5 Tips for Incorporating Resort into Your Product Mix

By Christina O’Flaherty

From a glowing sunset to crashing waves, Resort wear captures the essence and experience of unforgettable travel getaways.

“Every buyer in a boutique is looking for uniqueness and Resort wear in general is the most unique category out there,” says Molly Peterson, brand manager for Walker & Wade. “It’s really open to interpretation and that can bring a lot of life to the floor even if you just incorporate pops onto your floor all year round. It adds that sparkle and freshness that buyers love and that boutiques pride themselves on.”

AmericasMart Atlanta

All For Color

Next week at Atlanta Apparel, Thursday, October 6 – Monday, October 10, you can see the top Resort lines in person and source from their newest inspirations.

“Our latest collection ‘Welcome to the Tropics’ was inspired by our love for warm weather travel,” says Alexandra Chauss, vice president sales & marketing for All For Color. “We wanted to combine the colors and excitement that one would experience when traveling to exotic tropical destinations. This inspiration led us to incorporate a wide range of color into our collection; you will see everything from ocean blue to citrus lime. We took a lot of inspiration from lush tropical landscapes and perfect summer sunsets. We want the customer to be able to get the feel of the ultimate vacay every day.”

AmericasMart Atlanta

DEI

Product inspiration for DEI’s Sea Life Collection came from the coastal community of Cape Cod, MA, explains Marketing Coordinator for DEI, Melissa Ellis. “Surrounded by some of the best beaches in the U.S., Cape Cod is a popular vacation destination. We are inspired by summers spent at local beaches. The creative design team often utilizes the beautiful scenery for onsite catalog photography.”

In addition to their inspirations, we asked representatives from four leading lines to share the inside scoop on their top tips for how you can include Resort in your inventory for added success this season.

1. Tell a story with a vignette.
“Make a dedicated section for Resort styles in the store and tell a story to the customer. Since Resort falls during a time when the weather is still cold, it’s important to show the customer what these pieces are meant for; warm weather escapes,” explains Alexandra Chauss of All For Color. “Create a vignette with complimentary styles and accessories to get the customer in the mood to shop for their upcoming vacation.”

2. Diversify your style selection with versatile pieces: tunics, dresses, shorts, etc.

Atlanta Apparel

Walker & Wade

“Resort apparel should be loose fitting and comfortable. Versatility is very important. Kaftans are great for a day at the beach and can be paired with pants for evening attire. Sunglass readers and sarongs are a great extension of Resort apparel,” says Melissa Ellis of DEI.

“Our mantra is beach to table. Our looks take you from day to night—throughout your day and then have you looking completely chic for any evening or event,” says Molly Peterson of Walker & Wade. “It doesn’t have to be put in just a Resort wear box. You can merchandise it with your denim, your white tanks, or throw a jean jacket over a top. A lot of things can be worn as dresses or as tunics.”

3. Don’t forget shoes and accessories to appeal to a greater audience.
“Women have an average of 10 handbags and 40 pairs of shoes in their closet,” says Stephanie A. Wolf of Jack Rogers. “Have you ever heard a woman say, ‘I have too many shoes, handbags and jewelry’? Never! It’s the trifecta to completing a great outfit. Many times a woman just needs to freshen up her Resort clothing and new accessories do the trick. It makes her feel like a million bucks!”

4. Consider which Resort locations are nearby and select inventory to match your area’s aesthetic.
“Bright colors, pineapples and palm leaves do well in the South. Seashells and sea creatures are popular on all coasts. Nautical ropes and anchors are a staple in any lake or ocean region,” says Melissa Ellis of DEI. Keep in mind that other countries have different vibes too. For instance, Bermuda is preppy while Jamaica is more relaxed.

5. Stock quality items but stay on trend.
“We see women loving quality and paying for it as long as they can wear them with many styles and to many occasions,” says Stephanie A. Wolf of Jack Rogers. “We are seeing a large uptrend for boho and it is crossing over into many brands and style categories. In the coming years it will influence the design of clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry. Coupled with the more casual work and lifestyles of millennials, this boho chic look is more and more mainstream.”

