After Thanksgiving, it’s Cyber Monday!

Laguiole Corkscrew - Le Sommelier - Another Great Gift Idea from HartfordYork.com

Wikipedia defines Cyber Monday as the “ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

There’s a big difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday — Black Friday is the kick-off for traditional stores (brick-and-mortar), whereas the entire premise of Cyber Monday

was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend, making purchases online that they were not able to make in stores. Although that idea has not survived the test of time, Cyber Monday has evolved into a significant marketing event, sponsored by the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org division, in which online retailers offer low prices and promotions.

The only reason Cyber Monday has not yet survived the test of time is that the whole idea of shopping online is still so relatively new. From my perspective as an online retailer, the competition from other retailers to advertise the best specials and promotions (usually by way of coupon codes, which the consumer inputs at check-out) is the force that will keep Cyber Monday alive and well.

Raise a glass to a great and safe Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!

Giving thanks,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on November 26, 2009 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Use Hats For Endless Wardrobe Variety

Men's Rod Keenan Fur Felt Fedora - The Sedgewick Dress Hat at HartfordYork.comThe opening paragraph of Caitlin Donnelly’s article in LJ World (Hats add endless variations to wardrobe), reads in part that

hats are often overlooked as an accessory. The endless shapes, colors and fabrics are a fun way to add variety to your wardrobe, especially during fall and winter months when your wardrobe is always covered, bundled underneath a warm coat.

This is quite true. Picking out gloves and scarfs, after agonizing over the perfect winter coat and pair of boots, is usually as far as most people go. But why stop there? You need a hat in most northern climes, so why not make it a complimentary and integral part of the whole?

Then she delves into those classic hats: the trilby; the fedora; and the homburg, providing a nice distinction between the styles (and uses).

A trilby hat is frequently made from tweed or wool; its shape often holds an indent at the crown and a distinctly narrow brim, upturning in the back. A fedora is a version of the trilby, distinguished by its wider brim. Unlike a fedora or trilby, the homburg hat is not mold-able. The indented crown and upturned brim of a homburg is fixed.

These qualities are important to keep in mind — if you travel frequently, the compressible shape of a trilby or fedora might be easier to fit in a crowded suitcase.

If you’re looking for a good travel hat, wool felt is often better than fur felt (in structured hats, not necessarily in shapes like bucket hats and cloches), because it tends to take the abuse and revert to its shape better after its been rolled up for packing.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on November 24, 2009 at 8:27 am  Leave a Comment  

No Dirty ‘Black Friday’ Secrets at HartfordYork. Honest!

Men's Stetson Fur Felt Hat - The Cavalry Hat at HartfordYork.comCNN says to watch out for the Dirty Secrets of Black Friday ‘Doorbusters’, saying that

of the hordes of pre-dawn shoppers who line up for hours outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving, most will not bag the best bargains that appear in merchants’ circulars.

That’s just wrong.

Shoopers need to be on the look-out for phrases like While supplies last, Minimum 2 per store, No rainchecks, and/or All items are available in limited quantities. If you see any of these limitations, be prepared to walk away from the store empty-handed.

Big-name stores are guilty of this practice. Sears, for example, is limiting its Black Friday special on an LCD HETV to “only while quantities last; minimum 3 per store; no rainchecks”. They also have a washer/dryer deal but they’ve limited that to 4 per store and no rainchecks.

This practice of short supply is patently unfair to consumers and can actually be physically dangerous as with last year’s WalMart stampede that saw a store employee killed.

Even if you do happen to luck into a store that still has inventory, you should know of another unfair practice. Some of the items on sale are not the standard models, but in fact cheaper derivatives. Consumers are not made aware of this important point, and often wind up getting less of a true bargain.

Trust is a crucial factor in establishing and maintaining any successful business, but especially one that’s solely online like mine. One of the main reasons I started this blog back in 2005 was to have a sort of “over-the-counter” connection between shop owner (yours truly) and customer.

