Thursday, 28 October 2010

Something silly....

You may know Emilio, Pin-Up Parade's resident male model, for his fabulous bowling shirt poses:

But he's lately got a new a hobby and thinks he looks rather handsome in his vintage helmet and goggles.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A note about Nicole Katherine Designs

Some of you know that there has a been a massive drama involving myself and Nicole Katherine Designs. I did not wish to post about this publically because it's actually very boring and I don't like to wash my dirty linen in public (especially faulty linen...), but the following post has been made somewhere on Facebook and her Blogspot  and so I feel that, being publically libelled in this way, I have every right to defend myself. And I shall now waste several minutes of my life telling my side of the story.

This is her libellous nonsense about me:

"I want to share my deep apologies for having to make a public statement like this, but unfortunately I can't think of any other solution...

After about 3 years of doing business with Helen Highwater of Pinup Parade, we have no choice but to sever ties.

I've received a few emails from customers who wanted to purchase the Sonia peasant skirt and our peasant blouse. All items have been shipped to Pinup Parade, despite their claims. Not only has Ms. Highwater made malicious claims and attacks against both me personally (including defacing my character and ridiculing my religion), my attorney and my company she also fraudulently posed as a professional persona in an attempt to bully my company, I've decided to publicly post the tracking numbers that include these items. They are CP545294864US and CJ171564586US. We have customs forms that show the items that were shipped to Ms. Highwater, plus an email when she placed the order and requested that we jump around in the sizes when having this produced.

I would like to further apologize to anyone who hoped to purchase these items for Halloween parties and festivals. One of the boxes had delivery attempts made for over a month before Ms. Highwater claimed the package. Unfortunately, the fabric and materials used for this peasant skirt were sourced specifically for Pinup Parade and Ms. Highwater's custom request and Nicole Katherine doesn't have any additional inventory of this skirt. If you have any other questions please email Nicole Katherine Designs at

For our European customers, we have other retailers that carry Nicole Katherine...."

(poor bastards!)

How long have I been dealing with Nicole Katherine Designs? I first of all stocked a nautical confection whcih was quite nice - probably ordered those at the end of 2007 or early 2008.

Last year, I ordered a dress which I sell as the "Tiki Babe" dress (it's known elsewhere as the Da Carlo dress). I had to get all of the zips replaced on these dresses because they all broke. Nicole gave me money towards doing this but didn't cover the full cost. Then I discovered that several of the dresses had the wrong size labels put in so I had to send them back - she said she would give me a $400 credit note which would cover me for my costs of posting the dresses back to her, and the dresses - which are now for sale on her Etsy shop, by the look of it.

This year, I very stupidly decided to order more clothes from her - why? Because I forgave her and because I believe in giving people second chances. She said the problems with the Tiki dresses were caused by her manufacturer, who she was no longer using.

My order cost me nearly £2,000 (this is about two months' wages from my day job for me), which I paid in two installments, one in May and one in June. I have emails from her at the time promising me that the items would be ready in three weeks. I didn't received anything until September (and then only half the order), apart from the top and skirt that was sent to me in Spain in July so that I could get photos of it for my shop. I had planned to do this after she'd promised that the items would be shipped to me before I left for Spain at the beginning of July.

On 24th August she told me that the Maureen dresses were coming in two boxes and that part of the Sonia (blouse and skirt outfit) were coming in one box - the rest of the order, mainly blouses but including some skirts and some Maureen dresses, were delayed, because, surprise, surprise, there was a manufacturing problem.

So two letters turned up from Parcelforce advising me of customs charges and Nicole emailed me to say that one of the boxes had been sent back to her because some chump in US customs had stolen the paperwork - this was the box of Sonia outfits, mainly skirts, some blouses (the customs paperwork says 18 skirts and 5 blouses). I paid my charges and the two boxes which appeared contained Maureen dresses.

