Follow Arianna on instagram: @ariannabaroness
Take notes ladies!
Shopping can be fun. Try on as many styles as possible!
Don’t forget to strike a pose. Self-confidence is the key to being stylish.
Have in mind that keeping it simple makes you classy.
Follow Arianna on instagram: @ariannabaroness
It has been a long time since I visited any of the big shopping malls in Bahrain. And today I was reminded once again why I haven’t done so all this time. You see, I happen to travel a lot and get informed on the latest fashion, products and/or prices. I always look for the best quality and price and I value customer service relationships a great deal. I talk with shops’ representatives all around the world and I have gained their trust and respect as they have gained mine.
Unfortunately, except for a couple of businesses, this is not the case with Bahrain. The last few years the products’ selection is minimal and in fashion it happens that all you can find on the shelves is last year’s stock often with a “New Collection” price tag. Few months ago my friend bought a pair of Valentino pumps at 50% off, a 50% off that was actually the original price in any of the big online shops. I was surprised when once I went to Saks to buy a pair of jeans and they only had to show me TWO (yes only TWO!) brand codes. I have quit long time ago shopping clothes for my kids in Bahrain since the day I discovered the US prices were instantly transformed into BD, tripling them compared to the US: Bye Bye Tommy Hilfiger, Juicy Couture, GAP, see you online or when i visit the US.
Other times you may find newly released electronic gadgets are insanely expensive, like when the new iPhone 5s was introduced and the golden colored one cost 150 dinars more than its silver version in a non Apple-approved shop in City Center. Or you may find that the expensive watch (i.e. Cartier) you intend to buy as tax-free (supposedly there is no tax in Bahrain, right?) costs more than in any other decent jewelry shop in Europe where a generous tax is imposed… And let us not talk about the prices in the supermarket or the trick of “.. oh sorry! the price has changed and the tag is still not updated” if you ever spot the difference.
So what’s going on?
Profiteering to the point of disgust.
Ok. I can understand that the market of Bahrain, being it small, cannot absorb the aftershock of a global financial crisis thus the limited variety in their imports. Businesses are afraid to be exposed and they have right. What I don’t understand is their obsession of profiteering even in such market conditions when their actions can only guarantee further loss in the long run. Let me explain.
This morning I went to i-Machines to look for an original iPad case for my son. My jaw dropped when I saw the price, especially since I had checked before with Apple Store in the US:
Bahrain price: 50 Dinars meaning approx. 133 dollars with today’s rate according to xe.com.
How much does the exact same case cost in Apple store?
US price: 79 Dollars. YES 79 Dollars.
Do the math yourself adding boldly the shipping cost to Bahrain (that’s what they always provide as an excuse for the high prices, they cannot blame “taxes”cause there is supposedly a free-trade agreement between US and Bahrain) and you see there’s still a big price difference. You don’t have to be a genius to figure it out. The same profit margin seems to apply for another couple of items I checked with the store (mini iPad, earphones etc).
Needless to say I left the store empty handed. Then I thought I might check for a mascara. During my recent trip to Greece I forgot to buy my mascara from the beauty store and didn’t have the time to get it from Athens airport too so I thought I will get it in Bahrain. Ha. Wrong.
I went to Debenhams and asked for my usual Yves Saint Laurent one (Baby Doll). The lady told me it was 21 BD. I wasn’t sure how much I had paid for the exact same mascara in Athens before – certainly much less- but as I needed it now I thought ok, I will get it. So I took it to the cashier where I was asked 22 bd. I told the cashier that the sales lady told me 21 and then I showed her the tag on the mascara packaging clearly stating 21 bd. She told me she was sorry but in her system the price was 22 bd. Once again I left empty handed and my issue was certainly not the 1 bd increase from the sale point to the cashier…
By the way 22 BD = 58,3 USD, 53,48 Euros or 41,17 GBP with again today’s rates from xe.com.
Soon after I came back home I double checked the price of the mascara: 32 Dollars in the US, 25 Euros in Greece, 25 Pounds in the UK.
Honestly I can’t think of a reason why a mascara would cost DOUBLE its price in Bahrain.
