March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Shopping for luxury products on Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Soho, Rodeo Drive or in any other high-end district should be a positive experience, not a chore. Spending your hard-earned money should not leave your feeling “fleeced” or cause “buyer’s remorse.”

Bill Lynch, the great merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue, coined the phraseSelling happiness – luxury products exist to make people happy.” Luxury products set the tone for your personal style and expression.

Sporting handbags from Hermes, Louis Vuitton, or Fendi; men’s clothing from Brioni, Isaia, or Brooks Brothers; timepieces from Patek Philippe, Rolex, or Franck Muller all contribute to your personal self expression. The process of shopping and purchasing the luxury pieces that define your style should be filled with positive memories.

Even if you are the kind of person who only has a 30 to 60 minute window of “shopping patience” (the common time commitment to shopping for most men and some women), you can still have a great experience if you R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Luxury Shopping. This means utilizing your shopping time effectively and enjoyably. This approach applies both to the “reluctant shopper” and the avid “shopaholic.”

These tips will help you get the most out of your luxury shopping experience.

Research: Do your homework on the products and brands that interest you. Of course, the Internet is a great resource but don’t forget to speak with friends, family, and acquaintances who are already enjoying the same or similar products. Think of them as “brandambassadors.” If possible, find out where they purchased the item and the name of the salesperson who served as their luxury product consultant.

When it comes to more expensive purchases, the “human touch” provided in a brick and mortar store can provide a better customer experience than online shopping. In addition, you’ll have accountability from a real person, not virtual presence, for direct assistance with any questions, problems, or future purchases.

Eat: Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. You want to be alert, observant, and possess a small reserve of patience. Going shopping for food on an empty stomach results in buying too much food. Shopping for anything else on an empty stomach usually results in mistakes, resulting in another trip to the store for returns or exchanges.

Style: In a boutique store, the brand style is usually blatant. A successful merchant will elegantly showcase their brand. In department stores (e.g., Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, or Barney’s) and specialty stores (e.g., Richard’s or Stanley Korshak), you have an assortment of brands and merchandise to navigate through. Relax and browse focusing on the brand’s style that draws your interest and meets your needs and desire.

Prospect: Play “I Spy” and look around the shop to see which products jump out at you. Evaluate the salespeople and listen in on their conversations with other clients. Take note of their dress, selling style, and product knowledge.

Engage: The staff is there for your benefit. They will help you focus on the best merchandise for you. A good salesperson will help you find what you need. A great salesperson will be your style consultant and cultivate a partnership with you for your years to come. You have a doctor, accountant, and lawyer. Why not have a professional luxury consultant as well?

If the staff member you want to work with is busy, politely interrupt and ask for their business card to set up a future appointment or let them know you’ll continue to browse until they are free.

Commit: Before you make the decision to purchase, ask yourself the following questions: “Is this purchase going to satisfy your needs and enjoyment?” Is it the right fit for it’s purpose? For example, a bright royal blue Paul Smith sport jacket may not the best for the Deloitte accounting office on casual Friday but for a Saturday night dinner and show, it is fine.

Don’t buy clothes for your closet, buy them to live in. You take ownership of the brand and products, not the other way around. This generates the Respect we are referring to.

When making a purchase, it is always best use credit, not cash. Protect your luxury investment and earn points for future rewards.

Trust: The culmination of a successful luxury shopping experience is when you have purchased:

  1. the right product;
  2. from the right brand;
  3. with the right salesperson;
  4. and enjoyed the experience.

You’ll then gain the confidence and trust level to shop again with pleasure.

Frank Swinand 

Categories: Uncategorized

Why Kechie’s Project?

December 4, 2012 1 comment

Why Kechie’s Project?


Kechie’s Project is a unique nonprofit organization specifically focused on empowering underprivileged girls and providing them with educational resources. This takes place in both Nigeria and in the United States as well. Donations to Kechie’s Project provide direct financial support and resources to two schools in Nigeria and the organization also provides cultural awareness programs in New York City Schools, such as Bread and Roses High School in Harlem and PS101Q Elementary School in Forest Hills. Kechie’s Project is dedicated to direct involvement with minimal administrative costs. This focused approach benefits selected children enabling their growth and providing them with future opportunity. The result is a positive effect on their community and our world community.

My son recently asked me, “Why do you help Kechie’s Project?”

After explaining the goals and accomplishments of Kechie’s Project, I then explained my role in Kechie’s Project consists of writing press releases, coordinating social media, and connecting great people to help this charity grow, he then pressed me further.

“Why help children that you don’t know?”

My answer was this: “Because I can!”

Each one of us can help with such little effort. Even a small donation provides a direct positive influence in the lives of these girls.

