Way back on May 5th of this year we chatted about the NY Time’s article on discount retailer Steve and Barry’s, home to Sarah Jessica Parker’s ‘Bitten’ line of clothing; the headline for the story asked “Is This the World’s Cheapest Dress?” with an SJP floral print dress (seen below) accompanying the story as the rhetorical dress in question.
In his article Times writer Eric Wilson looked at the retailing phenomenon Steve Shore and Barry Prevor created with their company, a chain where the most expensive items are just $8.98. More accurately, Wilson honed in on precisely how Steve and Barry’s merchandise could be sold profitably at that price. From the story:
The question on everyone’s lips: How do they make a decent dress or a jacket, with sleeves, or a pair of functioning shoes for $8.98?
Because that price point includes the dress shown above, from Ms. Parker’s ‘Bitten’ line, as well as merchandise tied to teen star Amanda Bynes, a relatively new line from surfing legend Laird Hamilton dubbed Wonderwall, basketball-themed pieces from Ben Wallace in additon to the Stephon Marbury basketball & sport tennis shoes, a performance collection from Venus Williams called Eleven, a golf collection named Bubba Golf after Bubba Watson and others.
“There’s been a revolution, a full-blown revolution,” Mr. Shore said, sounding, at times, just a bit like Crazy Eddie. “We just haven’t told anyone yet. If the Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch or J. Crew said that everything in the store is going to be $8.98 or less, it would be front-page news. But while no one was noticing, we opened stores across the country that have identical clothes for much lower prices.”
The question, again, is how.
That was, and remains, the question of the day. Mr. Wilson appeared to be pressing for an answer in his story, but never seemed to get one that spoke directly to the issue. It hasn’t been two months since the story was published, and well, here we are. Things are not good at Steve and Barry’s; they are in fact, very bad.
We don’t know if it was ‘the World’s Cheapest Dress‘ or not as the article asked, but we are pretty sure it probably needed to cost more than it did. A dollar more…? Two dollars…? How much exactly would have been enough to avoid what is going on now: a frantic search for funding to keep the company afloat, ongoing planning to close at least 100 of the company’s nearly 300 stores, continuing work on a bankruptcy filing should that be required, and all of the other unfortunate tasks that become necessary when the train leaves the tracks while traveling at a high rate of speed.
It is a shame, because a lot of people are impacted by what happens with the company, as are a lot of hopeful fans who believe in Steve and Barry’s credo that good fashion doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. We’ll keep you posted.
If you aren’t too depressed after reading all of that, here’s one activity to put on your list, be it online or in person: the Williams Sonoma Home Sale.
There are always loads of goodies at this one, and this year doesn’t disappoint. There are always wonderful finds to spruce up your own cottage or winter residence, and if that isn’t in the plan, they have so many items that make ideal gifts, especially Hostess gifts when heading out as a guest for a weekend at the beach. These Raffia Embroidered Pillows just scream “summer fun” with their whimsical fish and crab motifs!
And we’ll absolutely have to notify our recently returned stateside Nautical by Nature preppy to take a look at the Nautical Rope pillows, as they just looko like something she needs… if she doesn’t already have them. In pairs. The Pure and Simple Soaps from Scotland are always a hit and great to have in the house.
Those are just a few of the samplings from W-S Home, always worth a minute or two in our opinion, and not only because we were already at the website looking at Ice Cream recipes, as we were. So? I mean, what is the big deal if we have quite the full table for a festive Fourth gala. And Cook has been given the weekend off. The whole weekend. Off. And yours truly said she would make the ice cream. Personally make the homemade ice cream. This will be good.
You see we have one of the contraptions shown here, and it did seem like a good idea at the time when planning menus for the week to decide that the final course be something all American… ice cream! Of course! Homemade! Oh yes! In fact, I’ll make it myself, surely this is something I’m capable of! Oh Nooooooo.
Oh well. Photos may follow. If not, ask questions at your own risk.