amateur is apt to break the flues. Several flues are
pulled together between the thumb and the back of the
knife; this process is repeated until the flues are suffi-
Although bleaching feathers requires chemical
knowledge, white feathers that are soiled and yellow
may be improved immensely by scrubbing them with
castile soap and warm water, and after rinsing dyeing
them the faintest blue.
Feathers may be dyed in the lighter shades by fol-
lowing the methods adopted by professional dyers as
given in Chapter VIII. About two-thirds of a tea-
spoonful of either formic or oxalic acid in a pint of
water will set the dye for one or two feathers.
SUGGESTIONS TO SALESPEOPLE
What the Customer Is Wearing
The skilful salesperson notices a customer as she
approaches and besides being ready with a pleasant,
alert look and a greeting, if it seems acceptable, ob-
serves what the customer is wearing, whether it is
becoming, what color and kind of hat she has on,
whether it goes well with her clothes, and her general
type of face and figure. She does not stop this mental
observation when she begins talking to the customer;
but she needs to be alert and to continue her obser-
vations while the customer is standing at the counter.
Perhaps it is the courteous practice in your department
for you to meet the customers as they come in. A
look of greeting serves as well as spoken words and
since some customers object to being spoken to, a cor-
dial appearance of attention will invite them to speak
if they so desire.
Visiting Among Salespeople
It is disconcerting and makes a customer feel unwel-
160 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
come to enter and find the salespeople idly talking
among themselves and paying no attention to her.
Do you not think that in most cases this visiting
among the salespeople, especially noticeable on dull
days, and a practice which every manager objects to,
is due to a lack of ambition and intelligent interest on
their part ? There are so many things they might do !
There is no lack of opportunity for study in this de-
partment. They might be studying materials, straws,
color, form, trying trimmings on hats, and even learn-
ing how to talk more effectively to the customers.
Learning to Talk About Hats
How many different words do you think can be
found to describe a certain hat? If several salespeople
try to think of every possible good expression, begin-
ning with each letter of the alphabet in turn, the num-
ber of words to be found is remarkable. For instance,
each person suggests a word beginning with " a "
which will describe a chosen hat, and this search for
words keeps going around the circle till no more can
be found beginning with " a " and then " b " is taken
up. Each word is put down on a paper and the result
Such a game will help the salespeople to avoid the
common, poor, everyday expressions which have been
BO overworked and abused that often they even offend
SUGGESTIONS TO SALESPEOPLE l6l
customers. It is not necessary to cite them. " Sweet,"
" dear," " dressy," " stunning," " little," are some of
them, and there are dozens of others.
Trade Papers and Home Study
A chance for interesting reading and study is to be
found in the magazines and papers which the manager
of the department takes. He is always very willing
to loan them to interested people.
A great number of salespeople as well as buyers sub-
scribe personally to a good department store paper,
which contains items of interest for every department.
Even if only one idea is obtained from an article, it is
worth while to read it.
In certain cities it may be possible for the salespeople
to arrange to visit some factories that produce articles
in their line. Many managers would be only too
glad to take the salespeople if they are interested, and
nothing could be more instructive and helpful than
The Care of Stock
Perhaps one of the most important and least recog-
nized opportunities to study merchandise lies in the
daily care of stock. Simple dusting, rearranging, and
inspection may seem a homely task, but it affords a
162 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
splendid chance to handle, examine, and become inti-
mately familiar with every kind of merchandise in the
department. It affords an opportunity to learn prices,
and this knowledge may afterwards be helpful in mak-
ing a sale. While a good stock-keeper may not be a
merchandise expert, an expert in merchandise is always
a good stock-keeper.
The duty of caring for the stock should not be done
listlessly and carelessly, but intelligently, with every
faculty awake to the opportunity of learning the
goods. In addition, good stock-keeping is of the ut-
most importance to the ambitious saleswoman, for by
the personal attention she gives it she can keep her
stock in the freshest and most salable condition, and
thereby avoid the handicap of soiled or damaged mer-
Such care helps to prevent accumulations of slow-
moving merchandise and the consequent losses through
reductions or mark-downs. An expert stock-keeper is
often invaluable to her manager, and frequently draws
a higher salary than a co-worker who sells more, but
does not keep her stock as though it were her own
treasured personal possession.
Seating the Customer
Care in seating a customer comfortably before a
mirror is a very important factor in making a sale.
SUGGESTIONS TO SALESPEOPLE 163
Fatigue leads to indecision and many women leave
without buying just because they are tired.
Careful Selection of Stock
After your customer is seated, bring her well-
selected hats to try on. It makes a good impression to
know your prices accurately; so if you do not know
the price of a hat, it is well to glance at the price ticket
without being observed by the customer. It may not
be necessary to show many hats if they are well chosen.
