A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to New York for market with two of the best in the business: fashion-forward entrepreneur Elizabeth Todd and style guru Christen Kinard. Nothing I write will come close to conveying how much I learned in just one day, nor will I be able to effectively communicate how much FUN we had. Oh and yes, I should mention this is my job! Man, I love my job.
With show season well on its way (we’re already buying for fall/winter 2017!), there are a few buying observations I thought I might share. First and foremost, I learned that buying isn’t about the buyers; it’s about you — the customers. Of course, we inevitably find things we personally love and can’t live without, but ultimately we must keep the customer in mind when deciding what to carry in our stores. Every time we considered new product, we asked ourselves: Will they love this? Will they want to wear it? Will they buy it for themselves, their daughters, mothers, sisters? And then we followed our gut, making informed decisions based on (their) years of experience and familiarity with our customer base.
Here are just a few other lessons I picked up along the way…
1. Buy things that make you happy. We used the word happy a lot this trip. We found we got excited by pieces — jewelry, clothing, and other accessories — that celebrated colors, patterns, and textures. We drooled and clapped over necklaces made with small toys, color-in socks for kids, sparkly hair ties, and even hilarious phone covers! Everything was bright, fun, and just so happy. Without it being a truly conscious effort, we opted for merchandise that made us smile. We hope that same joy will translate to you and these new purchases will make you happy, too!
2. You’re allowed to have your own opinion. Between the three of us, I would like to think we have some pretty solid style chops. Elizabeth has introduced me to many incredible designers and Christen inspires me daily to get a little more creative in my closet. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think I bring a little something special to the table too, being from Texas and having deep southern roots. So, while at market, you’re allowed to speak your mind. You can voice an opinion — positive or not. We didn’t always agree, but we respected each other’s opinions and were always able to come to a decision that made us comfortable.
3. Try new things. We have such a great management team right now — Elizabeth, Christen, Madeline, Penelope, and me. And if you know us, you know how different our personal styles can be! But isn’t that what makes all of this so fun? We make an effort to try new things and find pieces that will appeal to women of a wide range of ages, styles, and lifestyles. I personally think that’s why Elizabeth has been in business so long — she makes a point to offer something for everyone.
4. But watch out for fads. There are trends and then there are fads. Many trends — skinny jeans, for example, or sophisticated sneakers — eventually just become foundational parts of nearly every woman’s wardrobe. But many fads fade, and we want our customers to know us for good taste, not disposable fashion. My grandmother always used to say, “Trendy is the last stage before tacky,” and for the most part I try to remember that in making my own style purchases.
Like I said, I learned a lot in just one day at market. Some of what we ordered that day has already started to trickle in and other things are slated for mid-summer. The easiest way to know when new product arrives is to follow us on Instagram at @theshoehive and @shopatthehive. And you can always call or email us with questions!