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Archive for the ‘News&Update’ Category

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Monday, May 21st, 2018

A couple weeks ago we decided to attempt two shows in one weekend. I’m still not sure how I feel about our attempt. Our usual monthly show was not nearly as successful as it usually is. We did not have they type of foot traffic we normally get. Our second show was in Little Rock, Arkansas. Had it not been for this show, we would not have done well AT ALL. So, thank you Arkansas. I can’t help but wonder though if we should have done one show. There are pros and cons to both sides, but the biggest concern was that we had to split up our inventory to take to each show. In Little Rock, we attended a Vintage Market, so all of our more vintage- looking clothes, and clothes with lace went to Vintage Market Days. Therefore, none of those items were present in Canton this month. Though we didn’t have the foot traffic we normally get, I can’t help but wonder if sales would have still been better if we had those items present. The flip side is that maybe Vintage Market Days could have done better for us if more of our casual wear and sale items had been present. These are the things that, as a business owner, have to be thought about and discussed. Its these little things that make the biggest difference. Nonetheless, my husband got to come to Canton with me. Here is a picture he took.

Sometimes, it is so hard to stay ahead of the curve. Our initial business model was to be an online only boutique. Though it may sound easy because everyone is online these days, and due to increase in online sales everywhere, it is not easy. If you are not a large chain store, it is next to impossible to get noticed on the internet. You fall into a sea of fish, and you struggle to stay afloat. We had to start incorporating these Trade Shows every month on most weekends just to make ends meet. We are so appreciative of our customers that continue to shop with us, joined our e-mail list, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, etc. We are finally starting to get a good base, but still struggling online.

We continue to get new inventory that we are so excited about, but it is not as easy as just getting the inventory and setting it out. We have to get the pictures, upload them to our website, inventory them, make sure people know about our new arrivals via social media and e-mail. On and on and on it goes. That being said, if you get a little bit behind with any of this, it is almost impossible to catch up. As the inventory keeps coming, you keep getting further behind. Then, at some point it dawns on you that you need to play catch up. Just block out like two weeks of your work schedule to get caught up. Keep in mind though that as you’re getting caught up, inventory is still coming; thus, starting the cycle all over again. The reality is like a giant welcome sign that, instead of being supportive and encouraging, says “Welcome to the Game”.

We will keep playing because we love the challenge. Now, go find something that challenges you. Instead of giving up on it, find a way to make it work for you!

-Ashlie Lawson- Franey 

6 Ways To Tie A Scarf

Monday, April 9th, 2018

How many of you out there like the look of scarves, but you don’t think you can pull them off for one reason or another? Then this is the article for you. I am going to give you 6 ways to wear an infinity scarf, specifically. I will also describe how and where you should wear each one. I sincerely hope you find an option that works for you, and that you give wearing a scarf a shot as they are no longer just for warmth; but, also used as a fashion accessory. Sometimes you can even use then to serve both purposes!

The Accessory  

To wear your infinity scarf this way, all you have to do is simply put the scarf around your neck. You can wear a scarf this to add a color pop to an outfit that has neutral tones such as white, black, nude, and gray. A bright color or one with a bold print would be best for this option. The object of this look is to do exactly as the name says- wear it as an accessory. This personally is not my favorite way to wear an infinity scarf as they tend to be made too long for my liking with this look, but it is the perfect scarf beginner induction.

The Double Wrap

The Double Wrap is my absolute favorite way to wear an infinity scarf. I have been known to tie together the ends of regular scarves too just to wear the scarf this way. To get this look, wrap the scarf around your neck twice, and fluff it out. This look is perfect for Spring and Fall when you are uncertain what the weather is going to do. Having the scarf doubled up, it will keep you warm enough around your neck in case there’s a little too much wind than what you dressed for that day. You can also wear this look if you have a blouse you love, but it is a little bit more low cut than what you are comfortable with. Therefore, completely covering your chest, so you don’t have to worry about a wardrobe malfunction all day. When I was working while in college, we used to have to wear polos with the company logo on it, and wearing a scarf this way was a nice way to turn my work uniform into something that would give it my own personal flair as well.