The salesperson with taste and judgment can suit her
patrons very easily. How many times do you sell a
customer the very first hat you show her? Do you
know what is the proportion of your sales to the num-
ber of people whom you approach?
It is well to keep a record of this for a time and to
note how your percentage increases with study. The
percentage of the persons entering a certain depart-
ment to whom sales were made has been known to in-
crease in three weeks from 52 to 90 per cent when the
salespeople were studying their merchandise and the
proper methods of salesmanship.
Customers Who Are " Just Looking "
It is of course discouraging to have a woman say she
is " just looking." But why does she say it? In most
cases because she was not met in the most tactful way.
1 64 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
She was probably asked a foolish question that meant
little, such as, " Are you looking for a hat ? " or
"Something in hats?" which forced her to reply in
that way. She has come with an interest in hats or she
would not be there. Yet she did not want to place
herself in a position where she might be made to buy
or to admit that she might buy, so she said she was
" just looking."
In some departments such an expression perhaps
might pass with the salespeople, but as you know it
does little good to " just look " at hats. They must
be tried on and fitted to the customer before anything
definite can be decided about them. It would take too
powerful an imagination to picture how the hat off the
head would look on it.
No person, therefore, who enters the department
should be allowed to " just look " at hats without a
tactful word. If she does not realize the necessity of
trying on a hat to find out whether she likes it or not,
she should be tactfully taught. For instance, the sales-
person might say, " It is hard to tell how a hat looks
until it is on the head. I should be glad to help you by
fitting you even if you do not wish to buy."
Even though the customer says she does not intend
to buy, the wise salesperson should be willing and
ready to fit her, and by this method will often make a
SUGGESTIONS TO SALESPEOPLE 165
It is of the first importance that the customer should
not be antagonized by the questions that are so often
asked her. The best way is to ask her to be seated and
to begin to show her merchandise with as few direct
questions as possible.
Every question that you can avoid asking is a point
gained. Questions create antagonism and weariness
and if you can find out your customer's ideas about
price, size, shape, color, etc., without asking a single
direct question, you will find your sales and your clien-
Show her the hats your studies tell you are the best
suited to her, and from her comments gather all her
ideas about hats. Follow the hints she gives you, and
the customer herself will guide you to a successful sale.
Judging a Customer by Her Dress
It is a fatal mistake to assume that a plainly dressed
woman will not pay a high price for something that
pleases her. Simple dressing is often the mark of re-
finement and good taste, and the most fashionable peo-
ple are apt to dress simply and plainly. Many ex-
tremely wealthy women pride themselves upon the sim-
plicity of the clothes in which they shop. Sometimes
they purposely shop in plain clothes to avoid over-
solicitations to purchase, but, if they are pleased, there
1 66 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
is no limit to the amount they can and will spend.
Aside from the unexpected rewards that sometimes
come through attentions to even shabbily dressed peo-
ple, it is no more than simple kindness to show the poor
as much consideration as the rich. The American
spirit of democracy, as well as good sense and good
service, requires it.
When the Customer Leaves Without Buying
If a customer departs without buying, no unpleasant
impression should be left on her mind to prevent her
return at another time. She should not be made to
feel that she has wasted the time of the salesperson or
that the latter is the least bit disappointed. Even
more courtesy should be shown such a customer than
if she had already bought a hat, because she still has a
hat to buy and on thinking it over may return to pur-
chase. Some departments make it so unpleasant for a
customer who does not purchase that she never returns
under any circumstances.
If the customer goes away, saying that she wants to
look elsewhere, agree with her pleasantly, but try to
impress her mind so powerfully with the beauty and
becoming effect of some well-selected hat which you
have shown her that she will remember and return for
it. If you make the mental picture of the hat vivid
enough, she is sure to remember it and nothing she sees
SUGGESTIONS TO SALESPEOPLE 167
elsewhere will put it out of her mind. The old saying,
" Distance lends enchantment/ 7 applies to her remem-
brance of the hat and she will not be happy until she
Fitness to Meet a Customer
Before a saleswoman is ready to meet her customer
on the floor, she must possess a wide and accurate fund
of knowledge in regard to her merchandise. She must
be dressed in the proper costume for a business woman
in order to prove her own good taste and to look ap-
propriately gowned. She must be physically well and
fit, as a result of intelligent care of her health. She
must be prepared to conduct the sale in accordance
with the rules of successful selling.
In Chapter XVIII is given a classification of the stock
of a typical Millinery Department. This classification
gives an outline of the information upon the stock
which every saleswoman should possess before she is
really ready to meet a customer.
The following outline gives the specific steps to fol-
low in the average sale from the time the customer
first appears until she leaves the department.
