By Kat Ward
The life of a courier involves a lot of driving, delivering large shipments and smaller packages and letters across the country. Modern technology like state-of-the-art vans and high quality roads allow this process to be completed at great speed – it is possible to cross the United Kingdom from south to north in under 24 hours, although this would require a pair of couriers taking shifts. Today’s couriers might be surprised to know that several thousand years ago, the Ancient Persians had some similar ideas about efficient deliveries.
The Persian Empire (c. 550-330 BCE) was vast by ancient standards, reaching from Aegean Turkey in the west to the beginning of India in the east, at its height. The King ruled over it all; although he entrusted local government to his satraps, he still wanted to know all the important news in a timely fashion, especially when it concerned invasions, plagues, famines and so on. Ancient couriers needed to cross the empire as fast as possible with this news.
But the journey across the empire, from Sardis to Susa and further, took up to 90 days on foot. A walking courier was far too slow for vital communications. Mounted couriers were faster, but still faced restrictions like the need to rest their horse, and the hazardous terrain that forced the horse to walk almost as slow as a human for fear of crippling injury.
The Royal Road
King Darius I’s solution was to build a 1,500-mile long road – the Royal Road – which traversed the empire, and establish 111 posting stations along it. Each station kept fresh horses for the couriers to change onto, ensuring that they could ride as fast as possible. The journey across the empire now took a mere 7 days.
The extent of this achievement was recognised by contemporary writers. Famous Ancient Greek writer Herodotus wrote that “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor darkness of night prevents these couriers from completing their designated stages with utmost speed” in his Histories. The Romans who invaded parts of Persian in later centuries continued its use
Herodotus’ writings – along with archaeological research and other historical records – have also furnished us with the Royal Road’s route, so that we can now follow those ancient couriers across the ancient empire. The Royal Road began in Sardis, above 60 miles east of present-day Azmir in Aegean Turkey. From there it went east through the middle northern section of Turkey and passed through the Cilician Gates to Nineveh (present-day Mosul in Iraq), formerly capital of Assyria. It then turned south to Babylon (near present-day Baghdad, Iraq), where it divided. The first route went northeast then east through Ecbatana and along what later became known as the Silk Road. The second went east to Susa (in present-day Iran), future Persian capital, and then southeast to one of Persia’s most famous cities, Persepolis.
An Assyrian road
While King Darius I of Persia ordered the development of the Royal Road’s full length, it seems likely that he wasn’t the first ancient ruler to envisage a quality road connecting important parts of his empire. The Ancient Assyrian Empire, which existed in many phases from as far back as the 20th century BCE until about a hundred years before Cyrus the Great forged Persia, most likely had a hand in building one part of the Royal Road. Its route through Nineveh and Babylon, old important centres of that Empire and not the most direct route across Darius’ empire, is strong evidence for the Assyrians devising infrastructure for ancient couriers even earlier in history, and the Persians simply expanding from it.
How does one identify sexy lingerie from, say, common everyday lingerie? While many women find strength, confidence and a sense of identity by wearing sexy lingerie all the time, for the most part sexy intimates are reserved for special occasions where more revealing lingerie styles are desired. In another article, I provide a better understanding of sexy lingerie and how sensual intimates are different. The purpose of this article is to discuss and show specific styles of sexy lingerie.
Bras – Sexy Bra Styles vs. Purely Functional Everyday Women’s Brassiere
Women’s bra sales represent over 50% of all lingerie and intimate apparel sales. First and foremost the brassiere was designed as a functional garment to support the bust. Many innovations for more comfortable and improved support have been introduced over the years, for example, underwire (and non-underwire) support and textile advancements such as spandex and microfiber. In general, a functional everyday bra is comfortable and provides support with no frills, such as a full cup and full coverage bra.
Sexy bras on the other hand may provide support; however, function is not necessarily the first consideration when designing sexier bras. The shelf bra, for example, provides little support, however, is among the best selling of sexy bra styles. The push-up bra is another type of more sensual bra style because it lifts the breasts, creating the appearance of greater fullness and cleavage.
While shelf and open tip bras are at the far side of the more sexy range, a plethora of less risqué, yet nevertheless, sensual bra styles exist such as the plunge bra, cut much lower in the front to reveal more cleavage; the backless bra to reveal more of the back; and, the strapless bra to show more of the shoulders. In essence, sexy bras reveal more of the woman’s bust, back and shoulders, whether with their design and cut or the fabrics of which they are made, such as sheer and see through materials.
