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Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Look for Less - Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Woven Bags and Padded Shoes

Heritage brand Bottega Veneta's woven Intrecciato handbags and shoes have dominated the style scene since Creative Director Daniel Lee took the helm. The best selling Bottega Veneta Pouch bag and square-toe Padded sandals have reached icon status and catapulted Bottega Veneta into the spotlight. The easily recognizable intrecciato weave and quilted details lend an artisan vibe to the luxurious leather accessories while also remaining edgy. It's official. Quilted handbags and square-toe shoes are summer 2020 must-haves thanks to Bottega Veneta. When it comes to designer accessories in the Covid-19 era, it's all about quiet luxury. There are no loud logos here; it's time to usher in a sartorial wave of understated glam and subtle embellishments. 

Bottega Veneta pouch bag and intrecciato shoes

Bottega Veneta pouch bag and intrecciato padded mules

photos via Pinterest

Not surprisingly, the popular Bottega Veneta Pouch bag and Padded sandals have inspired many look alikes and dupes. Keep scrolling for a closer look at the real deal and designer dupes.

Shop Bottega Veneta bags:

Shop Bottega Veneta sandals, including padded, quilted, and intrecciato styles:

The Look for Less

If the luxury price points aren't in line with your budget, there are a multitude of Bottega Veneta intrecciato handbag and shoe dupes. Below, get the look for less by shopping these Bottega Veneta look alikes. 

Shop shoes:

Shop handbags:

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Is Mercari Safe? NO. A Mercari Seller Review - Beware of Scams

Ten Reasons NOT TO SELL ON Mercari

During this pandemic, many people who are staying at home have more free time and less income, so they're cleaning out their homes and finding new ways to earn money. Online selling platforms and apps such as Mercari may be appealing because they allow people to generate income in uncertain times. I'm an experienced seller and I recently joined Mercari mainly because of their low 10% selling fees. I personally don't know anyone who sells on Mercari, otherwise I would have been armed with valuable lessons and useful information. So after many months of experience high volume selling on Mercari, I'm writing this post to warn everyone about the dangers and scams of selling on Mercari. Here's what I wish I knew before launching my Mercari business. Read on for ten reasons not to sell on Mercari. 

A Brief Background

In my first three months of selling, I generated over five figures in sales on Mercari. I worked hard all day and night every single day reselling brand new authentic items in a popular category at prices at least 30% below retail. I learned a lot about Mercari and why Mercari is NOT legit and why Mercari is NOT safe for sellers. 

Here's why Mercari is unsafe for sellers and why it is NOT worth selling on Mercari:

1. Mercari has dishonest and fraudulent buyers. I had two buyers who claimed I was selling fakes just so they could return their items. The REAL reason for their returns? The item did not fit or they had buyers' remorse. Mercari's return policy does NOT allow returns due to fit, but they do allow returns for claims of inauthenticity. Buyers know this and they leverage it. Fun fact: I sold authentic items that I purchased directly from the manufacturer. I listed and described my items in extreme detail with well lit, professional photos. As a fashion expert, I pride myself in having a thorough knowledge of fashion trends, photography, and selling authentic items that are in high demand. I would not even know where to buy fakes, nor would I try to pass off fakes as authentic. I am an honest person to the core. I pride myself in that. Lesson: beware of 1% to 5% of your buyers lying in order to return. Below, an example of a rude, dishonest, and inappropriate Mercari user named Lauren Wooten of Meridian, Mississippi

Lauren Wooten Mississippi liar

She knew the item was authentic, and sent me a rude message. Then she claimed in her rating that the item was "fake as sh**". She wore the item, and turned around and sold that exact same item as authentic. OK, hypocrite. Thanks, Mercari for allowing buyers to lie and curse in their reviews. So classy. Block Laurwooten on Mercari and all other selling platforms. You are welcome.

