fake fashion merchandise and cosmetics is wrong, and harmful to you, the consumer, in the long run.

I have been swept up in the whole knock-off bag thing before. Having visited New York a few times, I did happen to enevtiably run into Canal Street, a.k.a. Counterfeit Central. My first time, I was 16, and thought it was marvelous that you could purchase a Coach handbag for $25. But with education and maturity, I retired my knockoffs to boxes in my garage. Here's why :

1. YOU the consumer pay taxes every year that are a result of the counterfeit business. Yep, the counterfeiting problem in the United States alone costs tax payers over $2 Billon per year. So while you are giving cold hard cash to the sketchy guy in a van on Canal street, you are paying taxes for this. Suddenly, that bag just got more expensive.

2. It is ethically wrong. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but in the case of counterfeiting, this is NOT the case. Because knock-off items are not manufactured with nearly the same quality, it is an insult to the designer who spends so long designing high-quality, luxurious items. Sure you may idolize Marc Jacobs, but you are essentially disrespecting him buy purchasing a fake one of his bags, instead of perhaps saving for a while to purchase an authentic one. Saving and working hard for the authentic item would show more loyalty to the brand.

3. You look, well, ridiculous. Yes, most people who can afford real, authentic designer items can spot a fake from a mile away. Although nobody may directly say it to your face, you will get laughed at and judged. Buying couterfeits to show that you have more money than you do just makes you look desperate, and worse than if you were poor.

So now that you have an idea of WHY you shouldn't purchase these items, here are some ways to spot fakes so you don't purchase them on accident :

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Louis Vuitton will never sell a bag for $100, MAC will never sell a brush for $3. If it sounds like a dream deal, you'd be wasting your money.

2. Where you purchase the bag. The only way to guaruntee that you are purchasing a %100 authentic item is to purchase the item from the official website, one of the designers stores or outlets, or an authorized retailer (such as a department store). Never trust an online retailer like Ebay for designer items, and keep in mind that no designer will sell their merchandise in a sketchy warehouse or from the back of the van. If you have doubt about a retailer, contact the company first hand and ask if the seller is authorized.

3. Look for mistakes. Common tell tale signs of fakies are things like : mispelled logos, poor crafstmanship, imperfections such as things that aren't centered, cheap-feeling materials, cosmetics with odd features unlike authentic versions (i.e. extra compartment for sponge tip applicator for a "Mac Eyeshadow" is FAKE)

If you come across a fake retailer, gather as many details about it, and report it to the designer by mail or email. You can find information on their websites.

In closing, I know it's tempting. Most of us love the style and luxury of designer items, but often cannot afford the rather hefty price tag. That is simply the nature of the beast. My philosophy is that if you want it bad enough, you will work to get it. I can promise you that working hard and saving will be so rewarding when you have the item in your hand, a much better feeling than having a luxury item that you and your friends know isn't real. The truth is, counterfeiting is a serious issue that needs to be taken more seriously. You want to support fashion? Don't purchase these cheap items, and report those who sell. Honestly, a knockoff bag for $50 seems like a great deal, but you could get a nice bag that maybe isn't 'designer" for $50, rather than the cheaply made counterfeit.

I hope some of you found these tips helpful, or that you learned something!

X's and O's,

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Learn to Enjoy Your Job!

Hey Beauties!

Let's face it; not many of us who work can say that they love their job. Having worked various jobs since the age of 14, I can relate to dreading going to work. Although you may not yet have your dream job, there's no reason that you can't learn to enjoy the job you currently hold. Here are some tips to enjoy your job and be a better employee! This is  a little lengthy, so I hope you're snuggled in!

I know you. You get consumed with thoughts of "ughhh.... I don't want to work!" when the clock strikes time to leave. You think of a million other things you could be doing, and may or may not have pulled some ridiculous excuses to get out of working.

First things first, if you don't like your job, you need to have an honest look into the reason why.
Let me guess, you don't like work because your boss is a jerk, there's drama with the people you work with, customers are rude, you don't like your schedule, yada yada. Here are tips on how to deal:

1. You don't like work because of your boss. Try putting a new perspective on things. Your boss may be cranky, "unfair", etc, but have you ever considered why? Here's the thing, with greater power comes with greater responsibility. Yes, they may have a higher paying, "better" job, but they have to also put up with a LOT. Having been an assistant manager, I can say, it's hard to always be fair and please your crew. No matter how carefully you plan a good schedule, someone will have a problem. When someone calls in sick, you have to find a replacement, and when you can't YOU have to work. The manager deals with unhappy customers, and has a multitude of other responsibilities. So instead of constantly coming to your boss with issues, and looking at things negatively, give people a break. When you interact with your boss, always be kind and respectful, and try to be part of solutuions, not issues. If you have a scheduling issue, bring it up poilitely, and be willing to bend. You'd rather have a different shift Thursday? Offer to work on a different day, worka little longer, etc. When you are willing to work with people. they will often respond better.
Your boss doesn't like you. The answer to this is simple. If your boss seemingly has a problem with you, YOU could very likely be the cause. Let's be honest, you complain about how your boss doesn't care for you, but do you really perform to your best capability at work? Sure, you boss may not care for you because they are simply a negative nancy. If that's the case, that's their problem. But chances are, you will see improvement if you improve yourself and your work performance first.

2. There's drama with coworkers. No matter where you work, there will always be drama. Always. Some people will not get along with one another and may try to convince you to take sides. You are at work to do just that; WORK. You are not at work to be bffs with your colleagues. You will benefit immensely from remaining drama free at work. Mind your own business, and be nice to everyone. If someone at work says something nasty about you, or doesn't like you, take the high road. Continue to be nice to them, and don't worry about it. When someone tries to talk about another coworker, change the topic, or simply state that you don't want to discuss others.

3. You don't like the customers. Think about it like this : these customers, no matter how rude, are the reason you make a paycheck. Fake it until you make it and force yourself to smile and be nice.

4. Scheduling issues. In a perfect world, you'd never work on weekends, holidays, etc. Welcome to adult life. There are a few things you can do to earn yourself a more favorable schedule on occassion.If you're willing to bend, your boss will be, too. If you want an upcoming weekend off, consider volunteering to work the couple of weekends leading up to it. If something comes up, try switching with a coworker. Volunteer when people are ill. These are things most managers appreciate, and will be more than willing to reward you every once and a while/

Here are some other general tips to make you more successful at work:

1. Be on time. If you are rolling in just in the nick of time, or a few minutes late, you're setting yourself up for negativity. Firstly, no manager appreciates people who are late constantly, or barely making it. Second, when you're rushed, you will likely have a stressful day at work. I suggest leaving 5 minutes earlier than normal, or plan to show up 5-10 minutes early. When you are early, you can get yourself settled in, and take a deep breath.

2. Stop cutting corners, and ask questions. We all cut corners somehow. No matter how insignifigant they seem, stop. When you do your job thouroughly, you are allowing no room for complaints from others.

3. Take care of yourself. In all aspects. Make sure you have eaten before your shift, make sure you are rested, have a drink with you to keep hydrated, all necessary medications, etc. Make sure you are clean and presentable. It's easier to get through the day when you are well taken care of.

4. Never, ever, complain or discuss salary with other colleagues. This will backfire, I promise.

All in all, work isn't always fun, and we often wish we could be somewhere-anywhere else. All you can do is whistle while you work! I hope you found some of these tips helpful, and feel free to add any you have below!
X's and O's,