Sexy Panties, Thongs and G-Strings vs. Women’s Panties and Briefs
The term ‘granny panties’ refers to old, greyed non-attractive underwear your mother’s mother would have worn. You know, the large, more than full coverage panty made of cotton in shades of beige and bare. Granny Panties serve the purpose of function only, which is to provide a lining between the body and clothing to prevent chafing of the body’s more sensitive areas as well as minimize the soiling of clothes.
Sexy panties, on the other hand, provide similar benefits, however, are designed with greater flair, including bright colors, lace, sheer fabrics and other means of sensual adornment. While the panty and brief provide full back coverage for the more modest woman, thongs, French tangas and g-strings reveal more of the woman’s buttocks, hips and front. Sales of sexier thong styles have far out-paced panty and brief sales over the past decade as younger generations feel more comfortable and confident in the minimal fabric and coverage provided by thongs and low rise thongs, such as those made by Hanky Panky, touted as “the world’s most comfortable thong”.
Sexy Sleepwear vs. Traditional Sleepwear
The variety of sleepwear available to women is massive. In additional to traditional long cotton sleep shirts and gowns, women often choose the less alluring, however, comfortable men’s t-shirt and boxers or shorts. Sexy sleepwear differs from other forms of evening wear in that it reveals more of the woman’s body.
Sexier sleeping attire is designed with shorter hemlines, plunging necklines as well as slit sides and backless designs. Sheer, see through and fabrics that hug and cling provide greater allure by showing more of a woman’s curves and features. Shorter and more revealing styles of negligees include the baby doll and chemise.
Bodystockings, Body Suits and Teddies
Many men and women find hosiery body suits and stockings to be extremely sexy, covering the woman from head to toe with sensual clinging fabric, often sheer or translucent to reveal all the beauty a woman has to offer. Sexier body stockings are made of sheer and fishnet fabrics as well as have an open crotch, thong back and/or open bust.
Teddies are a form of body suit that are both leg and sleeveless, covering just the torso. While some teddies do have sleeves for style and appeal, the majority of teddies do not. Like body stockings, teddies typically are designed with a thong back to reveal more of the buttocks and come in snap-closure and crotchless styles.
While there are many forms of sexy lingerie, the primary differentiator between sexier intimates and common every day lingerie styles is the amount of body that is exposed, whatever means may be used, including sheer and see through fabrics, stretch materials that hug and cling, and skimpier designs that are lower cut (or, for that matter, higher cut below the waist) and use less fabric.
Something in the human spirit is always itching for independence and this itch translates to a constant flow of new entrepreneurs that so often gravitate towards fashion jewelry. What is so irresistible about this accessory? Beyond the high profit margins that wholesale fashion jewelry can open for retailers lies an intrinsic beauty that creates truly wearable art. Yes, wholesale fashion jewelry offers plenty of profit potential that enables retailers to turn small investments into the longest mark-up in the fashion industry, but the magic of fashion jewelry’s beauty stops consumers in their tracks and this magnetic attraction, more than anything else, brings the entrepreneur into retail sales specializing in jewelry.
Many of these new fashion jewelry businesses begin on the simplest level with retailers buying wholesale fashion jewelry and presenting it to friends and co-workers. Easy sales and new found profits ignite a fire to grow the business, but what step comes next? As a twenty-five year veteran of the wholesale fashion jewelry industry, I have seen business after business start in this way and often grow to become the major supplier of fashion accessories in a community. The learning curve never ends as fashion jewelry evolves as well as retail tactics, but some things never change and these key techniques will have positive impact on your fashion jewelry business.
But first, how are you going to sell your treasure of wholesale fashion jewelry? Outgoing personalities love the active sale. Visit businesses, do parties, set up in flea markets or craft shows, and bubble over with enthusiasm as you introduce stunning fashion jewelry to consumers. All they need is a crowd and permission to set up. Bingos, festivals, school picnics, car shows, sporting events-the list is endless. Overhead is low and actually stops when not engaged in sales activities. But so does sales, so many prefer brick and mortar businesses with a higher overhead, but continuing business even when you’re not there.
