Sunday, September 19, 2010

Please Visit our New Blog

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hold up, wait a minute

kind of.
Make a wish list and we will come calling next week.
we thank you.
profusely :)


Happy Treasure Hunting,
Carly + Christine

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

RSVP To Our Launch Party!!!

One free drink for the first 40 guests, complimentary treats by local sponsors, and music by DJ Eli Glad. We will also be raffling off gift certificates and custom tote bags. Come hang out with us!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brief Update + Thanks Dan

You guys, we have been soooooooooo busy. The photoshoot last weekend went just perfect--I got all weepy and emotional when we were saying goodbye at the end because I was so happy with everything. Everyone that participated not only did a wonderful job, but had such great attitudes. What more could we ask for?

Here is a sneak preview from the photoshoot...

Other than that, we've just been working on our press + promo and getting everything with the site working. We're also figuring out how to make our launch party as great as possible on a shoe-string budget. Lots of late nights, y'all.

Also, Dan Africa is my hero. This video is courtesy of his sense of humor. I've never enjoyed being teased by someone as much as I do by Dan. Don't tell him I said that.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photo Shoots!

Hello all! We are finally getting our photography on for all the products we will have by our launch date (ahem...CAN YOU BELIEVE IT'S ONLY THREE WEEKS AWAY????). I spent pretty much the entirety of Sunday in my living room with Lev photographing the few accessories we have so far. We honestly don't have nearly as much as I thought we would by now, but it still took forever! I think we spent almost 2 hours on just one pain-in-the-neck purse to make sure the colors were accurate! It was really fun actually, but holy lord I can't emphasize enough how similar this process has been to writing and recording music. There is so much just sitting around, agonizing over the smallest details, testing this, trying that, and so on. :D

This weekend we're doing the clothes--both product shots and styled location shoots. We're really excited about everyone that's involved--from our models Nicole and Gaelan, to our make-up artist Jenny, hair stylist Stephanie, and of course Lev. You might have guessed correctly that Carly and I have no idea how to run a photo shoot, but we're going to do our best and feel pretty confident that the end result will be something we can all be proud of.

It will be, to put it mildly, a wild experiment. Wish us luck!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Highlights from MAGIC

Well, we did it! We went to our very first MAGIC tradeshow in Vegas. If all goes well, this will be something we'll be doing twice a year, every year. I was pretty apprehensive before we left--everyone had warned us that it was going to be huge and overwhelming, but it really wasn't that bad! Looking back at how confused we were at our first show--the baby of all trade shows, CALA--I can't believe how far we've come. And it was actually really fun! Here are some highlights from our trip:

- Checking out Dolce Vita's new DV line, and staying awake long enough to check out the DV launch party at LAVO (did I mention we woke up at 4am for our flight on Tuesday, then went straight to work! holy moly!)

- All things adorable at Many Belles Down, a local Bay Area company

- Somehow managing to not wilt from the heat

- Celebrating Carly's birthday!

- Finally learning how to play craps... the FIRE bet!!

- Our favorite pick for Spring--a beyond-words-adorable dress by Funktional. We can't wait to show you!

- When Carly got to hug Betty White...

Okay, so maybe she didn't really meet Betty White, but I got to hang out with Jessica Simpson!

Okay, so maybe I didn't really meet Jessica Simpson either, but we did see Lady GaGa and Beyonce perform!

Okay, so maybe they were impersonators, but they were really convincing! Anyway, what we did do is a whole lot of shopping and we're happy to report that it was a great success! We can't wait to show you the results!


Monday, August 16, 2010

We believe in MAGIC

Hello Friends,
I thought it might be a great time (since we are headed of to MAGIC tomorrow) to let you in on some of the brands that we will be carrying this fall season. Currently it is 11:36 PM, and Christine is coming to pick me up at 5:30 (YES AM zzzzzz) so we can get to the airport in time to make it to our first appointments tomorrow. So, I will make this short and sweet. Above are not photos of actual items we will be carrying, but of previous pieces created by brands we are carrying so you can get a feel for what the overall aesthetic might be. Going clockwise from the top left corner we have:

Many Belles Down
Frock! by Tracy Reese
Dolce Vita
BB Dakota

...and I forget where that 3rd dress came from. I would have re-made the collage, but it's 11:45 and I'm waking up at 4:30. Cute though isn't it? In addition to the brands listed above we will also be carrying Aryn K and it's little sister Ark & Co, Cheap Monday, newcomers Line & Dot, and much much more!
OK, that is all for now because my sleep hours are dwindling! More to come very soon.
Goodnight xo

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Inspiration: Stephanie B.

Hi everyone!