What these local businesses don’t get is the fact that consumers in today’s world KNOW and if they don’t know, they certainly have the way to FIND OUT. Almost every consumer has access to the internet today. Big brands with international presence usually apply a universal price with small -if not tiny- fluctuations that reflect any taxes/dues or shipping costs. Anything way above this “universal” price is a rip-off and I certainly don’t want to be passed for a fool. So what can you do?
Be an informed consumer rather than a compulsive one. If you find something you really like in a shop in Bahrain check its price online yourself or have someone else check for you.
Except for items considered “dangerous”, most of your finds in Bahrain can be shipped from online shops abroad straight to your door. In fact there are few shops that offer free express shipping and shops that even deduct the VAT when shipping to Bahrain from Europe. Others include any dues in your total so you don’t have to pay anything for customs’ clearance in Bahrain.
Shipping from US is tax free and there should be no import dues in Bahrain. Unfortunately this does not apply for shipments from Europe. There is a minimum amount set by the customs authorities and when exceeded there are dues based on the cargo type charged to the receiver. (I have tried to find what this minimum is with no success so far, it’s up to the customs’ officer interpretation of the law I guess – sorry for being sarcastic!)
When the online shop doesn’t provide shipping outside of their country you can open an Aramex Shop and Ship account, have your items shipped to your mailbox in the US, UK or any of the big shopping hubs where Aramex provides service and then have your items shipped at a fee to your door. It’s not cheap but it can be proven cheaper than buying your find in Bahrain. Mind you that Aramex recently updated its policy to include the shipping of perfumes in their service. With regards to a mailbox service abroad I personally prefer Borderlinx mainly because of it’s association with DHL who are superfast but also because they offer free repacking of multiple shipments into one to cut-off the shipping cost. Additionally with their concierge service they can buy for you in shops that do not accept foreign credit cards.
If you don’t feel like doing any of these yourself but still want to shop without being ripped off, appoint someone to do them for you. At a small fee a personal shopper can help you with all your needs however small or big and save you time and money. You can email your inquiries: email@example.com.
I’m all ears for your stories of shopping horror!
Update1: Please check my comment below as some people seem to have been annoyed by this article.
Update2: In my recent trip to Dubai I have checked the price for the mascara both in Bahrain airport and Sephora Dubai. The price is around 16 BD so Debenhams is more expensive by a whole 6 dinars (aprox. 15 USD/
EUR). Just for one mascara.
Proenza Schouler unveiled their new collection of totes out of which the fringed version in aloe green and black really stands out.
My eyes see “waves” of contentment as the fringe trend will stick around for some more since its recent comeback.
Good for my Juicy Couture fringed suede boots I hadn’t worn for a long time.
And I think Rebecca Minkoff’s fringed suede backpack was an excellent choice.
From skirts to jackets and ponchos to scarves, I like every little trim… What about you?
Time flies! A couple of months ago I was basking in the sun of LA and Honolulu whereas for the christmas holidays I traveled eastbound to Seoul, S. Korea and its freezing temperatures. But I love every bit of it! Like our walk in a park at Songdo.
Happy New Year everyone! Let 2016 roll and bring you all that you desire!
My new year’s diaries, just arrived in the mail and I simply can’t wait writing on them.
This year it was the Little Prince, for 2016 I chose Peanuts… Isn’t it cute?
But to be honest I’m quite intrigued to get my hands on the Starbucks collection which is available in South Korea! Flying to Seoul next week, hopefully before it’s out of stock…
If you are a Moleskine fan like me you can order your supplies online here. Be sure to check everyday until Christmas for they hold special treats on their holiday calendar…
Now, if you would like to see what Moleskine diaries look like and how cool they are, check my video review below.
In the mood for celebrating our friend’s birthday. I even sang “Happy birthday mr. President” for the birthday boy 🙂
And since I received tons of questions about my outfit, here it is: Dress by Juicy Couture. Showstopper heels by Taylor Says. Rose gold bracelet made by me and my fitness tracker (I will be writing about in another post): Misfit Shine.
As for the amazing Taylor Says heels for which I have written in the past, here’s some of my favorite pairs out of her new collection:
With their buy one, get one 50% off offer and free international shipping I dare you to just walk away!