The Pseudo Shawl

Have an elegant evening planned such as a nice dinner, date night, attending a play, or going to a banquet? This is the option for you. When you go to these events, you could never know what the temperature will be like in those restaurants, theatres, banquets halls, etc. An infinity scarf is the solution to the temperature issue as a regular jacket is bulky, and completely ruins the appeal of your look. And, let’s face it, we know you worked hard to put that look together. All you have to do to get this look is hold the infinity scarf lengthwise behind your neck. Stick your arms upwards through the scarf.Then, fan the scarf out to cover your shoulders, and cover your back. The nice thing about wearing your scarf this way is that you can adjust it to cover as much or as little of your arms and back as you would like.

 

The Pull Through

The Pull Through is simple to accomplish. All you have to do is hold the scarf lengthwise behind you neck, and pull one side through the middle of the other side. This look is perfect for the cold days. Wear your scarf in this style if you are wearing your pea coat or other coat buttoned up so that the scarf fits easily inside your coat. The opening at the top of your coat, where there are buttons or zippers, will stay warm and prevent your coat from looking too bulky.

The Hood

How many of you are avid runners? Well I am, and this look is wonderful for the morning runs when it is still chilly out. Or, even if it just windy in general. To get this look, simply go through the same steps you did for the Double Wrap. Once you have that part done, pull the scarf so that it spreads out to cover your head as well as hangs down the back of your neck to prevent the chill from getting in. Fortunately, your hair will do a good job of helping it stay in place while you run.

 

The Tight Double Wrap

To achieve this look, follow the steps for the Double Wrap. Once you have the Double Wrap in place, simply pull down one side until the other side is up close around your neck. Please don’t pull it too tight. You do still want to be able to breathe. This look goes well if you are trying to stay warm and be cute at the same time. With this look do not be afraid to wear bold colors, and funky prints. Wear it when you have on long sleeves with nothing really covering your neck. The part around your neck will help keep you warm while the long end will be the accessory factor. Isn’t it always fun when fashion can serve a dual purpose?

Some of these looks can be worn all year ‘round while other are only a once in a while look. I hope as you have been reading this that you have been getting super excited thinking about all the outfits you can create, and accessorize them with a scarf. Be brave, and give it a try. You never know what you can pull off until you try it yourself. If you usually or have worn scarves before, I encourage you to try a new look just to see how it goes. Have fun with your fashion.

-Ashlie Lawson- Franey  

Updates

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

We hope that those of you that observe Easter had a very pleasant this past Easter Sunday. We didn’t get to celebrate as we were at Canton First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. We then spent the day yesterday trying to get our website updated. We got the dresses section cleaned up, and created a new option entitled “Sales”. Customers no longer have to do extensive searches to find sale items mixed in. They are now located in one place regardless of the items you are looking for. We are still very much behind in getting our new arrivals uploaded and ready for our customers to view. Here is just a preview of the ones that we have recently included.

        

We ask that all of our customers stay patient with us as we continue to update our website. We have developed new methods to be more efficient, and getting these updates done quickly. However, it will take some effort on our part because we have not taken pictures of so many new items. Thank you in advance for your understanding. In the meantime check out our new Sales options. Right now there are only dresses added, but we are working diligently to get all sale items on the website! Here is a preview of some of our current sales items. Other options can be found on the website.

   

Taking Things Just a Step Further

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

 

I have recently been trying to brainstorm some ways to not necessarily stay organized- I consider myself a naturally organized person- but more a way to generate some kind of accountability to get things done for my business. I have recently been listening to a podcast called “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” in which she and her sister discuss various ways to make you life happier. They essentially discuss life hacks that they or some of their listeners have suggested for how to “DE clutter” your life both figuratively and literally. Gretchen does a lot of talking about her four tendencies from her recent book of the same name. That being said, many of the questions they discuss sent in from readers are about how others are asking them to help hold them accountable in order to get tasks done. As I have been listening to the podcast and hearing the discussions, I have realized how burdensome this is for some people- some people, not all; I am aware some people live for this kind of thing- so I decided I would develop a method for getting tasks done, but not burdening someone else with a “check up” to see if these tasks were accomplished.

What did I do? I sat down in my new office, and I made a goals list of new avenues that I would like The Complete Ensemble to take in order to get more attention and generate more sales. These goals included things from being more diligent about blogging every week to eventually having our own “talk show” of sorts. Obviously all of this cannot be accomplished at one time, but the small steps will get you to bigger places. After I made the goals list, I pinned it to my bulletin board, studied it, and evaluated what goals could feasibly be accomplished right now. I then bought a week tablet (see insert below for clarification) and planned out what I would do every day in order to accomplish these “right now” goals. Those workable goals include: scheduling Facebook and Twitter posts to our business page every week, scheduling Facebook ads every week, blogging weekly, sending out a weekly e-mail to those customers signed up for our mailing list, and my newest goal… writing a weekly article to be published on our business Facebook and Twitter pages.