Join us for October Atlanta Apparel to see these Resort lines and many, many more. Visit AmericasMart.com/Apparel for more information and to register today.

For more information: All For Color – 772.219.7584, allforcolorwholesale.com; DEI – 800.430.5665, denniseast.com; Walker & Wade – 917.882.1459 walkerandwade.com;
Jack Rogers – jackrogersusa.com.

Images courtesy of All For Color, DEI and Walker & Wade.

5 Bridal Trends to Watch

By Christina O’Flaherty

Experience exquisite creations come to life September 21 – 23 in Atlanta during VOW  |  New World of Bridal and see some of the latest trends making headlines. What looks will we see brides walking down the aisles with this season?

3D Elements
Extravagant 3D elements are a key trend, with everything from torso embellishments to detailed skirts to full dress applications in statement-making materials on hand.

3d

Romance Couture, Black Label Couture, Romance Couture

 

Fresh Florals
From tiny embroidery and detailed botanicals to bold splashes of flowers, floral patterns in every conceivable shape and style are a defining element for wedding dresses.

floral

Sherri Hill, Andrea and Leo, Precious Formals

 

Cascading Ruffles
Romance is embodied in exquisite layers of sheer organza, lightweight tulle and silk georgette aided by horsehair to retain a cascading effect.

ruffles

Zoey Grey, Enzoani, Allure Bridals

 

Ethereal Sheers
Barely-there sheer overlays create soft silhouettes when paired with illusion straps and sleeves, plunging necklines, and adorned details.

sheer

Aime Couture by Maggie & Shirley, Calla Blanche, Enzoani

 

Hints of Color
The softest hints of color—ivory and blush hues to sweet blues and pinks—lend this ongoing trend a delicate refresh this season.

color

Eleni Elias, PolyUSA, Zoey Grey

 

See all the spectacular trends from the industry’s leading designers for bridal and social occasion on one stage, Wednesday, September 21, for the VOW Fashion Show at 6:15 p.m. (Pre-party at 5:45 p.m.) on the Floor 2 Fashion Runway.

 


Trend analysis information sourced in part from WGSN. All images are copyrighted by AmericasMart® Atlanta.

The History of Who Buys and Why

By Mercedes Gonzalez, owner Global Purchasing Companies

Mercedes GonzalezIt’s not just about trends
Besides knowing what is on-trend, fashion retailers need to understand consumer behavior. Knowing why people buy, what they buy, and how much they are willing to spend (known as consumer price resistance), means understanding where consumers’ values truly lie.

For example, during the financial crisis 2008, people were losing their homes and jobs, but designer shoes, which start at $800, never dipped in sales. Consumers gave up expenses like going out for lunch or taking taxis, but they were not giving up their shoes. They even started shopping at fast fashion retailers, like Zara, and pairing $100 dresses with designer shoes and bags. And guess what? That high-low chic worked and looked great.

But was high-low chic an iconic look of the new millennium? If we take a close look at the whole time period, we see that the common denominator was actually comfort. Every year there was a new crisis: Y2K, 9/11, SARS, the war in Iraq and Anthrax. You get the picture. In times of crisis, people look for comfort; in their clothing (bamboo fabrics), in their footwear (Crocs) and in food. People stopped going out as much and entertained at home. That became the new normal.

Seeing the future
As we examine fashion in this decade, consumers are becoming fatigued on many fronts. Fast fashion is slowly but steadily losing traction. People are tired of walking into a room where everyone is wearing almost the same thing. They are dissatisfied with poor craftsmanship and thinking more about social responsibility when making purchases. They are spending dollars on well-crafted and limited-production items that have an interesting design direction.

Another area of fatigue is the sad or guilt story. Consumers do value items that are ethically made, but there is concern for how genuine these claims are. Even Made-in-the-U.S.A. claims have come into question over items like watches that are assembled in the U.S. but contain parts made overseas.

