Ferber, Edna. "FANNY HERSELF", Frederick A. Stokes Co., Crowell Publishing, New York, 1917

pp. 147, 148 - Excerpt 1

transcription of a book excerpt


"We want you to talk. We have time for just three- quarters of an hour of uninterrupted conversation. If you've got anything to say you ought to say it in that time. Now, Miss Brandeis, what's the trouble with the Haynes- Cooper infants' wear department ?"

And Fanny Brandeis took a long breath.

"The trouble with the Haynes- Cooper infants' wear department is that it doesn't understand women. There are millions of babies born every year. An incredible number of them are mail order babies. I mean by that they are born to tired, clumsy- fingered immigrant women, to women in mills and factories, to women on farms, to women in remote villages. They're the type who use the mail order method. I've learned this one thing about that sort of woman: she may not want that baby, but either before or after it's born she'll starve, and save, and go without proper clothing, and even beg, and steal to give it clothes--clothes with lace on them, with ribbon on them, sheer white things. I don't know why that's true, but it is. Well, we're not reaching them. Our goods are unattractive. They're packed and shipped unattractively. Why, all this department needs is a little psychology--and some lace that doesn't look as if it had been chopped out with an ax. It's the little, silly, intimate things that will reach these women. No, not silly, either. Quite understandable. She wants fine things for her baby, just as the silver- spoon mother does. The thing we'll have to do is to give her silver- spoon models at pewter prices."

"It can't be done," said Slosson.

"Now, wait a minute, Slosson," Fenger put in, smoothly. "Miss Brandeis has given us a very fair general statement. We'll have some facts. Are you prepared to give us an actual working plan?"