Upbeat Mood at Dallas FIG

February 2013
Upbeat Mood at Dallas FIG

By Holly Haber

DALLAS — National economic quivers had little impact on retailers shopping for summer and pre-fall goods at Fashion Industry Gallery.

Buyers invested in jewelry, dresses, tops, handbags and denim at the three-day show, which ended Jan. 26, with budgets ranging from flat to up substantially.

“I was really pleased,” said Greg Mider, owner of the Mider Group, which represents such lines as Hanky Panky, Amanda Uprichard and Autumn Cashmere. “I planned it down so we were understaffed, but our business, pure apples to apples, was about 5 percent up. I saw more people this year than last year.”

Susan Lana, a partner in Co-lek-tiv luxury accessories showroom, said, “I didn’t have Chicken Littles coming in complaining — there was a little bit of a shift to feeling more positive and conservatively optimistic. They knew what they needed and are leaving a little bit open at the end of their buy and using it in season. It was planned shopping.”

Irene Miszler, designer and owner of Theia jewelry, said she had “fantastic” response to her crystal- and cubic-zirconia-studded line, which she began wholesaling in June after selling it through her two boutiques, Syd and Chelsea, in Los Altos, Calif. Established 10 years ago, the line wholesales from $10 for a thin CZ bangle to $245 for a woven-metal necklace with a crystal-encrusted medallion.

“We are meeting a lot of new stores, and they are taking the time to look at the line,” added Christina Komp, sales manager. “People were buying some of the most expensive pieces, so that’s a good sign that they’re comfortable spending money.”

Jane Webb’s open-to-buy jumped 40 percent because last August she moved her store, CK & Co., into a bigger, 6,500-square-foot store at Nichols Hills Plaza in Oklahoma City.

“It’s been great — all that we wanted it to be,” Webb said. “We did shop-in-shops for Vince, Theory, Lafayette 148 and Elie Tahari, so it’s organized and easy to shop, very calming and modern and comfortable.”

At FIG, she concentrated on summer dresses and pre-fall looks by Vince, Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliott.

Marla Ross spent 10 to 20 percent more on jewelry for Adelante, her 38-year-old boutique in San Antonio. Ross credited part of her optimism to her location at The Pearl Brewery, a redeveloped historic complex that’s become a foodie destination and home of the Culinary Institute of America’s Southwest campus.

“Business is good,” she said. “The past couple of years I’ve kept myself on a short leash, but I think this year will be up.”

Ross purchased multicolor semiprecious earrings by Amanda Sterett, Chan Luu and Catherine Page, plus bright costume jewelry from Guinevere & Co. and bold necklaces by Micha Designs.

Ross shopped with her aunt, Tricia Roberts, who owns the Adelante boutique in Austin, Tex. Roberts’ sales rose at least 10 percent last year, which she attributed to more marketing and events, including a weekend pop-up store in an Airstream trailer on touristy South Congress Street.

“I’ve been really careful with my open-to-buy and price points,” Roberts said. “I’m buying Trina Turk, Ella Moss, Michael Stars, a little Chan Luu.”

Beth Oubre, co-owner of Spring in New Orleans, kept her open to buy the same because business has been inconsistent at the 19-year-old boutique on Magazine Street.

“People are shopping emotionally,” she said. “If they’re not happy about the Saints [football team] or the weather, they won’t come out and shop. I also have people who will come in and spend $700 or $800, but they are fewer and farther between.”

Women's Wear Daily - Tuesday, February 5, 2013