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Went Fur Shopping!


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My wife I and took a trip to Cleveland. We both had some vacation days coming so we used up a few of them. We just got back this evening.

 

We went fur shopping while we were out.

 

Last night we went to the Fur Salon at Saks Fifth Avenue, located in the Beachwood Mall.

Our sales person was Christine L., the manager. Very nice lady. Soft spoken. Quite Knowledgeable.

 

Yes, I know what you're thinking: EXPENSIVE! And you are right! We saw two coats we liked. One was a full length, dark brown (almost black) mink. Even at half off, the $4,000 price tag was too rich for my blood!

 

The other one that Melanie liked a little bit was THIS sheared sable jacket with golden fox trim. It was soft and beautiful and we both loved it but, at $4,600 (on sale) we had to leave it behind.

 

They do have some nice stuff and the service was impeccable, as you would expect from Saks, but at those prices, I didn't even ask the lady to let Melanie try one on. I'm sure those coats will make somebody VERY happy but we had to leave empty handed.

 

The second place we went to was Weiss Furs at the same mall. (Beachwood) Our sales lady, Shirley Z., also very nice and knowledgeable but a lot more "high pressure". (Actually, a lot more like the way I thought a fur salesperson WOULD act. i.e.: I was ready for her.)

 

We found THIS brown lapis stroller with fox trim. This is the one Melanie likes best. It's not too long. (She doesn't want full length but wants a coat that will keep her bum warm.) And it's got a fluffy brown fox collar that she just LOVES!

 

(Sorry the picture isn't as good as I'd like it to be. It was a "quick snap" and the lady wouldn't let me take any more.

 

The price was more in my range. ($1,500. On sale from $3,000)

 

On top of that, it's reversible!

Melanie told me that she would like to wear it inside out most of the time. I asked her if she wanted to wear it like that because it's a "stealth" measure to avoid anti-fur types or if it's because she wanted to keep the fur for herself. I didn't really get much of an answer. -- Just a smile. (Should I take that as a "Yes"?)

 

We're thinking of putting a deposit down on that coat but Melanie has one question first:

 

When she took the coat off, she was left with hair in her face. She said it wasn't a whole lot but it was enough to notice. (Enough to make her wrinkle her nose and go, "Pfff!".)

 

I asked the lady if this was because it was a new coat. She said that it would go away after the coat had been worn a few times.

 

Is that true?

Or, is that lady giving us a line of B.S. ? Is it a sign of a cheap coat?

 

We got the lady's card and she wrote down all the information.

So... Do you guys think the coat is a good deal? And, do you think the minor shedding will go away?

 

We're thinking of calling the lady back and putting some money down on it.

 

{Okay! Fixed the Broken link. Sorry...}

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If a fur is not finished properly, loose hair can remain. Have them pressure steam the coat. It removes the loose hair that remains from the finishing process.

 

One thing you might want to ask about is the cost of cleaning and caring for your fur. Cleaning a reversible fur is much more difficult than one that is lined. Just talk with them about it so it does not come as a surprise.

 

And, as for high pressure sales. That is just an unprofessional sales person. A pro would never pressure you.

 

Maybe some of our experts can expand on your questions.

 

Linda

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So, the coat itself isn't necessarily cheap but the mfg. skipped a step to save themselves a few bucks. Right?

 

We will ask about having it steamed. Is it a, sort of, optional thing? Or, if it's not steamed will the fur always shed? (i.e.: Is steaming necessary to "seal" the fur? )

 

I'm used to high pressure sales people. I agree with you, it's tacky and unprofessional but I just shrug-off people like that. I used to be a TV & Furniture sales person. I know the drill.

 

As far as I can tell, she didn't lie about anything. She was just the type who kept saying, "You gotta' buy soon or it will be gone..."

 

I never tried to pull $hit like that on my customers but, if they were looking at a piece of furniture that was a "closeout" I would tell them so. It's only fair, really. I wouldn't want them coming back a month later to buy something and have them be peeved at me when I said it was all gone.

 

I looked at their literature while Melanie was picking out a coat to try on. It seems like Weiss has "package" deals for cleaning, treating and storing furs. They didn't have a price list but I'm sure I'll be hit up with one before this deal is done.

 

And, yes, they do sell "Service" and "Insurance" policies... Yes, I know... I used to sell those, too! I know the drill!

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My wife and I love fur shopping at those type of stores but have not bought at any of them in 20+ yrs. I think you can do better at a independant salon, they tend to want to become "your furrier friend" and also will let you "wheel and deal " a bit. However I did buy my wife a full lenth BlackGlama for 50% off and another 20% off because I opened an account with the purchase, the $7000 + coat cost less than $3000 12 yrs ago, but that coat still looks new and she still get compliments everytime she wears it. I think buying furs are like buying diamonds, the sale price is 50% off some high list price,but it's whats off of that I'm interested in. You have to learn what coats go for and have something to compare prices with. We like to stop at those " hotel fur sales " because you can try on stuff for hours with out too much hassel. We bought a white mink coat with a double fur hood, had the hood reworked into a huge collar for $2300 USD cash no tax. It turn out that sale was by our local furrier and we met one of the owners and now get huges and kisses with every fur salon visit!