I was initially pleased with them but then when I put one on in order to model it, I realised that the neckline was baggy. My friend came round to model them and she noticed the exact same thing. To prove that I'm not making it up, here's a photo of us modelling them:

Note how tight that sleeve is on the model in the front - it is actually an inch narrower than the righthand sleeve.

And here's a close-up of the necklines so you can see how they bag out. This is not acceptable and as far as I'm concerned, unwearable.

I'd hoped, initially, it was just my body shape, but as you can see, the two of us have different body shapes, and different busts. I could not in good conscience send these out to customers, at £80 a pop.

I contacted Nicole and told her. She was very apologetic, and said I could send them back to be mended or she'd help me find someone in the UK who would. Now - had this been the first time I'd received an entire shipment of faulty goods from her, maybe I would've been calmer and (whilst still mightily peed off) followed her suggestion. But I wasn't calm - why? Because she'd let me down for a second time. And bearing in mind I was still owed $400 which she was insistent I could only have as a credit note for yet more of her stuff - which I was very concerned would be bad quality as well - I was very worried. I told her I no longer wished to do business with her (she instead seems to think she chose to sever ties - no, that was me, after receiving a second order of faulty goods! I should've said it after receiving the first). She also said the following:

"Anyway, I've noticed that it depends on who's wearing the dress if it's a little baggy in the center and also posture. The pattern was taken from a 1940's pattern and we just tweaked the sleeves and made the skirt a little different. When Gia modeled it, depending on how she was standing it would bag out a little bit. The same as when I tried one on."

The key here is that she'd noticed it, depending on who was wearing it - and this is very important as to timing - WHEN GIA MODELED IT.

Gia is this lady here, and it was this picture that had me place my order for the Maureen dress because I thought it looked rather nice. Had I known that the neckline bagged out depending on who was wearing it and how they were standing, you can rest assured that I wouldn't have bought any:
I'd even go so far as to say the way the neckline has been sewn looks different from the photo anyway. However, in later emails, after the Facebook incident mentioned below, she claimed that she'd got Mia and other people to try it on after I'd said there was a problem with the necklines. A sudden about-face. Why did she get a model in to try on the dresses after she'd... erm... sent most of them to me? Were there some left? Had she run some up for herself, or was she conveniently backtracking because I was enraged at her for knowingly sending me dresses which had a problem?

I was, by this time, incredibly upset. I had paid for these things in May and June, it was September and I'd only got half my order, and now that I had that half of it (at this point, just the Maureens), it was actually unsellable. I wasn't willing to waste any more time on it - when you run a small business, you only have a very small amount of capital and you can't have that amount of money tied up in stock for that long, waiting for it to arrive. I did what anyone would do - I went onto my Facebook and bitched about it.

I shall be very clear here on the nature of my bitching (and this is on my personal Facebook, not the Pin-Up Parade Facebook page - I'm not stupid enough to bitch that publically). I had put the photos of the Maureen dresses on my Facebook, and I made sure before I said a thing that I'd blocked Nicole and had removed the tag for her Facebook page. I wanted to rant in private, with an audience I could trust. Sadly, Facebook's privacy settings were borked - my entire profile was locked down except for my photos, so Nicole read what I said: and what I said was pretty much this:

I'm fed up receiving stock that needs mending, she knew there was a problem and still let me order 30 or 40 odd dresses, I've had enough!

She then contacted me on Facebook to tell me that she and lots of her customers had read my outburst (what were they doing on my private Facebook? Had she gone back to the photos to see what I was saying and then given the URLs out? Even though it wasn't, as I'd at first thought, locked down, how on earth were they finding it? Google? It wasn't something you could just stumble across by accident!). She said I had slandered her, and then went on about how she runs her business in a Christ-like manner. So I replied as followed - and bear in mind how upset I was at this point. And no, I should've stayed calm, but I have been under a hell of a lot of stress lately being under constant medical supervision as well as my 19 year old brother being about to be shipped off to Afghanistan, while my 17 year old brother is on Prozac and hasn't spoken to anyone since May:

"I haven't said anything publically. I've said it in my locked down Facebook.