Which brings me to consumer price resistance. As a rule, it doesn’t matter what things cost you to buy, it only matters what the consumer is willing to pay. There are many factors that go into that judgement, especially the story behind the product. Today’s consumer sees buzz words like “fair trade,” “eco friendly” and “sustainable,” and labels with the maker’s name and photo as the new normal and expects them to be value-adds that don’t correlate to an increase in price. Think about an organic tomato merchandised at Whole Foods in a wood cart with locally made, fresh mozzarella and a hand-painted sign of the farm’s name. You pay top dollar for it because of the story you perceive from the display. Now did you know that Walmart also carries organic tomatoes but at probably half the price?

My end-of-the-year predictions
Boutique retail businesses are thriving. U.S. consumers are not necessarily money-poor, but time-poor. They expect an expert to attend to them during the shopping experience and will pay for it. Investing in properly training your sales staff will be important.
It’s also an election year, and sales typically drop more than normal during the October before the vote. Plan fun, in-store events to help draw customers in, like a how-to workshop that shows them how a favorite summer dress can be layered up for use in winter. I also warn you not to post the slightest hint of anything political.

On the flip side, November should really be an excellent month. Remember, retail is a form of therapy. Consumers who feel relieved from the election will…guess what…go shopping to celebrate, and people who feel sad and depressed over the election, well, they’ll go shopping too. Plan your OTB accordingly.

One last note. Don’t guilt consumers into a purchase. Give them real reasons to buy as opposed to making them feel like they’re doing charity work. Extended store hours, local delivery service, exclusive or limited-edition items, gift wrapping, are just a few touches that bring real value to shopping at your store.

Hear Mercedes Gonzalez speak at August Atlanta Apparel. Visit AmericasMart.com to add her seminars to your Market Plan:
Thursday, August 4:
10:30 a.m. ǀ Capturing the Social Occasion Market
3:30 p.m. ǀ Retail Math

Friday, August 5:
10:30 a.m. ǀ Sweet 15 (Quinceañera)

Room to Grow

Step by step success with a Florida children’s retailer
By Jessica Harlan

When Kelly Leigh couldn’t find the clothing styles she wanted for her son, she did what any entrepreneurial-minded mom might only dream of doing: she opened her own children’s clothing store.

Getting started
She opened Kelly and Kayden in Windermere, Fla., in fall 2015, and quickly discovered that running her own store was far different than managing others. “Working for other industries, I knew my customer and I knew what our brand and focus was,” says Leigh. “But when I started this new adventure, it was unknown.”

But not entirely unfamiliar: she’d been dressing her niece, now 12, as well as friends’ kids for years, and as a new mom herself, she had a specific idea of what design aesthetic she wanted in her shop. “My approach is fashion forward and sophisticated,” she says. “Nothing too frilly, no cartoon characters and no visible branding. It’s clothes that you could buy for great family photos.”

She also has to take into account Florida’s unique climate and customer base. “We have so many people from all different backgrounds,” says Leigh. Plus, she has to choose comfortable fabrics for the hot, humid Florida weather: cotton or other soft fabrics and sleeveless styles are an emphasis. Because she likes to be able to touch and personally inspect everything she carries, most items are bought at AmericasMart and other gift markets.

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Finding the right mix
Leigh has worked hard to finesse her assortment of merchandise. Her layette department is 10 percent; baby products such as toiletries, towels and diaper bags is 5 percent; boys’ and girls’ clothing is 50 percent; jewelry and accessories is 20 percent; shoes is 5 percent; and toys is 10 percent.

Originally her vision was to stock clothes in sizes from newborn to size ten. “Kids have such an opinion around the age of 10, and I didn’t want to address that.” But her big girls’ area has already doubled, and she’s buying sizes up to 16 at the request of her customers, who are looking for cute age-appropriate clothing.

