Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Glittery camisole face-off: Sussan v Dotti

Recently a reader noticed that Sussan and Dotti had made camisoles in the same glittery fabric, but at widely differing price points. 

Naturally she was annoyed as she had purchased the more expensive version (in two colours) and couldnt see any material difference between the tanks in each store. 

Yes, she had her receipts, but she had worn both of them and the were no faults on either of the items.

So I jumped into an investigation (naturally), to compare quality, price and value for money.

Exhibit #1: The Dotti tank

Reduced from $30 to $16 each in three colours.

The binding at the neckline is cut along the length and the stitching on the binding isnt evenly placed.

Stitching is uneven

Exhibit: #2: The Sussan tank

Currently $60, not reduced.

The binding on the neckline is cut along the width of the fabric - a much cleaner finish than the Dotti version.

Currently only the black one is in stock.
At the beginning of the season, they had produced it in the gold as well

My thoughts:

1. In the black version, identical fabric used by both stores This is contrary to what it looks like in the photos which were shot in very different lighting situations. This is not an unusual situation on the high street as there is generally no exclusivity in fabric purchases from the mills. 

There are however, style differences in the tanks.

2. The cut on the Dotti tanks is narrower than the Sussan cut.

3. The Dotti shoulder straps are thinner (less bra friendly) than the Sussan version.

4. The neckline on the Sussan is higher & has more coverage of the decolletage.

5. The sizing on the Dotti is smaller. Hard to fit most of the average Australian woman population.

6. The binding around the edges of the neckline & sleeves is finer and much better worked on the Sussan version than the binding on the Dotti version. Sussan binding is cut on the width, Dotti binding is cut on the length - a much messier look.

7. Dotti has 3 colours, all reduced, while Sussan may have reduced the gold version (I cant recall). The Sussan black version which is currently in store isnt reduced.

8. The Sussan version is longer, although both versions have sufficient length so you dont expose your tummy every time you lift your arms.

9. Stitching on Sussan is even and spaced evenly. Stitching on the Dotti is not straight and not spaced evenly.

Now, how to you weigh all this up?

The Sussan tank will suit a more mature figure as it has better coverage, isnt skimpy & more generous width.

The Sussan tank is made better, for sure. The binding around the neckline is one of the first things I notice and on the Dotti tanks it's horrible. Mind you, some people dont notice this type of detail and if you're out in the evening with dim lighting, this is even more the case.

For you regular readers, can you recall me raving on about cost per wear (CPW)? Well it becomes relevant, again.
Right now. How many times do you plan on wearing this?

Say once per week, for 20 weeks, as a minimum?
Then Dotti CPW = 80 cents
& Sussan CPW = $3.00

If you plan on wearing it for 5 years, then
Dotti CPW = 16 cents
& Sussan CPW = 60 cents

And dont laugh at the thought of wearing it for 5 years. Why shouldnt we expect a lifespan of 5 years?

If you are a quality girl, then Sussan may win out because you value its better quality more than extra cost.

If you are a cheap & cheerful girl and you think the tank will have a short lifespan in your wardrobe, then Dotti may win out.

Reader's Options:

Option 1. Status quo. 

This can be interpretted in two ways. Firstly as "suck it up princess" or secondly as "quality is remembered long after price is forgotten". Take your pick, depending on whether you are a "cheap & cheerful girl" or a "quality girl" respectively.

Option 2. Approach Sussan and bring their attention to the Dotti item. Ask for a refund so that you can purchase the Dotti versions. 

While Sussan does have a policy of honouring change of mind returns (which this essentially is), the return needs to be within 14 days of purchase and the item needs to be unworn. 

If these conditions are not met, any refund (or credit) is purely discretionary and a matter of maintaining customer goodwill.

It will help if you have your receipt and as short a time frame has elapsed as possible (ie: do it sooner, not later).

You may also have to prove the items exist in Dotti - take photos, use this blog post if you like. May also help if you speak to a manager in the Dotti store nearest the Sussan store & get their number so Sussan can check with them directly. Thankfully, Dotti has heaps of stock in the tank, in all sizes and colours, even though it is reduced heavily.

If Sussan only offers store credit (rather than a refund), even that may be OK depending on how often the reader shops at Sussan.

It may also help to bring the request to the local store in writing, with the Dotti proof attached (eg: photos and contact details of the Dotti manger).

Sounds like a pain?

Well, it is, but it may also be an interesting exercise in standing up for your position and negotiation skills practice.

I think of it in terms of "no pain, no gain".

BTW - Dotti has a peplum top & a top with cap sleeves in the same fabrics. They obviously had much larger production with the fabric than Sussan.

Good luck & let me know how you go.

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