Doing research can be fun…
But it can take hours, days, weeks, months to get a good selection of resources compiled to make finding new content easier. As a fashion blogger, knowing where to find the good shops can be very difficult in the sea of online shopping. While some of us are happy with some of the more mainstream sites, others are on a quest to find the little boutiques featuring lesser known and more unique designers. Ara Anjargolian has created a resource to make our lives a whole lot easier. Since January 2005, Jargol, an online shopping guide featuring independent boutiques, some user submitted, some added by Ara himself, and all of them have something interesting about them. You can search by city, by boutique type and you can even subscribe to the Jargol blog to get the latest on sale announcements and new inventory (like the above photo: Marjan Pejoski @ Doshaburi, Barcelona). And if you are going to visit a new city… it’s best to visit this site before you go, as it has a comprehensive shopping guide for cities, mostly in the US, but also around the world.
Here Ara talks to us about why he started this valuable resource, and how the internet has affected independent fashion…
IFB: Why did you start Jargol?
Ara Anjargolian: While in college I found myself shopping at more and more independent clothing/music/book stores and wondered why there was wasn’t really a good online guide of them. So I started Jargol as a guide for independent boutiques. The blog, the focus on fashion, the coverage of new/independent designers all came later.
AA: I find boutiques in two ways:
1) I’m constantly monitoring and doing research about shops that open up in various cities around the world, and whenever I get a chance throughout the year I’ll visit a particular city to check out stores, take some photographs and jot down some notes that eventually come together as entries in Jargol‘s shopping guide.
2) Pretty early on I realized I’ll never has the time/resources to cover the cities I want to cover, so I created a store suggestion method (http://www.jargol.com/stores/candidates/add) where anyone can write a description of their favorite store. After getting a submission, I’ll research the store to make sure it’s the kind of store that fits into our guide and if it is I’ll add it to the guide using the submitter’s original description. I’m always eager for more suggestions, and am absolutely thrilled when I get one!
AA: In the years I’ve now been doing this, I’ve been able to meet and become friends with many different store owners. And I’ve always come away with the same impression: e-commerce is instrumental in the success and growth of independent boutiques around the world. Especially with the kind of boutiques that Jargol deals in, that often carry labels that are not widely available, a well designed and maintained e-commerce site will quickly find a loyal following.
As for independent fashion, e-commerce is helpful in that a young designer that’s carried in just one store with an established e-commerce business has the opportunity to get exposure and sales from a worldwide audience from day one.
AA: There are truly too many to name, but as I live in New York at the moment, don’t be surprised if you run into me at IF, Project No. 8, Kiosk, Seven, BDDW, or De Vera.