Another area that has grown was hair bows. As a mom to a boy, Leigh was skeptical when her sales rep extorted her to carry them. “She told me that stores can pay their rent just on hair bow sales.” But she listened and now her famous “hair bow bar” stretches seven feet.

Planning for the future
As far as pricing goes, Leigh describes her range as “fairly priced.” Merchandise starts at around $5 and goes up to several hundred dollars for higher-end items like formal wear or communion dresses. “I think if you have a wide range of prices, you don’t single out a particular buyer,” she says.

While toys only comprise about a tenth of her merchandise assortment, they’re an important component. “Toys are easy gifts, and they complement the buying people do here,” says Leigh. She carries educational and high quality brands, such as Melissa & Doug and Jellycat plush animals. And the toys make for fun cross merchandising.

Currently Leigh is her store’s sole employee, but she has big plans for the future. “I see our store becoming one of the leading children’s stores in central Florida,” she says. She’s hoping to have an online shopping platform up and running this summer. Other than that, she plans to “perfect what we have” before taking any more steps to grow.

Read more about Kelly and Kayden in the July 2016 Market Magazine.

For information visit kellyandkayden.com or call 407.217.6902.
Photography by Forever Wild Images.

The Top 10 Most Anticipated Trends for 2016 National Prom Market

Style expert Carson Kressley might not have attended his prom, but he sure does know a thing or two about what we can expect to see on dance floors and pageant stages this upcoming spring. The charming TV personality was the resident tastemaker at the 2015 WORLD OF PROM Market at AmericasMart Atlanta.

Carson scoured the Market in search of the best new looks and hottest trends for prom, pageant, quinceañera, homecoming and social occasion in 2016.

Bring a bit of Carson’s je ne sais quoi back to your store with these style suggestions inspired by the style expert’s favorite items from the 2015 national prom Market:

Feathers

Feathers

Fashionistas of a feather flock together. Feather details add a delicate whimsy and tons of movement to gowns. Look for them in a variety of colors on the skirts of both long and short styles.

Geometric Patterns

geometric patterns (6)

The WORLD OF PROM runway looked like the world’s most chic math class with geometric prints appearing throughout the show. Whether as an accent piece or the dominant design of the dress, these bold prints solve the equation for a memorable prom gown.

Florals

florals (3)

While a floral frock may be a mainstay for spring fashion collections, the look is a fresh for social occasion. The floral representations are as diverse as the blooms they portray ranging from printed fabrics, to appliques and beading.

Metallics

metallics (3)

No spotlights are needed with these shiny and shimmery dresses. New shades such as rose gold, pewter and platinum join classic sparklers gold and silver. Bold ladies go head-to-toe shine while others use it as a show-stopping detail.

Fringe

fringe (2)

The ready-to-wear fringe trend has made it to social occasion. When this dance-floor-friendly element is paired with posh fabrics and the right accessories, there is no doubt the look is just right for a special evening.

White

white, crop top

The wedding day is not the only opportunity for a show-stopping white gown. Youthful silhouettes, fun embellishments and party-ready accessories confirm that the wearer is going to the dance rather than going to the chapel.

Crop Tops

crop top, pastels

The crop top has been on trend for a while now and continues strong for 2016. Designers are updating the look with a crop top/cut outs hybrid that still shows some skin, but keeps the dress as one continuous piece.

1970s Glam

70s glam

Disco fever abounds with 1970s-inspired looks. Dancing queens make a statement with cut-outs, sparkles and party-ready pants-suits. Make sure the styling is modern to keep the look classy instead of costume.

Lace

new lace

Ladies are turning to geometric patterns in lieu of the traditional floral lace that has dominated the social occasion run way for the past few seasons. Blooms are used in a color-on-color technique that adds an interesting texture to gowns of all styles.

Pastels

Pastels, lace

These sweet and feminine shades take it up a notch with head-turning elements. Crop tops, embellishments and even head-to-toe sequins in these heavenly hues yield modern looks that are perfect for spring celebrations.

