SHOP TALK

Byline: Anita J. Finkelstein

Sales representatives love to talk. Here, in a new series, reps sound off about trends, tactics and their troubles.

Showroom: Lori Veith
Base: Dallas
Years in Mart: Two in Atlanta, 35 years in business
Lines: Alden Howard, Catherine Dial Easley, Crystalare, Dasha Hats, Doppia Vita, Elan, Golden Fleece, Hiroko Scarves, Hue Hosiery, Lordane Jewels, Lazaro, Maxx, Pamela Levin, Reflections, Viva
Principals: Dana Melton and Paul Sutton

Q: What's the mood in the accessories market right now?
A: There's always enthusiasm in the accessory market. Accessory people are generally the most positive and up people in the fashion industry. They see accessories as the icing on the cake, the feathers that make the bird, the excitement that allows customers to express their own personal style.
Q: What is the single biggest problem facing the accessories market and what can be done to combat it?
A: Unfortunately, right now, all fashion supplements are showing minimal jewelry, belts and other accessories. Someone decided it was chic for fashion models not to wear earrings, or any other accessories. This trend filters down to all parts of our business. As an industry, the accessory world needs to become more aware of the influence the press has on the consumer.
Q: What is the most important thing retailers can do to increase their accessories sales?
A: Retailers must layer merchandise throughout their store. Windows, countertops and displays must always be considered visually important for accessories. Salespeople should be utilized as walking, selling mannequins. You can't sell what you don't wear or understand.
Q: What is the hottest trend for holiday/resort accessories? What do you think we'll see for spring?
A: Strong trends in jewelry for holiday/resort are warm metals, Asian influences and sculptural shapes. Both chokers and very long necklaces are important. We're seeing silver pendants, multicolor beads and crystal lariats for necks. In handbags, novelty animal and croco prints. There's also great excitement in hats. Fur trims, passementerie and tassels are used. We're very excited to be introducing Eric Javits hats to Atlanta at this market.
For spring, we see naturals reemerging with woods mixed with sterling, raffia straws, woven fabrics, casual soft leathers, tone-on-tone with great interest in print and design, and a resurgence of clear brights.
Q: What is most important to consumers when they're shopping for accessories?
A: Women today are looking for a great merchandise selection in an environment staffed with friendly, knowledgeable salespeople.
Q: What do you think buyers want from a showroom and how do you go about providing it?
A: Buyers are looking for a wide assortment of stimulating merchandise with a highly perceived value in an environment that is both professional and fun. We are ex-retail buyers and we travel our area extensively, so we can provide our buyers with direct knowledge to help select product that best fits their store. Constant communication with our manufacturers is critical to make sure we have specific product for our stores and territorial needs.

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