Retail Guide: Women’s Shopping List

OOOH LA LA, Palm Springs, Calif.
Michelle Gonzales, manager/buyer
Store count: 2 (ave. 3,200 sq. ft.); est. 2003

Hunting for: “We’re looking for new lines to complement our best-selling lines. We want something fashionable, comfortable and affordable, under $100. We’ll be looking to bring in a mix, from flats all the way to higher, sexy stilettos.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll be buying the same amount as last year. We did a great job last year staying under our budget and having room to reorder our bestsellers.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Crocs and Volatile are our bestselling brands. The Patricia in Crocs has been a top style for years. It’s a great price point and it’s not too low or too high. We do well with all Volatile styles, particularly the Mallory.”

Best price point: $46 to $70

Hottest new brands: “Splendid with its fun colorful wedges that are toned down enough so customers can wear them as a complement to the brand’s clothes. Skemo is a beautiful line out of Miami.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re betting on: “Tribal and fringe will still have a huge 
influence on next spring’s fashions. We’re also curious to see how the clog trend for this fall will inspire 
spring ’13 fashion.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re passing on: “We’ll be skipping heels that are too high. We’ve tried them in past seasons and always get the same response. The customers love the sexy look but will not pay money for something they can’t walk in.”

Mood at retail: “We’re looking forward to fall and are very excited about all the merchandise we’ve ordered so far.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “We email our customers on a weekly basis, as well as use Facebook as often as we can to deliver news of new merchandise and promotions. This year we will also be doing more events to get customers excited.”

C. JUNE SHOES, Honolulu
June Mulhall, owner
Store count: 1 (1,349 sq. ft.); est. 1979

Hunting for: “We plan to stay with Helle Comfort out of Spain. We’ll also be looking at the new styles available from Dezario. Being made in the U.S. is an advantage in that, if a shoe is moving, we can get reorders right away.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll be buying more for this spring as the market and sales seem to be improving. Customers seem to be shopping for gifts as well as for themselves, so we have also added giftable items that relate to shoes in some way.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Dezario’s Pearl in six colors is our favorite collection, and the leopard Exotic shoe is also a very popular one with our customers.”

Best price point: $150

Hottest new brands: “Crystal-studded flip-flops by Girl Two Doors Down. They have a foam memory pad upper and cute sayings on the upper.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re betting on: “Lots of bling. We need lots of bling.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re passing on: “We will not be buying the high heels and platforms in the price range of $300. We don’t have a customer who wants to pay $300 to $400 when they can get the same look for less than $100. We’re also concentrating on more low- to mid-heel heights.”

Mood at retail: “We’re optimistic because our customers are always looking for new sandal styles, even if they have to store them away for the winter. We have a large concentration of sandals that we sell all year long.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “Our shopping center sends website emails to 23,000 people announcing special promotions for the stores. We also work with a Japanese advertising agency that handles our advertising in Japanese magazines, which is an important part of our business.”

SHOE MARKET, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Dana Schwister, co-owner
Store count: 1 (600 sq. ft.); est. 2007

Hunting for: “Our plan is to look for styles that were strong for us this past spring season. The smoking slipper did really well for us, as did many of our wedges and anything with neon accents.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll probably buy more. We’re hoping our sales are up between 10 percent and 20 percent next year, which means we will have to buy more.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “The first one is a Worishofer sandal with a buckle strap in red, which was really hot for us. We also did very well with a T-strap/ankle-strapped clog shoe from Sven.”

Best price point: “Anything under $160.”

Hottest new brands: “Feiyue sneakers have been really good for us because it’s a simple, vintage-looking sneaker. And Maguba clogs are classic Swedish clogs that our customers love.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re betting on: “Wood-bottom clogs, which are more of a fashion clog, are a style people in our neighborhood really like.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re passing on: “We never say never, but our customers don’t want walking shoes. They definitely want styles with more of a fashion component to them.”

Mood at retail: “A lot of our customers are tourists coming from Europe and other places. We just don’t know what the season will bring.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “We’re very active in getting customers’ emails. We try not to bombard them, but we do a monthly email showcasing new products or sales we’re having. We are also blogging and are on Facebook and Twitter.”

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