2. Mercari is overflowing with inexperienced, unintelligent buyers. This is not a place for polite, erudite consumers. Mercari buyers have no boundaries, LOVE TO TROLL, they message sellers for no reason at all, are sometimes impolite, and need to have their hands held through the entire sale process. They rarely add items to their cart and buy. That would be too easy for sellers. They prefer to make offers, send unnecessary messages (due to lack of boundaries, lack of confidence, or loneliness) or receive offers. This involves a lot of bending over backwards for sellers to answer stupid questions all day long. I know this because of the hundreds of unnecessary messages that users would send me every single day. It's extremely time consuming and mentally exhausting. Why? Because 98% of the questions they asked me were answered in the listings. These users had no boundaries, and were far too quick to send messages. They were not reading the listings. I believe this is an ADD-related generational issue with Generations Y and Z. They literally can't take 60 seconds to read an item description. Also, the gem of a stupid question "what's your lowest?" that people insist on constantly asking, even though they were warned in listings not to. 

In ten months and five figures of sales, I have never once made a sale with someone who has asked me "what's your lowest?" Does a poker player reveal their cards? NO. If a Mercari user is TRULY interested in buying, they will use the offer button feature to submit a binding offer. Users who message are NOT SERIOUS BUYERS. 

Sellers and potential buyers, an answer to this question NEVER results in a sale. Ignore these questions, block these users, and move on. People who ask this are NOT going to buy. Save yourself the time. This is business, and time is money. 

People who ask "what's your lowest" are NOT buyers. They are time wasters. 

Special shout out to rude user "ukijatouka" (a.k.a. Charlotte from Atlanta) for her reactive rudeness and inability to apologize for requesting me to pay $5 to authenticate a non-designer item.  (I have hundreds of non-designer items listed and I will not pay $5 to authenticate them because it's a tremendous waste of money.)

What she should have written is she had any manners: 

"I'm sorry, I hit the request authentication button by accident. Thank you for letting me know about the tags. I did not know that."

Instead, she played the victim role, was reactive, and failed to acknowledge her mistake. The button does NOT POP UP.  It's present, but you have to actively tap it or click on it. I instantly blocked this rude user. She would have caused more problems if I did not block her.

3. Mercari has non-existent customer service.  Don't waste your time calling them because you'll get a recording that will hang up on you. Their messaging "customer service" is run by bot software, not humans. The same goes for their returns. When a buyer requests a return, it's granted without human approval. If you are a Mercari seller with an issue, consider yourself screwed. Mercari will always side with the buyer. This drives good, honest sellers away to competitors. Without good sellers, your app will eventually flounder and fail.

4. Mecari has a blind rating system which favors buyers. After a buyer receives their purchase, they have three days to provide a rating. Once a buyer rates the seller, the seller then HAS TO rate the buyer before the funds are released to the seller. At this time, the seller can not see how they were rated. So a buyer can give you a poor, dishonest, or inaccurate rating, (and yes, they can even use profanity) and you can give them a good rating. This process favors the buyer, and there are many bad/rude/picky/dishonest buyers on Mercari, notably Lauren Wooten of Meridian, Mississippi. 

5. Mercari has a lot of felons, low-income users, and fraudulent buyers. After I was scammed by Suzan Berro of Dearborn Michigan, I began to Google my buyers' names. I was amazed at how many of them had criminal records, especially for fraud. Warning! Those orders need to be cancelled before you ship them because they are only going to result in fraudulent returns and headaches. 

Do your research and vet your buyers as soon as you receive offers and before you ship your items. 

Read your buyers' reviews, see how long they've been on the app, check their cancellation rate, and Google them to avoid the people who may cause problems. Decline users who have no reviews, bad reviews, lots of cancellations, automatic ratings, or no purchase history. 

6. Mercari has loads of technical glitches. Three such gems are: Mercari failing to send me a shipping label once I've made a sale, the "unknown error" pop-up that would occur when I'd accept a buyer's offer, and the "transaction failed" message when I'd accept a buyer's offer. The "unknown error" was never acknowledged or rectified by Mercari in my dozens of requests to them for assistance. The "transaction failed" is due to the buyer not having the funds, expired credit cards, unverified credit cards, stolen credit cards, and other buyer failures, lack of funds, or scams. Mercari does not admit to any of these errors, nor do they fix any of them. I have lost trust in Mercari because it is unreliable and untrustworthy for sellers. Combined with a complete lack of customer service to help with such issues, and you can see why Mercari is a terrible place for professional, high volume sellers.

mercari unknown error

7. Mercari has lots of rude users. For example, the predictable users who message with a lowball number, the users who demand free shipping or ask you to lie about the weight of items for reduced shipping, the users who ask for you to donate the item, the users who ask you to hold an item until they get their disability check, and so on. You get the picture. This isn't a classy, polite group of people. Block these users and move on. You don't want to sell to them. They'll only cause problems. It's preferable to wait for a reputable buyer who won't cause you any problems.

