“En art comme en amour, l’instinct suffit.” – A.F
I had this quote tapped in my room when I lived in France. It couldn’t be more true about business and really, everything else in life.
Your instincts are EVERYTHING. They can’t be taught & they can’t be copied, but they can be your #1 asset when starting a new venture.
I’m OFTEN asked, how I do the buying for the shoppe, and how I know what trends to look for so far in advance.
Like most business questions, it’s a loaded one, and there are of course, variables to consider but I have always led the way with my instincts, intuition, and gut.
There are two kinds of fashion lovers, the ones who love the idea of it, and the ones who live, eat, and breathe it. – the trend setters.
Since I can remember, I’ve LOVED fashion! Not just dressing up, but the appreciation of having something that no one else has. That exclusive one-of-a-kind item, that makes people stop and stare. It’s so unique, and ultra-cute that they must ask you where you got it!
I like pushing the boundaries a bit and wearing things that are “in style”, but just loud enough to give you the confidence to own your look and set you apart.
SO, when I go into buying meetings, that’s what I look for. It’s what I want to bring to YOU!!
My aim is to make every piece from UniKoncept your favourite go-to item in your closet.
It’s something that I can’t teach per se, but when I see a shirt, pants, or dress, I picture the full outfit and how it can be worn through seasons, occasions, and years to come.
That’s my #1 buying criteria in buying, VERSATILITY!
Secondly, I look at the quality, and the price structure. For example, when I shop for myself, I try to avoid fast-fashion because I keep my clothes for yearsssssss. I still wear some of the very first items that I brought into UniKoncept in 2016, and even some extra vintage pieces from my high school/university. As such, fast fashion’s quality won’t cut it for me. But I also can’t justify the price of designer clothing unless it’s for investment items ie. shoes, bags, coats.
The contemporary brands that I prefer are always in a nice middle range. Some people have commented that our prices are more affordable than they expected, and others have stated that they are expensive. Cost is all subjective and relative to someone’s situation, but I do put effort into finding varying ranges to meet all budgets. You’ll often hear me say that I love a particular piece because it LOOKS expensive. We want the luxurious appearance without the price tag.
With that said, # 2 criteria is VALUE!
Thirdly, the things they teach you in Buying 101-- analytics & margins. As you may know, I source most of our brands from LA and Australia, this is all great except when it comes to Canadian customs and duties which doesn’t come cheap! Due to the quantity & frequency that we purchase, we can negotiate better terms with certain vendors to offset the high duties that Canadians pay. In this case, as the consumer, it’s often better value for your money to purchase directly from local shops and avoid high shipping/duties fees. However, as a retailer all of this is worked into your margins which buyers must be aware of before ordering anything.
I have now been in business for about 6 years, and therefore have data to analyze when peak buying seasons are, and what is most sought-after. This used to be very helpful pre-pandemic. The lockdowns have changed customer’s buying patterns; therefore, I must rely on my instincts. I always put myself in the consumers’ shoes and think about what I would want to see in stores. With events coming back into full swing, the sun shining and travelers going on vacay, it’s time for an all-new wardrobe!
#3 criteria is to buy for the store, what I would personally want to be seen wearing!
Lastly, it’s VERY important to consider the economic state of the world & the psychographics of your consumer. For example, in the middle of the pandemic it did not make sense to purchase dresses as events were being canceled, it did however pan out to bring in comfy lounge wear. We also saw a spike in shirt sales since most people were purchasing tops for their zoom meetings but didn’t necessarily need bottoms. Now with events gearing up again, it’s important to stock up on evening wear.
To conclude, if you’re still wanting to open a store but worried that fashion doesn’t come instinctively to you, then your best bet is to follow fashion week shows which always demonstrate the most extreme cases of what the trends for the upcoming season will be. It is the ideal way to gage what we’ll be seeing in stores at a consumer level, months from now and in much more toned-down versions.
Hope this helps! As always, if you have more questions and want specific clarification, just comment below, DM me, or email via our contact page.