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)

Resort Wear 2016 at Atlanta Apparel

When you think of resort wear, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Maybe you and your girlfriends lying on the beach in your most recent bikini purchase, sipping cocktails with your flip flops dangling off the side of your beach chair. Well, we have good news, resort wear does constitute the latest in bikini style, but it also includes a multitude of other styles, as well. Think loose maxi dresses, playful matching separates, oversized straw hats and even a bright colored pair of heels. When it comes to resort wear, it’s all about being on trend with the latest fashionable, summer pieces that make you feel effortless and simple, yet extremely chic.

We’ve gathered photos from our previous Atlanta Apparel Daily Struts to show you exactly what resort wear can entail. Basically, there are no limits. It can get as fancy as a killer jumpsuit, or as laid back as a kimono thrown over a stylish bikini. Take note of the styles you favor and visit us next month at the Atlanta Apparel Market to bring your retail store only the latest in resort wear 2016.


Bright Colors

AWH_PHOTO-6739Bright colors are a must for resort wear, and this jumpsuit doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect piece to pack for your summer vacation that can be worn for dinner and drinks mixed with other neutral accents. With it’s loose fabric that flows as you walk, we guarantee this number will turn some heads.


Playful Prints

The palm print swept just about every retail store inAWH_PHOTO-6833 some shape or form this season, and we can see it sticking around. The print on this dress mixed with other bright colors adds a “wow” factor to the simple, white shift dress. Gladiator sandals or summer heels, you choose!


Effortless Bikini

AWH_PHOTO-4057While shopping for resort wear 2016, look for pieces that can be paired with a simple, neutral bikini. Fun kimonos like this one add the perfect touch and can be included in multiple other combinations in a day-to-day summertime wardrobe.


Accessorize Light

Don’t go over board on accessories for your AWH_PHOTO-4006collection of resort wear pieces. It’s important that you choose light and you choose well. Hats play a huge part in turning a casual look into something one-of-a-kind. When it comes to jewelry, go for lighter pieces that can be worn to the pool, or thrown on with a simple maxi dress.


Summer Elegance

AWH_PHOTO-4293We might have saved the best for last. This dress screams resort wear. The incorporated bright colors , “airy” fabric and low-cut neckline all compliment the dress so well.  This flattering look will be sure to get more than a few compliments. Pair with wedges and light jewels for a complete dinner look.


For styles like these and much more, visit Atlanta Apparel, taking place August 6 – 10, 2015.

Sweet 15

Tradition Reigns with Quinceañera

The Hispanic 15th birthday celebration known as Quinceañera commemorates a clear transformation in the lifestyle and concerns of young Latina women. The long-held downloadtradition of Quinceañera formally confers responsibility and maturity upon a young Latina. What does this mean for the formalwear retailer looking to tap into potential customers?

Participants’ countries of origin spanned the Spanish-speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere, all with substantial niches in the U.S. population. A study published on Latino resource ZonaLatina.com makes the case that marketing to this group is different from traditional teens. Traditional U.S. demographics lump ages 12-17 together, which goes against Latino culture wherein there is a distinct difference between ages 12-14 and 15-17. As examples, following the rite of passage that is Quinceañera, girls significantly increase spending on beauty products, and their attitudes about perceived value in clothing shift away from peer influence.

Mori LeeIt’s critical to understand the components of the ceremony surrounding Quinceañera which traditionally begins with a religious ceremony followed by a reception. The festivities include food and music and often a choreographed waltz or dance performed by the honoree and her Court. She chooses special friends to participate in what is called the Court of Honor. Usually, these young people are her closest friends, brothers, sisters and cousins.The Quinceañera’s Court of Honor can include all young girls (called Dama), all young men (called Chambelán or Escorte or Galán) or a combination of both.

The Quinceañera traditionally wears a ball gown, with her Court dressed in gowns and tuxedos. Guests usually receive small tokens to commemorate the celebration, andAllure it’s customary for the honoree to receive a tiara, a cross or medal, a Bible or prayer book and rosary and a scepter.

To outfit the entire court as well as her family and guests, exhibitors at Atlanta Apparel are ready to showcase the latest styles in gown, tuxedos and accessories during August Market. Find everything to make the entire Quinceañera celebration one to remember for everyone.

 

Match much?

It’s no secret that the matching separates trend has been steadily making its way to front and center.  So, prepare to fill your closet with multiple sets of this easy, yet incredibly stylish duo for the upcoming seasons.  To top it all off, there isn’t much that the matching separates trend doesn’t work for — they look effortlessly chic for lunch dates, casual walks, nights out, traveling, and even lounging.

Don’t doubt the stylist combo just yet… Legendary music artist and fashion icon, Taylor Swift, seems to agree with us.  She has been rocking the trend left and right and was even the topic of a recent Teen Vogue article talking about her love for all things matchy matchy. They mentioned her gorgeous, yet affordable white and powder blue matching set that she wore on a lunch date with her beau, Calvin Harris.