STEPS IN A SALE IN A MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
i. Be ready for the customer.
(a) Wear a business dress,
(b) Feel well, alert, attentive.
1 68 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
2. Begin to study her the moment your eyes rest upon her.
Observe her closely as she approaches. Meet her with a
3. Seat her and bring her a few hats that you know
through your studies are the most becoming to her type. Be
guided by the hints she gives you. Do not ask questions.
Try to get her opinion, not to make her agree with you. Do
4. Take anything she dislikes out of her sight, and don't
try to press on her what you like and she does not. The
fewer hats she has finally to decide upon, the better. Elimi-
nate the less becoming ones.
5. Close the sale pleasantly, see that she is not delayed
longer than necessary. Be sure to take her name and address
correctly, invite her to return, and suggest something which
is on sale in another part of the store. Do not leave her
unoccupied if it is necessary for her to wait for check,
change, or package, but bring to her notice something of
interest. Do not, however, show her any hat that might
upset the sale you have already made.
If you will check over your knowledge and abilities
by these outlines, and if you can honestly grade your-
self well on each point, you may consider yourself an
efficient saleswoman, and your increasing sales ancj
salary will prove it.
HAT-MAKING AT HOME
The Economy and Pleasure of Making Hats
An additional few points will be useful to those who
wish to trim their hats at home. There is much to be
said for making hats at home whether or not one does
it as a matter of economy. One can save from half to
all the cost of a new ready-trimmed hat by using old
materials and freshening them up, or new materials on
hand, such as remnants, etc. The creative work itself
is a pleasure to most women. Girls have been heard
to say, "I'd rather make a hat than eat." Sometimes
a club of girls can get together to make their own
hats, having a buyer for the club to purchase at whole-
sale rates. The sum total of their experience and taste
produces lovely hats.
The individual not only can save greatly by making
her own hats, but can have many more, match them
better with her clothes, and learn to make them more
becoming and better suited to her than the hats she
might chance to buy. Many people whom one sees on
the street are wearing unbecoming hats, or at least,
those that are not the most becoming. Some get so
170 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
tired of looking that they buy recklessly, some are
overpersuaded by the saleswoman, and some have not a
If a woman is able to alter the hats she buys and
adapt them to her own style when necessary, she can
make them more individual and becoming. Then too,
a winter hat of good style can be turned into a sum-
mer one, and vice versa. Perhaps the change made
by covering the straw crown with velvet or silk, or a
different trimming will do the trick. From every point
of view it is advisable for one to learn how to make
Observation the First Essential
The first step in making a hat at home, if one does
not know exactly how one wishes to make it, is to
leave home and go "window shopping" and also to
look through the millinery departments in the stores.
It is well to do this in order to be strictly up to date
and to study the detail in vogue at the time, even
though one does have in mind before starting an image
of the result desired. Fashion varies somewhat from
year to year even in the matter of putting a hat to-
gether, but an observant person may learn all of
fashion's changes. In looking at hats it is well to
know and apply the principles contained in the chapters
on color and form.
HAT-MAKING AT HOME 171
The easiest method of trimming a hat and also
the most expensive is to buy a shape that is becoming
and trim it with new materials. These can be tried
on at the store and pinned into place to get the effect.
The saleswomen are often very helpful.
Covering the Frame
It is more difficult to cover the frame. Whoever
trims her hats will soon pass from the easy work of
putting trimming on a ready body hat to the interest-
ing task of making the complete hat. Cutting the
material is the most important thing. If it is bought
on a bias there must be more of it. A turn-up or
drooping brim is usually covered with material on the
bias, unless it is of very sheer material and a soft
gathered effect at the base of the crown is desired.
Instead of buying a new frame the beginner may well
take an old hat, if in good style, rip it to pieces, and
use the old covering as a pattern. Another advantage
of ripping up an old hat is that is shows just how
much goods to buy. A straight brim is simple, being
just a circle with a hole in the center. Two such circles
for the upper and under sides of the brim can some-
times be stitched together on the sewing machine.
The seam is then turned inside.
Wire or crinolin shapes can be bought. The frame
should sit easily upon the head. If, however, a shape
172 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
is too large, by the use of a little padding or a bandeau
it can be made to fit. The covering of a frame has
to be painstakingly done, as nothing shows up so much
as uneven work or rough edges. It is a good rule
never to let a stitch show, except in embroidery. A
long strong needle is best, with strong coarse linen
thread for most of the work. Unless the goods is
quite smooth, it should be pressed beforehand. Old
velvet can be steamed as directed in Chapter XV.