Rather than tick me off on Facebook, shouldn't you be responding to my emails? I've tried to be polite to you but I've lost my patience.

Oh and I'm a Christian as well. But I think it's rather pointless bringing Jesus into the conversation.

By the way, a slander is a lie. I'm not fucking lying abhotuy your terrible shitty dresses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Now you can tell by my spelling in the last part that I had completely and utterly lost my shit. I might be slightly embarrassed, but I'm not ashamed of doing so - I actually suffer from a mood disorder so there are times when I actually cannot deal levellyheadly in high-pressure situations - the kinds of situations where you've spent 2 months wages on a heap of shite.

(and this is where, when she says I was "ridiculing my religion", I suppose. As a Christian myself, why would I ridicule someone for being a Christian? For that matter, why would I ridicule anyone with faith? Or without faith? Or who just aren't really that sure?).

She refused to speak to me after that outburst, and made me speak to some woman called Vicky. Now, I speak to the organ grinder, not the monkey, so along with two of my friends, we invented the character of Brian, Pin-Up Parade's business advisor. Now I don't make a habit of inventing characters (unless I'm writing a novel), but for all I knew, Vicky was her (and to be honest, I have at least one email purportedly from Vicky that too involved emotionally to be anyone but Nicole), and as she wasn't going to speak to *me* but still had to, seeing as... well... I was the person who'd spent £2,000 on shit from her shop, I had to find some way of communicating still. Brian in no way bullied her - I am happy to show all email correspondence to anyone who wishes to believe that "Brian" did, because Nicole is telling a porky when she says so!

I even apologised for what I'd said on Facebook and deleted the photos and the comments - but she still wouldn't speak to me.

I wanted to send the Maureens back, but she wouldn't let me. Pretty much, if I sent them back to her expecting a refund, she'd just post them right on back to me and charge me for the postage costs. She said she couldn't afford to pay for the refund (which is odd when you see her banging on about how her company's expanding at a rate of knots - obviously not expanding fast enough for her to be able to cover ALMIGHTY COCK-UPS like this!).

She kept misreading my emails and instead of asking for clarity, would instead rant on and on about how mean I was. Yes, I'm very mean, because I bought some dresses that were shit and I wanted it dealt with, and I was dealing with an obstructive twat.

Eventually, when I realised that my prefered solution - sending them all back for a refund - wasn't going to happen, I very reluctantly said I'd accept a partial refund so that I could find a tailor myself to fix them. The money she was determined to send me wasn't even worked out on the basis of how much this would actually cost - so if I do finally find someone to fix them and it costs me more than the $460 she refunded me, I'm pretty much buggered. There was no talk at ANY TIME of being compensated for my time wasted in receiving shite and the time it would take me to find someone to fix it. Yes, she said she'd find someone for me, but going on past form, I just didn't trust her.

At this point, or earlier, to be honest, I should've consulted a business lawyer. Alas, I didn't, and then *I* received an email from a solicitor instead. Yes, you did just read that right - I am the person who was sent unsellable product, and *I* am the one who is sent a threatening solicitor's letter. This really daft thing is, I received this email after agreeing to the $460 refund. Why was I sent it? They claimed because my email wasn't clear enough in saying I'd agreed to it - I think instead it was scare tactics.

The other problem was of course the $400 credit note. I didn't want $400-worth of her stock because I couldn't trust it not to fall apart or be sagging or have sleeves the wrong size or be labelled wrong or have zips that broke (none of which is libellous - THIS ALL HAPPENED WITH STOCK I BOUGHT FROM NICOLE KATHERINE DESIGNS). I very reluctantly agreed to have a box of peasant blouses to go with the Sonias, and requested a range of sizes. I received this shipment yesterday and it contained the following: 3 size S, 2 size XL, 3 size XXXL, 2 size 16. That's four different sizes.

