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Sunday, January 9, 2011

I always liked Charlie.

Yup. Snoopy's cute, but I always found Charlie Brown irresistably adorable. ;)

I guess I always liked all things "Charlie" - the way the name rolls off your tongue like a favourite friend. The middle part "ar" curls your lips into a cosy ball of comfort, the kind of name that's fun to say, cheerful to hear! Charlie!

No surprise, then, that I like Charlie Chaplin, Charlie's Angels, Charlie Bartlett ...

So when I came across the relatively new online store known as "Charlie", I was immediately intrigued. :D I asked them, "Why Charlie?"

And the group of four friends who set up the blogshop together chorused, "A marketing lecturer in school used to tell us that branding with two-syllable names stick better in consumers' minds - why is that, we can't remember! - like Zara, Prada and Gucci."

Their search for a two-syllable symbol of success ended when it hit them that their founding partners have the surnames "Cheah" and "Lee"! XD Combining the two gives "Charlie"! :)

"Also, we have always thought that certain male names, which are used by females too, are pretty cool, for example, Charlie, Jo, Sam, Alex," said the foursome we now know as CHARLIE.

Now, what I find REALLY unique about Charlie (the store) is that they are very working-woman friendly! :) The online shopping community is still pretty much dominated by casual wear, so there are a lot less options in formal wear and workwear. Some of the working clothes available in malls are just too common for the fashion-lover, so it's great that there are stores like Charlie now offering some tasteful and still affordable choices! :)

Corporate chic by day ...

... Party diva by night! :D

Of course, Your Shopping Kaki loves to encourage diversity and more variety in the online shopping community - so here's to getting to know Charlie a little bit better! Perhaps if you're a budding entrepreneur looking for a part of the market to enter, you can consider the working woman market in the 20s-30s age range too! ;)

Here's my email interview with the empat sekawan ("four friends") running Charlie :D

YSK: Tell us about the story of Charlie!
  • This business started off because we wanted to mix passion with our own needs. Buying retail has been getting more and more expensive and this led us to think of ways to which we could get wholesale prices for our own shopping needs! And to get the wholesale prices for our own needs, we would have to make bulk purchases. Hence the idea of "Why not start a blogshop together?" began. We started by selling it to our own circle of friends, acquaintances and friends/acquaintances of our friends and acquaintances - basically those who share our tastes in fashion, our passion for style and the need to expand their wardrobes as time goes by.
  • As diverse as our personalities & fashion tastes are, we stand by one thing in common, that is, the quote made famous by Coco Chanel, "fashion fades, only style remains the same". Hence we normally go for the classic pieces which never go out of style, but at the same time, we try to keep up with the current trends as we would also like to cater to potential customers who are looking for trendy pieces at an affordable price. As everything is handpicked, our customers can be assured of the quality of our collection. This is also reflected in the pricing of each outfit, i.e how much WE ourselves would buy it for, taking into account the costs, the style and the fit. Of course, customers’ wants and needs are always our No.1 priority.

YSK: What kind of products do you sell on Charlie?
  • Our target market are women in their 20s or 30s who are mainly working professionals but at the same time, know how to party! (which typically reflects who we are as well!)
  • We do have a variety of clothing for work, such as the david jones work dress, short sleeve work dress, the V-neck plain colour work dress, round collar dress with short sleeves, the 3/4 frilly top, puffy sleeves top, rihanna top, and the satin ribbon collared top. These dresses are chic but professional looking and we are always careful in ensuring that the dresses are of a decent length to ensure that our customers (and we) don't get into trouble in office! :) And yes, we are corporate professionals by day and chic party queens by night & weekends! The corporate collection is as such because we ourselves are looking for hassle-free office wear which can also be worn out of the office (for drinks) without us having to dive into a changing room in between work and play.
  • But our main draw has to be our very colourful and very vibrant party/cocktail/dinner dresses. All of us have very different tastes and very different "shapes" and as such our customers get pretty much everything, from something that looks to enhance the bust, to something that seems to enhance the shape and the contour of the derriere! We are adventurous with the choices that we make available to the women out there because we are adventurous ourselves and no two people will ever look at the same piece of clothing the same way. So hence, you get the long dresses, the short ones, the one with a single shoulder, the tubes, the stripes and even those which are complemented by sashes, bows and belts. And lets face it, nice dresses are never too many to have. They’re assets, to show off our assets :)

