Tag Archives: Tiffany china

Tiffany: The Good, the Bad & The Ugly (Including That Discontinued China Fuss)

Hello-hello!

There are so many things going on all over the Preppy Planet, we are forced to do a one-topic-Tuesday. Today’s topic is one near and dear to the hearts of many readers: Tiffany.

We begin with The Good: news that the storied company is launching a handbag collection, along with small leather goods. Now some may be saying “Nay, nay oh Miss Princess, not so fast, there *have* been Tiffany handbags before!” And that would be accurate, we described them on more than one occasion, most tediously way back in this post (July of 2008). Remember these?

We were actually rather fond of the style, liking the contrast in texture and color between the canvas and the leather. The bags were only available online, something that frequently raises an eyebrow, and at $395 they didn’t seem to tip the Outrageous-o-Meter in the red zone. ( Some can still be seen online, although they are not available for purchase, it may be a case of someone simply not taking the page off the site.)

Elizabeth Holmes at the Journal did a splendid job sharing news of the jeweler’s new foray into leather in “Something New in Tiffany Blue” last week. (You do not want to contemplate the shriek the poor Consort had to tolerate, emanating from yours truly upon first spotting the story in the paper, the poor man really deserves hazardous duty pay.)

Tiffany & Co.

The Collection may be previewed on the Tiffany website, we are very fond of the tote shown above when done in another of the available color combinations seen below.

Tiffany & Co.

One of the best things about the new line? The designers: Richard Lambertson and John Truex, hired by Tiffany about a year ago when the duo shut down their own Lambertson Truex accessory line.  Below, two more styles.

Via BestFan

The Journal story points out the benefits of offering leather goods:

“Handbags have enjoyed sparkling sales in recent years and are in some ways easier for a retailer to move: Women are more likely to splurge on bags for themselves than on jewelry. “Unlike jewelry, which sometimes feels extravagant, handbags always serve a purpose,” says John Long, a retail strategist…”

Next, the Galaxy Clutch with Austrian crystals and semi-precious stones on silk, $1295, a style that dovetails with the Tiffany look.

Tiffany & Co.

Something that shrieks says “Tiffany”, the Avenue Tote.

Tiffany & Co.

The Tiffany East Side tote in leather, $1495.

Tiffany & Co.

The men’s products include a leather card case and top out at $1295 for a crocodile organizer.

Bryan Derballa for Wall Street Journal

More from Ms. Holmes’ story:

“Every piece bears an element of Tiffany’s signature robin’s egg blue, whether on a clasp, in a lining or all over a dyed-crocodile purse. Prices for women’s handbags start at $395 for a small suede tote and rocket up to $17,500 for a large crocodile handbag.”

Here is a look at that higher-end Manhattan satchel.

Stephen White for Tiffany & Co.

The Tiffany blue may be seen in the accent on the clasp.

Bryan Derballa for the Wall Street Journal

We are also impressed with several of the formal styles, the satin Camille ($1195) and the Morgan ($995).

The marketing campaign is in full swing, Tiffany has posted photos of Jennifer Aniston carrying the Reversible Tote on their Facebook page.

FAME via PopSugar

The firm also placed one of the new bags with Jessica Biel for the London première of The A-Team.

The collection will not be offered at all Tiffany stores; click here to see a list showing where the handbags will be available.

Bryan Derballa for the Wall Street Journal

We’re putting Tiffany’s new leather collection in the “Good” category.  We move on to the “Bad”.

Beyond the Rack

Yes, that is authentic Tiffany jewelry at discounter Beyond the Rack, one of those ubiquitous members-only (ahem) pop-up sale sites. (If in need of an invite, just email us at thepreppyplanet@gmail.com.) The sale was buried in a Saturday morning start, it ended yesterday at 11am.  We counted 32 different pieces that were offered, most sold out quickly, like the Atlas key ring (sold at $179 versus $235 at Tiffany).

Tiffany via BeyondtheRack.com

Pieces by some of the jeweler’s more notable designers were on sale, Paloma Picasso and Elsa Peretti.

Tiffany via BeyondtheRack.com

We harken back to the WSJ handbags story for this insight, applicable to the discount sale over the weekend.

“And Tiffany continues to walk a thin line as it tries to drive sales through accessibly priced goods while maintaining its uptown image.”

It can be very difficult to regain the luster in a consumer’s mind (and pocketbook) once a brand is cheapened or otherwise damaged.

This brings us, finally, to The Ugly.

The sad subject is best explained in a post receiving more comments than many others: the drearyTiffany Makes the Princess Pout” from back in March of 2009.  It involved Tiffany Blue Band china.

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Blue Band was/is our formal pattern, and ‘back in the day’ we were fortunate to receive many pieces from our wedding registry, also adding pieces over the years. The post was essentially a whine-a-thon of epic proportions about our deep disappointment in the company, we were never told about the pattern going away.

It turned out we weren’t alone in the situation, as seen by the comments left by readers:

  • “I have just had the same thing happen with my pattern, Palm. I simply cannot fathom why Tiffany would not notify customers using their registry information!”
  • “I now own an incomplete set of Platinum Band china and I had no idea it was being discontinued until last week. The girl on the phone said they would have sent me an email. I asked her when I would have received the email, and she said, “I wanna say…. like a year ago.” !”
  • “… turned to Tiff for my bridal pattern AUDUBON and naively thought I would be able to add to my pattern at any time. That’s why you go with Tiffany, right?? Because of its long history of customer service and dependability??”

