Get the Blues

Boutique Denim Sales Thrive with Smart Retailing
By Laura Raines

Beija-Flor Jeans

Beija-Flor Jeans

“Women came late to the jeans market, but now they are driving its explosion and innovation—new technologies, processes and fibers,” says Kathy Moca, co-founder and owner of Beija-Flor Jeans. “Denim is here to stay.” If you’ve been avoiding selling denim, it’s time to jump in.

Here are some expert tips:

Know your customer
“You need to know ages, lifestyles, demographics and what they value,” says Marlo Williams, sales director at Level 99. Are they interested in cutting-edge trends, comfort, fit, durability, price, eco-friendly products?

Deliver a premium shopping experience
“Denim is about individuality and finding that perfect style and fit. To survive, a retailer has to make a connection with the customer and establish a rapport,” says Moca. “Be prepared to educate them on the product’s uniqueness and how it is made.” Make it easy, fun and satisfying to shop for jeans to beat the online competition. “It’s important to be knowledgeable,” says Linda Del Percio, marketing director, French Dressing Jeans. “Trained fit specialist staff can save a shopper a lot of time by suggesting the silhouettes and styles that complement her body type.”

French Dressing Jeans

French Dressing Jeans

Research companies before you go to market
There are many options in every price point. You might try several price points to see what sells. Compare manufacturing technologies, range of styles and sizes, your initial investment and the level of customer service. What support will you get from a brand’s in-store collateral materials (posters, tags, signage), advertising and use of social media?

Start small
Buy the basics and manufacturers’ top sellers that work for your customers. “We make dark denim, black and white without a lot of destruction and bling year round, because those are wardrobe staples,” says Moca. “You can make mistakes with colors. Play it safe to start.”

Inventory often and reorder
Jeans are a replenishment item. Make sure you have all sizes in stock.

Display flat
“Hanging and storing in cubbies is denim suicide,” says John Williams. “Place jeans half-folded on a table, so that shoppers can touch and respond to how great it feels.”

For more information: Beija-Flor Jeans – beijaflorjeans.com, 864.631.1563; French Dressing Jeans – frenchdressingjeans.com, 404.523.3267; and Level 99 – level99jeans.com, 404.749.4655.

Images courtesy of Beija-Flor Jeans and French Dressing Jeans.

Bling it On!

By Poorima Apte

Sparkle sells. Even better, the endless variety of jewelry options out there — from Swarovski to synthetics — is malleable enough for practically every budget and every taste. For retailers, it’s a sure-fire way to ring up sales.

Bauble Basics

Designs by Liza Kim

Designs by Liza Kim

For true sparkle connoisseurs, Swarovski crystals make the cut. Jewelry designer Lorren Bell of Deluxe by Lorren Bell, says the quality is assured and that the crystals can be incorporated into both high-end, timeless pieces and everyday fashions. Also look for glass crystals, semi-precious stones and synthetic cabochons, says Rose Fritch, lead jewelry designer at Sorrelli, who adds that the possibilities with a large set of materials in various colors are endless. Liza Kim of Designs by Liza Kim says cubic zirconia is another popular option for sparkle and the array of colors can work to accommodate a variety of styles and base materials.

Heavy Metal
All that dazzle needs a firm base on which to rest and a variety of metals, some coated to look like the real thing (think gold and silver), do just that. Popular materials include copper since its malleability makes it easy to shape; it’s usually resistant to corrosion; and it develops a green patina, which is desirable depending on the artist’s design. Edgard Nieves at Sassy South Jewelry says rhodium is another popular metal base.

Sorelli

Sorelli

Trendy and Timeless
Exactly what styles are trending? The word across the board: tassels. Fritch suggests using chains and cords together and mixing colors and metal together. The classics — hoop earrings, stacked bracelets, rings — are always in fashion. Just look for updated versions with a twist.

For more information: Designs by Liza Kim, designsbylizakim.com, 866.673.4844; Lorren Bell: Deluxe by Lorren Bell, lorrenbell.com, 214.651.0110; Sassy South Jewelry, sassysouth.com, 404.586.0045; Sorrelli, sorrelli.com, 877.659.4374.

Images courtesy of Designs by Liza Kim and Sorrelli.


Attention Registered Buyers!
In addition to regular weekday hours, Building 3 will be open for buyers and their guests, and exhibitor guests with showroom appointments, on the following dates:

Friday, November 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 5, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Regular AmericasMart Admissions Policies will apply. Extended hours parking is $15 per vehicle, paid in advance. Please visit our website for information about AmericasMart’s policies regarding admissions credentials, guests and children.

