Every time you step into a store you’re surrounded by merchandise, but have you ever wondered how all that merchandise got there? Now some of you fashionistas may know that buyers chose merchandise but then you have to wonder, how do the buyers find out about the products? Here at Brynn Capella we’ve been working on conducting boutique research for the past couple weeks. Boutique research that eventually leads us to find stores and buyer information to contact with our newest product line.
I first started with selecting certain regions that I think Brynn’s newest collection will sell well in. I’ve focused on places like Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Arizona, among other Western or Southern states. I narrowed my focus to these places because the Spring 2015 Sunset Bay Collection is full of vibrant, beachy colors that will sell well in places that are warm year round. Of course I also focused on finding boutiques in hubs like San Francisco, New York, and our hometown Chicago.
After setting my focus on certain regions the next step is the actual boutique research. It’s important to find a boutique with a similar style aesthetic, price point and overall vibe. Finding the right boutique for your product is like finding the right home for your family- it just has to fit.
Something interesting I learned while conducting this research is that apparel boutiques buy earlier in the season than accessory or gift boutiques, so time has been a crucial factor for us!
Once our list of potential apparel boutiques reaches a good capacity now we start creating the relationship between designer and buyer. This relationship is all about getting on their radar andhow you do it. I was amazed to learn just how many points of contact are necessary to make between a designer and a buyer- a good rule of thumb is 12 points of contact! Now that may sound like a lot, but as I said before this process is about creating a relationship. You can’t just email buyers’ facts and figures; you have to talk to them as if they are your future best friends. First introduce yourself as the designer, then introduce your product, send post cards of your product, line sheets with retail information, make phone calls, follow-up phone calls, follow-up emails, the list is endless! But with any best friendship time and effort is key to create a lasting relationship.
You do all this in hopes a buyer responds to an email, answers the phone, or most importantly places an order! It’s hard work and it takes time but finding that perfect home; that perfect fit for your product makes it all worthwhile in the end.
Heres a one of the post cards we included with our first introductory email: