Retail Guide: Juniors’ Shopping List

WHATAPAIR.COM
Belinda Badell, president
Store count: 1 (online); est. 2003

Hunting for: “We’re hunting for rainboots and clogs that feature mixed materials, funky fabrics and are fur-lined. Basically, [we’re looking for] weatherproof product with high fashion and styling that can be worn in any weather.”

Buying strategy: “We will be very carefully watching the open-to-buy. Obviously, if we see something exciting — a brand that has its own DNA — we will consider something like that.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Rocket Dog’s fur-lined clogs in two styles: Duffle and Fuzzy. They have great comfort and are really key silhouettes.”

Best price point: $50 to $100

Hottest new brands: “We have been doing very well with Dav and Jeffrey Campbell. Even though they are not brand-new kids on the block, they continue to freshen up their product in a way that always makes them look new.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re betting on: “We’re looking for a product that can be worn inside and outside with style, comfort and fashion, such as sheep-lined slippers.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re passing on: “Shoes that don’t have their own DNA. If our customers don’t see a reason they need it, they won’t purchase it.”

Mood at retail: “It’s really tough right now — the toughest we have seen in many years. It’s very competitive online, especially.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “We do social media, and blog at least three times a week, which is always great exposure.”

SHOEGASM, New York
Eddie Cuevas, VP & buyer
Store count: 3 (average 2,100 sq. ft.); est. 1999

Hunting for: “The look we think will be popular are these pancake flat boots with a very little heel. Ankle booties will also be strong. Leggings are so big that we need to find footwear that goes with that look.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll be buying less than last year because the fall season is getting shorter due to early markdowns from the department stores in November. They are killing fall merchandise prematurely.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Toms with its core styles, and Dolce Vita with its selections of trendy wedges, ankle booties and flats. Also, the Chelsea Crew brand with its oxfords, booties, pumps and wedges. This brand understands our customer.”

Best price point: $89 to $129

Hottest new brands: “Right now, it’s all about bringing back the made-in-the-USA brands. People want to feel proud of America again so all these old American brands, like Sperry Top-Sider, Wolverine and Frye have come back and done well.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re betting on: “We love pancake flat ankle booties and the classic riding boot.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re passing on: “Combat and shearling boots. We think the market will be saturated with these two looks.”

Mood at retail: “Pessimistic. There’s a lack of fresh and exciting styles in the market for spring and summer. We’re looking forward to building on comfort brands that can sit next to the fashion styles we will carry.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “We’re leaving that to our PR firm to make use of social media and underground advertising to promote the Shoegasm experience.”

SHOE METRO, San Diego
Danielle Petri, buyer
Store count: 1 (1,100 sq. ft.); est. 2009

Hunting for: “We’re looking for new, fresh brands we can add to the assortment. Boots are always big for us, and we’ll be focusing more on ankle boots and booties.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll be buying a little less than [during] the previous years. Customers are being more selective, so we also have to be a little more selective [too].”
 
Hottest new brands: “We didn’t have a lot of new brands throughout the past year, but those that have been very hot for us are Sperry, Bearpaw and Steve Madden. Madden Girl has picked up a lot for us as well, most likely because of the price point.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re betting on: “We’re going to continue to bet on ankle boots and booties. They have become a year-round boot.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re passing on: “The whole man-tailored look. There are still some man-tailored shoes out there, and different styles of oxfords continue on. We did that for a while, but it’s slowing down for us.”

Mood at retail: “We’ve put together a pretty strong grouping of shoes and we’re confident they’re going to drive sales like we expect. We’re strongly optimistic about spring.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “Our focus for this year is on the online business. We’re improving our design and usability on the website, trying to create a better experience for the shoppers. We’re also increasing our marketing efforts via Facebook.”

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