Classic Style and Lasting Quality

In the Fall of 2010, when my store was open, I wrote down my ideas about clothing and style in a document titled “Style Manifesto”. You can read the full text here, but the introductory paragraph describes the basic concept around which I created my store:

At Isle of Skye Cashmere, our selection of clothes is based on a personal aesthetic that values classic style and quality over fashion and fad.

Our style sense starts with the idea that a woman’s wardrobe should be built on a foundation of high quality classic pieces. These foundation pieces should be your investment pieces – of lasting quality and the best you can afford.

Rita in Paris
Rita in Paris near Place Vendome – Repetto Store

Although my store has closed and I am focusing on my online cashmere sweater business, my ideas about this business have not changed.

My goal is to help you look and feel your best in our sweaters. I specialize in selling my own brand of cashmere sweaters knit in Scotland with only the very best yarn. Isle of Skye Cashmere sweaters are designed and made to look better, feel better, and last longer than any other sweaters you own. They are knit and hand-finished by the mills that make cashmere sweaters for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes. The cashmere sweaters from our mills stand apart in the runway shows in Paris and Milan because their attention to the details of style, fit, finish, and overall quality make them the best in the world.

I believe in a classic, sophisticated style of dressing that emphasizes beautiful fabrics, impeccable fit, and a foundation of basic colors. Our selection of cashmere sweater styles and colors reflects this point of view.

If you have any questions about Isle of Skye cashmere sweaters, please call our toll free line at 888-343-6771. Most of the time, this is forwarded directly to my cell phone so that I can personally answer your questions and help you in any way. If I am unable to take your call, just leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Rita Jones

 

Isle of Skye Cashmere Summertime Style

Rita – Lunch at Galley Beach Restaurant – Nantucket Cashmere Cardigan by Isle of Skye Cashmere
Rita – Lunch at Galley Beach Restaurant – Nantucket
Cashmere Cardigan by Isle of Skye Cashmere

Summertime…

And cashmere cardigans make living easy. For those cool nights on the Cape, nothing quite compares. Likewise with cashmere shawls: they’ll keep you comfortable, chic. Warm but never too warm, our sweaters and shawls –made with pure Scottish Cashmere– are perfect for those balmy island nights, for those late evening walks down shore. So say you’re fogged in on the Grey Lady –‘Sconset, Nantucket– or maybe you’ve gone out west –the Bay Area– to visit an ambitious, adventurous son (this August mine is married a year!): a sweater or shawl ensures you won’t miss out on Surfside clambakes, on late afternoon rambles through Golden Gate Park. Lightweight, whisper soft: Isle of Skye Cashmere is clothing to wear with any kind of weather – no matter the coast. It makes comfort and style easy; it gives shelter from the fog. Summertime with family and friends! If only things were always this good!

Cashmere Care 101

Rita-Place-Dauphine

Nothing quite compares to cashmere when it comes to style, not even cotton is so gentle on skin: wear it with jeans, wear it with a dress or slacks and you’ll feel wonderful – of course you’ll look fabulous! But any garment so versatile and comfortable requires a minimum of care. Whether it’s new shoes, a new cut or a twinset, special items deserve special attention. My customers want the best return on their investment, and to that end I’ve always provided instructions: with each sweater comes a note outlining proper care – how to wash it, how to store it, etc. But we all live such busy lives! Kids are off to college, dogs need vaccines and houses demand renovation! Cards get lost (where’s a set of instructions when you need it!), so I thought to publish my instructions here. A blog ensures they’re easy to access; it ensures your sweaters –thank heavens they’re timeless!– will keep for years.

The instructions that follow are simple, straightforward. Taken as a whole, they amount to just a little TLC.

After wearing three or four times:

  • Hand wash frequently. Avoid heavy soiling.
  • For best results, soak for five minutes in cool water with baby shampoo. (We recommend Johnson’s Baby Shampoo with Lavender Scent.)
  • Agitate gently when washing.
  • Rinse thoroughly in cool water until the water runs clean.
  • Squeeze gently to remove excess water. But don’t twist or wring out your sweater.
  • Block carefully into shape. Do not twist or ring the fabric.
  • Dry flat. Avoid direct heat or sunshine.

A note about pilling: A few small balls of fiber may form at the surface of your sweater after wearing the first few times. These balls, or “pills,” are caused by loose fiber tangling during wear. Pills can easily be removed by hand.

A note about moths: they love cashmere! We suggest that you keep your sweater in a storage bag to protect it.