Rather than look at everything as a whole, and immediately get overwhelmed because I would also immediately shut down and do nothing, I decided to break apart the pieces. Some things I knew would not take quite as long, so I scheduled them for one day. Other objectives, like the article every week, is a different beast. Thus, there is a little bit of work scattered throughout the week. So far, it has worked like a charm. Little motivating mantras such as “No Matter What” and “Keep Doing It Anyway” also line my bulletin board above my desk for added motivation when things seem tough or as though they are not working. I have been blessed to find a way for me in order to achieve my goals for my business, and I hope this has inspired you to take some added steps as well.

All of this being said, I will be publishing my first series article entitled “Haute Realist Issue 1” on Friday March 30, 2018 by 3:00 pm central time. You can find it via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thecompleteensemble/
or via Twitter https://twitter.com/tcensemble.

– Ashlie R. Lawson- Franey

If We’re Being Honest

Monday, January 15th, 2018

If we are being honest….

We have been slacking taking care of those of you following our blog, and we sincerely apologize. That being said, we have not been slacking in other aspects, and we hope you LOVE what we have been working on just as much as we do!  We have added some new looks to finish out the winter season, and cannot wait to go to market to purchase some fresh looks for spring. Stay tuned for our blog about the Spring Fashion Show to come at the end of the month.

We have also started to carry Corky’s shoes, which we are incredibly thrilled about. We have about 6-7 different looks at the moments, and new looks to be filtered in through the end of March (if we don;t get too excited an purchase more before then). We have also made an effort to explore some new lines of clothing brands that are made with excellent quality to start carrying. We have recently posted some of those looks with more to come later.

Also, we recently found out we have been accepted to be a part of An Affair Of The Heart with our first show being February 9-11. So, if you are in the Oklahoma City area, come out to see us in the Bennett Building Booths 53 & 54. We would love to see you.

We have been working hard to try to make The Complete Ensemble something to be excited about. We are excited about it everyday, but we want you to be excited about it everyday too! Keep an eye on our progress as we continue to filter in some new items.

New Look for TCE

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Based on some feedback we have gotten from multiple different sources, you guys included, we have learned that The Complete Ensemble has way too many styles. What have we decided to do? We have decided to select more of a focused style to better serve you. Our new look will consist of items in the Vintage BoHo category. Don’t let that scare you though. We will defnitely have products to suite everyone’s needs.

We are so excited, and we are hoping things will go a lot more smoothly for both us and you. Get just as excited as we are, and if you aren’t quite sure what the=at new look will look like, tak a peek at our Fall Fashions.

  • Ashlie Lawson- Franey 09/04/2017 @ 9:30 am

Fall Fashions 2017

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Many of you may be wondering what you should be looking to wear this fall, or maybe you are wondering what inspired our collection. Fortunately, when we went to market two weeks ago, we got to see the fashion show to let buyers know what will be in this season. So, here is the place to be for the run down on Fall Fashions 2017.

First thing is first. There are few staple items that will never go out of style according to the accessories designer that was interviewed before the show began. Those items are statement necklaces, animal prints, earth tones, and natural tones. So, if you are ever uncertain- in any season- of what you should be looking for, these items are the place to start.

Once the show began, there were several sections throughout the show that we were able to observe. The first segment was entitled Iliad, obviously inspired by Homer’s epic. These are items inspired by 400 a.d. These items consisted of white and gold in color patterns, and were lose fitted articles of clothing. Many of the items featured were clearly modeled and designed after Greek culture from the time period. Embroidery was also huge, and will be huge this season. For this particular segment, most of the embroidery was gold on white, but all colors of embroidery were viewed throughout the fashion show through many types of styles.

The second segment was entitled Geek Chic. What in the world does that mean? you many be asking. These designed were made of mismatched pairings, layers, and tons of patchwork. Suspenders are back in this season, so if you have kept some around, now is the time to break them out. Head to toe patterns will also be acceptable. Now, just like anything else in fashion there has to be something about the look to keep the look feminine. In this case, sequins and sparkles were used to make that happen.

