Twice a year manufacturers gather in Las Vegas, New York and Paris in booths with bra-clad models, samples of new styles and colors, new catalogs and line sheets, and reps with sharpened pencils eager to take orders. It’s like an open air farmers’ market except it’s inside a fancy hotel with plush pink carpet. Every booth has a bowl of candy: if you stop long enough to grab a piece of candy, they’ve captured your attention long enough to hear their name and start a conversation about their products.
We start with appointments with our exiting vendors to get a review of upcoming new styles, changes we need to know about and a preview of the fashion colors for the next season. I still have to remind myself that these are all products we can’t buy for our customer to have next week…they have ship dates of April, July or even October. For the next few weeks, every time I’m in a fitting room with someone, I’m going to be thinking of a bra I saw at the show that would be perfect! Oh, right…it isn’t available yet. It’s hard to put the excitement of finding something great on hold for months. A customer needs a bra today, not three months from now.
Next we “walk the floor” scanning for new possibilities for our customers. The panties always look beautiful…but wait, our customers don’t buy panties. Did you know Ugg (of Australian boot fame) is making robes and pajamas and slippers and blankets that are so soft you want to cuddle up for a nap on the spot? Nope. We’d have to open another store for those gems. Focus, focus, focus.
Sometimes we do find something new that we really do think will work for Bosom Buddies. This is how we found Royce, Cake and Montelle…brands we now have in the store all the time. What did we find this year? Stay tuned!