There are brands that I love but I dare not shop retail. One such brand is Brioni. I recall once walking into Harrolds Menswear in Sydney and seeing a Brioni leather jacket with fur lining and a price ticket of $15,000 AUD. I did not understand how someone could make a decision between buying a small car and a leather jacket. But then, I have also never understood how a woman can spend $70,000 on a hand bag. Maybe it's just me.
To my mind the only way to purchase such extravagant pieces is to do one of two things - either grow your company to the point that it's an international behemoth and spending such money is not even noticed on your private expenses list, or wait for the garment to go to the high fashion graveyard, EBay.
Trawling EBay reminds me of the wonderful classic Australian film 'The Castle' where the Kerrigan's sit around the Trading Post exclaiming that the seller is 'dreamin'. It is a voyeurs paradise in which you can spend hours getting to know product specifications you wouldn't dare to bother the staff about in a luxury menswear store.
However, sometimes you can find extraordinarily good prices for items which have moved off the high street shelves and into a warehouse somewhere further out. There the garment is photographed, catalogued and uploaded. It is here where our story begins....
Some of you might recall that I was searching for a silk bomber jacket and that I predicted it might be a good look to pursue. On a whim I began hunting across the internet to see if I could piece together something which would fit in with the kind of look I was trying to suggest. Below the dream was realised with our Mike scarf and a Brioni quilted silk bomber jacket from the EBay store Top Shelf Apparel .
This silk bomber jacket and silk scarf look I think is hot for the Australian spring. It protects you when it is cold, but it is layered so perhaps you can wear a Moth Of Sydney collared t-shirt underneath or a round neck t-shirt for a more casual look. I'd suggest with this look a dark pair of navy jeans and a pair of penny loafers with some matching teal looking socks from William Abraham or, if the weather is a bit warmer, to pair them with some suede driving shoes sans socks.
This blog post, however, is in two parts. You see, once I found my jacket I was then interested in knowing more about Ebay businesses in general and thankfully, I managed to get Eric, the owner of Top Shelf Apparel, to tell our readers a bit about running an EBay store.
Here is Eric from Top Shelf Apparel
Running an EBay store must be very time consuming - can you tell our readers how you source garments and how you process them so efficiently for your eBay store?
It certainly is time intensive! I have wonderful employees and lots of practice, so we have the process streamlined efficiently - from photographing and measuring, to inventorying and listing, and finally to shipping the garments to the customer. It still ends up being a lot of work.
I'm fortunate to have developed relationships with several importers and wholesalers that have access to high-quality stocks at a nice discount off of regular prices. Additionally, we'll buy overstock items directly from manufacturers.
You stock brands which have a known attention to detail and quality, how do you determine which brands you will stock and what are some of the determining factors which will make you include a brand on your eBay store?
For the most part I look for brands that have an attractive quality-to-price ratio. Getting goods at the right price point can be tough - there's a certain discount off of MSRP that's expected when shopping online. I try and hunt for the best bargains so we can pass on the savings to the consumer.
Of all the brands you stock, which one in your opinion consistently delivers the best quality of product?
Oxxford really hits the sweet spot in terms of a bang-for-your-buck suit. The Highest Quality line has handwork that rivals the top-tier Italian makers. Tom Ford's attention-to-detail is also stellar. He ticks all the boxes - fit, finish, fabric, construction. A lot of his detailing and construction techniques are borrowed straight from the Savile Row and Italian masters.
I imagine some items sit on an eBay store a lot longer than in a seasonal collection of a store. What is the rough time frame that a garment sits on eBay before it sells?
Some things sell the day that they're listed; others sit around for a while - especially for uncommon sizes or big-ticket items. I try to price everything realistically, but our overhead costs are on the higher end of the spectrum and I always need to keep that in mind. If I had to give an average, I'd say four to six weeks.
Are you someone who wears the brands that he sells? If yes, what sort of clothes do you wear day to day and what brands do you personally enjoy wearing?
Yes, it takes a lot of self-restraint to not keep every cool item that arrives in my size. I try to dress comfortably at the office as I'm running around a lot. My look is generally minimal - dark jeans, ankle boots, deconstructed jersey blazer over a solid dress shirt or V-neck tee. I'm a sucker for neat outerwear, shoes, sport coats.
Can you recommend to our readers three products you are currently selling which you think are particularly wonderful but perhaps haven’t been picked up by EBayers?
I've got a lot of D'Avenza inventory currently listed. The quality is exceptional - maybe half a notch below Brioni, at a fraction of the price. They've done a lot of private-label work in the past, including for Bijan and the other Beverly Hills stores. D'Avenza was recently purchased by Brunello Cucinelli, and I think we'll see a lot more from the brand after the restructuring and remarketing.
Battisti makes some intricately-printed pocket squares in wool and silks - they're favourites of mine. Their ties are brightly-coloured and come with a hidden pocket at the tip.
Lastly, if you're looking to splurge, I have some out-of-this-world vicuña-blend jackets from Kiton.
What are some of the pitfalls of shopping on EBay and can you recommend to our readers certain things to look for to ensure that they don’t wind up dissatisfied?
The most challenging part of buying something online is ensuring that it will fit properly. We post measurements of everything we sell; unfortunately it's not always a 100% guarantee for proper fit due to minutiae like armhole height, sleeve width, fabric thickness, etc. Being familiar with the particular models that each manufacturer makes puts you at an advantage. That said; always buy from a seller with a return policy if you're unsure of your own particular measurements. Look for sellers that take photographs of the actual item for sale rather than lifting stock photos from other sites.
For the most part, eBay is good about protecting buyers from dishonest sellers. Buyers should still use common sense and follow the adage of "if it's too good to be true..."
How often do you receive new stock?
We receive small shipments weekly, and big shipments every three weeks or so. We list new items every day. I'm always trying to get my hands on better stuff!
|My hit prediction for the Australian spring 2015 - silk bomber jackets with scarves wrapped around the neck.|