Buyers Confident at Fashion

November 2010
Buyers Confident at Fashion

Industry Gallery




DALLAS — Buyers shopped close to need and sought resources with

narrow distribution at Fashion Industry Gallery’s three-day market ending

Oct. 23.

Many picked up immediate deliveries for holiday as well as booking

spring looks. Several merchants said they plan sales increases for

spring, while others kept budgets flat, figuring they can obtain more

inventory in season if necessary.

“Business is great,” said Cindi Shelby, who has added more casual

clothing to Ruth Meyers, the upscale boutique in Oklahoma City that she

bought a year ago. “I have more confidence in the economy and the

market, so I’m planning spring up. My customer wants to look pulled

together and fashionable, but not so dressed up. I’m looking for things

that aren’t all over Oklahoma City.”

Suzanne Lerner, who owns the Lerner et Cie showroom here and is a

partner in the Michael Stars sportswear and accessories company with

her husband, designer Michael Cohen, said, “This region feels more

resistant to the economy compared to other parts of the country.”

Michael Stars’ sales have run even this year, but should grow in 2011,

Lerner said. Among its strategies is opening in-store shops at 15 to 20 of

its best specialty accounts.

Buyers were keen on exclusive labels that aren’t widely discounted, said

Ashley Arno, a partner in Co-lek-tive showroom, which represents Sissi

Rossi handbags, Suzan jewelry and other labels.

“The consistent question is, ‘Is this carried in the majors?’ They are sick

of lines on that have coupons every day,” Arno said.

Deborah Grivas, who makes her namesake line of crystal jewelry in

Dallas, said, “They’re buying less and reordering more.”

Melanie Ramon, owner of Melanie Gayle contemporary stores in Dallas

and suburban Plano, said sales were up and she is spending 5 percent

more for spring.

“People are shopping,” Ramon said. “We’re selling tons of oversize tops

over skinny bottoms and short shorts.”

Merry Vose, owner of Cabana boutique in Dallas, also planned an

increase of about 20 percent for spring. Vose has been successful with

an unusual strategy: She buys only what she would wear, and her shop

is open only Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The store, which started in her backyard cabana and moved two years

ago into a 1,600-square-foot commercial building, bears no sign.

“I really work at k

defining that as $150 to $350, though a few exceptional pieces rise to

$800. Incentives like small gifts with purchase are helping drive business at

Aspen Boutique in Wichita, Kan., said James Smits, co-owner. His sales are even with last year, as was his spring budget.

“My wealthier customers seem to be doing fine. It’s actually the midrange customer who seems nervous,” he said, noting

that goods priced from $40 to $100 were sluggish, while $300 to $400 items moved well. “We’re finding that people want

something that looks really fresh that can liven up their wardrobe, and that tends toward the more expensive pieces.”

Megan Bullard, marketing coordinator for FIG, said, “Our attendance for this market increased. Several of our permanent

and temporary exhibitors said it was their best market yet.

A look from Lilly Pulitizer

Photo By: Courtesy Photo