Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shopping for Women with No Time to Shop

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shopping for Women with No Time to Shop

Article excerpt

`IT WAS never like a Tupperware party," Bridget Breslin says.

"I hate to even make the comparison." For one thing, she sees one customer at a time, not a whole gaggle at once, and she doesn't make them play games. They don't have time for games; it's why they come to her.

Breslin is a Doncaster consultant - but maybe not the one you have in mind. The Doncaster representative of yore was a woman who sold safe, nonthreatening, ladylike clothes to a few friends from her bridge club, out of her living room, for pin money - whatever that was. Breslin, like most of her customers, works for a living - in one of the few segments of women's retail that actually seems to be growing. Soccer moms, overscheduled corporate types and baby boomers with expanding mi ddles - who in some cases are one and the same person - have less patience than ever with high fashion's peculiar fixation on bare midriffs and see-through everything. But they still need clothes to wear. Companies like Doncaster, Madeleine, French Rags, Worth and Carlisle make the kind of clothes these women are looking for - what Worth Collection Philadelphia sales associate Suzie Pattison characterizes as "very wearable clothing with a little bit of zip to it." They also make it a point not to waste their time. For instance, Breslin - who works out of a showroom in BalaCynwyd, Pa. - pin-fits hems and cuffs herself, has the tailoring done at cost, and drops off finished garments at her customers' homes or offices. She keeps track of what they buy each season so that she can help them figure out what they still need. And she urges them to bring in their orphans, such as the cerise DKNY jacket from the markdown rack that doesn't go with anything. She'll make house calls when a customer needs help sorting through her closet. …

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