Monthly Archives: November 2015

Nov 30

Cyber Monday Is Better Then Black Friday

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

Cyber Monday is better than Black Friday…at least that is what my 23 year old daughter told me.  The three reasons she gave is…1. No lines…2. You don’t have to leave your house..3. The deals are just as good and most companies give free shipping.  She loves on line shopping and so does her friends.  They can spend time on each site thinking about what they want and do not have to make a decision right then and there,  like in a store.  She feels she makes better decisions and can plan her spending before she commits.

“Retailers are rolling out online deals on so-called “Cyber Monday.” But now that shoppers are online all the time anyway, the 10-year-old shopping holiday is losing some of its luster.  Still, Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day ever, with estimates that it will rack up over $3 billion in sales. There were some outages, including Target’s site briefly midmorning. An alert said high traffic was causing delays,”  according to Mae Anderson of

Truthfully my daughter has been on line since Thanksgiving planning her purchases for the season.  No one is really waiting for Cyber Monday to shop and many deals were offered long before the day.  Of course my Yahoo in-box was cluttered with emails from brands and retailers with on line sales trying to entice me to part with my money.  The problem for them is I feel no sense of urgency to shop because there are going to be bargains available everyday till Christmas.  So, if I don’t buy this one there will be another to take advantage of.  If I feel this way how many other consumers feel this way also.

I do love on line Christmas shopping!  It does make my life so much easier.  Everything seems so much easier since the internet was born.



Nov 25

Is Black Friday Turning Into Black Thanksgiving?

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

My poor niece has to work on Thanksgiving because her store is open that day.  What happened to having one day where everyone is closed and no one is worrying about sales?  Is Black Friday turning into Black Thanksgiving?  Personally I am tired of it.  I work 7 days a week.  Which honestly I don’t mind because I love my work.  But, there has to be limits.  Can’t we take off one day a year.  Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving in this country.  For some, me included, it is their favorite holiday.  In fact I’m not even going to look at any emails.

Thankfully some stores are keeping the Thanksgiving tradition of closing their stores.

DSW issued a statement: “While many retail stores will be opening for business on Thanksgiving Day, this year we continue the DSW tradition of keeping ours closed. Family time is extremely important to us, and we want our associates to enjoy the holiday with their loved ones. Our stores will remain closed until 7 a.m. on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.”

Dillard’s, In a post on the department store’s Facebook page, the company said “We hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving! We will be closed on turkey day, but we open 2 hours early on Black Friday at 8 a.m. … From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.”

“We believe strongly that our customers and associates should have the opportunity to spend the Thanksgiving holiday relaxing with family and friends, and not worrying with the stress of where to find the best shopping deals. We know this is in stark contrast to what many other retailers are doing, but we are taking a stance to protect family time during this important holiday,” said Mike Buskey, executive vice president and president of Gamestop U.S. Stores. “For our customers who want to do a little shopping on Thanksgiving Day, and will be open all day and taking orders.”

So from my family to yours “Happy Thanksgiving” and take the whole day off :0).


Nov 23

Having Vibrant Health Contributes To a Successful Business

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


For those of you who read my blog, you know I am a huge reader.  Not just novels, but, biographies, business and finance books, self development,  history, and sometimes science (but not so much science).  Most of the self development books or success books mention how having vibrant health contributes to a successful business.

One of the most common habits of billionaires is billionaires take good care of themselves. Studies have shown that wealthy people exercise more and have healthier diets than those of lesser means, and both of these things affect people in ways that can help build wealth.

Best-selling author Tom Corley points out that 70 percent of the wealthy consume less than 300 junk food calories per day, compared with 3 percent of less-affluent people. They get more exercise, too–Corley puts the percentage of the wealthy who do aerobic exercise at least four days a week at 76 percent, compared with just 23 percent of the poor.

“Your body is everything. You may think being a little overweight isn’t that big of a deal, but on the road to greatness, it affects your overall energy and can be that one thing that holds you back with everything,” says Lewis Howes, Author of  The School of Greatness.

Nagging health issues not attended to can turn into big health issues. Eating poorly and not getting exercise can cause you to gain weight.   Carrying around an extra 20 pounds can deplete your energy levels.

Building your own business takes lots of energy.  Without vibrant health you cannot give it your all.  Good health also boosts your mental sharpness.  A healthy body leads to a healthy brain.  Regular activity has been proven to have a number of mental health benefits, emotional wellness and mental sharpness among them.

Having vibrant health most definitely will contribute to a successful business.  When you have vibrant health you can bring your “A” game to your company.