While keeping our eyes peeled at Atlanta Apparel last week for repeated trends across multiple showrooms and the fashion runway, the matching separates trend caught our eye.  The trend has picked up on a few shapes and sizes lately and we have a feeling you’re going to be a fan.  We’ve included a few of our picks for all week long.


For the work week:

Matchy 2    Matchy 1

This trend just made getting dressed for your nine to five a lot easier.  Not only can you wear these two pieces together, but you can mismatch them with other items in your closet to create a multitude of outfit choices.  These two options are appropriate for the office and still make a stylish statement.  We have to admit, they look pretty comfortable, too.  Throw on a pair of nude pumps or a comfy pair of flats and you’re good to go!


For the weekend:

Matchy 7    Matchy 6

Lets talk about comfort… These matching sets are perfect for lounging all weekend long.  Have some errands to run?  No biggie, just switch out the comfy sweats for your favorite pair of jeans.  These two styles by Bobeau work for any age and their excellent quality ensures that they will last.  Side note: the One-Button Fleece Wrap Cardigan on the right is one of Nordstrom’s best sellers!


For fun:

Matchy 5    Mathcy 3

There isn’t much more to say about these two sets, other than the fact that you need at least one of them in your closet this season!  The fringe detail and embellishments add the perfect touch without over doing it.  They are incredibly fashionable and can be worn during the day or for a night out.  We think T-Swift would approve of these, and who knows, we may see her rocking one on one of the latest fashion magazines.

Find styles like these and much more at Atlanta Apparel, taking place Thursday, August 6 – Monday, August 10.

Items in images 2, 3 and 4 – Reeves & Company Showroom in Building 3, Floor 9, E110B.

Items in images 1, 5 and 6 – UnCommon Fashion Showroom in Building 3, Floor 9, S119.

Prom 2015 Color Trends

While we might think our memories of high school prom are special, this generation takes it to a whole new level. According to a recent study by Visa, the average household spent $978 on prom. This one night of luxury has become a huge industry that keeps on growing. To tap into this exciting trend, buyers need to be selling the season’s must-have dresses.

Girls shopping for prom consider many options when picking out the dress. One of the most important aspects is definitely the color. They do not want to be wearing the same color as their best friend, but also don’t want to be in something that is outdated.

The trend experts Stylesight predict these colors will be hot for spring/summer 2015:

Blush

Citron

Magenta

Forest Greens

These colors were also popular for Miss USA and Miss America.

blush dress                         citron dress 2 greens

We’re sure we will be seeing  similar color trends at the upcoming WORLD OF PROM and August Atlanta Apparel Market (showrooms August 7-11 ; temporaries August 7-10).  Register today!

Frederick Morelli’s Tips for Creating Eye-Catching Displays

AmericasMart was thrilled to have Frederick Morelli as our guest speaker on Friday for Apparel Market. Frederick creates eye-catching displays every day for Atlanta-based fab’rik boutique and was here to share his secrets with buyers.

First and foremost, Frederick emphasized the importance of always staying on message and continuously making certain that your displays are properly conveying your brand. With this in mind, here are our other favorite tips he presented for creating window displays that wow.

*Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone – There’s a lot of visual stimulation in our surroundings so think outside of the box and make your window displays stand out to passersby.

*Create a Focal Point – Emphasize your product by creating one powerful focal point and properly placing your product within the display.

*Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize – Use props and accessories, but make certain they are proportionate with your space and help tell a story and reinforce your setting. Accessories should draw the eye to your focal point.

*Be Bright! – As Frederick stated in the seminar, “Bright colors create happy people and happy people spend money.” Need we say more?

*Lighting is Key – Frederick believes lighting is one of the most underutilized yet most important features of display design. He suggests making your window display lighting twice as bright as the lighting within your store and to use spotlights to highlight and draw focus to the product you are seeking to feature.

Cast Your Vote for Your Favorite Emerging Designer!

We hope you caught yesterday’s Daily Strut featuring a snapshot of their designs, but you still won’t want to miss seeing the collections in their entirety. Plus, there’s still time to cast your vote for your favorite Emerging Designer.

Ballots may be picked up either at Registration or at any of the Emerging Designer’s booths located in Section 600 on Floor 2. By casting your ballot you will also be entered into our drawing for one of two great prizes! One lucky winner with receive 1 free hotel night during an upcoming Atlanta Apparel Market of your choice* and another person will cash in on a $100 gift card. The ballot box is located in the Emerging Designers section, across from Dressed Salads.

For more information about all of our featured Emerging Designers visit our website. Follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook Page to stay up-to-date on all of our Market happenings.

*Some restrictions apply