One comment was helpful in shedding some light on the situation:

“My mother squeaked to her connections and was informed that Limoges is closing the factory in France that makes certain Tiff patterns. Limoges is relocating that factory to a location that La Tiff feels will not have the same level of quality control.”

The story Ms. Holmes did on Tiffany’s new handbags also explains what has been going on:

“The new bag collection will take up display space in stores that has been vacated by tabletop china and silver. Tiffany says it has been trimming down its selection of tableware, which also includes crystal, for a “number of years.” For example, there are fewer china patterns offered today than five years ago.”

One would think yours truly might have figured this out, but it never occurred to us; it makes perfect sense.  The post has now created something akin to a tiny clearinghouse for those in need:

“Looking for the following to complete my Aunt’s DESIGNED BY TIFFANY & COMPANY PLATINUM BAND, LIMOGES-FRANCE china:

1 SUGAR BOWL WITH LID
1 CREAMER
1 CHARGER PLATE
5 RIMMED SOUP BOWLS
5 CREAM SOUP BOWLS WITH SAUCERS

If you have any of these items please notify me at lanceromancetroy@cs.com

That is merely one example; we share all this because comments continue to be posted by those looking to purchase (or in some cases, sell) certain patterns.  We do not want to become a go-between for those engaged in buying or selling of Tiffany china, we simply offer a suggestion that those desperate and unable to locate pieces they need via Replacements, online auctions, or other resources, take a gander at the comments section to see if there is any hope.

We have received notes and comments, Tweets and Facebook messages in the 18 months since the post was published, and thank everyone for their kind input. We felt an update was in order as the comments and email inquiries continue to come in, and we thank everyone, especially those with no stake in the matter for their gracious indulgence with today’s post.  Hopefully this will serve to conclude our public discourse on the topic.

With that we say goodbye until next time!

PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Ian Gavan/Getty Images

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Tiffany Makes the Princess Pout

Hello and happy Thursday!

Today we are doing the post in two parts, so that those not interested in listening to our tale of trauma can scoot over here and read all about sales of a Preptastic sort and gaze upon the loveliness of pink and green shoes you may actually want to wear!

Today we are being completely self-centered, wallowing in self-pity. We will also advise readers up front we are more than a little peeved at one of our formerly-favorite retailers, Tiffany. (Please note emphasis on “formerly”.) Why?

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That would be a photo of Tiffany Blue Band china, and we are violating our self-imposed policy of not boring readers with tedious details about our more-than-pedestrian lives in order to share something we would never have revealed previously because we are just. So. Boring.  Who cares what dinnerware is used here at the Prepatorium for more formal occasions..? Perzactly.

Those who follow us on Twitter already know the news: we learned yesterday our pattern has been discontinued. Under normal circumstances we might be a tad despondent about this, but would move quickly to decision-making mode and go on to the next step.  But then, this would hinge on one’s definition of “normal” when dealing with Tiffany these days. For us “normal” meant the company keeping its word regarding policies on customer notification in the unlikely event of a pattern’s discontinuance.

You see, when registering with the company shortly after our engagement, we were assured multiple times that we would receive “proper notice” should this happen. Naturally we were advised of this in the borderline-arrogant tones Tiffany is accused of employing at times with customers, the supercilious “Ah, do you not know with whom you are dealing? This is Tiffany, dear, and we rarely retire patterns. Frankly, we are a little surprised you feel the need to question us about such an unlikely occurrence. But I assure you, of course you will be notified if such a thing is to happen.” (For full impact, insert salesperson’s nose-in-air sniff here.)

Suffice it to say no such notification occurred, nor is there any sign such efforts were made by the retailer. We only discovered the Blue Band’s fate when looking for something entirely unrelated at the website.  After completing our initial task we scooted over to the china department to look at possible additions to our set. Not seeing the pattern online, we thought it best to call the company, laughing internally at our alarmist reaction.

Imagine our dismay at being advised the pattern has been discontinued. After regaining motor skills that allowed us to speak, we made the standard inquiries: when was it discontinued, how can I buy pieces, what-do-you-mean-there-are-no-pieces-anywhere-in-any-warehouse-or-secret-hiding-place?

A darling young lady at the call center did her best, saying “We are emailing customers to let them know.” When we  explained, “But you don’t have my email, there is now way you could ….hello?” she resorted to the dreaded hold function. All we can say is the conversation did not improve. At any point.

There you have it. And yes, we are fully cognizant the world is awash in problems of a vastly more serious nature. We comprehend all this but are still going to pout for at least another day, as it really isn’t about the china pattern at all. Of course not.

It is about losing yet another relic of a more refined and genteel time, when service was provided as a matter of personal pride, a time when we respected ourselves and others more than we seem to now. And it is about the years we have defended Tiffany’s customer service when many consider that phrase an oxymoron. And it is about letting go of the delusion that certain establishments and institutions are the same special places of our youth; they are not, nor will they be.

In an interesting twist, today’s Journal has an outstanding story from the Cranky Consumer (one of our favorite columns), The Dish on Replacing Chipped China.

In today’s vernacular, the Princess needs to get over it.  We’re working on it.

End of whine-a-thon. We apologize for the self-indulgence and extend our gratitude to those kind readers with enough fortitude to continue reading.

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