Can anyone tell me why every dressing room in the history of dressing rooms has hideous florescent lighting that makes me want to put my clothes back on as soon as I take them off? Add a trifold mirror so I can see my derrière from every angle and game over. Is this strategy meant to make me feel terrible about myself in an effort to get me to buy more stuff? If so, it doesn’t work.
Thanks to the advent of E-commerce, free shipping and returns, and the omnipresent smartphone, I’ve learned to entirely avoid dressing rooms altogether. Last week I mentioned that I buy a lot of my luxury brand-name duds at online department store clearance sales, but I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve.
Supporting small business is almost as important to me as shopping ethically responsible, environmentally friendly, consignable brands. Supporting less-known designers and boutiques just feels like the right thing to do; like helping someone succeed at their version of the American dream. The cherry on top is that I often end up with some really incredible and unique stuff. But small businesses are a dying breed. Rent is high, and it’s become so easy to order nearly anything online that it doesn’t always make sense to hit up brick and mortar stores. The retail giants are feeling this hit, so you can imagine what it’s doing to the little guys. Still, the giants have the ability to simply transition to E-commerce, the logistics of which are often insurmountable for a small business with few employees. All of this means that operating a boutique is becoming ever more challenging for the owners.
For consumers, finding a great boutique is like a needle in a haystack. Of course “great boutique” means different things to different people, but regardless of your interpretation, I imagine you only have one or two that fit your criteria within a reasonable distance of your home. So if I told you that I perused several of my favorite shops in Houston and Charlotte from the comfort of my couch last night while my husband watched a replay of Friday’s pre-season football game, you’d be like, “But how, Courtney?”
And I’d be like, “House Account. Duh. Get on my level!”
Full disclosure: I write for House Account. But before you get your La Perlas in a bunch, you should know that I do so because I wholeheartedly encourage the idea of supporting small business, which is exactly what House Account does by allowing small boutiques to very easily participate in E-commerce.
Imagine Instagram meets Amazon meets Pinterest meets your favorite boutique, and you get House Account. It’s an app (House Acct) through which an amalgamation of shops (like Amazon) can simply post photos of their wares (like Insta). Said wares can be “hearted” and saved to your profile (like Pinterest, or a really incredible shopping wish list), and purchased through the app via a credit card that is kept on file (a “house account”). They are then shipped directly from the boutique to you, usually with a super gratifying personal note from the American dreamer from whom you purchased them. You can even engage in direct dialogue with the shop, as in “does this run true to size?” which makes it a lot like the personalized shopping experience you get at your favorite local boutique. Except no dressing room. No trifold mirror. No fluorescent, cellulite-illuminating lights.
But the very best part? Your “favorite local boutique” no longer needs to be local. House Account makes it possible to buy anything from Fendi’s new “it” bag at Stanley Korshak in Dallas, to a new-to-you Chanel bag at Luxury Garage Sale in Chicago, to handmade earrings at Saint Cloud in Houston, to uh-mazing prints from Katie Kime in Austin, to housewares from Citrine Home in San Antonio, or any number of other unique finds from small businesses across the country. Shop from your couch during a re-run football game, or from your cubicle during that post-lunch lull (I won’t tell).
So download the app. It’s on the house (Free. It’s free. Get it?)! And thanks to my special ability to rationalize just about anything, you can now buy yourself a pair of Gianvito Rossi quilted leather ankle-strap pumps and feel like you’re supporting a good cause!
Bonus Tip: Each item that you “heart” gets pinned to your profile, so if you really admire someone’s style, simply follow him/her to be inspired by all the items that he/she hearts. It’s a lot like social media, but without all the selfies and half-naked twenty-somethings.