The WORLD OF PROM market will take place from August 4-8.

Going Global: 7 Tips

What you need to know about working with international vendors
By Jessica Harlan

Crossing the borders and exploring the offerings of manufacturers and distributors from all over the world is sure to give your store a distinctive product mix. But it can be daunting to work with a supplier from another country where the currency, language, customs and standards might be different from yours.

But establishing an international roster of suppliers is worth the extra effort to find unusual products and to incorporate trends into your assortment even before they start catching on in the U.S.

Insider Info
AmericasMart is the perfect place to find international suppliers; you can travel the world while staying on one interconnected campus. We spoke with some of the global exhibitors at The July Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market to get their best tips on how American retailers can best work with suppliers from other countries. Here’s what they have to say:

Image courtesy of Eightmood

Image courtesy of Eightmood

1. “A vendor who has gone through the hurdles of entering the U.S. Market is determined,” says Fredrik Axelsson, sales director for the U.S. for Eightmood, a home furnishings design company based in Sweden. “If you see what you like, start a dialogue, establish a partnership, place an order, and grow together.”

2. During an in-person conversation, be sure to ask questions if you don’t understand, and don’t be afraid to summarize or restate the discussion to make sure everyone is on the same page.

3. Bring a tape measure – basic measurements might be different in other countries. Outside the United States, most countries use metric measurements, so having a tape measure (or downloading a conversion app on your smartphone) will allow you to translate sizes for your market.

4. The way products are designed or constructed might differ too, says John Goumas, sales and marketing vice president for Australian company OneWorld Collection. “In America, lampshades are mounted with harps and finials, and in Australia, our lamps are done the English way, with the shade that attaches to the base of the bulb.” While OneWorld has adapted, redesigning its lamps to reflect the American market, some products just might be different from what’s expected – and that’s part of what makes it unique.

Image courtesy of Evelyne Prélonge

Image courtesy of Evelyne Prélonge

5. Double check details about financial transactions to make sure there are no unexpected costs associated with your orders. “Make sure the price includes transport and duties,” says Marylou Altounian, brand manager for Evelyn Prélonge. She also recommends retailers make sure they can set up payment in U.S. dollars via bank transfer or credit cards.

Image courtesy of Tissage Art de Lys

Image courtesy of Tissage Art de Lys

6. Plan for longer delivery times. One of the challenges to working with an overseas source is that getting goods might take longer. Aureline Maillard, spokesperson for French company Tissage Art de Lys says her company typically proposes DDP delivery (Delivery Duty Paid) and does everything possible to limit the time it takes for orders to be delivered. Altounian also recommends double checking that quoted delivery time includes transport time, since sea freight can be as long as four weeks.

Image courtesy of Moe's Home Collection

Image courtesy of Moe’s Home Collection

7. Take advantage of a vendor’s offerings. At Moe’s Home Collection, a Canadian/American home furnishings company, the company can sell a retailer a whole room package, from the rug to the furniture to the lighting and decorative accessories, and even has available photography for retailers to use in promotions. Inquire about promotional materials and bundled assortments to help give your imported merchandise a boost.

Read more tips for working with international vendors in the July 2016 Market Magazine.

For more information: Eightmood, Inc. – eightmood.com, 561.801.5400; Evelyne Prélonge – evelyne-prelonge.com, +33 1 85 08 59 55; Moe’s Home Collection – moeshomecollection.com, 800.967.9942; OneWorld Collection – oneworldcollection.com, 630.870.4799; Tissage Art de Lys – artdelys.com, +33 3 20 75 42 10

The Daily Strut Sponsored by Esley Collection

By Briar Davis

During the June Atlanta Apparel, The Daily Strut sponsored by Esley Collection showcased a vibrant young contemporary collection of pieces that were perfect for any occasion. The collection included classic silhouettes, a bold use of patterns, feminine flair and other timely trends. Watch for the up and coming looks this season: denim, fringe, lace and more.

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