Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Joan Burstein on the recession

Joan Burstein (Mrs B) owner of Browns boutique on South Molton Street, who saved up her clothing ration coupons in 1947 to buy her first New Look dress, who went bust in the Sixties and built up her business again from scratch, and who discovered John Galliano, has this to say:

"It's important to be positive when times are hard, but to those who are facing having to start again now I would say this: to have got where you did, you must have had talent, so use it again – and be humble, accept advice and work hard. I worked very hard, and now, I think, it's important to be doing my bit for British businesses because this is our economy and we're stuck with it."

This recession, she says, feistiness creeping into her voice, only feels different to the last one "because then we didn't have it blaring at us from everywhere. Yes, we had a bad time in November but we did well in December. The bottom line is that people still want to buy, and if they haven't got the money they'll save to buy the things that they want.

"There's too much doom and gloom, but I promise you this: people still aspire to own things."

6 comments:

Duchesse said...

"The bottom line is that people still want to buy, and if they haven't got the money they'll save to buy the things that they want." Maybe. And people will also substitute, downgrade and postpone. There's a serious spanner thrown into the engine of acquisition. Maybe the day of the $2,000 boot is all but over.

Toby Wollin said...

Well, when you see statistics that show the average savings rate in the US has doubled in the past six months..I think Mrs. Burstein might only be directing her thoughts to people at a certain economic level who actually still have money to spend.

sallymandy said...

Good comments. I like Ms. Burstein's suggestions about working hard, being humble, and taking advice. And I think it's true that people still want to own things, but there are so many great things out there that can be had for so much less, if you know where to look. The current situation is my family and me that we can do without things we thought we needed.

Anonymous said...

"[B]ut to those who are facing having to start again now I would say this: to have got where you did, you must have had talent, so use it again – and be humble, accept advice and work hard."

It's not that simple, unfortunately. Maybe this is credible if you are a small business owner, but if you are an employee with a limited market in which to offer your services and a older to boot, the scene is pretty grim.


Nothing personal in regard to Ms. B., but I'm getting sick of all the half-baked encouraging remarks. This is New York Times article is an example: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/07/your-money/07money.html?8dpc

Fluff Chance said...

All of your comments are for me apt. As a small business owner in the fashion arena, I have to agree it's a very complicated situation. It's more than being clever when you're resposible for a staf of 8, the overhead of a studio/office/showroom and the cost of doing business...all with decreasing returns on a weekly and daily basis. It takes money. If you're not making enough to support it and there is no way to do what you do without most of the picture that is in place, then you have to make hard decisions about whether or not you can survive the storm. I'm feeling like it's time to come in from the monsoon....and I've had my company for 20 years. Not a happy thought , but not one I can ignore any more.
Fluff Chance
http://emperorsoldclothes.blogspot.com/

Past Expiry said...

Check out this cartoon about the recession!
http://pastexpiry.blogspot.com/2009/03/cartoon-sesame-street-recession.html
*CARTOON*