For example, special warning about Mercari and Poshmark user Leighna Johnson of Alabama, who stalks people across other platforms and uses multiple accounts to do so. This is evidenced by this review from another Mercari user.  Report, block, and move on, drama free and easy. 

Leighna Johnson crazy stalker

8. Mercari cancels order for no reason. This happened only three times, but I was never given a reason as to why the orders were cancelled. This is unprofessional and untrustworthy at best. This makes sellers lose trust in Mercari.

mercari cancellation

9. Mercari has an inconsistent authentication program. Sometimes my listings were put through the authentication process, sometimes they were not. It seemed completely random. If you're a seller, opt in to the process, as it only takes a few hours for your listings to be "authenticated" (likely by software) before they go live and are viewable in search results.

Fall 2020 update - now they are charging $5 to authenticate each item. If you're like me and you have hundreds of listings, this could potentially cost you THOUSANDS of dollars

Unless you are selling high end designer luxury goods, do not pay for authentication when buyers ask or when listing new items. It's a waste of money and time.

10. Mercari has high shipping costs. Unlike Poshmark, Mercari did not negotiate discount bulk shipping rates with USPS. (The rates for UPS and FedEx are also high on Mercari.) As a result, Mercari buyers are more likely to want a lower selling price to make up for the high costs of shipping, especially when items weigh 2-3 pounds or more. Prepare to reduce your profit margins because buyers often want free shipping and some will even ask sellers to lie about the weight of items for reduced shipping fees. Tacky, I know.

In conclusion, the only good thing about Mercari is their 10% selling fee. 

(October 2020 update - It's now 10% plus a 2.9% plus 30 cents "processing fee".) Otherwise, it's an unsafe and unreliable place to sell. 

Be safe out there! 

Remember these red flags:

1. Users who ask "what's your lowest" especially when the listing clearly states that the price is firm.
2. Users whose payment fails more than once.
3. Users who ask for free shipping when the listing states that shipping is paid for by the buyer and isn't negotiable.
4. Users who ask what color an item is when it's clearly stated in BOTH the description and the listing.
5. Users who ask you to place items on hold for several weeks.
6. Users who ask what gender/category/size an item is when it's clearly stated in the description AND the listing.
7. Users who demand that they receive an item within two days. (These people are unrealistic and impossible to please. Bad reviews are inevitable with such users.)
8. Users who message with a number and nothing else. This is not the swap meet. (A number is not a formal offer. This is just tacky and inappropriate. This is also a waste of time.)
9. Users who don't reply when you thank them for their order and tell them when their order ships. (This might be an indicator of poor communication.)
10. Users who question the authenticity of your NON-DESIGNER items when the description AND the photos tell them how to verify authenticity.

Avoid and block these fraudulent users:

Leighna Johnson (stalker from Alabama)
Lauren Wooten (liar from Meridian, Mississippi)
Ukijatouka (rude user from Atlanta)
Suzan Berro (fraudulent returner from Michigan)
Samantha Soto of Dorchester, MA (fraudulent returner)

Mercari is not a recommended place to sell unless you want to be inundated with stupid and unnecessary messages all day. 

Mercari shoppers, take this advice: DO NOT MESSAGE SELLERS with questions. Think about it mindfully before you fire off questions that MAY ALREADY BE ANSWERED. Control your millennial impatience by reading descriptions first. For example, asking for shipping reductions, free shipping, why an item has a certain price, if an item is available, what color an item is, and other time-wasting issues. Also, if a seller does not respond to you in under 10 minutes, be patient! Don't send additional messages. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Look for Less - Max Mara Teddy Bear Coat Dupes

