February 2014

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U f e o d s A t

Shopping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Tosha Cole Clemens for Focus on Fashion Retail

Ready… Set… Oh No!

I have just entered the lobby and seen the mile long line for registration! I only have this one day to attend market and now I am off schedule due to having to wait in line. When I finally walked through the doors, I see hundreds of booths and people everywhere. Where to start and where to go? Yes, this was me at my first market experience, stressed out and a nervous wreck before I even started my day! The event can be overwhelming and stressful for both buyers and sellers; I personally know this to be true with my experience. However, after years of experience, I have established that the event’s success or failure results in the time and effort placed preparing for the event. Let’s learn from my mistakes! First, register for the event online several weeks ahead of time. This will allow for the badge to be sent directly in the mail (resulting in the opportunity to go directly into the market). Another option, register

online and select to collect the badge at will call. This will eliminate the time at the registration booth. However, the badge will need to be redeemed at the will call desk (resulting in time spent in line waiting). Either way, registering online is a life saver! Second, bring lots of business cards, more than you think you will need. I made the mistake and ran out of cards half way through the event one year. No one enjoys having to write out their contact information. Also, bring a notepad and camera. This will help document what is seen and what needs to be revisited after the event is over. For me, I begin my day by going to appointments with the existing vendors I have. I review their current inventory by taking photos and requesting cost quotes of the desired styles. Finally, end my day shopping for new business and evaluating new trends. What does it take to close a deal? Like I stated earlier, I have learned that preparation for market week is critical. To help make the event a success for both Buyers and Sellers, the following should be considered when preparing for market:


1. Register for the event online. 2.Don’t forget to bring business cards. 3. Bring a notepad and camera.


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How to Purchase Accurately


Budget: Prior to market, buyers should assess the budget allocated for the season they intend to buy. The season allocation must also be divided into style categories. Be aware of the amount designated for dresses, tops, pants, and accessories per week. The dollars are then allotted into the different categories and dispersed into each style and minimums per style are established. Minimums are imperative, as it represents how many different styles can be offered in an assortment of merchandise. Each vendor has established minimums; a buyer should be knowledgeable of the realistic minimum range prior to market in order to assist in expediting the ordering process.

Margins: A fundamental factor in business is determining margins. Gross margin is the percentage of profit made between the cost of the product and the sale of the product. If a shirt was purchased for $5.00 LDP (Landed Duty Paid- shipping and duty is paid by vendor,) and the desired retail price is $20.00; the gross margin on this style is 75 percent. The gross margin can be calculated by subtracting the purchase price from the retail price, and dividing that number by the retail price. It is suggested never to set your gross margin less than 50 percent. This margin is too narrow when

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