Goodness, have we been busy! July was a whirlwind of summer fun, which means we took a lot of trips out of San Francisco to enjoy Mr. Blue Sky. In fact, we spent last weekend in beautiful Seattle to celebrate the wedding of our ex-bandmate to his long time love. It was an amazing time, made especially great because I was able to catch up with my darling friend Stephanie!

Stephanie and FFC alum Leia looking foxy at the wedding.

We met Stephanie a looooong time ago when she was living in Santa Cruz with Finest Dearest’s future bassist, and were even roommates for a while in San Francisco. I have long admired Stephanie’s look—from the perfect hair and makeup to the way she embodies vintage style in her everyday life. I also love that Stephanie’s personal style really reflects her personality: sunny, cheeky and adventurous.

Here’s what Stephanie had to say when I interviewed her a while back:

1. What usually motivates your outfit when you get dressed in the morning?
As a lifelong procrastinator, I have learned that dresses are best suited for my lifestyle...and my figure. They are a one-stop shop, just begging for the perfect accessories! I am also inspired by people watching outside my window on 24th street, very colorful!

2. What’s your favorite reason to get all gussied up?
I love to pull out all the stops for dinner parties and Sunday brunch with my ladies.

3. Something fashionable you’ve been drooling over lately?
A vintage poncho-style trench coat would be lovely. Or, if someone could just buy me a Snuggie, that would fine as well.

4. Favorite places to shop?
The Painted Bird, the Goodwill in Auburn, Savers in San Jose, and the Bargain Barn in Santa Cruz

5. Most embarrassing fashion trend you’ve seen people follow recently? (Or that you've been guilty of!)
Leather leggings...faux or real. Only the New York Dolls can get away with a stunt like that!

Looking gorgeous as Edie Sedjwick for Halloween.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The First Face of FFC

This is Nicole L. Browner. Besides being a real looker, Nicole is also the Content Producer for one of our favorite San Francisco music blogs The Bay Bridged . Beauty and brains! Nicole is humoring us by being one of our first models. Our very first photo shoot is scheduled for one of last weekends in August when we will finally have enough stuff to get up on our site and to make it look like a (real) boutique. Before then, we have to conquer the mother of all trade shows - MAGIC . As always, we are excited and scared. 105 degree weather, back to back meetings with vendors, spring '11 collections (!), poker tournaments (oh, um, I mean, did I say that?!) :)
One of our focuses for MAGIC is going to be shoes, because currently we are sorely lacking in the shoe department, and that makes me sad. Those of you who know me, know I am kind of ridiculous about shoes. And by ridiculous I mean obsessed. Rest easy my loves - I will find those shoes! Until then, goodnight, and stay fancy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

FAQ No. 1 and 2 : Do you sell cologne? / What's with your name?

OK, we knew there would be a teensy bit of danger in choosing a name that may lead people to believe we sell fragrances. However, we were also hoping that a few might pick up on the
origins of our name and some of you have, hooray! For those who are still saying "what the what?" I thought I would tell you about a song called Carey, by Joni Mitchell. I grew up listening to Joni as many of us did (depending on your parents' tastes) and haven't stopped since. When we were going crazy trying to choose a name for our store, I was doing all kinds of exercises - making mood boards and collages, making lists of words, rearranging - and one night while I was working on all this I happened to be listening to Joni Mitchell's album Blue.
“Carey” by Joni Mitchell, describes her wild adventures in the Greek isles. In the song, she soaks up an exotic but gritty travel experience, and though she’s having the time of her life,
she sings: “I miss my clean white linen and my fancy French cologne”. The meaning of this song really resonated with us and has come to define the spirit of our shop. We are for you ladies
who are just as comfortable in a fast-paced urban environment as you are hiking a trail or climbing a tree—looking for adventure in everyday life and looking lovely while you’re at it.
In music, lifestyle, and fashion, Joni is an icon and an inspiration.



Friday, July 2, 2010

Model Hunting This Weekend

That's right, we'll be scouring the streets of San Francisco looking for some normal, everyday ladies to recruit as models. We're not 100% sure how to describe the kind of gal that we imagine will grace the pages of our site, but I am confident she's out there!

If you know anyone, please have them contact us at info at fancyfrenchcologne dot com.


Monday, June 28, 2010

That's All, Folks!

This weekend Carly and I played our last show ever with Finest Dearest and I don't think we could have asked for a better ending. We had a really great time with everyone--thank you for being there! And while we're on the subject, I'd like to say thank you if you ever let us sleep on your floor or booked us a show, thank you for all of your kind messages recently saying you are sorry we're breaking up, thank you everyone who was involved in our music, from artwork to photography, recording, distro, trombones... Basically, thanks to everyone who cared. We know how lucky we are to have known you all.

Special thanks to Lev for taking all the awesome photos of the show, which you can see more of here, and who is actually going to be our photographer for Fancy French Cologne.