Finally the refund came through - in two parts, of course, just to annoy me.

However, this all left, if we may wax Poirot-esque for a moment, "The Mystery of the Missing Box." At the beginning of this very dull piece of typing, I said:

"On 24th August she told me that the Maureen dresses were coming in two boxes and that part of the Sonia (blouse and skirt outfit) were coming in one box - the rest of the order, mainly blouses but including some skirts and some Maureen dresses, were delayed, because, surprise, surprise, there was a manufacturing problem."

So by mid September I had received three out of five boxes from her: two boxes of unsellable Maureens and 1 box of Sonias. Except I couldn't list them in the shop yet because I only had 5 blouses and the whole point is that it's sold AS A SET. I had 18 skirts and 5 blouses. I asked for the tracking number, but she said she wasn't speaking to me anymore, so Vicky said Nicole was out of town and would provide me with the tracking number. When the second refund installment came, she added a note:

"Here is the balance due for settlement. Your package is on it's way. Tracking number CJ17 1564 586U S through USPS. This payment is a severance of all business ties from this point forward."

As she'd never emailed me to say that the 2nd box was on the way, I wasn't entirely sure what was in this shipment. I emailed thus on 15th October:

"Please could you advise if this box contains the remaining Sonia items? I believe this also contains some Maureen dresses as well. I still haven't received the second box of Sonias and I have asked for the tracking number but haven't heard anything back. I'm afraid our business ties aren't severed until I've received all the items I've ordered from you.

If I don't hear back about what's in this box - is it just the credit note peasant tops or is it the Sonias as well? Or if I'm not given the tracking number for the Sonias, I'll have to action a credit card reversal for the value of the missing Sonias. It could well be stuck in the post, but if you haven't given me the tracking number, despite me asking several times, I don't really have a choice."

As I received no answer, on 20th October I emailed again (and as you cna see, I was on the verge losing my temper again) :

"Please could I have an answer to this email? I will probably have the box by Saturday, but I would like a reply.

does this box contain the rest of my Sonias (and I think some Maureen dresses as well)?

If this box does not contain the rest of my Sonias (and possibly Maureens) where is it? I need the tracking number.

If I don't have either the rest of the Sonias turning up in this box or if you don't give me a tracking number then I WILL do a credit card reversal - because I'll be owed stock and I'll be out of pocket.

I've got several thousand pounds worth of stock just sitting about because I can't sell it - the Maureens need to be fixed (I'm negotiating with someone who'll fix them, hopefully) and I can't sell the Sonias because the order's incomplete. This whole scenario just gets worse and worse and no one replying to me just makes it EVEN WORSE. Is customer service an alien concept to you or something?"

Still no reply. So I decided to "encourage" her to respond to me by going onto the Nicole Katherine Designs Facebook page and saying something along the lines of "if you've got time to do this, why don't you have time to look for my tracking number?" My comment was deleted and I was unfriended. I joined again, where Jillian, poor woman, posted that she wasn't actually Nicole and in that most American way, said "have a nice day!" To which I commented, in a very British way: "I would be having a nice day if you'd only give me my bloody tracking number!

I did get a reply (so questioning her competency in public had the desired effect!) but all she did was type mainly in block capitals, yelling that all the stuff had been delivered to me. She accused me of lying, "playing games", being devious, being horrible, committing harrassment (because I was daring to ask her for a fucking tracking number). She sent me two tracking numbers and in block capitals told me not to contact her again. I checked these tracking numbers and these weren't in dispute - I had received them, yes, but they were something else - NOT the second box of Sonias.

