Monthly Archives: February 2016

Leather Goods How to Determine the Quality of the Material

s7When you go shopping for leather items, you easily tend to get confused. It’s only natural. The market is brimming with so many products. And, if you don’t have enough knowledge about the material, you can never decide which is real and which is not. The shopkeeper might even offer you cheap quality items produced with low craftsmanship that will not last for long.

Learn how to tell the overpriced from the reasonable. Know which product has a high standard finish, and which does not. And remember, hand-made products are always better than machine-made items. If the manufacturer has cut corners, there is no chance that the product you are buying is genuine and durable.

  • Here is how to tell real and fake leather apart:

The first thing you should notice is a quality tag that speaks of a full grain material. Those who manufacture products from fake materials, never claim them as authentic in written. If you are in two minds, it is safer not to buy it. Because the material is a natural substance, no synthetic procedure can ever match up to its authenticity in terms of look and feel. It is a timeless substance and no synthetic material can sustain wear and tear as much as it can. Ditch the genuine tag for this full grain stamp.

If an item says it is genuine, chances are that it is only an extract from the backside of skins. The patterns that you see are all artificial. They are intentionally applied to mimic the look of the original material. And, about softness and durability, well, you can forget that. So, while buying leather goods, you must look for full grain products. Such items have the typical characteristic of an unpolished surface. There is no coat applied on them to hide the natural markings, which are actually the scars of the animals from which the material comes.

  • How to decide which quality is the finest of all:

Ascertain the quality quotient from the method of selecting the animal skin, and even from the tanning procedure. The first aspect will tell you about the cleanliness of the material and the amount of scars present in it. The cleaner the material, the better. Again, tanning treats the hide and prepares it for the process of production.

This process makes the products sturdy and enhances their longevity. Tanned leather does not decay very easily because it undergoes a chemical treatment, which helps in preventing decomposition. Tanning makes the material soft and supple. Because this feature is very distinct from that of synthetic materials, you can pick it with effortlessly.

  • How to find a product with a good finish:

Durable products should come with durable linings. Avoid buying bags that have a light, flimsy inside. Take this attempt as a long-term investment. You do not want your investment to go futile, do you? Moreover, keenly look for the edges of the exterior. If the product is really high on the quality quotient, it will have hand-treated, polished edges instead of ragged, rough surfaces. For instance, if you are buying a bag, it is important to notice the smoothness of the handles for great comfort.

  • How to keep up the quality product you have just bought:

After you have purchased a fine product, you must worry about its upkeep, too. You can opt for a purpose-made conditioner to keep the leather from becoming rough. Never place your product in a dark, wet place; you will only encourage the growth of mould. Allow enough ventilation and let the material breathe freely. Above all, never expose your product to direct sunlight for too long. It will become dry and hard. Invest a little in its upkeep and you will have a happy product always.

I Entered the Online Shopping Age Kicking and Screaming, But It Definitely Has It’s Benefits

s5Animals truly are my passion. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have at least one critter. I’ve had dogs, cats, horses, a llama, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, mice, turtles, frogs, and even a snake or 2. I also thoroughly enjoy feeding the birds, the squirrels, and the chipmunks. I really do love all creatures, great and small.

Have you ever heard someone from the country say that they need to go to the feed store? If you have, they are most likely referring to buying food or supplies for their animals.

I managed a ‘feed store’ for my dad for 18 years. When I first took over the store, it was primarily feed for larger, farm type animals along with dogs and cats. I gradually expanded the food department to include every other breathing, non human creature imaginable. I also started building the product and supplies end of the business. It was fun but it was also very challenging.

There really wasn’t such a thing as the internet or online shopping when I started running the store. I had distributors who delivered the food end of it but the product buying was often a challenge. Most of the buying that I did was either from a catalog or I would buy from the supplier direct. Our store was in a small county so buying direct meant a trip to the city. While in the city, I would go to other stores and do some price checking. I wanted to be sure that I was competitive. I actually bought some dog foods at a pet ‘Big Box’ store. Often these stores had better dog food prices then my regular distributors. They can buy in quantity thus they can keep their prices down. Buyer beware though. You may get your food cheaper but the ‘Big Boxes’ take you to the cleaners when you purchase their supplies. I often felt bad having a 100% mark-up on products. These popular stores have at least a 300% mark-up on most pet products. People seem to think that since the food is less expensive that everything else will be too. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The whole thing was quite the learning experience.