And so with this behind us, I think Carly and I can really focus everything on Fancy French Cologne. Weve dipped our toes in this completely new world, and we're eager to just get in there already!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Inspiration: Seth B.

That's right, we're introducing the male element into these here inspiration posts! And there is honestly no better dude to kick it off with than our dear friend Seth. He is the only guy that's ever asked me: "which set of cufflinks do you think I should wear?" Seth can tell you what era the camouflage pattern he's wearing is from, he doesn't mind telling you if he likes your blouse, and he plays a clear bass in Stirling Says. In other words, Seth rules.

I recently saw Seth on his birthday and watched his other band Pills play (sorry for the blurry photos...). Read below for some of Seth's opinions on clothing, and if you like what you read he's got many, many more opinions right here.

1. What usually motivates your outfit when you get dressed in the morning?
Context of the day. If I am going to work office-ish clothes. Days off depends on the weather, which in San Francisco changes at the drop of a hat so layers are almost always a must.

2. What’s your favorite reason to get all gussied up?
Friends’ get–togethers mostly, birthdays, cocktail parties, and what-not. But I like getting dressed up as much as possible and always wish there were more reasons to do so and not look out of place or like I am wearing a costume.

3. Something fashionable you’ve been drooling over lately?
I have been really into woven brown leather shoes lately, I am on the lookout for a good pair of calf boots at the moment. I really like some of John Varvatos’ new styles but will never ever be able to afford them. Also, I want a watch. I have had two really great looking watches but one was stolen and the other is too heavy and messes with my tendonitis (I know, lame).

4. Favorite places to shop?
Clothes Contact on Valencia and Mission Thrift have given me many of my favorite clothes. Almost always second hand except the old undies and socks. Any chance I get I check out army/navy surplus stores too. Well made, stylish and it fits like a dream! I also really want a Uniqlo to open in San Francisco.

5. Most embarrassing fashion trend you’ve seen people follow recently? (Or that you've been guilty of!)
I wore girls jeans for about a year when I was a younger man but got over that thankfully. New trends that are on the bummer radar is the tendency of “the kids these days” to wear clothing that is becoming more and more baglike, too many pleats and baggy on top tight on the bottom pieces.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lights, Camera... Think About Snakes!

Today we drove down to Palo Alto to do a practice photo shoot before we do the real thing. The thing we were most worried about was being able to photograph darker colors and still make the detail stand out, or being able to see the detail when a pattern is really small. We also wanted to just play with the settings and backdrop to see what kind of lighting, angles etc, we liked the best. What we found is that we have a lot of options and flexibility which was kind of a weight off of our shoulders. Also, Lev really knows how to bring the best out in people. For example, he says:

Think about puppy dogs:

Um... ok Christine....

Think about snakes:

Um.... OK uh, both of us...

Look like you love each other:
That we can do :)
Good thing we aren't the models. Anyone else want to take a crack at it?

Carly + Christine

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Farewell to Finest Dearest

Hi everyone!

If you haven't heard already, the band that Carly and I have been in for almost six years is calling it quits at the end of this month. I think we all agree that playing in Finest Dearest was one of the most amazing times in our young lives, and we feel so lucky to have shared so many experiences together. We had sooooo much fun, and I have never felt more at home than I did in that band with my finest dears. Together we saw so many new parts of the country, met a ton of great people, learned a lot about the world and each other and ourselves (sounds cheesy, but it's true!!). I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my twenties. But alas, we have sown our wild oats and are all moving on to new (and more "grown-up") efforts.

To say our proper goodbyes, we're playing a final show in San Francisco, and just released our final album, Good Enough, on iTunes today. Click here to learn more about the show and click here to download the record from iTunes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Our First Shipment Has Arrived!

We have reached another milestone, friends! We received our very first shipment last night as we were in the midst of our weekly business meeting. How exciting! Here's a picture of me opening the box... unfortunately we can't give away too many details about what's inside, but rest assured we are very excited about its contents.

And this is just the beginning! We will be receiving many more boxes like this one throughout the summer, and indeed year-round from now on. And still, somehow none of this seems very real yet... I wonder how many milestones it takes till you can stop pinching yourself. Where's that pesky Tootsie Pop owl when you need him?

Monday, May 31, 2010

The F Word

Dear Readers,

Lest you think we are neglecting you, I thought I would do a quick check in. The problem is, we have been waiting. Waiting for our website to be done, our logo to be finalized and all of the vendors to approve our paperwork. So we have nothing amazingly exciting to report- and that is just not great blogging material. However, now that you are reading you may as well continue, yes?

