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I’m off to Sao Paulo for some shopping

The buying season is almost upon us again, so I’d like to ask any independent retailer reading this column a few questions.

What are you doing to bring new and exciting collections to your customers? Have you a plan to seek out new collections? Or are you keeping your fingers crossed that your staple ranges are going to come up with the goods?

While I always believe in checking out collections that perform well, I see no harm in shaking things up from time to time. How about exploring totally new markets? If you have competitors nearby, how are you going to have an advantage?

As an independent retailer, the only way for me to surprise my sales team and customers is to travel a bit further to find that jewel in the crown that will light up my windows. So I’ve decided to kick off my buying season with a trip to São Paolo in Brazil.

You might think I’m mad going all that way to discover new ranges when we have the internet at the click of a button.

Well, despite all the stuff you will read on the web, nothing beats the hands-on approach. If you’re in charge of your budgets, you owe it to yourself to be there in person.

Another point is this: many smaller, lesser-known labels that have both design and quality are not always reported. These collections are usually the ones that are keen to work with you and, in turn, will bring something new and a provide a talking point for your customers.

So come on, get off your bums, don a new pair of travel socks and you never know, it might just be the best buying decision you make all season.

Pamela Shiffer is the owner of womenswear boutique Pamela Shiffer, which has branches in north London.

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