She looked at the tracking information and because it said "attempted delivery" more than once, claimed that I was refusing to accept the deliveries, just to be difficult. I told her that if she tracked them at instead of on the USPS website, she would see that it says "attempted delivery at her end when at my end it's saying things like "package received into customs", "awaiting customs payment", "delivery rescheduled" (this happens after I've rung Parcelforce to pay the charge and they agree a day to deliver it), "delivery attempted" (delivery driver comes to my house to deliver it but I'm at work). It finally says "item delivered" and it is signed by someone other than me - this is because it is taken to my local post office for me to collect and is signed by the staff there.

Even after explaining this to her, she has the temerity to post on Facebook and Blogspot, the following:

"One of the boxes had delivery attempts made for over a month before Ms. Highwater claimed the package."

This is libellous rubbish and she knows it is because I have explained this to her and she has even looked at Parcelforce tracking to see what it says. SHE IS LYING!

She sent me an email containing four tracking numbers and some crap about how these are all the tracking numbers she has. In her libel, she says of the tracking numbers "They are CP545294864US and CJ171564586US." You will see these in the list of tracking numbers published below and I have already told her that I don't deny receiving ANY of these items. Yet she has gone onto Blogspot and Facebook and said that I have denied it. I HAVEN'T. I am looking for a tracking number that she hasn't yet given me. I shall post them here, identifying which shipments they refer to. You can look these up at for yourself:

Maureen #1
Tracking Number CP299252250US
Parcel number:  EC357766089GB
02-09-2010      14:17   Birmingham South Depot  Parcel delivered

Maureen #2
Tracking Number CP299252246US
Parcel number:  EC357750375GB
04-09-2010      14:02   Abbey Road      Collected by customer

Sonia #1
Tracking Number CP545294864US
Parcel number:  EC360388002GB
18-09-2010      12:51   Abbey Road      Collected by customer
(Nicole's note: "And then Tracking Number CP299252263US was the tracking information that
had been stolen from the package before it was reshipped, new tracking
number CP545294864US as referenced above." So in effect, there were 5 tracking numbers for 4 parcels because one parcel had two tracking numbers).

Credit note blouses Tracking number CJ171564586US
Parcel number:  EC366464342GB
Date    Time    Location        Tracking Event
23-10-2010      09:53   Abbey Road      Collected by customer(note

So she's given me four tracking numbers: two boxes of Maureen dresses, 1 box of Sonias, 1 package of credit note blouses. There is no tracking number for the second box of Sonias. All I want from her is this tracking number so that I know where it has gone, but she won't supply it. I don't know thhis point if she's gone so stark raving bonkers that she is unable to deal with my case rationally and so can't see she's made an error with supplying me with tracking numbers, or if she's only doing this to get back at me because I got so fed up with her I went on Twitter and used some swears. Like, to be perfectly fucking honest, anyone *would* do when faced with this (she's got screen caps, apparently, which she'll probably now unleash because I've gone public with what's been going on. Check my twitter accounts - you'll find most of them are no longer there because I deleted them not long after posting them).

I tried to explain that even her emails show that I should've recevied five shipments and I've only had four and she sent me the following email:

"Helen there was a balance of 19 sonia skirts and 20 blouses, I shipped one of the skirts to you in Spain and a blouse. The 19 skirts were shipped. There were a total of 18 blouses delivered (19 counting the free one I gave you). I'd refunded you for 2 blouses. I have the customs declaration forms. If you didn't receive them something happened to them in transit or you're lying."

Before accusing me of lying (for the millionth time) it may have been better for her to have thought about what I'd said - that I should've received five parcels and had only received 4, and that she'd only given me tracking numbers for four shipments. If indeed it has been lost in transit, then she needs to deal with it because she is the one with receipts of postage, tracking numbers, customs documentation etc.

I emailed her this 3 hours ago and haven't had a response, but in that time she's posted outrageous lies about me on Facebook and Blogspot. Me having a couple of rants on my twitter account is no way near as extreme as someone posting a blog and writing things in it which they know to be untrue.

"I'm missing the balance of skirts and blouses. As mentioned. I've received the credit note blouses in one parcel and then the other box containing 18 skirts and 5 blouses - but I haven't received the others.