Finally, proper care will ensure your sweater lasts for years! I’ve even found my sweaters’ softness to improve following the instructions above. I know! It’s hard to believe! But you’ll find your sweater’s quality gets better and better.

Notes on Starting a Business: Isle of Skye Cashmere

RitaNote to Reader: Customers often ask how I got started and I thought to respond in greater detail with my blog. Below is the overview of a conversation I recently had with our chief blogger.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have!

Question:

Why did you start Isle of Skye Cashmere?

Response:

We had just moved back to the States after spending years in South America. Venezuela –our home away from home– was warm enough to make sweaters unnecessary, so I needed to update my winter wardrobe.

After shopping at high end boutiques and department stores across the country my choices were surprisingly clear – in fact I was shocked by my limited options! Cashmere came in only two kinds: loosely knit and liable to pill, or of high quality but more expensive than dinner at The French Laundry!

Why did I want cashmere – in particular, Scottish cashmere? Not only is it whisper soft and stylish, but a cashmere sweater is so gentle on skin. Allergies had always bothered me and back in the States, the fall pollen was especially taxing. Also, winter was on its way and looking over my closet left me feeling unprepared.

But I needed something I could afford, something that would last…

So just like that, Isle of Skye Cashmere was born.

I ended up buying one of those sweaters more expensive than The French Laundry –I needed something! – but I also researched its origins, trying to find its actual cost.

Pretty soon I’d convinced myself to start my own business – never mind I hadn’t worked in business for over 10 years!

High quality, affordable cashmere – my wardrobe needed it! – but more importantly, I thought what I wanted was representative: maybe other women had spent days shopping at the best stores, frustrated. Maybe they even needed it due to sensitive skin, like me.

I contacted a mill in Scotland (the research I mentioned above), my husband helped with a website, and just a week after receiving my first shipment from Scotland, my first order came in: a twin set in periwinkle blue.

I was surprised, even thrilled.

Things were slow at first (I stored inventory in a room next to my home office.) But one order led to the next and then… Real Simple Magazine called! But that’s a story for another time.

A few years later I opened my first store, surprising everyone – most of all myself.

Looking back, you could almost say I found my way into the business the way people say you find your way into anything that makes good sense! What I had was one really good idea. But I learned that when you’re starting a business, good ideas are the key to sustainable growth and long-term success!

Store Sale for 2 Days only : Sept 30 – Oct 1

Dear Friends:Rita

As many of you know, I have closed the Isle of Skye Retail Store while I continue my rehabilitation for my broken femur. My surgeons have told me it will take a full year to rehab, and I take them at their word.

During this time, I continue to have the Isle of Skye Cashmere website open.

I know my Cincinnati customers prefer to come to the store, so I have decided to open for my valued customers. My store will be open for a Special Sale , Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 from 11am – 5:30pm. All Isle of Skye Cashmere sweaters will be on sale at 40% off. My other merchandise will be on sale at 50% off.

This will be a great opportunity to stock up on Christmas gifts!

In addition, I have invited ThRedheads and Girl with Pearl ( from
Cleveland) to join in this sale.

ThRedHeads offers “Men’s formalwear with Flair. Tux shirts with a
Twist and gorgeous cumberbund sets.” All ThRedHeads merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

Girl with Pearl offers “Luxe pearls, pendants, gemstones, lizard
purses, buckles and more.” All Girl with Pearl merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone! I miss you all!

Rita Jones

Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45243

Tailoring Is the Secret of a Well-Dressed Woman

tailored blazer cashmere isle of skye sweatersAlterations have the power to turn an okay garment and transform it into something that looks like it was made just for you. In this time of “fast fashion” and disposable clothing, many women don’t want to invest the money in a high-quality garment that doesn’t fit them correctly. One of the fantastic things that we do here at Isle of Skye Cashmere is offer free alterations on garments bought in the store.

I highly recommend taking the time to tailor your clothes so they fit you like a glove. Although proper fit is the primary reason for tailoring, alterations can also help to modernize your clothes or update them to line up with your evolving sense of style. One of the most common garments that need to be tailored to ensure a correct fit are blazers. Our blazers that are made with Loro Piana cashmere are beautiful – but with proper tailoring, they become extraordinary! Our seamstress, Chanta, has many years of experience working with these fantastic blazers.

Tailoring your clothes can help you cultivate a wardrobe filled with things that you love to wear! We tailor clothes bought in the store as well as clothes bought elsewhere. We’d love to help you perfect your wardrobe.

Bree
Isle of Skye Cashmere
(513) 271-2589
Wed-Fri: 10am-5pm
Sat: 10am-4pm