Not a Registered Buyer?
You can shop our Fine Jewelry, Fashion Accessories and Apparel Showrooms this holiday season through our Corporate Friday program. Participating apparel showrooms will be open December 4, 11, and 18 in Building 3 with “Samples” signs displayed from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

To obtain a Corporate Friday courtesy pass, participants must be 18 years or older and present a business ID card or a payroll stub with your full name along with a valid governments-issued photo identification. Registration for Corporate Friday ends at 5 p.m. For more information call 404.220.2446.

Local Love with Larry Lucas

Larry Lucas has been a familiar face on the AmericasMart campus since the 1970s. Lucas recently retired from his eponymous showroom, Larry Lucas, Inc. after nearly 40 years. Prior to his wholesale career, Lucas owned a successful 10,000-square-foot gift and floral shop in Sandy Springs, Ga. He will periodically share his expertise with us on the AmericasMart blog.


This holiday season, consumers can positively impact their communities by choosing to shop local. Studies over the past ten years have repeatedly shown that a greater percentage of every dollar spent in locally owned businesses stays within the community. Shifting just 10 percent of spending to independent shops rather than chain stores can significantly boost an areas economy and create jobs.

American Express’ Small Business Saturday initiative on November 28 helps kick off the holiday shopping season and encourages consumers to spend their dollars at small AMEX_Shop_Small_Street_CMYK_SOLID_Logobusinesses. Make the most of your participation and energize your community by organizing a street party. Ask other store owners to put a table display in front of their shops, suggest restaurants serve samples to passersby and organize activities for kids to make the day more of an event. Be active in rallying other merchants, your Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber and elected officials to get involved. You can make it happen!

It’s not just about the holidays. Help keep your local economy thriving throughout the year by purchasing supplies from area retailers rather than big box stores and hiring independent firms for supporting business services like accounting and cleaning. You can also have an effect by carrying products that are mostly – if not all – American-made. Then look for regionally produced pieces and, finally, get hyper-local by purchasing from artisans within your own city.

shop local eco denizenLet people know what you are doing to make a difference. Reach out to your local newspaper, radio and TV stations with your message and send information about your shopping events and initiatives to churches, schools and clubs.

Helpful Holiday Tips for a Successful Selling Season

Are you ready for the holiday selling season? Mercedes Gonzales of Global Purchasing Group has some tips to help set you apart from the competition.KO-Ice-Princess-Christmas

The U.S. public isn’t necessarily money poor, they are time poor!  They need a real reason to shop in your store that isn’t a guilt trip. We have come up with a few customer service friendly tips that are cost effective and will help you stand out from the price wars and the crowds.

  1. Carry unique products that are limited and well-crafted

This means buying from emerging designers. Look for them on the Premiere area of Floor 2 during market. And ask your market rep who is new and answer those emails from an unheard of designer.

  1. Offer free gift wrapping

This is a small investment in the purchasing of the wrapping paper and supplies. You can have your favorite local charity volunteers (I like animal shelters) do the wrapping for a donation to their cause. You are building good will in the spirit of the season and offering a service with a low cost.

  1. Accept phone orders and offer local same day delivery

Really make this known by having signage in the store and posting it daily on your social media. It is totally fine to charge for this service. You will find this to be most popular during the last few days. If you get to watch the movie, “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” there is a great part where on Christmas Eve, right before the store was to close, John Lennon (I know) calls and wants some fur coat bought over to the house. The poor sales guys waited for HOURS while John and Yoko went in to another room to look at the coats. Turns out they bought 400k worth of fur coats. It’s just an example of going the extra mile.

  1. Offer free Wi-Fi so the significant other can watch the game

I still don’t understand why so few stores offer this. It’s at no cost to have an addition password for the public. If the significant and/or the kids are occupied, the customer will feel more at ease to shop.

  1. Set up a children’s area with videos playing

This doesn’t have to be a fancy set up – it can even be a small sitting area with IPads. Most kids will use “mom’s” phone so they really just need a place to sit. Bean bag chairs are great and can be easily stored during off season.

  1. Extend and have flexible return policies

Oh the bitter pill of independent retail. You should take back returns. A fair and competitive policy is unworn with tags can be returned for a full refund within 14 days. It’s a math game, which you will win by having a competitive policy. OK, ready? For the month of December, I would extend it to 30 days to make a return for a full refund.

