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In preparation for NAWRB’s first Certified Delegate Spokeswoman Training Event, I hit the town last night with the attendees to share my lifelong secrets of collecting clothes at pennies on the dollar to look like a rockstar! Thank you mother for saving me money by never allowing us to buy anything at full price. Since I was three years old, I learned that if you didn’t ask for a better price, you might be missing an opportunity. As children, we were not allowed to purchase anything unless it was on sale, and not just an ordinary sale.
Wardrobe is paramount for professionals in the spotlight, and women can be especially judged and treated in accordance to their appearance. Whether you’re wearing a designer piece, flashy shoes or a classic fitted dress, your outfit communicates to the person across the table before you even say a word.
When adding to my wardrobe and shopping for others including my four children, I have perfected the art of shopping for less and knowing when, where and how to shop. Over time, the drive wasn’t just the value of looking great, it is the hunt of getting it at rock-bottom pricing. I take nothing at face value, regardless of the store. You must learn the company’s buying and selling protocol; are there stores in the chain that are better than others? How is the management’s treatment toward volume buyers? Is it a sell-off piece or direct buy?
These are only some of the tools that I use to determine the best time and place to shop. This is an art that is always evolving. There are several business owners that make an incredible living shopping sales and reselling to the public.
As a child that was given hand-me-downs from my older brother, or clothes made by my mother, I worked extra hard doing chores and managing contractors for my parents to be able to afford my very first pair of denim jeans when I was 13 years old. I thought I was the cheese! My first pair, wow. When I was able to afford a pair of Jordache jeans at a killer sale, I held on to them for over three decades until I finally conceded that my hip bones were never going to be the same and squeezing in wasn’t the answer. Now mind you, this was after I had a full designer wardrobe, but they were just so special to me. Remember “One Day at a Time” with Valerie Bertinelli? She was wearing the exact design from Jordache!
Today’s outfit—including the purse, earrings and boots—costs over $5,000 on the retail market, but guess who paid under $400 for the ensemble?
Shopping has been a way for me to recharge and regroup throughout my life. I’ve always said, “I don’t pay for therapists, I shop.” It is a way for me to take a moment for myself, breathe, and enjoy an activity that has brought me immense happiness since my youth. Amid my personal and professional challenges, shopping has helped me find a balance. If we allow difficult things to take center stage, we forget the good, important things we have in life.
The road as an entrepreneur is bumpy, to say the least, and it’s often more difficult for women. Remember that you’re not alone, and never forget the things that bring you happiness.
Desirée Patno, NAWRB CEO and President