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the sheared sable with golden fox trim you saw at saks is in fact sheared mink with golden sable trim. you can take my word on it. very cute! just to let you know!

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Whoa on the pressure steaming! Adding any type of heat to a fur that is already sheading will just dry it out even more. The only time that steam should be used on a fur is during a glazing. When glazing happens, mink oil is applied to the fur and a low level of steam from an iron is applied to melt the mink oil. Linda, can you tell me where this idea of pressure steaming comes from??? You can seriously damage a fur that way by scorching the hide.

 

Here is the deal, the coat is $1500 on sale, right? That means that the cost of the fur was about $750.00, not an expensive coat, nor expensive fur. What you have around the collar is probably fox bellies or fox sides which tend to shed. Ask the sales lady to REDRUM the fur. What will happen is the coat will be put into a commercial drum (like a dryer without the heat) with tennis balls (yes, its true) or something similar to beat the fur up and remove loose hairs. After this has been done, if you try the coat on again and there are still shedding hairs...WALK AWAY FROM THE COAT because it will never stop shedding.

 

Also, the picture from Saks appears to be sheared mink with mink trim, not golden sable. If it were sable, the white you see at the shear line would be more pronounced.

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BTW, there should be no difference in the cost of cleaning a reversible fur over a regular fur. Fabric is fabric and the cost should be the same.

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I think you guys are right on the identity of that one from Saks.

 

We looked at about 1/2 dozen different ones and I didn't take written notes. I only went by memory. I'm probably wrong. I'm 99% certian she said it was mink on the body, though.

 

What about air for the shedding?

 

Working on the stage, sometimes an air hose is used to clean scenery or goods. Heavy, velour curtains can be beaten or shaken to get dirt and dust out but some drops, especially old, painted backdrops on canvas can't be beaten or shaken lest the (old, improperly cured) paint flake off.

 

What if we took a stream of air at about 10-15 psi and blew the loose hair out?

 

Probably be a lot of work. Wouldn't it?

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Worker,

 

First, I wish I could see the jacket. I have tried twice to open it and it errors out. Is it plucked or sheared?

 

The person you are working with needs to be someone you trust. At least until you know enough that you can judge for yourself. Or, you need to decide that you just like it enough to just risk it. It is an entry level fur, so there is a limit on what you can expect.

 

Carol has mentioned several times the importance of knowing someone in the business that you trust. And, it could be this furrier is one, just a saleslady that has bad skills and knowledge. I was very disappointed in her when you mentioned she would not let you take but one picture. What could it have hurt? Sales people can make the shopping experience a wonderful one, or one where you feel that they are doing you a favor. It has hurt the fur business.

 

There are several processes that they can use to eliminate the shedding if it is from the finishing, depending on the fur. Just talk with them about about it. And, if they can't, or won't. I agree with Tsarovish Furs, I would pass. There are too many choices out there to buy a fur that will shed on your clothes.

 

On pricing, we cannot know what the cost is, since the markups can be 4 times in some areas and only 2 times. If you shop around and learn you will start to spot the difference. Unfortunately, most fur shops carry the same styled items. Department stores have the highest mark ups.

 

If you use the hunting process as an adventure, you will not only learn about furs, you will have a lot of fun in the process. Being as close as you are to New York, why not go to the Fur District?

 

There are many quality furs that can be purchased at unbelievable prices on eBay. But, as with a physical store, until you have more experience, who you work with is important.

 

On the cleaning costs. Make certain you check. Again, depending on where you live this is done differently. A coat that is reversible can require special skills and treatment.

 

Also, check to see if they clean the linings when you get their prices. Many areas do not clean the linings, where others cannot imagine how a furrier could think the coat is clean without it. I am in this later group.

 

Hope you have fun!

 

Linda

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Worker,

 

be greatful you didn't have the experience I had once with a salesMAN at a well-known Sydney furrier.

 

I was looking at a blue fox coat (funny that, eh??*grin*) and asked about shedding. He answered by grabbing a few hairs and pulling... "seeee, won't happen."

 

No, I didn't... either buy or throttle.

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Worker: If you are trying to think up ways to stop the shedding on a coat you want to buy, chances are you should look around some more for a different coat that won't shed.

 

Linda: Am still interested where you learned about pressure steaming for furs. I will relay a story about steaming furs, which is why we are so against it:

We created a line of sheared beaver and sheared mink blankets for a major fabric design house in New York. When we shipped the first blankets down to them, the head of the house sent them to down to his finisher to "steam them out," against our protests that he not do that. When we arrived a week later, one of our blankets had two enormous scorch spots, essentially burn marks, on the backs of the hides. The skins were ruined and we had to take the blanket back, cut out the skins that were burned and dried and "crispy," and add new ones.

