Something I haven’t mentioned until now was how many people Mary knew, I mean it was like a family reunion. Much of our day was spent with people stopping us to ask why she wasn’t working for Taryn anymore. She made it a point to introduce me to each person, making a big deal and telling people that she works with Ventrano now and how I’m the next rising designer.
What became very clear is that she was well-respected and liked, you could see a shift in how they treated me once she told them how great I was, I was welcomed into this group with open arms. I also heard a fair amount of gossip and other talk that told me this was a very small community and I had better be careful because everyone really does know everyone else. Another mental note I made was that she seemed to know a lot of kiss-kiss type people, you know what I mean I actually heard people say “kiss-kiss and smooches”. I don’t have any particular problem with these people but, tend not to have anything in common with them. I ran into a lot of this when I designed in California and although I love design and could talk about it for hours. I am out of my comfort zone when I realize that people are more concerned with labels and are judging you based on how much money you make or who you’re wearing.
I remember thinking that everyone in this industry can’t be like this or else I might not make it. I am probably shooting myself in the foot here but, I’ve decided that I have to be me and as much as I like nice things I know that a label does not add any real value to who you are. Can you just imagine the people in marketing/branding/advertising all having heart attacks right now. This will become more clear as my journey progresses but, I have decided to stay true to me and I am many things, one label just doesn’t cut it. I can wear $600 shoes and I can wear $60 shoes and be happy. Just because I will be selling shoes doesn’t mean that I don’t know this, so I won’t even attempt to say otherwise.
If you’re still with me the day continues on and at one point my brand new, very expensive shoes that Mary insisted I had to have, broke. Here I was looking at the most luxurious shoes that, as it turns out, you can’t actually buy on the spot. I ended up in Haviana flip-flops from the gift shop in the lobby and then felt the need to constantly explain why I was at this show in flip-flops. I felt like people were looking at my feet all day and “saying, what was she thinking”. Kind of funny when you consider my first appointment in part one. I won’t say what brand but part of me wanted to go find their showroom and ask them for a sample pair to replace the ones that broke on my first day wearing them. Side note; as I’m sure you are all aware the more you pay for a shoe the more you expect in the quality level at least I do. I have to say I am much more forgiving if a cheap shoe breaks. I understand things happen but, if an expensive shoe breaks the customer service had better be good, just a thought.
We end up meeting up with the buyer for the local boutique I had met previously and decided to tag along on a couple of appointments she had so that I could see her perspective on buying. Her first appointment was with Thierry Rabotin whom I had never heard of, turns out there are connections to Taryn there too (coincidence)? What happened was that their model had gotten sick so somehow I ended up modeling the collection not only for the buyer I was with but for a few other appointments as well. This was turning out to be quite an interesting day. I will say I am not a fan of the designs but they were very comfortable, I can see why people buy them and I ended up helping to sell the line to the buyers based on my review of the fit and comfort level.
By the end of the day I felt like I had learned more than I ever thought possible, we finished the day going to the convention center to see the booths. Then on to Nordstrom to talk to a sales lady that had worked in salon shoes for over twenty years. I tend to be able to learn wherever I am and I find that people will share their expertise if you ask, but so few people bother to ask, I on the other hand will ask until you tell me to stop.