Chicago Market is over, and it was great working with the product first hand earlier than usual. I've been on the road working with stores for a few weeks as well, and I love the collections this season. I really feel like I have a very good sense of the important pieces already, and I am excited about New York Market being less than 2 weeks away. In spite of my enthusiasm - for me it’s “just another season”, but how about for you? Maybe it’s time for you to analyze the companies you work with… both from a “How many do you work with?” as well as a “Which ones?” standpoint.
After finishing up the order with a new store last season, the owner asked me “How many lines does a typical store carry”? I responded, “While it varies based on the size of the business, in general my answer would be TOO MANY!” This particular store could see that she had way too many collections that all fell into the same category” Under $2000 at retail, Imported from China, fairly heavily beaded with “lots of stuff” on them, average lead time for special orders about 16 weeks. Now don’t get me wrong – there are some very good companies out there that fill this niche… but do you really need 5-6 (or more) of them?
So I offer you an option: “How about a company who makes their product solely in Canada, offers a clean, sophisticated look, and can deliver any style/any size/any color in 8 weeks with no rush fee (and 5-6 weeks with a small rush charge)?” Add in “offers the best fit in the industry, is NEVER late with an order, and is right at the same “$2000 price point”! I’m referring to MIKAELLA BRIDAL. A division of Paloma Blanca that has been in business for over 70 years, most of my Paloma stores also carry Mikaella – and some of them do better with Mikaella! Whether you’re currently carrying Paloma Blanca (and NOT Mikaella)… or another store with way too many collections that “duplicate” themselves, it is time for some serious introspection. Do you have this look in your store? Are you seeing a trend towards brides asking for a “cleaner” look? Do you have a reliable source to work with when a bride comes in and is getting married in 8 weeks? Are all of the companies you work with performing well, and are there some who’s poor service gives you angina? Are minimums killing you… not because a line wants you to buy 6 dresses a season… but because you have way too many collections all with minimums? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes” – I encourage you to take a look at Mikaella Bridal AND Paloma Blanca. Maybe it’s NOT just another season! HG