Shopping for the wife or girlfriend on 4 your Christmas list may or may not be easy, depending on how well you know her tastes and interests, said several local store owners.
While a gift card or gift certificate is an option, many women may find them impersonal, they said.
“The majority of people who come into my store want to pick out something rather than give a gift certificate,” said Suzanne Bishop, owner of Frankie & Julian’s women’s fashion boutique on Frazier Avenue.
Terri Holley, owner of Embellish, an upscale shoe store on Frazier Avenue, and Tina Harrison, owner of Blue Skies, a specialty gift shop also on Frazier Avenue, join Ms. Bishop in offering advice on shopping for women’s fashion gifts.
What tips do you offer to someone buying fashions for women?
Ms. Bishop: Decide first what you want to get — clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc. Your gift should match the person’s taste — is she funky or conservative? And (you should) have a price point.
Ms. Holley: Shop at her favorite store. We typically have husbands of our regular customers who will come in and ask what their wives have been looking at lately.
Ms. Harrison: Know her style. What colors does she like? If it’s jewelry, have a good feel about what she already wears. Does she like long earrings? Does she coordinate jewelry with her fashions?
How many gifts are returned to your store after Christmas?
Ms. Bishop: I have been very fortunate since opening four years ago. On an average, I probably get only about 10 items returned, and it’s mostly because of fit issues. Most of the time, the women want the same item, just in a different size.
Ms. Holley: We don’t get a lot of returns — less than 10 percent. Either the person shopping was told what to get, or we helped them. Everybody is happy — the wife, the husband and Embellish.
Ms. Harrison: Not many. I don’t know what the norm is, but our customers are evidently satisfied. We get maybe less than 1 percent returns.
Do you think gift cards and gift certificates are good alternatives to buying merchandise?
Ms. Bishop: Some men come in and know what their wives really like, and the majority of people I know want to receive something personally. But, admittedly, getting a gift certificate is easy, especially for the person who doesn’t like to shop.
Ms. Holley: Many women like to buy their own shoes, so they would probably prefer a gift certificate from my store. It is a great option.
Ms. Harrison: It depends on the person shopping. I personally love to buy gifts, but some people are tired and don’t enjoy the time it takes to shop.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...