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‘If seasons merge into each other, new product won’t sell’

This time of the year has always been a favourite of mine and none more so than now that I work in the fashion industry.

Trying to predict what my customers need and want to buy, how much of it and when is a tricky business, but making decisions on my buy is far easier for the autumn season than it is for spring.

Spring 12 was a washout, as we all know. Lots of rain and no sun. Not a great formula for selling lighter-weight clothing, however ‘trans-seasonal’ it may be. Women’s wardrobes are reorganised as the weather changes, so if autumn merges into spring then there is no trigger for them to start buying new season product, because in effect we haven’t had a new season.

I promised myself that for the 2012/13 financial year ( ours runs from September ) we’d at least break even and hopefully make a profit. After two years of tough trading and heavy investment costs in our shop and our online store, I’m determined that this is going to be our year. To realise this I’ve written myself a rule book that is not to be deviated from and the rules are as follows:

1. My customer is at the heart of everything I do and they come first no matter what else is going on around me

2. I will invest in my brand ( press advertising, PR, social media, on-line marketing ) as communicating our USP is critical in a global marketplace that cluttered with a host of ‘me-too’ designer clothing stores

3. I will only buy what I know I can sell in terms of volumes and then buy in season should I be taken by surprise and run short on stock

4. I will not compromise quality over quantity and will stick with my premium positioning as I firmly believe in buying less but buying well

5. I will reward my customers for their loyalty and tell them time and time again how valuable they are to me and my business

6. I will communicate, motivate and engage my team so that they feel as much as a part of my business as I do

7. I will continue to offer the best customer experience by ensuring I have the best product in the most beautiful environment and bend over backwards to make effortless dressing easy for everyone who buys from us

This WILL be my year, you wait and see…

Jo Davies, owner of premium womenswear indie Black White Denim in Wilmslow, Cheshire

Readers' comments (1)

  • Thierry BAYLE

    The first parapgraph shows what is needed by every retailer:
    An Open To Buy plan or OTB plan.
    Buying is about Art and Science.
    You know WHAT to buy and this is the Art.
    The Science is answering the questions HOW MUCH to buy and WHEN to bring the goods in.
    Remember that not all numbers are born equal. The OTB plan we use with retailers is a combination of a statistical and mathematical model plus of course data coming from your own boutique. And this collected over the past 20 years in the US and Europe.
    Today, this allows us to forecast sales at over 90% accuracy.
    If somebody has a question to better understand and manage the stock, HAVE YOUR SAY!
    I will answer your questions.
    Remember it is about increasing sales, profits and customer traffic. Know how much to buy and you will reduce discounts. Know when to bring the goods in and you will increase sales.

    Make sure you forecast sales by class as each product class is a profit centre for which you need a strategy.

    Jo, Thank you for sharing your plan and we all need one to remain focused.

    Global Fashion Management - Management One

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