YSK: What is the price range of your products?
  • Our tops are between RM30 to RM40, but certain tops are priced at RM42 due to cost factors. We try to keep RM42 as the ceiling price for our tops.
  • Our dresses are typically between RM40 to RM70. One exception so far is the greek beaded collar maxi dress, only because it looks so wonderful to the right girl. Cost wise, maxi's also require more resources and materials. It's flowy, sophisticated and what can we say, maxis are the IN thing right now!
  • Our outfits are priced below that of a regular retail store, FOR SURE! At the end of the day, it is quality that matters to our customers. And we're glad to say that quality matters to us too.

YSK: Which is your favourite item on your site and why?
  • "It'll have to be the ruffle v-neck maxi dress because the length is perfect for those without the height advantage, and its v-neck and ruffles make it oh-so-sexy even to us shorties! And it being a maxi, is perfect for YSK's Maxi Dress Day!"
  • "Our initial black toga was such a success! We just HAAAD to get more of the togas! I love the Black Strap Toga Bubble Dress. Why? Only because it looks so awesome on anybody with any shape, any pair of heels, with or without the height advantage! =)) The colours are vibrant (how many times can you look good in shocking pink?), even the black becomes so not-boring with that black strap! Having personally bought the red one (I'm such a sucker for red! and I love the sash for making me look curvier!!), I think it's the perfect for the festive season - Xmas is over, so think Chinese New Year!!"
  • "Like my friend here, yes, i love the togas too! Such a waste that our Sexy Toga (which was such a hit!!) has been sold out! I really really like this one from our latest collection, it's called "Three Quarter Sleeve Toga". What can I say, it's classy, it's sophisticated, just picture this in your mind - sophisticated woman, in her 20s or 30s, walks into a room full of people - with her hair done up, earrings with a matching necklace, black strappy heals - all eyes turn to her and excited whispers vibrate across the room, "Doesn't she look amazing?" God, I want to be her already! =))
  • "I like the spaghetti chiffon dress. Its simple, its casual, its chic and and when paired with scarf or pashmina shawl, won’t look out of place at a dinner event."

YSK: What's your most memorable online selling experience on charlie?
  • "My friend who was getting married, requested for 9 dresses of the same kind to be worn by all her bridesmaids! The events that went along with that whole experience of trying the dresses, the laughter, the "oh my god, I look fat" expressions - simply hilarious and truly memorable!"
  • "When our sales started to pick up and we got people out of our circle of friends / acquaintances as our customers, we felt really good because it's so awesome to know that random strangers would trust our site and tastes as well as the quality of our outfits and purchase things that we would personally wear! It's such an encouragement and we’ve managed to maintain our enthusiasm and passion to not disappoint our current fans as starting a ‘business’ from scratch when the online blogshop market is concentrated enough is not easy!"
  • "The work seems endless from the sourcing, to putting up pictures on our blog, to setting up booths at bazaars. Despite the seemingly endless hours, these hours are also the most memorable to me. The greatest satisfaction for me are the favorable comments received from customers on how satisfied they are with our products and services."
  • "Well, I don’t really have any particular memorable selling experiences, but the best part of course would be to receive customers’ feedback that they absolutely love their purchases!"

There you have it, you're probably itching to visit Charlie
and check out their full collections now! :)

My personal favourite: this nautical tube dress!
I think the asymmetry of the stripes are really unique,
and the cutting is also very figure flattering. :)
Available in 4 colours but one is sold out already - hurry!


Now say that five times, fast. :P

Happy Shopping!
Your Shopping Kaki :)

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