Nov 13

Why Is The Fashion Industry So Alluring?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion


I have a great job!  I work with designers who are starting new brands or who have small brands that they are ready to take to the next level.  Many of them are not even from the industry.  But they are excited and passionate about building a fashion brand.  They aren’t jaded and cynical like many of the industry players.  Executives who are constantly bemoaning the old days, or complaining about how hard business is these days.  Frankly they are no fun.  The newbies with stars in their eyes are the ones I like to help build a successful business with.  Why is the fashion industry so alluring?  Many of these entrepreneurs have been working in other fields for years.  Yet they are willing to start over and spend their life savings on their businesses.

Here is what I discovered.  While us old timers know the industry is not glamorous as people sometimes think, it is way more interesting than a lot of other work.  Think of how dull studying numbers or contracts can be.  Many of these people are stuck at a desk all day staring at computers.  You must admit reading a trend report is way more exciting than reading a report on say financial analysis.  Many individuals have a strong creative personality and would like to express it.  Especially in a way that can earn them money.  Lot’s of people go into other industries because they follow their parents advice and choose the safe route.  They always dreamt of going into the fashion business but were told that they couldn’t be successful here.  Yet the burning desire never left them.  I have clients who come to me in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s, who decide they are going to finally give in to their passion and start a line.

Maybe this passion can breath new life into an industry that is somewhat stagnant.  One can only hope and encourage and support these new fashion entrepreneurs.


Nov 11

The Art of The Hustle

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

I am reading the book “The School of Greatness”  by Lewis Howes.  This is a great book!  It is up there with the top personal development books of all time.  I totally recommend this to all the high achievers who want to be their best selves.  There is a chapter on developing hustle.  Or as I like to call it “The art of the hustle”.  According to the dictionary hustle is defined as – ” to move or work in a quick and energetic way”.  I think of it as working as hard and fast as you possibly can to achieve your goals.  The willingness and the discipline to do anything and everything to make things happen.

You must also recognize that busyness and hustling aren’t the same thing. Hustlers are open minded and understand that there are only so many hours in the day. Each moment an un-replenishable resource that is gone forever. They use their time wisely. They get things done.

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, marketing guru, “Hustling is putting every minute and all your effort into achieving the goal at hand. Every minute needs to count. There is so much hustle in my day I don’t even have a second to spare to “hang out” and catch up with the people around me. It may not be ideal for most, but it’s what I’ve signed up for, it’s what I love, and it’s what allows me to get the things done that I seek to accomplish.”

Do you practice the art of the hustle?  Do you do all that it takes to get your company to the level that you have in your vision.   “Things may come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln.  So are you looking for the leftovers?  Or are you ready to bring your “A” game?  Start practicing the art of the hustle.

Nov 09

Concentrating On High Value Activities

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


What do I mean when I say, “concentrating on high value activities”?  Entrepreneurs have some bad habits.  They know that they have to work hard. Yet sometimes they find themselves working hard but not necessarily working smart.  They do the things they enjoy but not necessarily the things that need to be done to move the needle forward.

“Efficiency is doing things right and effectiveness is doing the right things”. – Peter Drucker.  Effectiveness trumps efficiency. The ideal case is when you’re doing the right things right, but if you have to make a compromise, always do the right things, no matter how inefficient you might be at doing them.  Or delegate them to someone who will get it done.  I have a client who hates social media.  But she knows it is important to use social media to market her brand.  In her case the solution is to find an intern to concentrate on this activity.

High value activities are the activities that produce your most important outcomes. These activities produce the results your business is measured on, and they are the difference between success and failure.

Sales is an example of a high value activity. Sales is either on the phone or in front of someone talking to them about what you do and asking them to buy it from you. It isn’t anything else. How many HOURS did you spend yesterday physically talking to a potential new buyer about what you sell? If you are like most small business owners, the answer is none. You should dedicate a minimum number of minutes or activities EVERY day to sales meetings.  When they say sales is a numbers game they aren’t kidding.  The more buyers you reach the more opportunity you have to sell.  To say that sales is a high value activity is pretty obvious.

Simply putting in the time is not enough… You must identify what activities generate the highest returns, and then focus relentlessly on these behaviors to the exclusion of most other distractions… You have to put in a lot of hours, but of equal importance, these hours have to be dedicated to the right type of work.


