Friday, May 1, 2009

Criticism is appreciated. No, REALLY....

The last few weeks have been crazy with trunk shows and press events and vendor meetings. To summarize, they have been going like this: I stress and then agonize over every little detail. I literally worry myself sick. I call my publicist, friends and family at all hours of the night to pick their brains and then go with my own opinion anyway. At some point there is some sort of breakdown and I question if i am in fact built for this entrepreneurial life. The event takes place, is well received and everything works out well. Everyone else is thrilled, I am outwardly pleased, and inwardly wishing for More, Better, Next....

Afterwards, someone will approach, call or email me and tell me how captivating the concept is, how lovely the lingerie is, how pretty the site looks. I will thank them politely and think to myself "if it's so great, why haven't they bought more or anything at all." (Yes, I have committed to memory almost every sale of every single piece of lingerie- it haunts me in my dreams). Then I go home with my ego stroked but my brain tortured by the fact that something is missing. No, some THINGS are missing. I know I could do it better. But what? When? How?

This excruciating process will be repeated approximately every 2-4 days and does not always included sleep yet frequently includes some ridiculous amount of food.... It must stop.

So I decided to start meeting with people who have no interest in making me feel good. I went in search of impolite, politically incorrect, "keep it real" friends who want me to succeed far more than they want to ease my fears. And when I ran out of those, I looked for people whose livelihood depended on me being wrong and them being right. People who had to draw attention to the broken so that they could be paid to fix it.

I met with former lingerie buyers from major dept. stores, copywriters, graphic designers, and retail ecommerce entrepreneurs. And finally I started to hear the ugly truth.... and it was music to my ears.

Just a few of the things I learned:
1. This is not a date! You cannot be afraid of setting expectations. In an effort to avoid disappointment and failure, I was terrified of defining objectives. In order to ever be pleased or satisfied in business you must set some goals. How will you ever know if you are successful if you don't?

2.My site is pretty but does not convey effectively who/what Dames & Broads is and how we are profoundly different from other lingerie sites. It is functional but not experiential. In order to draw women into a change in purchase behavior especially for something as intimate (pun intended) as lingerie i must offer them a different shopping experience.

3. Mannequins may work for well know retailers and outerwear, but people really do prefer live models for lingerie. Nothing is "pushed up" on a plastic mannequin and you cant always ask your audience to use their imaginations.

4. Social Networking is great but also can be distracting on an ecommerce site. Users should never be directed to leave the site just to see what i am doing on Twitter... They might not ever come back.

5. More is more. Users need and want more product, more product info, more advice, more more...

6. Stop burying the lead. If shipping is free. Say it loudly, above the fold, and over and over again.

There is more but I am tired... and since I received all this constructive criticism a strange thing has happened. I can finally sleep. There seems to be something very calming about untapped possibilities...

Things gon' change 'round here.

Dames & Broads


Miss Tique said...

It's a great website & your model photo badge is an inspired interpretation.

There is a slight issue, when I click the badge to go from your blog to your website, I first get a blank page with a message - Optional text goes here - and then I'm redirected to Dames & Broads boutique. I don't see the use of that blank page.

P.S. I published your profile at

Keep on doing the great work!

Dames and Broads said...

I so appreciate the feedback. Please keep it coming!
The issue that you are talking about is a redirect. I will try to figure out if it is necessary.