Last month, I had the pleasure of attending a brunch at one of at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel: site of the first Academy Awards, the famous David Hockney painted swimming pool of the 1980's, the Walk of Fame star of a member of my family (by marriage)...
...and according to legend, some old-style ghosts -- a fact that became the basis for Disney's Tower of Terror thrill ride.
Back to School Brunch
Perhaps the ghosts were the cause of the nefarious elevator malfunction that occurred the day I attended a Back to School brunch in the penthouse suite. Never mind the thrill ride: You don't know true terror until you've tried to get to the top of a hotel with only one tiny functioning elevator... at just the same time that all the weekend guests are trying to check out.
I ended up making my way to the penthouse via the emergency stairway. I may need to work out more, but that's not the way I want to do it.
Fortunately, everything worked in the luxurious suite. The brunch was elegant, the mood was bright, the mimosas and Bloody Marys were flowing... and I even ended up winning the grand prize at the raffle!
The New Sears
The brunch was co-hosted by The Clever Girls Collective and Blogalicious to promote shopping picks from Sears. So I guess this is where I confess: I rarely shop at Sears, except when I'm in the market for tools, appliances or tires. It's been years since I've even bothered to check out their clothing, because I always found their fashions to be a bit stodgy and (let's not mince words) not just cheap, but cheap looking.
But things change. Sears will never be Nordstrom, but they're determined to be a "cash and fashion forward alternative"... and have been on a crusade to upgrade their product line (ever since they acquired Lands End) . The items on display at the Roosevelt reflected their new emphasis on inexpensive fashions that don't look like they'll fall apart after one wash. And some of the lines were even cutting edge trendy.
|UK Style from French Connection UK||Kardashian Collection Shoes||Lands End|
Layaway: A Shopping Concept Whose Time Has Come Again
But most interesting was the discussion about retail fashion marketing by the company's representative, Shannelle Armstrong. Shannelle is a dynamic spokesperson for the company. She knows who their market is and what they want, and let's face it: over the last few years, the demographic that needs to get more bang for the buck has grown larger.
Shannelle is also someone who loves fashion and really seems to love shopping for it. She was enthusiastic about her company's new product mix and truly enthusiastic about the reappearance of something I remember from my youth: Layaway programs, which were popular back in the days before credit was easy. With Sears Layaway, you make payments on merchandise over a short period of time... the difference between that and using a credit card is that you don't get to take your purchase home until you've paid in full. Plus, you don't have to deal with nasty finance charges.
Sears also offers a kind of long distance layaway option, too. Shanelle illustrated it with the scenario of buying dorm furnishings for a kid who's attending college out of state (which might be my situation a few years from now). I could purchase and pay for linens and electronics and small appliances here in Los Angeles, but make them available for my daughter to pick them up at a Sears in New York (or wherever she ends up attending university). And I'd be saving on the cost of shipping, as well.
Holiday Shopping, Too
Although the brunch was held in August to introduce Los Angeles bloggers to Sears' offerings for Back to School, much of what I learned there would also apply to holiday shopping. Shoppers can avoid getting into more holiday debt by taking advantage of programs like Layaway. And if you're a reluctant shopper (like me!) you can even do your shopping from home online, and pick everything up at the store at your convenience. Something I'm going to keep in mind.
As to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel: It's a beautiful spot in a part of the city I love. If I ever stay there, I may stick to the lower levels.
DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation to write this post, nor did I make any promises that I would post something about the event. I attended the Sears Back to School Brunch as a guest of Clever Girls Collective. I did win a Sears barbecue grill as a door prize.