So, unless one is using a light hand steamer, steam should never be used on fur.

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Worker;

 

Your wife is making the right choice about "Keeping itto herself".

 

I did have a minor problem with my Lynx lined buckskin jacket after they had cleaned the fur prior to assembly. It is a shorter haired Lynx ..maybe actually a Bobcat. After a few weeks of brushing it out and wearing I no longer have that problem. It was a used fur of some quality however and not a new fur.

 

It is one of my favorite jackets now.

 

 

 

OFF

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Your advice is much appreciated! Thanks to all'a y'unz!

 

Okay, I fixed up the second link. I mistyped the URL when I posted it. It works, now. I checked. Sorry about the screw-up.

 

We know it's only a "starter" fur but, to us $1,500 isn't pocket change. We have to make sure the fur we buy is one we really like. If it sheds more than a nominal amount Melanie won't wear it and it will end up stashed in the closet... a waste of good $$.

 

With so many Teddy Bears around the house we know about shedding fur. When it's manufactured fur like plush, even if it's mohair or sheep's wool there WILL be some shedding when it's new. That's just the way it is. But, if it doesn't go away after a while, it's a problem. We don't like shedding fur coats any more than we like shedding Bears!

 

When you first mentioned steaming the fur I thought it was more like the way a tailor or a dressmaker uses a hand steamer to "fluff" a garment for a finishing touch. I didn't think that it was like the steam machine that a dry cleaner uses to press your clothes. Yeah, that sounds pretty chancy to me. Unless it's done by somebody who knows exactly what to do, I can see how a fur could easily be trashed.

 

When I ask about ways to combat shedding, I'm just thinking of different ideas. I think you're right. If a new coat sheds more than a little bit when it's new it's probably always going to shed. In this case, I think it's going to be a question of how much shedding will she tolerate. (Not very much!)

 

After all, it was one of the furs displayed in the front of the store. If you know about retailing, you know that you only put one or two of your best items out front to attract customers. The good stuff is kept closer to the back of the store. The really good stuff is brought out to show customers who are serious about buying. And the really, REALLY good stuff often doesn't even make it to the sales floor at all!

 

That's the way it was when I worked at the "Big" toy store. That's the way it was when I sold TVs and stereos in the department store. And, to a smaller extent, that's how it was in the furniture store. It's not being sneaky. It's just how a retailer prevents his merchandise from getting "shop worn" before customers have a chance to look at it.

 

We're going to think about it some more before we call the lady back. Maybe her high pressure tactic wasn't just her "personal style" after all?

 

But, hey! What the hell... Fur shopping is FUN!!

 

 

 

 

P.S. to O.F.F.:

 

It's okay by me if she keeps it to herself as long as she shares with me, every once in a while!

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Tsarevich,

 

Again, I only know what I saw and what I remember.

 

Pressure steam systems with gun(s) or wands and iron(s) are a main part of every backroom in the fur district I was in. Now, I was only in three.

 

I own one, but along with all my other equipment, I have never used it. I bought all the backroom equipment of Miller and Berkowitz when they closed their manufacturing business. The steamer is new. I was not ready for the equipment, but the chance to buy something like this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I felt. Now I wonder if I will ever get a chance to work with all this wonderful equipment.

 

Who ever damaged the blankets did it because of lack of expertise not the equipment. But, I believe you were right to tell them not to use steam on the sheared fur. Sheared furs cannot be cleaned with the same equipment and I believe it is because it will make the ends kink up when steam hits the fur. There is a special machine that they run them through. Maybe you know what I am speaking of.

 

I have been told that most furrier's who clean furs still send there sheared furs out.

 

That was the reason I wanted to see the picture of the fur Worker and his wife were thinking of buying. And, since it is sheared it can not be steamed.

 

Back to the situation you explain, I really am wondering if they "kinked" up the blanket's sheared finish and then tried to fix it by ironing it, which would have scorched it. Unless an idiot was using a pressure wand, I don't know how they could have done this. To create this much heat it seems to me it would have blown a hole in the pelts. And, that is not how it is used anyway. From what you are saying, I am surprised they did not ruin the entire blanket!!

 

Do you know what your client was thinking he would accomplish by steaming them? I am very surprised he would not know the issue with moisture and the sheared fur. I am not certain if it is an issue of moisture or an issue of steam.

 

The steaming and ironing I have seen was done on mink. The results was just incredible. The man was a true artist. He runs the cleaning at Kaufman Furs.

 

With everything that I say, I have to add: I can explain to you how ice hockey is played. I can tell you when they screw up a play, and maybe even what they should have done and why. But, I am not able to play ice hockey.

 

I also know the theory and practice of running a backroom. I have been in this business for only five years. In no way am competent to run the equipment or to work on other people's furs! And, my advice is something I believe to be true, but if it is something that could affect a valuable piece, please get an expert opinion.

 

Linda

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