Pin the trimming on first, putting everything in place,
then try the hat on, and change the trimming about to
find the most becoming effect. Perhaps some trimming
will have to be discarded or changed for something
else. Try it with the costume with which it is to be
Hat linings can be bought, in white or black. Home-
made linings can be cut on the pattern of any old
well-fitting lining, and can be made to match the hat.
If the crown is transparent, the lining may be left
out, or a colored lining can be used as a trimming
for the hat.
Clubs for Hat-Making
It is nice for a club of .girls to buy one of the
HAT-MAKING AT HOME 173
inexpensive little embroidering machines which are now
extensively sold. They do neat, quick work. A club
can also buy braids in large amounts very much cheaper
than at retail.
If one wishes to have a hat to match a costume,
it is pretty to use left over pieces of the gown. A
summer hat can combine the materials of several
dresses, if they happen to go together, and so be suit-
able to wear with all of them. It is well to have a
black hat always in one's wardrobe, as it goes with
Hat dyes are good but are very apt to shrink the
hat. If a piece of paper or cloth is laid on the head
of the wearer first, and then the wet hat put on, the
dye will not come off on the hair, the hat will dry to
fit the head exactly, and will not shrink. It dries
rapidly, in 20 or 30 minutes. Hat shellac will freshen
up old straws. Milliners' glue is useful for some kinds
of trimming, but the average person does not have it.
Reblocking of hats that have lost their shape or
need to be changed somewhat is done at many little
hat repair shops, but some adventurous girls reblock
174 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
their own hats by fitting them wet over a bowl and
using flatirons to hold them down.
There are several millinery magazines as well as
sections in Vogue, the Ladies Home Journal, Vanity
Fair, Woman's Home Companion, and others, which
may be helpful to the hat-maker. Many people, to
whom the intricacies of fitting a dress are unknown,
can trim their own hats, and it is not at all bold to
attempt it with the hints that have been given in this
CLASSIFICATION OF STOCK OF A
TYPICAL MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
A. Trimmed Hats
B. Untrimmed Hats
D. Workroom Supplies
A TRIMMED HATS
Panama (Genuine and Imitation)
176 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
CLASSIFICATION OF STOCK , 177
B UNTRIMMED HATS
Materials, Shapes, Colors much the same as in
i. Feathers and Plumage
178 MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
2. Flowers and Foliage
CLASSIFICATION OF STOCK 179
Satin (Plain and Double-Faced)
No. i 14 in.
l8o MILLINERY DEPARTMENT
BOOKS FOR REFERENCE
The World's Commercial Products, Freeman & Chandler.
Textiles, Woolman and McGowan. Macmillan.
Shelter and Clothing, Kinne & Cooley. Macmillan.
Color Harmony in Dress, G. A. Audsley. McBride, Nast
The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Color, M. E.
Chevreul. G. Bell & Sons (London).
Dyes and Dyeing, C. E. Pellew. McBride, Nast & Co.
Millinery Trade Review.
Textile World Record.
Dry Goods Economist.
Modern Drapery and Allied Trades.
ABACA HEMP, 22, 24
ADAMBA HATS (See "Panama hats")
APPLIQUE FLOWERS, 90
ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS (See "Flowers")
ARTIFICIAL LIGHT, EFFECT ON COLOR,
BAMBOO HATS, 39
BAMBOO WEAVING, 40
BLUE, 112, 113, 115, 132, 134
velvet and other fabrics, 63
BOOZE, OSTRICH FEATHERS, 76
BRAIDS (See "Straw braids")
BROKEN COLORS, 115
BUNTAL HATS, 43
BURI HATS, 42
BYAX, OSTRICH FEATHERS, 76
CASES, DISPLAY, 4
CHICKS, OSTRICH FEATHERS, 76
CHINESE STRAW AND BRAIDS (See
"Straw," "Straw braids")
CHIP BRAID, 27
CHOICE OF HATS (See also "Faces,
types of," "Color")
bad taste, 101
bringing out best features in face,
127, 139, 143
change in styles, 105
extreme and conservative styles,
good taste, 100
importance of choice, 100, 139
line and color, 103, 109, 139
most important elements, 109
putting of oneself in customer's
study of dress, 104, 108
style in millinery, 105
suitability, 107, 143
what constitutes a suitable hat, 107
CHRYSANTHEMUM BRAID, 31
CIRE RIBBONS, 95
COLOR DIAGRAM, 119
absorption and reflection, 116
effect on each other, 116
luminous and somber, 114
primary, 112, 113
secondary, 113, 114
training color sense, 126, 127
under artificial light, 123
values, 1 20
COQ OR COQUE FEATHER, 82
DEPARTMENT (See also "Salespeople,
general impression, i
stock arrangement, 2-7
DOMESTIC FOWLS, 81
DOUBLE HATS, 41
DUCK, WILD (See "Feathers")
EGRET (See "Feathers")