Behind the Seams: Nutmeg Seamed Stockings

Behind the Seams: Nutmeg Seamed Stockings

Hi, I’m Katie from What Katie Did, and welcome
back. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about our nutmeg seamed stockings. Now, one
of the things about running a business is that all these things happen behind the scenes
which you as customers and the public are totally unaware about. So, when we order our
seamed stockings, they do take a few months to come through, which means that I have to
try and calculate, I look at how many we’ve sold in the past, and I try and calculate
how many we need in the future, and try and ensure there’s not a gap in the middle. So a few months ago I noticed we were going
to run out in a few months of our nutmeg and black seams. And, one of the things we have
with our nutmeg seams is because of the quantities you have to manufacture, it’s not possible
for me to just order one color. I need to order three to make up the minimum dye bath.
So although we weren’t running low of the other colors, I still had to put three variants
together to put the order in. So we were getting very, very low on the nutmeg
and black, and then the delivery arrived. And this is an amazing story because I had
an email from a customer saying “I’d really like a stocking in between your champagne
and nutmeg. I’d really like a color in between.” And so, I replied to her and said, “You know,
we’re a tiny company, we do the best we can. And really, when you look at the skin tones
this is the champagne. So when you look at the champagne and then you compare it with
the nutmeg, on the skin there’s really not a huge amount of difference. So it’s not viable
for us to do something in between.” But anyway, our nutmeg and black stockings
arrived, and Claire came from upstairs, and she said, “They’re too light.” So within two
hours of this customer emailing me and saying, “Do you do something in between?” And me saying,
“No, it’s not possible,” we’d then had 2000 pairs of these stockings which were in between.
Unfortunately for this customer, we had to send them back because the in-between color,
we wouldn’t have sold enough of, it wasn’t dark enough to suit a woman of color and it
was too dark to suit a light skin. And we don’t sell a huge amount of quantities of
the darker colors anyway, so we had to send them back to be redyed. And, a month or so later they were returned
back to us, and they were exactly the same color again, so again, we had to send them
back to be redyed. And in the meantime, Italy goes on holiday for a month, the factory closes
down for a month every August. And this is traditional in some European countries, where
manufacturing closes down for a month, and it’s not them being lazy and them going on
vacation for a month. It’s so all the machines can be serviced without stopping production,
and worrying about staff and the knitters and everything. So it makes sense for them
to actually do all the servicing at one time. So finally, we are going to get the nutmeg
and blacks back in stock. Obviously because it was a few months later than expected, the
delivery, we did run out of medium larges in nutmeg and black. And it’s not causing
mass panic at the office, but it is something we’ve been very, very concerned about, and
we’ve put it in our newsletters, and when are they coming in. We’d be chasing them up
and trying to find out what’s going on. And you know how many people have inquired about
them? Zero. Absolutely zero. I mean, everyone else just gets on with their
lives, but when you’re running a company and you’re part of a small team, every little
thing is important. So we’ve been running around going crazy going, “When are we going
to get them in?” “When are we going to get them in?” And in reality, not one of you has
actually missed them or noticed that they’d been out of stock. So, well, thank you. Not
thank you for not noticing, but thank you for not hassling us as to why we’ve been out
of stock for a few weeks. When we started making our own seamed stockings,
they were being made in Eastern Europe and we just did a light nude color and black,
and about 10 years ago we moved over to a different Italian manufacturer and we started
doing our contrast seam, so we started doing champagne with black, and we did champagne
with red, and then we did plain champagne and we also did plain black. And what’s what’s pretty unique for What Katie
Did is, I’m still out on the road, and I spend time in our boutiques, and I spend time at
our events. And at this point in time we were doing a few events, we were doing things like
the Rhythm Riot in England, and also, of course, Goodwood Revival, which I’ve just returned
from. And we did have a few women of color come up to the stands, and they’d come up
to me. I can remember specifically at the Goodwood Revival, someone coming up to me
and saying, “So what stockings do you have in my skin tone?” And I’d be like, “Black.”
And it was just such an awkward situation to be in, and I felt really bad saying it,
and it didn’t seem right to me that we didn’t offer other skin tones even though it wasn’t
financially viable. I mean, when I say we had a couple of women
of color at the events, it was literally like two, and we’ve just returned from the Goodwood