As I was enjoying my aunt's 60th birthday / surprise brunch this weekend, I was realizing how tiring it is to talk about the business sometimes( yes already, don't judge me :/ ) I used to have a hard time when family members asked me about our band also. I don't know what it is- maybe you feel like everyone is eager to be proud of you and you are like - well yeah, i mean in Minnesota we played to the piano player that went on before us, his wife, the other band and one poor journalist who heard us online, so we are basically huge.
Not to say that we didn't have some marginally successful nights in our own hometown, but for the most part we ended up just doing it for fun- because we are all friends, and we liked making music.

It's different this time. If we don't have some degree of success I might be seriously dissapointed. I might feel like a failure, and I might be embarrassed. I don't want to be talking to my family a year from now about how we are struggling just to keep our heads above water ( especially since I now owe them my first born - thanks mom and dad and stepdad and stepmom!)

The point is, I'm in a mental preparation phase. I need to be ready to work my hardest, perservere, and if absolutely necessary, be ready to let everything go and chalk it up to a great life experience. I'm just saying - hello Failure, I'm aware of you - if you come anywhere near me I'll punch you in the face- and if you are stronger than me, at least I went down with dignity.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Inspriration: An Unexpected Theme of Pets + Ladies

Hi everyone!

It's been a while since we'd done an inspiration post (mostly because people are so camera shy...nudge, nudge) but that doesn't mean we haven't been inspired! Here are two sites you should all check out:

Introducing All Mighty, an adorable online shop run by two sisters out of an old Victorian house in NY. The shop is named after their Boston Terrier, Mighty, and the look of the entire site is just over-the-top adorable in honor of his cuddly cuteness. All Mighty is a far cry from what Carly and I are putting together over here at FFC Headquarters in terms of the theme, but it's inspiring to me nonetheless because it's two ladies running an awesome online store out of their house--and they make it look like so much fun! I also think the site is uniquely approachable and really captures their friendly point of view without being precious in a bad way. Good design and good ideas, executed well--it's lots of fun! Go see for yourself!

Next up is, which is actually where I learned about All Mighty! is an all-things-pet-and-animal site that is also run by two ladies in SF (my friend Sarah and her co-founder Sonia). Pawesome offers a huge range of info on everything from pet advice, to information about adoption to hilarious YouTube videos. They even do pet profiles, such as this one of my cat Eleanor. I encourage all of you to check out Pawesome, it's a great resource and really fun.

Have fun surfing the net!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's say it again together - Live and learn!

Woweeeee, could we have ever imagined that we would be in the middle of so many things at once? I really didn't expect to learn this many life lessons in a few short months. If I had a nickel for every time I, or someone in my vicinity has said "live and learn" lately, ...well, you know. To put it vaguely, while we have been regaling you with tales of trade shows and mythical dresses, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than one might think. Namely, we have been desperately trying to get our store BUILT. Everything that you will see when we launch the store, from our logo all the way down to the poses of the models will have more thought behind it than you, the customer (er hopefully, OK, not you Dad :p, but hopefully *some* of you ) will ever be privy to. And let us assure you, it has not been easy.

Without going into all of the gory details , we have had to learn a lot about the way we work with each other and the way we work with other people. We can't accomplish every facet of this business on our own , so naturally we have had to hire other people to work with us. How do you communicate effectively to someone, the store that already exists inside of your head? The customer you have already met in your daydreams? And that you would rather have your store look like the fake bathroom in the lovely BellJar boutique than anything else? See even you don't know what we are talking about (well some of you probably do, and you guys rule).

With that in mind, I think the main thing we've learned is to be clear and as specific as possible about your initial ideas with web designers and developers. Even if a detail seems too tiny to mention, mention it, and early on. You won't be sorry. You will save time, money, and headaches. If you don't have a vision yet - sit down and brainstorm. Gather images you like, observe the competition, focus on helping to create something extraordinary - and know that sometimes that means letting go, too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good Morning, Spring!

Hi everyone!

I'm sitting in the internet cafe at the D&A showroom waiting a few minutes for Carly to arrive. It's on the 13th floor of the Starrett Lehigh building, everything is white and bright, the windows are flooded with sunshine and the flowers on the table are screaming spring!

This is the third and final day of trade show shopping for us, and we are surprisingly not completely pooped. The last couple days have been so productive, we've seen so many beautiful things, and are feeling really good about the orders we want to place. We're especially excited about a long sleeved Dolce Vita dress (as soon as we started we both started cooing over it--it was kinda embarrassing but I think everyone was too busy to notice). There are also some really great accessories we plan to order, which is a relief because we were starting to feel like nothing amazing was going to stand out to us.

Another great surprise is how nice everyone is here! Maybe we're just more comfortable with ourselves in this new situation, but I swear, people in NY are not keeping up their reputation for being aggressive at all. We feel very grateful for everyone's patience and kindness towards us as we learn the ropes.

That's it for now, it's time to shop!


