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Introducing Highland Fashionista Mercantile!


A screenshot of the new Highland Fashionista Mercantile e-commerce site on a mobile phone

Greetings loyal readers and new arrivals to the blog! I'm pleased to report that the reason I've been so sporadic in posting of late has now manifested into something that I can finally talk to you about. So to that end.....


TA DAAAAA! (jazz hands)


Highland Fashionista Mercantile is my long-awaited e-commerce website - now operational! You can click the photo if you want to check it out; HFmercantile is the shortened domain name.




 

You may recall a post I made (what feels like ages ago now) where I shared my plans to merge my blog and e-commerce ventures into a single platform. I've had this blog for a long time (over 12 years!), so trying to figure out how to accomplish this type of merge without diminishing any of the involved assets has been a real mind-bender. For now, I have decided the easiest way to accomplish this was with branding. The blog and the new venture are still separate platforms at the moment, but with the same branding, voice, and style sensibility. The secondhand marketplace still lives on the blog and links out to Etsy and Ebay, while HFmercantile is a standalone site. Eventually they will all be under one roof, but it's a big job, particularly considering all the vintage inventory is one of a kind, so consider this a large and purposeful step in that direction; part of Operation Work Smarter Not Harder, if you like.


A collage of available vacation-related products from Highland Fashionista Mercantile

So that's me officially launching my soft opening of the HFmercantile website. Many of you loyal readers have been with me for such a long time (and thanks for that, by the way...love you guys), I figured you would have already noticed the steady changes in the overall branding of the blog, and I wanted to read you in.


What does this mean going forward? Ultimately, I'm hoping for a more streamlined, cleaner, sophisticated (grain of salt there, it's me) user experience. But to address the specifics of what the plan is, I thought it would be easiest do so in a Q&A section, which appears at the end of this post.




 

But first, I'm going to ask for a favor. One of the most helpful things you could do for me at this stage would be to take a moment to leave a review on the Highland Fashionista Facebook page. Whether it's a review of the new website (again, link in the photos), or the blog, it matters not. By leaving a review it lets the internet mind hive (better known as the Facebook algorithm) know that there are in fact real human beings here doing real human being things. New websites often fall into an algorithmic black hole because to an AI tool, a quiet webpage is a bot. Please and thank you.


For your trouble, you can use the code WMERC15 for 15% off at checkout on the new site, should you see anything in your browsing that tickles your fancy.


 

Highland Fashionista Mercantile Launch Q&A


Q. Will you still be continuing with the blog?


A. Yes. Absoluely. There will inevitably be a few gaps in posting here and there while I manage the growing pains of a new offshoot business venture, but I will keep the blog until the day they have to pry the laptop out of my icy hands. And even then, I might still continue.



Q. Where do the clothes you sell at Highland Fashionista Mercantile come from?


A. All over the place, really. But when people ask me this, often what they're really asking me if I am using Chinese fast fashion suppliers. The answer is no, but also yes. I currently work with several different suppliers ranging from a few small and midized indie brands to larger, commercial suppliers. These suppliers have stock in the USA, Spain, Italy, and yes, China. I order as many samples at a time as I can afford to, but inevitably some things will likely fall through the cracks. Also, pieces can change over time due to the availability of materials, so it's a constant process of evaluation. As someone who spends most of her days searching for, cleaning, prepping and photographing old clothes, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to assess a garment's suitability for the shop.



Q. Will you still be selling on Etsy?


A. 100%. I have been an Etsy seller pretty much since the beginning of Etsy, and I have no desire to leave, even after I am to a point where I have vintage offerings on the new site. Etsy has gone through a lot of permutations over the years, and if you've ever been in a seller forum you'll know that sellers love to complain about it, but I will always love Etsy, and I will always have a presence there.



Q. Isn't it sort of hypocritical for someone who is such an advocate for shopping secondhand to have modern clothing website?

(Yes, this is an actual thing someone said to me recently)


I don't see it that way. Not at all. As I've often stated, I'm not anti high street fashion, but rather I'm anti wastefulness. The practicality and promise that any garment offers its wearer is way more important to me than provenance. As with life, our sartorial choices are never completely made up of all one experience. While I do everything I can to ensure that the things I pick are vetted, equally I feel that as someone who loves clothes and loves to make other people happy through clothes, its my sacred sworn duty (too much?) to show people the potential in things that they might have otherwise ignored. To do that, you literally have to consider all the options.


To that point, I'm not looking for a shop full of expensive, high-end, branded material, but rather an eclectic mix. Most of my wardrobe is still thrifted, and probably always will be, but woman cannot live on thrift alone.











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