Kechie's Project

Kechie’s Project


Color Color Color/ Solid Solid Solid

Just a sample of solid colors from Faconnable’s Spring 2012 Collection.

Why a solid tie? Solid ties enters a splash of color and easily blend with striped or pattern shirts and are easily taken in by the observer as being tasteful and clean with a pop. Throw in a pocket square and stop some traffic. the ties can have a satin finish, slight texture, or a tightly woven grenandine. While many people know of Faconnable brand from many various pronunciations, correct or incorrect, that which is always correct is the superb color palette Faconnable’s neck wear has to offer the well dressed gentleman. Season after season, year after year. Let’s look a a few combinations featuring myself, with a few colors.

Red Solid tie with pocket square and striped shirt from Faconnable. Suit by Domenico Spano Custom.

Solid green tie and blue Gingham check shirt with navy two button suit from Faconnable.

Solid Orange Tie with Blue Striped Suit from Faconnable. Grey Flannel Chalk Striped Suit from Hickey Freeman.

Sean Connery with a more monochromatic look wearing solid grenadine ties during his tenure as James Bond.

Bruschetta ala Francis

In between my business endeavors I love to eat, and eat well. After I made some Bruschetta one evening, in my haste I apparently did not distribute the ingredients evenly across the toast.

“Dad it’s not mixed right, this piece has more olives, this one too many shallots” 

 Well, you get the idea. Dad not being one to take criticism well, young Francis landed himself a new job as The Bruschetta Plater.  I also decided to make him mix the arugula salad as well.

Slow down on the grated Pecorino, boy!”. 

Bruschetta Puttanesca.

Our Recipe.

Basically the ingredients are those in a ‘”puttanesca” sauce.

  1. One large shallot diced.
  2. A dozen Kalamata olives chopped coarsely.two
  3. Two tablespoons of capers.
  4. One seeded Jalapeno pepper diced.
  5. Four anchovies chopped coarsely.
  6. One Tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.
  7. Three Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Most importantly we love Campari tomatoes right from the vine. Dice about six tomatoes, remove the seeds and add to the mixing bowl and let sit for up to 20 minutes. This bowl stays at room temperature, please please please do not put that bowl in the refrigerator or it will be terrible. Tomatoes hate refrigerators and will ruin themselves if you chill them, spiteful little fruit they are.
  9. Then toast some Semolina bread slices, plate it evenly, and spoon the remaining olive oil and juice over the plate.

Pour yourself a nice glass of Cannonau and watch the Bruschetta disappear. Delicioso!

Categories: color, food Tags: , ,

Monochromatic Icons, Keeping it Clean

When we think of monochromatic dressing, what comes to mind, Black and White, shades of Gray between? Boring or clean and chic? Let’s take a look as some of  the most well known monochromatic dressers and a few friends.

On screen and off George can be seen in solid dark suits with a white shirt and solid dark tie.

Cary Grant shows us a blue/grey monochromatic combination.

Now let’s look at spicing the monochromatic look with accents of color.

Simple Shade of grey and blue with a splash of color in the tie and bow tie.

Keeping it clean is relatively easy and adds a look of seriousness to your wardrobe and your personal Brand.It also creates variety as when you wear something more colorful at a different time there is more impact. What you wear is the initial perception others receive well before you even speak. Monochromatic looks speak of chic and clean  and define a sense of masculine self confidence.

Grey Double Breasted nail head suit by Domenico Spano Custom. Striped tie ala Fred Astaire.

Go Gingham Go!

A lovely assortment of Gingham shirts with spread collars by Faconnable.

Gingham fabric makes a versatile shirt as it looks great with or without a tie, with or without a jacket and provides the opportunity to show colors cleanly with the white/color checks. The fabrics are light for year round use and are a classic part of the wardrobe.

Sources claim two origins of the word “gingham”, firstly from 1615, from Dutch “gingang” traders’ rendering of a Malay word said to be ginggang “striped,” used as a noun with the sense of “striped cotton. Secondly named after Guingamp, in Brittany, where the fabric was originally manufactured.

Teach the Children “Well Dressed”

It’s never too early to start your children in the right direction of style and taste. If they learn from your example of dressing well, and you help guide them in how/why you are dressing it will instill something in them to carry them forward in future success and confidence. If they can dress themselves in the morning  their decision making skills get more focused and empower their confidence and self esteem at the beginning of their self consciousness.

Well Dressed at 6 years old with a Three Button Ralph Lauren Suit, Brooks Brothers French Blue French cuff shirt, tie and pocket square by Domenico Spano, suspenders from Aldo and brown suede laceups

Categories: education, shirts, style, suits Tags: ,