The now iconic Max Mara teddy bear coat first made its debut on the fall 2013 runway, and style insider Carine Roitfeld took notice. With a price tag of over $3600, it's quite the investment coat. It didn't gain major traction until 2018. Since then, it's been surging in popularity. The statement cold weather coat has been spotted on Hailey Bieber, Karlie Kloss, Kim Kardashian West, Julia Roberts, Eva Chen and countless other celebrities and influencers. The ultimate in luxury outerwear, the Max Mara teddy coat offers warmth and cozy comfort because of its soft camel hair and silk construction. With its twisted arm seams, dropped shoulders, and oversized fit, it's a certified street style gem. Max Mara even introduced the coat in look-at-me bold colors such as turquoise, cornflower blue, and coral

Shop Max Mara teddy coats:

On the street

Max Mara teddy bear coat street style outfit
On the runway

Max Mara teddy coats runway looks

Max Mara blue and yellow teddy coats runway

runway images via Vogue Runway

Treat yourself. Shop the Max Mara teddy coat:

The Look for Less

Given the high demand and the high price of the Max Mara teddy coat, there are numerous high street and fast fashion dupes at a variety of price points. It's easy to get the Max Mara teddy coat look for much less with these stylish options. I'm currently eyeing some of these affordable teddy coat styles which come in many colors. 

January 12, 2021 update - Stay warm in these coats:

December 24, 2020 update - Get cozy in these styles:

December 4, 2020 update - Stay cozy in these coats under $225:

November 28, 2020 update - Shop coats under $200:

November 14, 2020 update - Shop teddy coats under $100:

November 11, 2020 update - Shop these styles under $350:

November 5, 2020 update - Shop cute new coats:

October 29, 2020 update - Shop these styles under $80:

More chic styles:

Shop these options under $100:

December 2, 2019 update - Shop the best Max Mara teddy coat dupes under $120 below:

December 1, 2019 update - In the United States? Shop this teddy coat dupe pictured below under $45 in beige or in coral. It runs slightly big.

wild fable sherpa teddy coat, max mara teddy bear coat dupe

Shop this Max Mara teddy coat dupe pictured below under $50 in nutmeg or in black.

max mara teddy bear coat dupe, sebby teddy fur coat

I spotted this pretty blue Max Mara teddy coat dupe as seen below for under $55.

blue max mara teddy bear coat dupe

I just bought this teddy bear dupe under $70 and I can't wait for colder temperatures to wear it with everything. It runs true to size, is super soft, and has a shorter length which works well for petite shoppers and people in warmer climates (like me). Plus, I adore the pale oatmeal color because it's easy to match with other neutrals and all the animal prints that are on trend right now.

Max Mara teddy bear coat dupe

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Look for Less - Prada Padded Headband Dupes

When Miuccia Prada sent her models down the spring/summer 2019 runway adorned with baby bangs and padded headbands, a new beauty trend was (re)born for the season. Set aside all those pearl hair clips you've been wearing (and admiring on the 'gram) and get ready for the resurgence of the headband. This time around, the trend has a whole new look. These aren't the preppy styles of Blair Waldorf's Gossip Girl era; they are retro and modern all at once. Prada's puffy versions, adorned with jewels or made from lustrous satin, were paired with striking baby bangs for a fresh new take on the schoolgirl classic. The padded construction makes them quite the statement piece, infusing them with a unique futuristic feel. 

Influencers and royalty alike are already getting in on the padded headband trend. Kate Middleton wore a black velvet one in November to an event at Westminster Abbey. Camila Coelho and Leonie Hanne are also fans. 

A padded headband instantly elevates any outfit, especially when made from velvet or adorned with faux pearls.

The Look for Less

If the Prada headband isn't in your budget, no worries. (If so, you can shop the pretty pink style here for $240.) There are so may ways to get the padded headband look for less. Insta favorite accessories designer Lele Sadoughi makes super affordable styles that are easy on the wallet. Choose from knotted versions, printed styles, velvet, and more. 

May 20, 2020 update - Shop stylish headbands below:

April 21, 2020 update - Shop padded headbands under $20:

March 17, 2020 update - Shop these headbands for less:

September 6, 2019 update - Shop chic padded headbands for fall:

Shop some of my budget friendly favorites below.

Shop more expensive styles:

Wear your headband with:

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.