Friday, August 11, 2006

New York Stories, Part 4: And More Shopping

I once went to a branding meeting for one of my former clients. The branding specialist asked our group what brand of toothpaste we used. Turns out, it's a sure indication of the kind of "consumer character" you are.

For instance, if you buy Crest or Colgate, you're probably a brand loyalist, and you've probably used the same brand since you were a child. But if you use Tom's, Aquafresh, or something like that, you're more likely to try new things. And if you use Mentadent, like I do, you're in this category of "no brand loyalty whatsoever." Which is good, if you're a new brand, but bad if you're an old brand. For the record, I also use Rembrandt.

I guess this means I like to try new things. And, I don't base my decision to use something on just brand loyalty alone. It has to have any number of things, including quality, effectiveness, sometimes price is a factor, and generally I like something that is both really new and really good, making it also really unique.

I also don't get caught up in advertising, critical acclaim, promos, or endorsements. I just prefer to figure out whether I like something on my own. Which brings me to Parasuco, a brand I know absolutely nothing about. But the store in Soho was cool, and the product...well, I'll just post my response to someone at the company who was looking for my feedback on the store.

Hi Mary J.,

I'm amazed you found my blog! Yes, I just visited your new store while shopping in SoHo. We were not familiar with New York at all, so everything was new to us. We took a side road to check out some of the street vendors selling handmade jewelry when I spotted the Grand Opening sign of your store and wanted to take a peek.

I'll try to describe the experience the way it took place. A security guard welcomed us in, and then a nice Filipino guy asked if he could hold our shopping bags and took them behind the counter. The store was fairly empty, except for all the salespeople in the store. We did notice, however, that most of the salespeople were young, good-looking Asians and African Americans.

My girlfriend wasn't too interested in looking around, since she's somewhat brand loyal and trusts what she knows. I've always been into what's new, so I began looking around at the sale racks. We were scared it was going to be way too expensive, since the store was in such a beautiful location, with its high ceilings and wide open spaces. But then I started to notice the workmanship in the jeans and T-shirts. They all seemed to have such fine detail and I knew these things could not be done cheaply in some sweatshop. And so I decided to try on a pair of jeans, when I noticed the back pockets were different from any others I had seen.

I've worked in high-end men's retail for 3 years, so I'm familiar with the environment. An Asian girl came to help me find my size. She was very nice and after trying one on, she helped me with other sizes. My girlfriend liked how the jeans looked on me, so after I went back into the dressing room, she went to the racks to look around. She soon found two pairs to try on. She asked my opinion and I loved them. So then she wanted to try on other jeans and shirts. Pretty soon, she had tried on about 10 pairs of jeans and about 8 shirts. In fact, her thumb still hurts from pulling the jeans on and off. Anyway, more people came in to the store and after a while, nearly all the dressing rooms were taken by customers. It was amazing how fast the store filled up. They turned up the music (sort of a Tiesto mix, which I like) and I could see what a nice space that store was with great ambience and acoustics.

Anyway, three pairs of jeans and an hour later, we left the store. We both love the jeans we bought and people in our office (mostly Korean and Chinese, first generation) comment about our jeans and how they love them and where did we get them and when can they check out a store. But I told them what the cashier told me, that one will be open in San Francisco next.

I also asked about the store and the designer and got a little information about that from the cashier.

Anyway, that's my experience there, and I really like the new store.

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