Frockery Talk

  • For the love of velvet

    December 15, 2014

    Velvet is popular throughout the year, but never more so than at Christmas. There is always room in your wardrobe for a classic black velvet skirt and pair of trousers, which can be teamed with a variety of silk shirts and sparkly tops for maximum versatility, but we also love to wear our velvets at this time of year in berry red, deep purple and emerald green.

    Here is a small selection of our favourite velvet pieces from the current catalogue, but because we love it so, you'll find dedicated virtual rails of velvet frockery in our Find by Fabric section.

    purple velvet dress

    Monsoon purple velvet halter neck dress

    berry red velvet dress berry red velvet dress

    Monsoon berry red vevet dress with back bow

    green velvet hat black velvet hat

    Vintage velvet hats in green and black

    black velvet opera coat

    Laura Ashley embellished black velvet opera coat

    red velvet stretch dress

    Laura Ashley stretch red velvet cocktail dress

    brown velvet skirt set

    Laura Ashley brown velvet two piece

    midnight blue velvet cocktail dress

    Opera midnight blue velvet cocktail dress

  • The loneliness of the long distance seller

    December 14, 2014

    loneliness of the long distance runner

    The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, a short story by Alan Sillitoe, was one of the set texts the chief frocker studied at school back in the early 70s. The plot, briefly summarised, involves the deliberate 'throwing' of a race by a long distance runner as a defiant gesture against the repressive forces in his life.  It was also the inspiration behind a 1962 screenplay and a little known Iron Maiden song of the same title.

    So what has that got to do with the price of frocks? Well, after a few more frustrating experiences in the cross country delivery stakes, it occurred to us that long distance selling can also be a bit of a Sillitoe-like marathon run. Even when online sellers are the fittest for purpose, most efficient communicators and prompt dispatchers of customers' orders,  their efforts can still be frustrated by the external forces of failed or delayed deliveries, effectively throwing away all their good work in the long distance run to final fulfilment.

    To add insult to injury, as we have blogged before, claiming compensation can be so difficult that it is often not worth the effort. Unlike distance sellers, whose direct responsibility it is to ensure goods reach their customers, no such corresponding duty applies to Royal Mail, so we are not running on a level track.

    We should perhaps be grateful that only a tiny number of our orders ever go astray, but using a signed for service as standard should surely mean that they all reach their destinations? Not so, according to Royal Mail, who will only guarantee special delivery items at pretty extortionate rates. Courier companies, on the other hand, compensate as standard (although we are fortunate enough never to have had any couriered items disappear without trace).

    As Christmas approaches, delivery services are all under immense pressure, with backlogs reportedly building up in courier warehouses due to an unprecedented surge in online shopping following Black Friday (another of our bêtes noires). Customers' interests are of course fully protected by the  Consumers Rights Directive 2013 (formerly the Distance Selling Regulations), but it is frustrating for all when the process fails on the final stretch.

    So far this silly season, we have only had one of our outward bound parcels take a detour, and it is currently just 'delayed' in Royal Mail terms. Both our own and our customer's fingers are crossed that it will arrive in the next few days since, according to Track and Trace, it is still "being progressed through our network for delivery". We do appreciate the strain posties are under, but having to take the hit in the event of the non-fulfilment of a service you have paid for always leaves a bitter taste.

    record player

    Like a Long Playing record...

    As customers of distance sellers ourselves, we have experienced one disappointment and a near miss this past week. Firstly, an ebay purchase, which was despatched promptly by an efficient business seller, failed to arrive. Being a relatively low value LP, it was sent without tracking and simply disappeared in (or perhaps outside) the postal system. Our seller was responsive to communications, apologetic (despite the circumstances being out of his control) and refunded both the purchase price and postage without quibble when it was clear that the item wasn't going to arrive. It is little wonder that Steve at parkgaterecords has 100% positive feedback as an ebay seller and we will be returning with confidence for future purchases of vintage vinyl. He will unfortunately be out of pocket through no fault of his own, however, which seems grossly unfair when Royal Mail can simply renege on responsibility for covering the full extent of his loss.

    Our near miss last week involved a courier service which failed to deliver the goods we had ordered within the specified 48 hour timescale, turned up unexpectedly on two occasions when no one was here to sign the receipt and eventually finished the 'race' five days after the promised delivery slot. The poor driver had by then almost lost the will to live, but it was his company's system at fault - creating extra work for him, huge frustration for us and unnecessary delays for others - by having no efficient tracking and notification system in place. By contrast, DPD provides a reliable one hour delivery window with real-time tracking and we have never been disappointed with their service to date.

    In allied news, a parcel we sent to the USA (tracked) two months ago finally returned 'home' the other day marked "unclaimed", despite our super-sleuth American customer having desperately tried to liberate it from her local delivery office where it was allegedly being held to ransom for a simple signature. They just couldn't find it.

