Home clothing shows save busy women time
By Susan Shinn
How many times have you looked in your closet and thought, “I have nothing to wear” or “Nothing I have seems to go together”?
Or how many times have you gone shopping for clothes ó only to come home empty-handed or frustrated?
Home-based clothing shows may be for you.
“These shows work really well for busy schedules,” says Elizabeth Langford, who hosts week-long Etcetera shows at her Salisbury home four times a year. “We have professional women who are busy, and we have stay-at-home moms who are busy. You can come and spend an hour, and find so many things to mix and match.”
Time is clearly important for Langford’s clientele.
“I don’t have time to go walking all over SouthPark,” says local attorney Jennifer Flynn.
Dr. Kathy Boyd, an endodontist, has shopped with Langford for the past five seasons.
She agrees with Flynn about the convenience of shopping locally.
“I don’t have time to drive out of town, and I can get their input,” Boyd says of Langford and her associates, Jay Hughes and Alice Ketcham. “And the Etcetera clothes last forever.”
You can build an entire wardrobe of Etcetera clothes, or you can buy one great piece ó like a fabulous jacket ó and put it with what you already have.
After all, everybody has brown pants or khaki pants.
If you’re in the market to change your wardrobe, Langford says, you might consider the Etcetera Advantage. Buy a jacket, three tops and three bottoms, and you can create 18 different looks.
For $70 per piece, you have the advantage.
“It’s kind of a nice thing to have as a base,” Langford says.
Not only does Langford sell clothing, she keeps up with trends as an Etcetera representative.
“A trend that developed last year is putting things together you might not think of putting together,” she says, such as a dressy jacket with blue jeans, or tailored pieces paired with more flowing pieces.
Other trends for summer include lots of bright colors; flowing, romantic styles with fluttery hems; florals; shimmer with gold and silver; loose shapes with baby-doll style tops and empire waists; the bohemian look; mid-’60s chic with short skirts in wild colors.
Another trend Langford likes is what she calls “multiple choice” in hems.
“You can go long or short, high or low,” she says. “Now it’s anything goes.”
Langford equates the Etcetera line to Banana Republic or Talbots ó “when they’re not having a sale.”
Etcetera, she says, offers classic yet trend-conscious clothing.
“Season after season, the pieces coordinate,” she says. “I always get compliments when I wear these clothes.”
She’s especially impressed with the details ó quality materials, special buttons and trims.
The clothes feel just as yummy as they look.
“The Etcetera woman should make a statement coming into a room and leaving the room,” she says.
Langford stands up to illustrate her point. She’s wearing toffee pants topped with a toffee and cream floral jacket with silver studs.
She turns around, and you notice that the studs run down the back seam.
“The quality of the clothing really speaks for itself,” Langford. “You are making an investment and it’s gonna last you for 10 years at least.”
“The uniqueness is really nice,” one shopper says of the line. “The fabrics are wonderful and the detailing is wonderful.”
Langford has been selling Etcetera for four years. Before that, she sold another line of clothing at home shows.
“I got a phone call out of the blue from a representative in Charlotte saying, will you have lunch with me?” she says. “I was not working and I had recently moved to Salisbury with my husband and two small children.
“It just seemed to make sense for me.”
Besides the shows, there’s additional time spent for preparation and bookkeeping, but, Langford says, “I can do that around my otherwise busy schedule with the children.”
Daughter Kimpton is now 16, while Jack is 13. Both children attend The Cannon School. Husband Gary works in Charlotte.
Before the shows, Langford and her staff send out about 175 invitations, then call everyone on the list to set up appointments.
Although it takes generally about an hour to see the line ó it has 400 pieces for spring ó some clients like to spend more time shopping.
“We get to know our customers and tailor our schedule around them,” Langford says.
Langford attends regional preview fashion shows for the two largest shows in spring and fall.
“That actually is one of the bonuses, because we get to take a girls’ trip somewhere fun for a couple of days and meet with other reps,” she says. “It’s really energizing and you see the different ways people put clothes together.”
Because Langford gets to know her customers so well ó and knows what they’ve bought ó she picks out certain pieces for clients as she sees them on the runway.
“I am 100 percent accurate on what I pick out,” she says. “Customers expect me to be the expert.
“We love the clothes. We get excited about them and we want to share them with our customers. We just want you to come and look.”
The next Etcetera show is set for mid-August. To add your name to Elizabeth Langford’s Etcetera mailing list, call her at 704-630-0221.
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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