  1. Turn your staff into trained wardrobe and gift experts

You should have quick training every week during the holiday season. Come up with gift ideas for the most challenging person. Make it a contest to see what “forgotten” person gets a gift this year. I bought super warm gloves for the man at the transfer station at the suggestion of a sales person at my local boutique. Interesting it’s a women’s boutique that only offers men’s gifts during the season. Oh and I don’t even like the guy.

  1. Offer extended shopping hours

Again it’s a math game. You MUST have extended hours at least two nights a week during the season. You should be able to cover the extra payroll with the additional sales. Make sure you promote your extended hours.

  1. Keep a stash of universal cell phone chargers

You will be the place to go for this service the investment can be as small as buying a few different types of chargers to buying one of those locker types.

  1. Offer homemade holiday cookies (make them festive)

Have the team make their own family cookie and have a “bake off” with the winner getting a ribbon and photo to be displayed in the store. Or make a donation to a local group (church ladies make the best cookies) and have them make a batch for the store.

  1. Surprise them with a small gift with purchase

There are many accessories available on the 7th Floor that can be bought for $1. Place them in a nice organza bag for a great “wow” factor after a purchase.

  1. Host fun events like having a Santa or photo booth

Make a small investment in renting the costume or you might be able to hire a “Santa” to come to the store. Take photos on your smart phone and offer to email them to the customer…thus also collecting emails.

  1. Offer coat and bag checks

I don’t understand why more stores don’t offer this service. If I am sweating under my layers of clothing, I am not going to stay very long in the store. Use a simple deck of cards and clothing pins system and the stock room for this.

It might go without saying, but make sure you are fully staffed during peak hours and that everyone is properly trained to check out a customer.

I’ll be speaking on Saturday, October 17 at Atlanta Apparel about more ideas and sales training during Market.

How to Run a Successful Retail Shop
Presented by Mercedes Gonzalez of Global Purchasing Group
11 a.m.  |  
Floor 11, 11-W357
9 out of 10 retailers don’t make it past their first year. This crash course was designed from an 8-hour workshop to highlight the most important key factors you didn’t know you needed to know.

Creating the Ultimate Sales Team
Presented by Mercedes Gonzalez of Global Purchasing Group
3:30 p.m.  |  
Floor 11, 11-W357
Your sales team is the backbone of your store. Learn the five key training points every successful retailer should know for closing and increasing your sales, and hear how to avoid Internet showrooming.
mercedes-gonzales-300x193

Welcome to VOW 2015

vow banner
VOW New World of Bridal opens its doors today to buyers from across the country. With unmatched showrooms, runways and essential trends this is the bridal market not to miss. Here are just a few of the top brands you’ll find at Market this week.

BRIDAL

  • Watters and WTOO
    Watters is a treasured name in the bridal wear industry thanks to hand-stitched details, luxurious fabrics, and innovative designs. They’ve been designing wedding dresses for 30 years, and continue to evolve with changing bridal trends and style influences. WTOO offers affordable bridal gown and bridesmaids options. (12-E318)
  • Enzoani
    Merging traditional and modern European styles into exquisitely handcrafted gowns, Enzoani is a young, vibrant company that focuses on cutting edge design demonstrating a full understanding of high fashion with rich detail. (12-N100B)
  • Justin Alexander
    Inspired by the 1950s and 60s, Justin Alexander offers the finest vintage and couture wedding dresses updated with modern twists to make them perfect for contemporary brides. (12-W367)
  • Badgley Mischka Bridal
    Design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka have made their name over the past two decades with elegant, stylish, and wearable evening gowns and accessories. Now they’re dazzling the world of bridal with their signature style. (12-N100B)

Watters2EnzoaniJustin Alexanderbadgley mischka

SOCIAL
Saborama  ·  Tarik Ediz  ·  Terani  ·  Eleni Elias
SaboramaTarik EdizTeraniEleni Elias

MOTHER OF THE BRIDE
Nicole Bakti  ·  Kourosh  ·  Allure  ·  La Femme

atrium shot wide

Find all these lines and so much more September 16-18, 2015 at Atlanta Apparel.

Saying “I Do” In Style

Today, the Atlanta Apparel WORLD OF PROM Market comes to a close, which means that all eyes are on VOW | New World Of Bridal in September. This market will be focused on what’s new and next for all things bridal in 2016.

