Fastening bonds with shoppers has never been so important, according to buyers attending last week’s Nouveau Collective trade show at the Penn Pavilion in New York.
Michelle Walker, owner of Coyote in Belfast, Maine, said her sales are running several percentage points ahead of last year, thanks to sharp-eyed merchandising, timely offerings and an abundant staff. “I staff heavily to make sure people are taken care of,” she said.
Flax, LA Blend, Zashi and Windhorse were among the show resources she planned to check out. Many of her shoppers are spending between $20 and $100 and “accessories are big because they are a relatively small purchase that help people feel new,” Walker said. After 20 years in business, she knows the locals well, which is advantageous. “A lot of people have decided to support the local community to keep local companies in business,” she said.
Bonnie Chapin, owner of Abigail Rose, a specialty store in Piermont, N.Y., said business is “unreliable,” due largely to a downturn in shoppers and wintry weather. With consumers spending less, she is placing a greater emphasis on items and accessories. She planned to pick up spring pants and separates from Flax and Gerties in the $60 to $100 retail range.
Having been in business for 24 years, Chapin has a base of reliable customers who have helped sales in recent months, she said.
Kiki Hughes, who owns a specialty store by the same name in Philadelphia, said business has been hard, but she expects this year’s sales to finish ahead of last year’s lackluster figures. Having worked in another local store for 15 years before opening her own two years ago, Hughes said she routinely calls customers to encourage them to visit. She also hosts private shopping parties and trunk shows in her boutique and will also hold the latter off-site from time to time. “I like to know my customers,” she said. “They don’t come in to look. I pick things for them, and they enjoy the conversation.”
At Nouveau Collective, she was on the lookout for “cool, new” sportswear from Moonlight, IC Collection and others. To accommodate shoppers’ thrifty tendencies, she planned to buy more midrange products with the hope that will prompt more multiple purchases. “Many people now would rather buy three things than one,” Hughes said.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia