A growing number of Dallas sales representatives are wielding the Web to attract new accounts, service retailers between markets and cut back or eliminate road sales as the cost of travel skyrockets.
“It’s the way of the future,” observed Pam Kramer of the Ferrell & Kramer showroom, which represents bridge and misses’ contemporary resources at FashionCenterDallas. “It’s changed the way we work after markets and between markets. We use it instead of going on the road or mailing pictures and packets.”
While Web sites aren’t intended to replace personal contact, reps agreed that they are perfect for prospecting and promotion, reorders and supplying line sheets to buyers who may have skipped a market or a line.
“It’s been awesome and has increased our business a lot — like twofold,” said Marty Leon, who built a Web site in January for his father’s contemporary and denim showroom, Eddie Leon & Associates. “A lot of people are coming up to me and asking advice on how to do it.”
It took only a weekend to create nowshowingdallas.com using templates he found online, Leon said, and he updates it himself. “I didn’t need anything fancy. The main thing is that they can see what I have.”
Other wholesalers, such as Launch, hired a local Web developer, Visual Internet Solutions, started two years ago by two former sales reps. The average Web site costs $1,500 to $2,500, and the rate to update the site is $65 an hour, said Francisco Ramirez, owner.
“It’s a great sales tool, and well worth the expense for us,” said Allyson Lee Cooke, owner of Launch contemporary showrooms at FCD and Fashion Industry Gallery.
Launchshowroom.com became critical this spring when the steep jump in gas prices ended trips to Kansas and Missouri in the company’s diesel mobile showroom.
“It costs $800 a week in gas, so we won’t travel that far,” Cooke explained. “They can all buy through the Web site.”
Cooke, who spent about $750 a month to update her site until learning how to do it herself, would like to see the Web replace most of her road work. But, she added, “some lines use so many different fabrics that a customer needs to see it.” Her RV is still on the road most weeks between markets.
The Web works best for showing tops and bottoms, jeans and lines that use the same fabric consistently, such as Scanty’s cotton jersey sleepwear or Anac’s polyester mesh tops and dresses, reps said. Collections are harder to sell online because the buyer needs to discuss merchandising with the rep, if not see it in person. Ferrell & Kramer doesn’t even put Michael Kors on its site because it usually sells out at market.
In many cases, sales reps still review orders on the phone personally with buyers who have reviewed the styles online.
“The Web site is a place for them to go and get more information, so we’re not sending them a convoluted e-mail,” pointed out Pam Martin, whose namesake showroom is at FIG. “People can look at it at night when they’re not trying to work with customers. They would rather do that than have you come to their stores — not to mention, it’s a lot cheaper.”
Most showrooms require passwords to enter their Web sites to foil copycat competitors and enable reps to evaluate buyers.
“For us, it is all about making sure the right people see it — we screen our accounts very carefully,” said Rick Drysdale, who was one of the first independent reps to exploit the Web four years ago when he hired his son’s college roommate to build a site for his FCD showroom, Rick & Kathy Drysdale/D2. “It’s great for opening new accounts and reorders. We have some people who buy all the time online, but in my mind, it will never replace what you can do in person. After all, we’re salespeople.”
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)