Making Saleable Clothing
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to an design class with a focus on dresses and advanced fabric at the University of Alberta about making their clothing saleable. With my 10+ years experience in high end retail and knowledge of the design process it was my pleasure to provide the fresh young faces with tips on how to keep the fashion engine running. Because without sales, you have no wind in your sails and no one is motivated or inspired in the doldrums.
I broke down my presentation into a few different categories that should help to create an understanding of who you are selling to and what each type of individual is looking for. This is made for the current Spring Summer 2012 trends but I have added some Resort 2013 trends as well as my predictions for Spring Summer 2013. With that in mind if you are a design student or a seasoned pro I hope this information helps to boost your sales and help your company profit.
First, there are the different shoppers and it has to be your main focus to hone your understanding of who they are, how they shop, and knowing their spending habits. I broke it down into three type of shoppers, the Browser, the Posh Shopper, and the Shopper on a Mission.
The Browser is on her lunch break not wanting anything specific but would like something none-the-less. She has expendable income but may be a bit frugal in the high fashion area. The key factors that influence her decision to buy are the color of the garments (because this is what attracts her) the material composition (this will set your silk blend coral dress apart from the cotton one beside it) and price.
Next is the Posh Shopper who has no limits in terms of funds and has everything. Her focus will be on reputation of your brand as well as the personal opinion of the stylist who is waiting on her. Most high end retail shoppers rely heavily on the staff of that establishment and as such it is important to build up your presence and reputation in such retail stores by making personal appearances, speaking to the buyers and managers frequently, and having a genuine vested interest. The last element that is important to this Up-town shopper is cost. Strangely enough, if a garment is too inexpensive they will think it is of lesser quality and will not purchase it. Also, when a garment is more expensive it is immediately more exclusive and having something that no one else has is a driving factor in high-end retail sales.