Chicago / Fall / Handbags / Made in the USA

Buyers & Small Business

After attending many many classes and coming to the end of my college career, I finally decided that I want to be a buyer after I graduate. I realize it can be a rather challenging job choice, because there is so much more that goes into being a buyer than it sounds.

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Vanessa (owner/buyer at Spare Parts) and designer, Brynn Capella.

It’s not just about selecting the things you like, you are responsible for developing and introducing new and existing products that fit not only the store, but are true to the target consumer. That’s where designers like Brynn come in, that really know their ideal consumer.

Only a couple weeks into my internship and I already have an understanding of the other side of buying and but only a little of what it takes to get our handbags into a boutique.  Of course, we start with research (lots of research) as we don’t want to bombard a buyer with postcards, phone calls and emails, if even we don’t think they are the right fit. But trust me when I say, it really is hard to grab even the right buyers attention. Sometimes it takes months or even years and this is when Brynn’s persistence really pays off.

I understand that they can be picky (I mean really picky) when it comes to putting merchandise in their store.  But, part of me feels that if a designer really knows their product and their consumer, like Brynn does, buyers should give small businesses a chance to see how successful their merchandise can do in the store or boutique.

We’ve been in Fixture since 2009 and Spare Parts since 2010. We got back into Hazel in Summer of 2011 and Florodora that fall after a few years redeveloping our brand. Milk Handmade came on board in 2013 after a successful City Made Festival. In 2014, we added Lunarik Fashions in Boston, Stars & Stripes in New Hampshire along with Picket Fences Interiors and Gifts in North Carolina. Hardest part is boutiques open and close all the time or simply change direction. We’ve been in and out of boutiques in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Texas and more.

When we dropped off the new fall collections at the boutiques, I did notice how each boutique was different from the other.  But I also noticed how well her bags fit in with each one because not every boutique carries the same assortment of handbags.  I could tell that Brynn carefully took her time to get to know the buyers and the boutiques to make sure the handbags fit the consumers.

screenshot-3We also have orders for her handbags coming in every week from all over the U.S.  Many are from the very cities that we have reached out to several boutiques multiple times to let them know how perfectly her handbags would fit in.  So, seeing these orders come in every week from New York, Texas, and California, we know that our consumers would love a place to shop us locally in their hometown.

Working with Brynn has showed me all the ups and downs that small businesses go through to get their merchandise in their ideal stores.  Now that I have seen the other side to being a buyer, I know that when I become a buyer, I may think differently when designers are reaching out to me to get their merchandise in my store.

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