I swear on the life of my mother that I have not received them - that I am missing a shipment of Sonias, which was mainly containing blouses but had some skirts and by the looks of it some dresses.

This is the shipment I'm trying to hunt down. Yes, it does look like it's got lost in the post - this is why I've been asking your for the tracking number for it. You gave me 4 tracking numbers yesterday and I've received those four parcels, but there should have been 5 boxes so I'm missing 1 box.

If you would please give me the tracking number for this missing box, then we can find out what's happened to it."

No response. How many times do I have to say to this clotheared pillock that she has said herself I should have 5 boxes and have only received 4? Why is she so keen to believe the worst of me, and accuse me of all manner of horrible things, such as refusing parcels? Check the tracking on Parcelforce's website and you'll see I have done no such thing. All I want is to have my stock, which I'd paid for by June, in my shop to sell. Why the hell would I send stuff back and pretend I hadn't received it??? That's total tosh!

If you've read thus far you either a. love the drama, or b. you are one of my customers and you are interested to know what's going on. If you are one of my customers, then you know that I'm not a horrible person, that I'm keen to deal with problems, that I don't lie. Look at my Customer Testimonials page - these are comments from customers over the last few months. There's a thread on a forum where you'll see loads of happy customers (I'm not linking to it because I don't want to involve the very nice lady who runs the forum). If you really must, speak to my other suppliers and see what they say about me! They will not agree on this picture that's been painted of me by Nicole.

She says in her email that customers have contacted her asking where they can buy the outfit - none of them have come to me. I've had one person express interest in the Sonia and I know for a fact that they haven't contacted her. She very much over-estimates her popularity anyway - my other lines are far and away more popular. But I'm not mentioning them by name here - you know who they are and I'm not dragging them into a situation which doesn't involve them.

This whole situation only arose because I lost my patience when I received yet another delivery of stock from Nicole Katherine Designs that wasn't good enough quality for me to sell. Whatever she says about me, bear that in mind. I'm not a horrible person, I'm not vindictive. Fuck me, I don't have the time to go about being vindictive, making up stories, lying etc etc etc. I only get upset and lose my temper and get sweary when I have good reason to.

(please note: I own the delete button on this blog so I reserve the right to delete whatever comment left below that I choose! Before accusing me, get your head round the situation. I am willing to supply emails to people who think they know all about what happened).

I will probably receive another solicitor's email telling me to remove this blog because it's "public slander". It is merely an accurate reflection of the truth. This is *my* side of the story. I have only written this because of what has been written, publically about me - a load of lies, basically. What *is* libellous is the post which Nicole Katherine Designs has seen fit to display on Facebook and Blogspot. She knows these things to be untrue. She knows I didn't refuse to accept a parcel for a month, she knows I don't deny receiving the items for the tracking numbers she mentioned. She's just trying to get her own back, and there's enough in her blog for me to get a solicitor involved myself, but I can't actually afford it because I've effectively lost £2,000 wasting my money on products from her shop.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Four new dresses in stock

Things have been rather hectic since I last posted. I won't go into it (cos I'll probably get sued), but I'm parting ways with one of my suppliers. However, one supplier I'm not parting ways with is... Bettie Page Clothing!

These four dresses are in stock now at the Dresses page:

Nataly, £70. Sizes XS to 4X.

Crystal, £75. Sizes XS to 3X.

Happy Bows, £80. Sizes XS to 4X.

Illusion, £80. Sizes XS to 4X.

There are more Bettie Page Clothing dresses on the way from their autumn/winter collection.

And another supplier you'll still see in the shop is Mode Merr. I've got a full range of sizes in the Jetsetter Suit, black and red cotton skirts and black, cherry and black/white polka dots peasant top. I also have some red/white polka dot peasant tops and Everyone Loves Cleavage blouses on the way from them. You'll find most of these on the Separates page.