Green With Envy was the name of the third presentation. Fall 2017 will be ripe with the color green. Pairing multiple layers of different shades of green is the way to go. Layers in general have made a comeback. Just like the embroidery, layers were featured in every design section. Along with the layers and embroidery, you can add velvet to the list.  Haven’t seen velvet be fashionable since I was a little girl, and I am so excited to finally see designers using it again.  Lastly, long kimonos with matching dresses underneath- meaning same patterns for both dress and kimono- are i style as well. To better describe the look I’m getting at, think classy nightwear to be worn during the day. Yes, it is true, pajama look alikes are allowed.

To reiterate the statement previously mentioned about staple items, the fourth segment was On the Prowl. These pieces did not only consist of different animal prints, but also inspired by animals in general. Ladies, find you inner jungle cat, whatever that may be, and unleash it this fall. We cannot wait to see what you choose.

Colorblocking of bold, neon colors is welcome by all! Paint By Numbers featured many neon colors of solid colors with no patterns paired with other bold colors. While any colorblocking colors you choose is definitely okay, the fashion show featured many neon colors. The colors they previewed were mostly oranges and pink. So add those colors to your color palette this fall with the greens.

Those of you hoarding tons of vintage band tees, now is the time to dig them ut of the depths of your closets or dresser drawer. School of Rock has brought back our favorite rock bands of the 70’s. Along with these vintage band tees, be sure to pair them with long lace dusters or a cardigan. Underneath all of that, it is imperative for you to break out the distressed baggy jeans and faux skirts, or leather pants will work too if you’re feeling really bold. Last thing to know about this style is that large prints like large stars, hearts, etc. are the perfect ways to accent those long duster and cardigans if you do not have or do not care for vintage band tees.

The second to last segment of the fashion show was entitled, Gold Lust. This particular style reinforced some aforementioned style ideas, and gave us another color to be on the look out for this fall.

Lastly, to conclude the fashion show and the ideas behind Fall Fashions 2017 was Abyss. Exactly as it sounds, your wardrobe should have black added to it. But, let’s face it, no woman is without black items in her closet. Sheer articles of clothing will be huge this season as well as panchos making a comeback. Those of you into really vintage artciles of clothing inspired by the victoian era are in luck as well. We will be looking to see you wearing those items out of your personal collections as well.

Some of these looks inspired and color ideas inspire our fall collection for The Complete Ensemble. You know what to be on the lookout for now, and the styles to be in. So, release your inner goddess, and show us what you’ve got for Fall 2017.

  • Ashlie Lawson- Franey 08/28/2017 @ 11:00 am

To Market, To Market

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Last week we got to go to the Dallas Market. We are thrilled for you all to see what we have in store for you this fall. Next week’s edition will have everything you need to know for what to wear this fall season. For now, I get the opportunity to tell you about being market; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I like to end on positive notes, so I will start with the bad and the ugly being that they go hand in hand. The bad part of being at Market is that sometimes you don’t get the privilege of finding that perfect article of clothing you may be looking for. We have been to market enough to not necessarily be pros, but at least we have gotten smart enough to start making lists. Unfortunately, we left Market this month missing a couple of items. Nothing really jumped out at us screaming, “YOU NEED ME!” If you have never been to a market, let me give you an insider scoop. Market is very overwhelming. There are floors and floors of jam packed clothes, accessories, purses, jewelry, and shoes. This is the ugly part. If you don’t have a plan, you will find yourself meandering around suddenly forgetting everything you were actually looking for. Dangerous is what it amounts to. Trust me, the sense of overwhelming has gotten us a time or two. You end up getting a bunch of stuff you didn’t need simply because it is “cute”. That’s all fine and dandy except that your list just gets longer because you need more items to complete your ensembles.

The good. The good part about being at Market is that the first night they host a fashion show. This gives buyers a good idea of what to look and shop for because the fashion show has several different segment, which covers everything you need to know for the entire season. I will be giving the low down on the fashion show in next week’s blog. The fashion show just furthered our excitement for the upcoming season because we will have the cutest and most fashionable items for you an your loved ones. Stay tuned for next week’s blog.