Friday, April 30, 2010

Off to the Big Apple!

Hey everyone,

We're off to New York this weekend to check out some more trade shows Monday - Wednesday and hopefully fill out the rest of our Fall orders. Very exciting! We've got a whole list of brands to check out and are a bit more organized this time around so *hopefully* it won't be as bewildering as our experience in LA. I'm sure we'll still feel silly at some point during our visit, but we're pretty used to it by now--and that's how you learn after all!

Looking forward to fun in the sun (dear San Francisco, is this really what you call Spring?) and spending time with our faraway friends. Wish us luck!

xo C+C

Monday, April 26, 2010

By Golly, We've Been Duped!

In most cases we would keep something like this to ourselves, because well- it's SO embarrassing. But in the spirit of keeping an open and honest dialogue about what happens when you start your own business, I thought we'd share this with you so it doesn't happen again to some other poor unsuspecting friends :(

On Saturday morning, Chris and I were having a lovely brunch on the back patio at Zazie with my mom and step dad - talking about the business. I was lamenting the fact that sometimes letters just show up the mail requesting random government fees be paid in relation to the LLC and it is SO annoying. Chris piped up to say that when he worked for his Dad back in the day that their business used to get all kinds of fake letters all of the time -looking official and posing as the government - asking for money. I KNOW - I AM IN THE FUTURE ALSO.
(To quote one stand-up comedian)

Needless to say, when Christine and I met at her house later that day, I told her what Chris had said, and we both had a sinking feeling as we thought of a ridiculous $175 fee we had just paid to the "California Business Collector" AKA the CBC. Even the name sounds slightly suspect. We quickly googled the name and found an entry on the Better Business Bureau's website detailing the scam. Guess what? The CBC has a big fat "F" from the BBB. The Secretary of State website also has a posting about scams and the first one that came up was for letters from the CBC. CRY.

So anyhoo, the moral of the story: When people ask you for money in regards to your business - look it up. It doesn't matter if the form looks all official - it's called photoshop guys ( I am also telling this to myself right now, don't worry).



Monday, April 19, 2010

Inspiration: Best Coast

I just found out about this band from LA called Best Coast, and I am in looooove! Check out their seriously amazing music video here, and listen to more songs on their MySpace profile here.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Milestone...

We have placed our very first order! It's only for three items (an awesome dress, a really cool blazer and a colorful skirt) but we feel 100% about all of them. When we were looking over the notes we made in LA, we saw that we had written down a bunch of "maybes" or items that we felt so-so about, but we decided just to cut everything we're not fully excited about. If we wouldn't wear it/buy it online/pay $XX for it, chances are neither would you! If this means that we launch with a very limited selection, so be it--we're not exactly trying to compete with sites that have a huge volume of merchandise anyway. On the other hand, it is tricky because while we definitely want our site to have a curated feel, we also need to select the right pieces that make sense together--and it's not as easy as it seems! I think it's also a bit more difficult since we are starting with zero merchandise, I imagine it'll get easier as time goes on. For now we're sticking to cherry-picking our favorite pieces from each line, which means that we could have a lot of different stuff that doesn't necesarilly translate into a website with a cohesive look in the beginning, but we're definitely working on it.

On a side note, I have a bit of advice for all of you: invite Carly to your house to cook you dinner! Seriously, she is a master! In 20 minutes flat, we were feasting on a fresh corn and asparagus hash with truffle oil, and delicate tilapia filets with crunchy breadcrumbs seasoned with Meyer lemon and cilantro. A very wonderful departure from our usual fare of whole wheat tortilla veggie burritos. Yum!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

5 stages of starting a business

You've heard of the 5 stages of grief right? I think there is a similar kind of progression when you are starting your own business

1. Excitement : "I have a great idea, maybe i'll make it into a business! Man, that is so exciting!"
2. Uncertainty: " Starting a business is a lot of work - I wonder if I can really pull this off"
3. Motivation: "I'm going to do this thing! I'm going to eat breathe and sleep my business until it's perfect!"
4. Frustration: "This is hard, and confusing, heeellllllpppppp!"
5. Delirium: " I think this might actually happen , this is weird, where am I? Is that a sandwich?"

And here we are now. Delirium. as Christine and I met up on Thursday night after we both had full exhausting days at our normal jobs, I could barely make it through our planned tasks without giggling uncontrollably and calling Christine "Sir" in a Cockney accent. Everything sounds funnier in Cockney accent for some reason have you noticed that?