We’ve researched the trends to give you the latest information on what you can expect to see at Market and in stores for spring and summer of  2016. The trends include classic styles, with modern twists and unique details to make any bride stand out…


color

A Mix of Colors: It’s not just all white anymore… brides are straying away from the traditional white wedding gown, and going for something with a little more color. If you are in the market for a wedding dress today, you may find it hard to find an all white dress. We are seeing a lot of cream and off-white, as well as very light blue and even hints of black for a little bit of edge!


embellishments2

Expect Embellishments: Embellishments can make a bland dress beautiful in just seconds, and we have seen them all over the runway for 2016 bridal. Expect to see pearls and metallic stones gracing the bodes of many dresses.


feathers

Ruffles and Feathers: We’re seeing these features show up on the bottom half of many dresses, creating a more full look on something a little simple.


train

The Detachable Train: Many designers are bringing this trend back in a more fashionable and updated way, adding attachments to the sides and back of a more slim gown. Brides can easily remove the attachments for light-weight reception attire.


floral

Fancy Florals: Ranging floral patterns are covering the designs of wedding dresses for 2016. Whether it’s a colorful mix, or a detailed embellishment, you are sure to see this trend walking down the aisle.


backless

Showing a Little Skin: No back? No problem. Brides are loving the chance to show off a little skin with a complete backless dress, while still keeping a classic silhouette in the front.


offtheshoulder

Off the Shoulder: A huge trend in the fashion industry right now is the off-the-shoulder look on tops and dresses. This style shows off the color bone and also allows brides to show off some skin without going overboard. It’s trendy and classic, all at the same time.


neckline

Plunging Neckline: The popular, revealing style extends down to the lower waist. This style can be paired with anything from long-sleeves to a strapless, sweet-heart shape. Mesh fabric can also be paired with this style, creating a illusion of more bare skin being shown.


Image 1 | 2 | Image 3 | Image 4 | Image 5 | Image 6 | Image 7 | Image 8

We look forward to seeing you at VOW | New World Of Bridal, taking place on Wednesday, September 16 – Friday, September 18, 2015.

Making Prom Dreams A Reality

Tips for giving back from TLC’s Say Yes to the Prom

syttp15 m 08 monte advice 106 lrProm can be the highlight of a teenager’s year full of celebrations and the opportunity to wear that oh-so-perfect-dress.

TLC is helping to make that perfect prom night more attainable for deserving high school students with its Say Yes to the Prom initiative which brings dresses, tuxedos, makeup, accessories, style advisors and mentorship opportunities to young men and women across the country.

syttp15 ss 13 group 014“Say Yes to the Prom continues to give participants the opportunity to feel empowered and confident and to build valuable relationships with mentors that can grow and develop for years to come,” says Adria Alpert Romm, Chief Human Resources and Global Diversity Officer, Discovery Communications, parent company to TLC. “By pairing like-minded organizations across the industry, we will harness the collective power of our assets, from on-air talent to local relationships and employee resource groups, to create meaningful change across the country. As a mission-driven company, Discovery is committed to giving back to the communities where we live and work, and Say Yes to the Prom makes a real impact for deserving girls across the country.”

Head to TLC.com/SayYesToTheProm for more information on how you can support the initiative, and don’t forget to stop by TLC’s Say Yes to the Prom cocktail reception on Floor 12, N-300 on Thursday, August 6, 2015, from 3:30– 5:30 p.m.

Looking to also make an impact in your local community? Try these additional tips for giving back:

syttp15 denver 14 runway 557Pre-owned Pop-Up. Create a pop-up shop with gently used dresses staffed by your sales team. Give the dresses away or charge a small fee. Host the event at a specific time in your store or see if there is another location close-by.

Dress Return. Encourage your customers to bring their old dresses back to the store to donate to a charity or to use in your own pre-owned pop-up shop. Offer a small percentage off new gowns for old gowns that are donated.

Prom Tip Jar. Place a tip jar by your register for customers to drop in their change. Use the money to help off-set the cost of buying dresses for deserving girls in the community.

Host a VIP Night. Create a special event that lets shoppers preview your prom gowns before they officially hit the floor. Charge admission to the event and donate the proceeds.

Show Your Colors. Research colors that are associated with different philanthropic organizations. Donate a percentage of the sale of dresses in that color to the charity.

WORLD OF PROM takes place August 6-10 at AmericasMart Atlanta. RSVP Now.