I don’t impose false limits or create short supply. If you order a Borsalino fedora or a Stetson cowboy hat, that’s exactly what you get. Maybe honesty and good service aren’t slick and shiny slogans, but (in my old-fashioned opinion, anyway) there’s just no other way to run a business and succeed as a human being.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
Shop Owner and
CEO Hartford York

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Hats on Your Holiday Wish List

Crown Cap Fur Hat - The Mink TrooperHave you made your Holiday Wish List yet? Instead of putting family members and friends off with meaningless noises (Oh, I don’t need anything or I’ll love whatever you give me), let them know what gift would really make you happy.

Tell them something that you want and will make use of — if it’s an expensive fur hat, then tell them to all chip in and make it a group present.

Everyone knows that giving is beneficial to both parties:

[giving] increases the bond between us and the person to whom we have given, tells us about ourselves and generally increases our feelings of competence.

Do your loved ones a favor, then. Make a list of hats you’d really like (check it twice) and then receive the gifts with honest pleasure, joy and sincere thanks. Not only will you have some great hats to wear, but by allowing the gifter to “attend” your needs (or desires), that person’s affection for you will actually grow.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, List Maker
and CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hats Cheer Up War Veterans

JB Stetson Wool Plaid Ballcap - The HazelhurstWith Veterans Day coming up on November 11, I thought this story about a hospice volunteer by the name of John Schorr very moving.

You see, Mr. Schorr believes there’s a hat for everyone, especially veterans. A Vietnam vet himself, John Schorr has been volunteering at the hospice for three years, and hands out baseball caps (like the one he wears) to other war vets — on which the war and years of service of that patient are detailed.

All of the veterans he’s come across served in WWII (not Vietnam), but the very fact that the patient and volunteer served in the US forces during wartime gives them a special bond. That shared experience, embodied by the hat, provides the basis for conversations, mutual respect and friendship.

By honoring war veterans, Mr. Schorr himself is an honorable man. Thank you sir.

And thanks for reading too.

Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Read the full article here.

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Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  

The Many Hats of Van Morrison

Men's Indiana Jones Fedora - The Pure Beaver Indy at HartfordYork.comIf you do an image search on google for Van Morrison, the legendary singer shows up in most wearing a hat, usually a fedora or trilby.

In fact, the Telegraph’s Fashion Director, Hilary Alexander, noted that

as hairlines recede, so hats, in keeping with advancing years, are once again coming to the forefront. A hat adds charm, distinction and a certain louche elegance, not to mention height. Eyes sparkle under the jauntily-upturned brim; the disparity between a balding head and shoulder-length locks from the ears downward, or else a little ponytail, is instantly disguised.

She quotes a local buyer of men’s accessories (who “believes van Morrison is partly responsible for a 105% leap in the sales of Trilbys in the last two years alone“) as saying that

every time Van Morrison goes on stage, the loudest cheers will undoubtedly come from hat manufacturers across the world.

 

Van Morrison isn’t the only celebrity famous for wearing fedoras, of course: Michael Jackson wore them and currently Keith Richards and Bob Dylan are seen on stage and in public with hats, keeping the Frank Sinatra tradition of cool alive.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 11:26 am  Comments (2)  

Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair

Men's Milano Fur Felt Dress Western Hat - The Casablanca Fur FeltIf you’re anywhere near Heber City, Utah between today and November 8th, 2009, don’t miss the 15th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair!

The mission of the annual event is to promote the cowboy way of life through music, poetry and art and you’re sure to see some great cowboy hats proudly worn and displayed.

Events include The Wild, Wild West Show, the Cowboy Poetry-Chili Train and a Mountain Man Trader’s Camp with continuous music and poetry. There’s also a colt starting clinic (held at an indoor arena) as well as a performance by the Utah Valley University Symphony.

For those of you who love musicals, “Annie Get Your Gun” is being performed over two weekends (including the 12th-14th). There’s even a Homestead Hoedown Dinner and Dance plus a Cowboy Buckaroo Ball and Concert.

If I can get there, I might head over to the fiddle and guitar workshops and then take in the Mountain Valley Extreme Mustang Makeover with its trial competitions, live auction and adoption of 30 mustangs.

On the 8th, don’t miss the Cowboy Church featuring gospel music by the Bar J Wranglers, Belinda Gail and Curley Musgrave. This event’s free with donations going to charity.

Yee-haw!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm  Leave a Comment