We set off to take a second look at everything we had written in our orders for Fall so we could re-group and make sure our selections made sense. Unfortunately, we realized that every website we wanted to log into required us to submit a detailed request about who we were and what our store is like. We have obviously had trouble with this because, well, our store isn't exactly built yet. If you go to right now you get some jumbled Go Daddy mess. That ain't gonna fly with those vendors. So we try to convince them that we have a great idea that just hasn't been executed yet.
In 3 weeks we head off to New York to find the rest of our fall stock and meet with our web development team. Things are definitely still moving but it all still seems unreal. I move along deliriously hoping there is a 6th stage somewhere in the process where everything becomes clear and the business feels real.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

honk if you're lo(a)nley tonight

sorry for all the puns and cheeky references around here lately, but boy are we loansome! by which i mean we didn't get approved for our bank loan. so sad, i know. we have a few other options before we have to spend our weekends washing people's cars but if you have any sage words of advice, don't be shy--let us know!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

So overwhelmed.

To the left you can see my badge fashion market. I was so excited that I actually had a badge that said "buyer" on it that I snapped this picture on my phone and emailed it to my husband, Chris. But the badge is only the beginning - Christine and I spent 2 and a half long days walking the floors of "Market" as they so lovingly call it, and D&A, another trade show across the street.
We had a bit of a different agenda this time, we needed to write down what we actually wanted to order, so we could take that back home and figure out where we are with our initial budget. We had a few appointments with different vendors, but mostly we walked blindly into the showrooms and just had to wing it. We found a lot of great stuff , but not without major exhaustion as byproduct.
Imagine this - You decide to go shopping in a bustling shopping district, and you don't quite know what you want, so you stroll around from store to store for about 6-8 hours. By the end of the day your feet are aching, you are starving and you found a few things, but you wanted so much more. Then, take that experience and add a twist to it - you aren't just shopping for yourself, but you and 100 of your friends, who have about the same general style, but slightly different tastes. You need to make all of them happy in some way. Thankfully we were staying with our friends Steve and Julia, and they decided to have a homemade pizza party, the LA air was warm and inviting, and Steve mixed me a Jameson and gingerale the second we got home - we were more than well taken care of.
Although we felt a lot more experienced this time around - we are still learning how things work in this new world. While most people were excited to learn that our store was launching in the fall and gave us plenty of encouraging words - others wrote us off the second they realized our store wasn't a reality yet. Until our money is in their hands, they could care less about us. It took Christine and I a full day to figure out that the D&A trade show wasn't just the showrooms that were already in the New Mart building - that there was actually a "show" on one of the floors with several temporary booths. It sort of dawned on us that the showrooms are permanent fixtures of those buildings - yes, it seems obvious in hindsight :) . When we realized that was the case we couldn't remember what floor the show was on and we couldn't find it in the directory, so we were walking down 13 flights of stairs opening the door to each floor on the way. Seeing Christine do this threw me into hysterics and I felt like a giggling 12 year old as we took sidelong glances from the other adults.
All confusion and mayhem aside, we felt like we made some real progress in LA. By the last showroom visit we were talking about linesheets and deliveries, what we wanted to "write" for fall and what the items would look like "in production" - everything that seemed completely foreign to us 2 months ago. We are getting excited about what are store is going to look like and what is going to be in it. We can't wait to show you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“I have a old website, but I want a new one. Is there any option to sell off the pixels of the old one?"

A co-worker just shared this hilarious blog with me: Clients From Hell. Carly and I are in the middle of working with our graphics and web team and I am taking mental notes of what not to do to piss them off! We really like them and definitely don't want to be featured on this site!

Sorry we haven't updated since the weekend to tell you all about our adventures in Los Angeles. Hopefully we can find some time to do it soon, but things have been hectic! More soon, we promise!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gettin' Reflective

Tonight, we head off to LA for 3 or 4 different trade shows. I have been feeling kind of reflective, so I thought it might be a good time for a diary entry of sorts. It is really hard to believe that Christine and I only just started to discuss this idea back in December. When we were interviewing for our SBA loan, one of the things they asked us was "When did you start thinking about starting this business?". When we told him "this last December" he looked shocked. "I thought you were going to tell me you had been thinking about this since college!" he said incredulously. I wasn't sure at the moment if that was helpful our hurtful to our situation. On the one hand, you would have to be pretty organized to have come this far in a few short months, on the other hand, I was worried that we would come of as rash and unstudied.
I have to admit, having done as much as we have in such a short amount of time is sometimes scary. Sometimes I feel like we are a "really rickety ship moving really fast" to use a favorite metaphor from my current work place. Did we really have enough time for research, planning, and thinking things through?
But in another way, I feel strong, and ready to charge ahead. I get that "Let's just do this" feeling and it is exciting! Did I ever think I would be here 6 months ago? No way! Now that we have found our graphic designer, and the team that is going to build our store for us, and we are running around to trade shows looking for content etc, all I can do is keep on it and try to do this right. I have a tendency to get stressed out and wake up in the middle of the night. How are we going to uh, ship things! and talk to customers when we're at our regular day jobs! Christine is good at balancing me out.She keeps reminding me that we don't have to do everything at once and be the best online store the day we open. We will get there.
I want to take a minute too to thank all of our family and friends who have been reading this blog and giving us the moral support we need.We couldn't do it without you and We love you!