Nov 04

The Pressure of The Winter Holiday Retail Season

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized


Aah the pressures of the winter holiday retail season!  So much business is done at this time of year.  Stores eagerly prepare for the season.  They plan their buys carefully, develop their promotions, and strategize ways to bring customers into the stores.  As manufacturers we hope that our product will be the first off the shelves.  We study the calendar to see if we have one more weekend of selling this year or one less.  Of course we read the weather report because quite frankly if it isn’t cold enough coats, gloves, boots, and sweaters don’t sell as well.  Lot’s of effort for a pretty short selling season – Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.  It’s no wonder retailers try to start the season earlier.  I even saw Christmas decorations in some stores in AUGUST!!

I keep thinking we should move Christmas back a few weeks.  Maybe celebrate it in January as the Russian Orthodox do.  But, alas that isn’t happening.

On October 8th, 2015, The National Retail Federation announced  it expects sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales) to increase a solid 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion — significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent. Holiday sales in 2015 are expected to represent approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion. Additionally, NRF is forecasting online sales to increase between 6 and 8 percent to as much as $105 billion.

One can only hope that much of the increase is spent on fashion and not just toys, smart phones, or laptops.  The problem we face is there are much more things to buy for gift giving besides new clothes or accessories.  When I was a wee girl there were no fancy electronics to buy.  Today there is more competition out their for the consumer dollars.  As fashion people we need to bring innovation to what we do to create the same buzz a new version of the Apple phone does. Then maybe our slice of the pie will be bigger.

Nov 02

4 Tips for Getting The Best Results From Your Pattern Maker By Boaz David

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion


Knowing what to provide and how to direct your pattern maker is crucial to how well can they execute your vision. Whether you are a veteran or new to the industry the following should make your pattern maker job easier and will make you look like a pro not to mention save you time and money:

1. Communicate your fit – As a clothing brand the fit of your garments will eventually be part of your brand’s DNA. Having a clear idea of who is your primary target customer is essential to determining your fit and the sizes you will offer. For example, a designer line targeting the 25-35 years old, edgy, fashion savvy, city girl who shops at Barney’s will have a different fit than a Missy line targeting the 35-45 years old working mom who shops at Macy’s. Even though both lines might offer the same size range the fit will be different in these sizes.

TIP: If this is the first time you are developing a pattern and you are new to working with your pattern maker, the best and easiest way for them to understand your fit is if you’ll provide them with a reference sample that fits the way you’d like yours to fit.

2. Provide Technical sketches/Tech-pack – Your pattern maker will need to understand the technical details of your garment, therefore fashion illustration will not help and most likely just confuse them. Remember, you want your pattern maker to understand the details, fit and construction of your garment, a fashion illustration might communicate the feel and look of the garment but detailed technical sketches and tech-packs is how you’ll communicate construction and specs.

TIP: Just like with fit the best and easiest way to communicate a detail is showing a reference of something similar that they can follow. For example if you want a specific pocket or a specific way of finishing the inside of your garment show your pattern maker a garment with a similar details.

3. Provide actual fabric swatches – This is crucial to get the right fit. Different fabrics will perform differently, even if some fabrics have the same content and maybe even the same weight (in knits) they might still be constructed differently or go through a different finishing process etc. and all of that can affect how they will perform , shape, drape, stretch etc. Telling your pattern maker that your garment will be made in silk is too general since there are many silk fabric qualities out there, therefore the best way will be to show them a swatch of the actual fabric you are looking to use (if possible at least a half yard), this way they will 1. Be able to advise if what you are looking to achieve is possible with this fabric and 2. Will know the best way to use it.

TIP: let them know the width of the fabric as well, this can be helpful (especially if you have big pattern pieces) so they will make sure the pattern pieces fit into the fabric width, and more so they can maybe even plan the pattern pieces in a way that will result in the lowest consumption. Need help with sourcing the right fabrics for your product? Read here

4. Communicate your price point – Your price point and market positioning should also be communicated to your pattern maker, this way they will understand the level of construction/finishing of your price point. Finishing of a garment can be done in different ways, some ways can be more labor intensive which will than affect the cost of your product. For example, If you are designing moderate dresses that will be retailed for under $300 the finishing and construction that you can afford will be much less than lets say contemporary dresses that will be retailed for $600-700. The contemporary dresses can afford to have more hand work and clean finishing inside where the moderate dresses will need to have top stitches and over-lock instead. This than might also effect what seam allowances and sewing instructions (among other details) to use.

The above 4 tips (along with other valuable information) will make a big difference in the results that you’ll get form your pattern maker. He/she can be great at what they do but unless they get the right info from you they will interpret the above details in their way and that might not be what you had in mind.

Written by Boaz of Human B

HUMAN B is a consulting and production company offering a ONE STOP SOLUTION for emerging designers and established fashion brands.