Revival, and I specifically, I do count. I keep an eye on who our customers are, what
sizes they are, and what they’re asking for. And this time at Goodwood Revival, we had
two women of color actually come onto our stand. And the amount of stockings we sold
to women of color was absolutely zero. And, the same applies to our curved steam
stockings, we did take them and there was a big discussion beforehand about whether
we’d take the curved stockings and the nutmeg stockings at all. And I insisted that we did
because if we made them we need to cover all bases, and we sold zero curved stockings as
well. So it’s very, very tricky because the events in the UK are still predominantly white.
It wasn’t until we opened in the US that it was really viable to do more colors, but I’m
moving ahead here. So anyway, we had our two customers at the
Goodwood Revival many, many years ago. And that prompted me to see if we could do our
stockings in coffee chocolates, which we did. The coffee, which, that’s been going for several
years now, and the highlight for that was they were actually worn by Oprah Winfrey in
The Butler, which is a film she was in a few years ago. We also did them in chocolate, which was super,
super dark and really too dark for just about everyone. I mean, as I say, I’m in the shop,
so I’m on our stand and I do notice everyone putting them on their arms. And I know it’s
not perfect just having the coffee at that time, but it did suit. It did suit about 80%
of a darker skin tone, so that was really what we could do. Then, when we opened in the US, the US vintage
and fetish kind of customer base is a lot more varied, and especially when we go to
places like Dapper Day, where you get a huge influx of customers. I mean, obviously when
you’ve got your shop, you only get a few customers a day, but when you get an event you can really
see everyone who’s into that scene. And at Dapper Day it is the vintage scene and you
do get a much wider range of skin tones and sizes than you do in the UK. So, that prompted
me to look at doing our seamed stockings, which are now expanded into doing several
different colors, to look at them doing in a nutmeg color. So, it was a bit of a challenge to do the
nutmeg color because the factory wasn’t sure about making them, because apparently they’d
been stung in the past, where they were asked to do several different skin tones and then
the other customer hadn’t taken them and they had to dye the whole lot black. And I had
to explain to them, “This is the color I’d like. This is my money. We’re going to pay
for them up front so it’s no risk to you. We’re not going to complain to you if it all
goes wrong.” So in the end, they made them for us and we decided on a nutmeg because
it covers a wide variety of skin tones. I know if we went too dark, we’d be limiting
ourselves to just darker skin tones, but by doing the nutmeg we could cover from Mediterranean,
Hispanic, all the way down to mid-brown. And again, I know it’s not perfect, but it’s something
that, it does cover a wider range of skin tones and we can’t just do a perfect match
for you. I’ve been looking at sales figures today for our champagne black versus our nutmeg
black and we sell five times as many champagne black as we do nutmeg and black. And that
kind of also explains why we haven’t expanded the color choices we do in our nutmeg range. We’re a very small company, and we’ve been
going 20 years now. And I did a film about bras a few months ago, and someone said, “Well
you should have expanded your size range because you’ve been going for 20 years now.” And that’s
not like doing it slowly, that’s basically at a halt. And really, the achievement is,
is that we are still in business after 20 years, because we have watched so many amazing
companies disappear over the years and continue to disappear, that by actually remaining as
a viable business is an achievement in itself. So yes, in an ideal world I’d like to offer
nutmeg stockings in more colors. In reality, we’re not going to discontinue the colors
we do. And I was going to say it’s unlikely that we’ll make more, but with our nutmeg
and mustard, that’s a very slow seller for us, so when we sell out of those we’ll probably
discontinue those, and in that case we might introduce an alternative color. So don’t worry about us discontinuing nutmeg
or our coffee, we’re not going to do that. But please bear with us because it’s not possible
for us to offer the nutmeg stockings in the wide range of colors that we do with the champagne,
simply because the sales are considerably lower. If you do have any questions or comments
about our stockings, our nutmeg stockings, then please get in touch. And I’ll catch up
with you soon. So take care.

3 thoughts on “Behind the Seams: Nutmeg Seamed Stockings

  1. God in heaven only ever knows what some of these larger companies do to attract the great number of customers that buy their merchandise.❤️ I think they deliberately make it harder for smaller companies keeping up.

  2. I’m super pale but I love all the colours, it’s such a unique way to look like you have made a special effort

  3. Hi Katie i have always loved wearing seamed stocking they do blend in with any outfit but my fav colour is black love these brand off stockings though so many choices Donna

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