The quieter, methodical personality may not be up to this bubbling enthusiasm and choose a passive sales mode. Successful businesses often build without the entrepreneur ever engaged in active sales to the consumer. They connect with beauty shops and other locations to provide fashion jewelry on consignment with the owner profiting as well as the entrepreneur. Methodical personalities think out the details like how to handle shrinkage of missing items with no sales recorded. Increasing price and lowering consignment fees compensates for losses when fashion jewelry has open exposure that can result in more shrinkage. The flip side is reduced sales in secure environments like showcases or behind the counter, which reduce shrinkage, but unfortunately, also sales.
Okay, both personalities have a selling method they are comfortable with and both can expand their business with online marketing by working on websites while their sales support them as the websites grow, climbing higher in the results of major search engines. But what about the 5 shortcuts to retail success? They boil down to pricing, selection, presentation, knowledge, and benefits.
-First comes pricing the wholesale fashion jewelry. New entrepreneurs often feel shock waves as they see the wholesale cost compared to retail prices they paid as consumers. The first temptation is undercut all the competition. Stop there!-because fashion jewelry is cyclical and low prices generate low profits that don’t carry retailers through the tough times. Do you want to spend all your earnings on restocking wholesale fashion jewelry and covering overhead? Of course not, you want to grow your business and make a profit and pricing is important.
Retail uses a term called keystone-a nice word for doubling the wholesale price. Make keystone the minimum for mark-up in fashion jewelry and look for the items that give you room for far longer mark-ups. The upside has no rules. Let your intuition guide you because prices can always come down, but it is difficult to go up.
-Next comes selection and this is a factor that major retailers like fine department stores are always struggling to get right. Stroll through one and you will see they have reduced staff on the floor so selection often has to sell itself. The fine department stores need “no miss” choices and have resources, forecasts, statistics, and trained buyers to make these decisions. Small retailers don’t need to be discouraged because this isn’t rocket science and you are closer to the clientele in your location than any major retailer.
Making the perfect selection rests on the age and demographics of your main customer base. Add this to the fashion trends of the season and you are close to perfect. How do you keep up with all those rapid changing fashion trends? Well rapid change is a myth. Trends change very slowly-often over a decade. Yes, colors and subtle adjustments occur every season, but today we are in the midst of classic trends that started in the early 21st century and have a promising future. More on this when we cover knowledge.
-Now for presentation-making the fashion jewelry look special. Ever notice how necklaces clumped together on a tee bar on top of a showcase seem to scream “I’m on sale” while the stuff in the showcase whispers “I’m special”. That’s presentation and how it has changed even for fine department stores.
Teri Agins in The End of Fashion details how department stores that were once “the first visual contact with fashion” and “introduced merchandise concepts to customers” changed in the late 20th century to a collection of brands. Agins quotes one upscale shopper who “was appalled when she discovered $19.99 Nine West shoes displayed right next to $350 Chanels” in her favorite department store that was compromising its image of elite fashion. Make an item look special and it takes on the perception of higher value.
-Next comes knowledge that is worth more than price. Don’t believe it? Think of items you bought because the sales person impressed you with a deep understanding of the product. That was worth more than price. I personally experienced this lesson when I did a trade show with a colleague. I told my customers the fashion jewelry was a real value at the price. His sales person painted a word picture of the wholesale fashion jewelry with the season’s apparel and wrote more orders without the customers even knowing the price.
Knowledge is knowing the trends and knowing the item. Consumers trust a well-informed source and when you know what is today’s style and why it looks right on the customer, you remove the burden of choice from the buyer.
Knowledge today goes deeper because classic trends in fashion jewelry bring gemstone components, shell, Murano style glass, Millefiore, and more to jewelry designs. A story is worth volumes in explaining glass jewelry and knowledge of gemstones that removes the doubt about whether it is real. Don’t be overwhelmed about understanding the trends and knowledge of today’s components because everything is detailed in a report, Wholesale Fashion Jewelry-The Magic of Trends (find a link to the report at the foot of this article).
-Finally there are benefits. Think of benefits as vision-what the customer envisions. Anyone that buys fashion jewelry wants to make a positive statement. They want a look that is flattering and appropriate. So like the car commercial running on the radio, features describe the details like length, color, texture, and shape while benefits say “matches apparel while complementing your complexion”, “draws attention to your slender neck”, or “creates a youthful look that is so you”. The old adage of sell the sizzle, not the steak, gets to the point. Pick the right item for the customer, be sincere, and sell the sizzle.
Will all this work in a slowing economy? Absolutely! In worrisome times women appreciate an escape valve of some small new purchase. What fulfills this better than fashion jewelry? Apply the five shortcuts and lift your customers’ spirits with a feel-good experience.