I’m sure you won’t let this chance… walk by.
After spending two months in Greece I’m back with loads of news to share with you and a couple of surprises. But first things first. After all, September is the month of pulling yourself together, getting back to your routine, and planning for the months ahead. In my world, it’s the month of obsessions, it’s when I crave for changes and when I scan all fashion trends in order to make my winter wish-list.
Obsession #1 – Hair Color
All of you who follow me on Instagram (idolimages) you probably already know that I changed my hair a bit into a lovely rose gold color.
I would be willing to try silver too but I’m so obsessed with the rose-gold after I’ve seen it on myself that I guess this shade is here to stay. If you are after a funky change like myself, I suggest you follow Lihn Phan’s @bescene on Instagram for inspiration. If you’re afraid experimenting with the color of your hair I recommend you try Bleach London or Stargazer semi-permanent colors which only last for a few washes. And then who knows? You might fall in love with your new shade and run straight to your hairstylist to make it stay for as long as you wish.
Obsession #2 – Backpack
One of my surprises involves a trip far far away from my home base which I hope I will be v-logging for you. But since I started planning the trip I realized my wardrobe is missing a traveller’s most basic accessory: the backpack. So I searched..
Mmm.., “too preppy”… so I searched..
too many studs… and I searched..
GEE! I ain’t gonna spend this much on a backpack despite its beauty!!!
So I ended up being obsessed with Rebecca Minkoff ‘s Julian, available at Bloomingdales for $395 (or BHD 160). It gives the boho impression I was looking for and it’s not as pricey as others.
But I don’t know whether to buy the leather or the suede version, which takes us to:
Obsession #3 Suede
And by the way, THE TREND for autumn 2015. Apart from my suede booties I love suede pants and suede bags. Suede may be delicate but I love its texture and slouchiness. And here is my Proenza Schouler PS1 pride. Bought from matchesfashion.com who btw offer free shipping for a limited time!
Obsession #4 Clogs
Talking about suede, another trend coming from the 70’s is invading our wardrobe this season and it’s amazing in suede: Clogs! You can go with the Gucci horsebit-detailed ones in the picture available from Netaporter for $795 or check the much less expensive options from UGG. My UGGs were quite a deal at $49,99 ! Yes you read correct. Here are my suede perforated clogs for the season:
Obsession #5 Perfume
Chanel Coco Noir. Maybe the most expensive of all Chanel’s perfumes (35 ml at about $125) but let me tell you: it’s pure black magic.
Obsession #6S – I meant iPhone 6S
My tweet at Apple’s last year event was:
You know, my obsession with rose gold dates back in 2013… or even earlier. When iPhone 6s finally arrives in rose gold, how can I ignore it?
Obsession #7 Camel Coat
I know it’s kinda early and with the hot weather here my chances wearing a coat are rather low to zero. Maybe that’s why I haven’t bought one yet even if I have been lusting it for the last two years and believe it to be the ultimate winter wardrobe basic. I can still look for one though, right?
So, what are your obsessions for this season?
Where houses are abandoned, nature takes over and paints the town in summer’s golden hues. It’s time for reflection, time to love and feel loved, time to reunite with mother nature.
This is roughly the idea behind Maria Galati’s photoshoot who chose Zoe Manousaridou as her model to capture the sense of freedom one experiences when in interaction with nature. An actress, art director and manager of emerging music bands, Maria Galati wanted to simply express her idea through her lens and Zoe’s gypsy soul and country style channeled and delivered the message. Nature played her part too. Enjoy!
Art Director/Photographer/Creative Photo Idea: Maria Galati
Model: Zoe Manousaridou
I love simple! Simply because it makes you feel comfortable. To enjoy a good movie you have to feel comfortable, don’t you agree?
3/4 sleeve pullover by GAP, 3/4 grey fishbone pattern trousers Juicy Couture, ballerinas BLOCH, fuchsia scarf from Dubai souk, bracelets handmade by me.
And here’s mini-me…giving my style a jeans-twist.
Pink top and slouchy jeans GAP, pink ballerinas and infinity scarf by H&M.
Penguins of Madagascar, here we come! 🙂