A ‘Big Box’ grocery store came into our area and it was the beginning of the end for many small ‘mom and pop’ stores in our county. Society became convenience oriented. If folks could get their food AND their critters food in one place… they did. Loyalty became a thing of the past. Our business suffered and we eventually decided to close the doors. It was sad but the times were changing and we couldn’t compete with the one stop shopping mentality. Around that same time was the beginning of buying online for many people. Even if the box store would not have come in, I don’t think our business would have survived. People love to shop online and there is massive competition out there these days. If an online store wants to succeed they absolutely have to be competitive. We have choices now and there are resources out there enabling us to be totally informed. The old way of buying locally and buying whatever they have available is definitely history.

I really did come to the online shopping age kicking and screaming. I’ve since changed my tune. Were it not for online shopping, I may not have found the product that cured my Cocker Spaniel’s ear infection. I did go to physical stores but I never did find a product that worked. The internet prevented me from having to go to the vet. Don’t get me wrong here. Going to the vet is often necessary but there are times when we can treat whatever ails our pets ourselves. The information highway and online shopping is great for these times.

How to Shop on a Budget

s4We all have our struggle with finances. Depending on how much you earn and how much you save, the shopping budget is set. It becomes difficult to shop for everything at once if you are working on a budget.

So if you want to buy jewellery or clothes, here is how you go about it and save money as well:

1. What Do You Really Want?

It is really important to know what you like, want or need before you set out to shop. You need to know if you want to buy one really expensive piece or a bunch of inexpensive stuff. If it’s a simple stocking up session it makes more sense to buy a number of items than one expensive one, but if it’s like a random shop then you can buy like one or two expensive items be it clothes or jewellery.

2. Know Your Wardrobe

If you know your wardrobe it is easy to shop when you go out. It is important to first buy what you don’t have instead of spending on things that will just duplicate your already existing collection. Do you have stone washed jeans? Do you have too many casuals and no formals at all? Do you have any date-worthy outfits? Do you have shoes that match your wardrobe style? Are you missing certain colors and stocking up on one color?

All these questions make it easier to know what you need to buy and how many do you need of a certain style.

Also sorting out your wardrobe helps. If, I have to organize my wardrobe, I will have a mount full of blue clothes and really less of other colors, so my aim will be to lessen the pile by removing clothes I don’t use anymore and buying some other colors.

You can sell, giveaway or just throw the pieces of jewelry, clothes and shoes that you don’t need any more or are broken or the ones you grew out of.

3. Shop The Classics

Every woman has her own sense of a classic piece, for some it can be the age-old trend of stone washed jeans and white tee, or that vintage piece of statement jewellery that you love.

You can always buy those classic items and adorn them with accessories and attachments. It is important to have a small amount of good quality clothes that look great on you than a closet full of ill-fitted bad quality clothes. If you have a dream wardrobe, add things to it one at a time, but for that you will have to save up and not splurge on unnecessary things. Also good quality clothes can be worn in multiple ways and on multiple occasions and they will make you look fabulous.

4. Shop Online

Look for free shipping and the option to an easy return. Online shopping is the new way to save money. There are constant deals which are available online; there is no set season sale so you can come across one at any point.

If you know your size well then buy whatever you like, but if you don’t you can buy fashion jewelry, purses, shoes, scarves etc. that will enhance that store bought outfit.

The variety available online is as huge as any other local store and all possible brands are available for purchase from Marks n Spencer to Gucci and Prada. The option of free shipping is a god sent gift that helps you save the travel money basically. Also when you shop online you save the money you spend on commute and having fancy lunches once you go out. You can buy one more thing with that money instead.