Friday, March 12, 2010


While waiting for this excruciatingly long work day to end (a rainy one, no less!), I had some fun with this website and created the silly image you see above. Not-so-coincidentally, Carly and I are in the process of branding our business so I have this idea of logo and brand identity fresh on my mind today. As exciting as it is, it's also sprung a bit of an identity crisis on us! While we have lots of grand ideas about "who we are" as a company, we are now faced with the prospect of having to crystallize everything we stand for into one little graphic and a set of colors and fonts, and we are understandably having a lot of trouble picturing it. It can go in so many drastically differdirections! We'll be starting the process soon, though and are very excited to see what Fancy French Cologne is going to look like! If you have any fun logo ideas or suggestions, let us know. We'd love to hear what inspires you guys when it comes to graphic design.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good thing we're so responsible!

Carly and I applied for our SBA loan today, and much to our surprise, we should know very soon if we qualify. And then we'll go to Vegas...muahahahah!

No, but seriously, we wouldn't even stand a chance at getting a loan if we weren't such responsible young people. Let's not count our chickens before they hatch, but I'd just like to take a moment to say "go us!" for not blowing our credit when we were younger and less responsible.

In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed that the application is approved!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bedridden, but not bored

So, I've been bedridden for the last four days thanks to horrible back pain. As annoying as it is to be immobilized, it's given me some time to unwind and also peruse the Fall collections from fashion week on Here are some looks I've been very much enjoying from my bedside...

...long-sleeved dresses by Dries Van Noten...

...and bright tights by Gaultier.

Wish me well, friends!


Thursday, March 4, 2010


It's late. Carly and I have been sitting in front of this computer scratching our heads over government forms for hours. We finally figured it out, but honestly it has been immensely frustrating trying to navigate the various government/business/tax websites trying to figure out things like what the heck the difference is between FEIN and EIN (guess what--nothing!), and how we're supposed to fill out an application for an FEIN when they require you to already have one! Anyway, we figured it out. On top of that, we are overjoyed that our LLC paperwork has gone through and we are patting ourselves on the back for getting a few steps closer to being a legitimate business operation.

In more exciting news, we're getting ready to head down to southern California for the LA Fashion Market, Focus, D&A and Transit trade shows in a couple weeks! This time we are supposed to place some orders so we are cautiously trying to prep ourselves for that by asking questions, but at the same time trying not to come off as completely green. It is kind of a strange position to be in where you have the power (read:money) but you aren't really all that sure how to use it. You don't want to be taken advantage of in any way, but without much prior experience, how can you know for sure? OK, I guess we won't psych ourselves out before we even get there...but maybe on March 19th and 20th you can just send some good vibes our way - we will be navigating some interesting territory and we need all the nice thoughts we can get. If you don't believe in vibes you could bake us cookies or something. This is starting to make no sense. So tired. Enough for now...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Inspiration: Leia

May we introduce you to our dear friend, Leia? Isn't she just cute as a cupcake? Leia is the first in what we hope to make a series of inspiration posts based on our friends' personal style. (If you're interested in being featured, don't be shy--let us know!)

I've known Leia for a little while now, and have always been impressed with her style. Regardless of the event, she always, always, always shows up looking smashing. I particularly love her bold, yet tasteful use of color and accessories in daily life. I caught up with her on her birthday to snap some photos and she answered a little survey for us too. Enjoy!

1. What usually motivates your outfit when you get dressed in the morning?
Comfort is my main motivation. It’s rare to see me in high heels.

2. What’s your favorite reason to get all gussied up?
Weddings and birthdays aside, meeting up with my fashionable friends for whatever reason keeps me looking sharp. There’s nothing better than being complimented on your new shoes by your friends with good taste!

3. Something fashionable you’ve been drooling over lately?
I’ve been wanting a classic duffle coat, a la Paddington Bear. Gloverall, a British company, makes exactly what I’ve been looking for. Alas, they’re a bit out my price range.

4. Favorite places to shop?
I love the thrill of the hunt. I mostly shop at thrift stores. San Francisco has lost of great bargain shopping, but I find the thrift stores in “less hip” areas to have better deals. My mom lives in Albuquerque. Whenever I visit, I bring an empty suitcase to fill with treasures.

For new clothes I shop at Ross and Nordstrom Rack. For deeply discounted designer jams, I go to Loehmann’s and Jeremy’s. As a lady that loves a bargain, I can’t remember a time I bought a piece of clothing that wasn’t on sale at a regular department store. I always think I’ll find something similar at Goodwill next week (and I usually do!).