  • Ashlie Lawson- Franey 08/21/2017 @09:30 am

Uniqueness of The Complete Ensemble

Monday, August 7th, 2017

In the last few weeks, we have had quite a few ladies wonder (and ask) what makes us different from other Women’s Fashion stores. I would like to give our followers and exclusive answer to those questions, and hopefully you all can get on board in helping us spread the word.

The original idea for The Complete Ensemble was to simply make it about Women’s Fashion. Then, the idea came that we could actually take it a step further. We decided that step should be to essentially act as personal shoppers/ stylists for people. Those people we had in mind were women that weren’t sure what items belong to together, and maybe lack a little in the fashion knowledge, busy women who work and don;t have time to shop, mom’s who have kids to take care of, and ladies that are all of the above or none of the above. We felt that by creating ready to wear ensembles, women would be saved the trouble of having to go to several different stores just to find the items they needed, or running the risk of buying something the hated just because that item was the only thing they could find. We have taken the hard work out of the equation for you. By offering both complete ensembles, and individual items for sale, as well as being an online store- we felt that ladies would be able to use their time in ways they would prefer to use it. Whether that would be spending more time at your office, with your kids, families, playing outside, working out, etc, we want you to make the most of your time, and not have to worry about finding that perfect item for any given event. We have done it for you!

Our ensembles consist of everything you need to make an outfit complete: purses, shoes, dresses, rompers, pants, jackets, shirts, blouses, accessories. Fortunately, we are very competitively priced as well. Our cheapest ensemble rings in right around $75.00, and our most expensive ensemble to date is just under $200.00. Once you have bagged your ensemble, you can choose your size for each item that requires a size. You are not obligated to any certain size. The store is your oyster!

We even have plus size individual items for sale! Happy shopping, and enjoy your extra time you don’t have to spend going to multiple stores. Stay tuned for our next blog.

– Ashlie Lawson- Franey 08/07/2017 @ 9:45 am 

A Day With The Complete Ensemble

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

You may be wondering what goes on in the world of The Complete Ensemble from day to day. Granted, there are many factors that go into play, as not everyday is the same for us; just as we are certain your days are never the same from day to day either. Things like the time of year, whether or not we have new inventory to go through, whether it’s time to prepare for trade days, etc. play major parts of our day to day agenda. Just to give you an idea though, I will discuss what a busy day may look like for us.

We typically start our day at the same time many of you do, around 9:00 am. Our inventory comes throughout the seasons as the nights start to get cooler. When new inventory comes, we have to do quality check. We go through every piece of clothing ourselves, checking for runs in the pieces made from finer fabrics, checking for holes, stains, or anything else that could pop up that our customers would have an issue with finding on their newly purchased items. Should we come across a discrepancy, we immediately contact the company we purchased our products from to get a new piece, and send the old one back. Generally, this takes hours at a time being that we have to check every single piece. Once all of that is complete, we make sure that we have the correct number of sizes that we ordered, and all of that gets recorded into the inventory records. We keep a running list of the types of items we have, and the ones we need.

After inventory comes the photographs. I get myself all dolled up to take these pictures. Yours truly is the star of the shoot while Mom takes the photos. This task also takes hours. We usually have about 10-12 ensembles we have to take photos of, which after the getting dressed comes the pictures of the ensembles;then, pictures of each individual item as well. We try to get many angles of each piece and each ensemble initially to find the best pose.

Once those pictures are completed, we have to put them all on our website. This is a very tedious task that Mom and I work very hard at completing. She usually inputs the items, prices, descriptions, sizes, etc. (thank you inventory list). I, on the other hand, resize, crop, and upload the pictures. I know what you’re thinking, I got the better end of that deal. However, that is not the case. I crop each individual picture that we choose to use, and in some cases have to crop and save a copy of the same picture multiple times to ensure we have a good photo of every piece in the ensemble. Not only do we have the ensembles to put together, but each item is also sold as an individual piece as well. I am often having to put the same picture in multiple places to cover all of our bases.

Finally, those ensembles and individual items are made live for your viewing and purchases. I take care of the social media as well. Lately, I have been trying to get as many of those photos up on Facebook and Twitter as quickly as possible. Social media is where the majority of you see our new products first. If you aren’t already following us, our Facebook Page is simply “The Complete Ensemble”, and our Twitter handle is “tcensemble”. You are missing out if you are not following us! Stay tuned next week for our next blog.

  • Ashlie Lawson- Franey 08/01/2017 @ 9:30 am.