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January 10, 2012

Surviving LA Market

It’s almost that time again! The time when buyers set forth to find the best of the best fashions to showcase at their fabulous stores this upcoming Summer 2012. It’s the return of LA Market Week, starting on Monday, Jan 16, ending on Thursday, Jan 19. I remember my days as a women’s buyer, as if they were yesterday. It was just me, my notebook, and my trusty camera, walking through countless showrooms, sitting through dozens of line presentations, sifting through countless linesheets, in search for the perfect pieces to complete my next season’s line assortment. Ahh, fond times…….

As exciting it is to see the latest trends and fashions, market week can be a stressful time if you are not prepared. Never ever go to LA Market without a game plan. And when I say game plan, I mean a list of vendors/brands you want to hit with confirmed appointments. Doing this will set you up for an organized day of professional shopping. However, there are a few more things you will need to get you through the week. Here is my full list of market week prep tips.

1. Make a list of the brands/vendors you want to see.
2. Make and confirm appointments with those brands/vendors.
3. Schedule your appointments based on location. This means, book all your appointments at the same showroom building in the same block of times. That way you are not trekking back and forth from building to building.
4. Have your schedule with you so that you can stay on time with your appointments. Call your vendors if you anticipate being late.
5. If you see a brand/vendor you like but didn’t make an appointment with, walk in and ask to be helped. Never miss an opportunity to see a fresh new line.
6. Know the key trends for the season you are buying for.
7. Do not go to market looking for specific items. Instead, see what the market is offering and buy according to that. If you have specific items you are looking for, some may not be in line with what the market is showing, making the buying process more difficult and out of sync with the upcoming trends.
8. Bring a camera so you can take pictures of the items (samples) you noted. I like to have pictures, in addition to linesheets, because some linesheet photos tend to be just black & white sketches.
9. Always ask for a linesheet. Notate the styles you like so, you can use them as your notes.
10. Feel the garment and try things on. Although samples are not usually for fit, you can still get a good idea of how it will look once it’s on a body. This can save you time by eliminating styles that you would have, otherwise, noted as possible buys.
11. Make sure to specify deliveries.
12. Don’t be afraid to merchandise. Play around with the samples you like and test to see if they go together cohesively. Take out anything that sticks out like a sore thumb.
13. After market, go through all your notes, pictures, and linesheets and start assorting your seasonal collection based on your budget. The buying process is different for each buyer, in terms of assortment balance. Some stores may allocate more money for dresses. Some stores may set aside more money for tops. Just remember to buy according to your customers’ behaviors. Also, ensure that you have pieces that can work with each to create outfits. It doesn’t make sense to have pants when there are no tops to wear them with.

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For more tips on selling your line to buyers, check out our free video course entitled, How To Sell Your Line To Buyers. 


Hope this helps the new buyers out there!

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