    It's not all doom and gloom, though, as 99% of our orders arrive promptly, only a small number are delayed and very few are damaged in transit or don't actually make it to their destinations.  At least this year there have been no added complications like postal strikes or adverse weather conditions to cause transport chaos. Although we have no control over third party service providers, our customers can rest assured that their interests are our priority and, whatever happens during that final furlong, we will always ensure that they do not lose out.

    Finally, if you're planning to order from us for pre-Christmas delivery, please remember to check out our last order dates.

     

  • Last orders for Christmas 2014

    December 8, 2014

    last orders xmas  banner

    Full details of last posting dates for Christmas via Royal Mail can be found here.

    We would like to advise Frockery customers that last orders for Christmas delivery within the UK should be placed by 10am on Saturday 20th December, which is the last posting date for our standard (first class signed for) service, or by midday on Tuesday 23rd December for our special (next day) delivery service. 

    We will still be sending out orders until Christmas Eve and will be back at the frock face on Monday 29th December. In Scotland, we always have an extra day to recover from Hogmanay, so we will be resuming normal service in the New Year on Monday 5th January 2015.

    Thanks to all our customers for their support over the past year. We wish you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

  • Small Business Saturday special offer

    December 5, 2014

    small biz saturday 2014

    Following the Black Friday shenanigans we wrote about last week, we are pleased once again to be promoting the alternative concept of Small Business Saturday in celebration of all the small and micro independent traders on your local and virtual high streets, where personal attention is paramount and great service is guaranteed. It's hard going for us little 'uns and we all appreciate our customers' continuing support.

    Now we don't want to encourage brawling amongst our buyers or a stampede in our virtual aisles (!), but we will be offering a 20% discount across the Frockery store for all orders placed from 12 noon today until midnight on Saturday 6th December. Please enter code SMALLBIZSAT at our checkout to take advantage of this pre-Christmas offer and we'll wing your frockery off to you at the speed of, er, Royal Mail!

    Forfar has sadly lost a few more local traders this past year, including our iconic ironmongery store, David Irons & Sons, which has was established in the town in 1840. We have previously written Cobblers! about another local shop being squeezed out of business, thanks to a bank moving the overdraft goalposts - the unit is still vacant more than two years later and we have no idea what became of its former occupant. The message really couldn't be clearer when it comes to small businesses: use them or lose them!

    irons

    David Irons & Sons, still lit up for Christmas 2012

     

  • Come on, Hurry Up Harry and buy the box set

    December 1, 2014

    sex drugs hiv

    Today is World Aids Day, the annual showing of solidarity with those living with HIV/AIDS, which began back in 1988.

    Today is also an opportunity for us to do another shout out for Mat Sargent (Sham 69, Chelsea, Splodgenessabounds)whose Sex Drugs and HIV box set is now available from Amazon for just £20 with free delivery!

    "The double CD also includes a DVD of all the songs and 28 page booklet listing all the musicians on each track. Proceeds from the sale of the album will go to Cancer Research, Rape Crisis, Release and Terrence Higgins Trust. For the full listing of musicians and more information on the project,  visit www.sexdrugsandhiv.com."

    We have blogged about Mat's magnum opus before and have great admiration and respect for his dogged determination and unstinting support for good causes over the past 19 years in the face of extreme adversity.

    As one reviewer has commented on Amazon:

    "Fantastic album. The labour of love that went into making this really shows. Every track is as unique and inspiring as the artists that contributed. Great music and 4 great charities supported. A must buy for any serious music lover."

    We'll second that!

    We also hope that, just like the advent calendars that are being cracked open today, the days of AIDS and HIV are also numbered.

    So come on, Hurry Up Harry and buy that box set!

  • Black Friday frenzy, just why?

    November 28, 2014

    buy nothing day

    Leaving our local Asda clutching a bottle of red last night, we were surprised to find one of the doors out of use and metal crowd control barriers being positioned outside the store. Could it be that Kate Middleton was coming to buy some George baby clothes, we wondered? On asking some hi-viz members of staff what it was all about, we were informed that they were expecting large crowds in the morning since it was Black Friday and there was bound to be a bun fight - or more likely a 90" plasma TV fight - for heavily discounted items in store.

    Although we obviously know all about the American post-Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping phenomenon, we don't recall it ever being marketed quite so aggressively by UK retailers, and some even claim it to have racist associations. It all strikes us as just another example of collective insanity fuelled by greed, the results of which were amply demonstrated in today's media reports of brawling crowds doing battle for previously overpriced consumer goods that we could all very easily live without. People have already been injured by falling TVs and in outright fisticuffs as the shopping frenzy takes hold across the UK. Surely it's time to get a grip?

    We won't be joining in. Instead we'll be celebrating Buy Nothing Day on 29/11/14 and supporting Small Business Saturday on 06/12/14, as we do every year. We may even be offering modest across-store discounts, but please remember, no fighting amongst the virtual rails! There is plenty to go round and it's affordable all the year round.

    The Frockery