Yesterday I wrote a post all about the Nordstrom sale and I shared the preview on my Instagram story and I could not believe the outpouring of messages I received from followers and friends saying that they could not wait to read it. So I decided to re-read my post to make sure it was good enough for all of the attention is was going to get and decided to rework it. Also, my sister Claire messaged me and said, "don't be mean, Caroline". So after reflecting and regathering my thoughts, here is my updated post.
Growing up going to Nordstrom was such a special treat. I have many fond memories of going to Nordstrom at Stonestown with my Nana and sisters and getting shoes in the children's shoe department, going to a ladies lunch at the Nordstrom cafe, and just for fun my mom would plan girls night out for my sisters and me to go shopping together. We always loved playing hide and seek in the clothing racks and running around having a blast together-- I am sure we were the biggest nuisance. Shopping in the b.p. section was always fun and I will always remember my favorite t-shirt I got the summer between 6th and 7th grade with hawaiian flowers across the front. As I got older, Nordstrom was always the perfect place to go if I needed a last minute head-to-toe outfit for a work event or wedding.
Over the years I have found my relationship with Nordstrom sort of change. While I love popping in there to grab a lipstick or two at the MAC counter, I don't really shop there anymore. Their in-store selection is pretty much non-existent, their website is outdated and has too much inventory, and frankly, there are so many great other options to shop (I like Neiman Marcus, Two Birds Store, Tuckernuck, Vineyard Vines, J.Crew). I was pretty sure a lot of people felt the same way, and last night's flooding of messages confirmed that people are feeling effy about good old Nordy's.
If you have checked out Instagram recently you most definitely noticed that there has been a FLOOD of people, mostly bloggers and celebrities who have blogs, posting about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and their favorite picks. To be honest, I'm so tired of seeing the same posts about what you "HAVE to have for fall". You don't need anything for fall!!
I know sometimes I sound like such a Grinch, but I feel like now is the appropriate time to share why this Nordstrom sale has rubbed people the wrong way. It comes down to this: the items that are part of the sale are fall items that you can buy at a discount before they go back up to regular price. In my honest opinion, the selection of items is TERRIBLE! What makes the sale even worse is that the sale is being promoted SO heavily by bloggers. The quality of the sale has declined while the promotion of it has gone up significantly and I think people finally realized it this year.
It's been frustrating for me to see bad products being pushed by bloggers. This sale is one of the biggest opportunities for bloggers to make money (the other being Christmas) so it's come on stroooong this year. Nordstrom has really high commission rates compared to other retailers, so bloggers have a big incentive to highlight the sale. Also affiliate companies really, really, really push the bloggers in their network to develop strategies to push the sale and make even more money since the affiliate companies make a percentage as well. And yes, it's Nordstrom feeding information to the affiliate companies.
One of the things I have been feeling for a while, but this Nordstrom sale was the tipping point, is that fashion blogging is heading in a direction that deviates further and further from my personal values. The explosion of the Nordstrom Sale all over your feed is all the proof I needed. Blogging is becoming all about consumption, products, commission, and image. How many dressing room photos did you see where people were trying on what they were going to buy? FYI- most of them didn't buy those items. They were strongly encouraged the technique of dressing room stories so that they didn't have to buy the stuff and style at home. Did your mind just explode?
One of the main things I find so fascinating is that because of my existence in the blogging world I have more information on the business of blogging than the average consumer. I see on a regular basis the type of stuff that's happening with the Nordstrom sale-- the pushing of products to consumers via influencers. But, it's usually on a smaller scale with retailers who have more of a niche, smaller inventory, and less publicity. The Nordstrom sale has set off so many people because they are finally seeing how contrived the entire thing is. THIS IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT when I reference the fact that the blogging industry is frustrating.
To clarify, I LOVE blogging and I love the experience I have created for myself. There is nothing more rewarding to me than opening my laptop and letting my thoughts flow and just sharing what is going on with me and things I like. I love looking back at previous posts (like this one) and seeing Lillian as a little baby! I wonder if in ten or fifteen years bloggers will look back and say wow, all I wrote about was the shirt I got for $17.
What's been hard for me to say until now, is it's easy to get "tricked" into thinking that Nordstrom stuff that everyone is pushing on you via social media is something you need to have. In my honest opinion, I haven't seen one thing I like from the sale. I'd rather spend my money on this Club Monaco dress that I've had my eye on forever!! It was $198.00 and I got it for $97.00--- and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you work a sale!
I am sure a lot of the bloggers promoting these products are really, really nice. So many of them find themselves in a tight spot when they've made blogging their career and source of income. They have to move forward with this strategy. I don't blame them but I just want my readers to be informed that there are a lot of factors behind them suggesting that long stripe cardigan you've seen everywhere. The over-promotion of items has left a bad taste in my mouth and makes me not want to shop at Nordstroms at all.
A lot of people message me saying that they appreciate my content is authentic and I sometimes think it's a backhanded compliment. It's true though, I don't try to push products or present a lifestyle that isn't true. My blog is about my life and not the life I think you want me to live. I also realize that people who read my blog trust me. And it's not something I take lightly. While I do share products that you might not personally like, I won't share products that I don't like.
On a final note, while I love my personal experience with blogging it is a hard industry to be in and one that often makes me reflect. A LOT. I'm trying to think of another example where you can love the work but hate the industry. Maybe law? Maybe accounting? I'm not sure? I would love to hear what others think.
I would love to hear your thoughts so email me at Caroline.Perfect10sf@gmail.com!