5. Most embarrassing fashion trend you’ve seen people follow recently? (Or that you've been guilty of!)
I get filled with rage when I see girls wearing leggings as pants. When did everyone decide this was ok? I do not approve.

In the photos above, Leia is wearing:
Dress: seven for all mankind (loehmann’s)
Rings and earrings: heirlooms from my great aunt
Shoes: Deena and Ozzy (Painted Bird)
Tights: H&M (yellow), Target (lace)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Mom, My Style Icon

Awhile back, we posted a link to the awesome Brooklyn based blog My Mom, The Style Icon . Today my Mom gave me a bunch of old photos so of course I couldn't NOT share.
In 1978 or 79, Before I was born and before my parents got married, they decided to drive across the US in a van and go exploring. This shot is from one of their stops along the way. According to my Dad, this was a trip of epic proportions and everlasting memories. His favorite part is when they stopped for a few days in Washington to pick apples and make some cash. My Dad jokes that each morning they would get up at the crack of dawn to pick the fruit alongside a bunch of filthy mouthed men that would sing crass tunes all the live long day. He also claims that all of the best photos were taken during the few days they worked at the orchard, but we will never see the them. My Dad accidentally opened the back of the camera before the film was rewound and it all got exposed to the sun. I like this shot the best because it embodies the easy California style I have always tried so hard to emulate but can never get quite right. Even the long shiny hair and graduated bangs is a style I could never pull off, but not for lack of trying. I used to look at all of these old photos and ask my mom why she didn't save her awesome bell-bottoms and cool knit sweaters for me. She looked at me like I was kind of crazy. I don't think she thought of herself as very stylish - and that is what made her so.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Business of Community

Finest Dearest on tour with Drowning With Our Anchors in 2008.
Pictured here in Tijuana with our beautiful friends from Maladie and other TJ bands.

In our days as band mates in Finest Dearest, Carly and I spent a lot of time deeply involved in the music community in San Francisco and across the US. When you're in a indie band where you have to do everything by yourself and with little or no money, everything sort of revolves around a barter system of favors: you book us a show in Minneapolis while we're on tour, we'll try to do the same for you when your band comes to San Francisco. During our travels, we also discovered a whole group of people that wanted to help bands without ever expecting anything in return, and we never got over this kindness. A good example was during our US tour a couple years ago. One night in Austin, TX, it became clear that we had nowhere to stay after the show. By midnight we were reaching out to everyone we knew to see if they could help out when our friend Phil texted us that we could stay at his friend's house nearby. This couple we'd never met left their doors unlocked and around 2 AM the five of us crept in as quietly as we could to crash for the night. We never even met them because they'd already left for work by the time we got up in the morning. This sort of thing happened a lot over the times we toured during the last five years, and I really do mean it when I say that we never forgot the kindness.

So what on Earth does this story have to do with fashion? A lot, actually. We're discovering daily the bond between members of the online fashion community (I'll be writing more on this later), and we're so happy to be a part of it! Now that we're starting this new venture, we are bringing a lot of what we've learned through our band experiences into the business. Without going into too much detail, we are really excited about the idea that as Fancy French Cologne grows, we'll be in a position to bring people that we believe in up with us. This was something we felt really strongly about in Finest Dearest, and definitely continue to care about today. You'll have to wait for more details as the site develops, but rest assured that we're doing our best to stay true to this spirit of community with our business.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love Soiree: The Economics of Art

While New York fashion week was all a flurry in snow and melodrama, Carly and I wandered over to a local event last Thursday to check out the goings-on in our local fashion community. The "Economics of Art"event, hosted by the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance (SFFMA), featured a panel of industry professionals from across the fashion spectrum, and was followed by a fashion show featuring three local designers.

Among the panelists were people like local designer
Bacca DaSilva; Corinne Phipps, founder of Urban Darling; JT Paradox from one of our favorite fashion blogs, The SF Style; and was moderated by Lorraine Sanders, who writes for 7x7's Glamwatch blog. It was a pretty robust conversation, and we definitely learned a bit about how people are dealing with the challenges afflicting many facets of the industry. I'm sure those nuggets of information will come in handy in the all-too-near future.

After the talk, we took in collections from recent RISDI graduate Blanch Consorti; the adorable Joy Fan (who we are hoping to convince to work with us soon); and a sustainable menswear designer (whose name I can't find anywhere!). The event was at this awesome salon called The Barber Lounge, so we go to sit in an old timey barber chair and watch the models strut past. This is a far cry from our days of melting from heat in a van driving across the Arizona desert, wouldn't you say?

Check out more images of the event at The SF Style and the Economics of Art's official site.