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Opening my own store

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jetLab, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. jetLab

    jetLab Well-Known Member

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    I'm opening a small designer shop in a couple more months and am about to purchase the inventory. The store will stock current season designer collections at discounts of 30-50% off.

    I can't decide whether I should try to stock a bit from every designer or focus on two or three.

    My suppliers have access to the following collections:
    Dolce & Gabbana D&G
    Prada Prada Sport Miu Miu
    Christian DiorDior Homme
    Gucci
    Roberto Cavalli
    Romeo Gigli
    Ermenegildo Zegna Zegna Sport
    Canali
    Versace Sport Jeans Couture V2 Classic
    Giorgio Armani Armani Collezioni Armani Jeans

    What would you like to see?
     
  2. VWpete

    VWpete Well-Known Member

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    I think the best mens stores focus their collections with well edited lines.
    It might be tough to get authorization to sell current season inventory for that much of a reduction, but I'm not sure. My favorite specialty store in Chicago sells Dior Homme, Yohji, Chrome Hearts next to Kiton, Zegna. I'd need alot more info on region, customer, etc. before I know what would work best for you. My favorites from the list are Dior Homme, Miu Miu, Gigli, Dolce (not D&G) . . . I'd skip Cavalli and Versace because they are what I see on the discount racks the most. Good luck. I'd leave all lines to the dept. stores.
    Pete
     
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    I would focus on Armani, Prada/Miu Miu, Dior Homme, Gigli and Gucci (explanation below.)

    I'd personally like to see:

    Suiting by Giorgio Armani, Gigli, and Gucci (I think that Zegna and Canali would be a little too square for the store that I'm envisioning.)  I feel that Dior Homme may be a little intimidating for a lot of customers, although I personally would love to see it.

    Shirting by Gucci, Gigli, Giorgio Armani, Dior Homme, Prada, and Miu Miu.  Here is where you can have a larger selection of designers, and include some pieces by Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli.

    A limited selection of classic sportswear pieces by Prada and Giorgio Armani (knits in particular.) and larger and funkier range of sportswear by Miu Miu and Gigli.

    Outerwear by Dior Homme, Gucci, Miu Miu and Giorgio Armani.  I would personally put in a patchwork or embroidered jacket or two by Cavalli, but unless you are in a large urban center or an otherwise unusual setting, it'll probably be only good as (rather expensive) decoration for your store.

    Accessories by Miu Miu, Prada, and Dior Homme.

    I think that you could use Dolce&Gabbana (mainline) and Cavalli pieces as accents, but I think that to much of their "In Your Face" style would be, in general, discordant with the store I've just proposed, which focuses on designers credited with creating modern uniforms (Miuccia Prada, Giorgio Armani, and Hedi Slimane.)  Tom Ford (Gucci) "sexiness" is much more about elegance and luxury than rock-and-roll, and when he does rock and roll, it comes off more boho than anything else; and Romeo Gigli is known for attention to color and fabric and will provide some energy without being obtrusive.  I think that Versace these days is just trashy, and will cheapen your whole store (Bernini, take note.)  It just reminds me of those depressing stores on Hollywood Blvd catering to ghetto fab types.  Even P.Diddy is over it.  As I mentioned before, Zegna and Canali, while both are terrific brands, would be too square.

    I don't know if you are thinking about shoes, but I would include Prada and Gucci (no Prada Sport, please.) and maybe funkier lines like Barbato and Nose.  Skip the sneakers unless you are a fan yourself.  I think that it would be nice to have some jeans too, to bring in the younger crowd.  Go for classic, the original, American denim - Paper Denim, True Religion, Blue Cult, Rogan, Frankie B., would all be appropriate for the store, and skip the eurotrash (Energie, Gstar, D&G.)

    Good luck.  Hey, tell us where the store is going to be located, and it's name.
     
  4. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Well-Known Member

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    good luck with the store. i hope you have preferences yourself concerning the clothes you will sell. it seems you can choose to directly compete with the larger stores by selling zegna, canali, prada, and armani at discount. or, the more interesting option to me, would be to appeal to a niche market and sell miu miu, dior homme, and gigli. a lot depends on your location, both regional and specific, so let us know where you are.
     
  5. jetLab

    jetLab Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys. The store will be located in Toronto and I plan on opening an online store as well. I'll be able to offer large discounts because my supplier has direct contacts with Italian manufacturers. LA Guy: Speaking of Prada Sport... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news....me.html <A gang of criminals who preyed on wealthy Londoners, following them home and then robbing them at knifepoint, were finally caught because of their ringleader's taste for Prada shoes. His distinctive pair of expensive black trainers with a red stripe on the back matched a description from one of the robberies. A number of the victims had described one of the robbers as having a red stripe - a Prada trademark - on his shoes. Mentore was put under surveillance. Det Chief Insp Michael Gates said: "Everything was Gucci, Prada or Armani and these are men who had no income whatsoever.">
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    Quite frankly I think that for a more unique flavor one should skip the very mainline looking stuff from Gucci Armani, and such as i.e. lot's of dress shirts, and etc. However one should still have some of those items.

    Personally I think Dior Homme, Dolce &amp; Gabbana, Gigli, Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu, and perhaps certain Versace collections with a smattering of Giorgio Armani. Versace should be Atelier or Gianni. Roberto Cavalli could be centerpieces as LA Guy et al said with perhaps special order.

    If one could I would suggest also Carol Christian Poell, Moschino, Helmut Lang, Costume National, and Balencaiga.

    Of course personal editing of the collections is important. That is what makes Colette of Paris, and Maxfield's such fine stores
     
  7. Mike C.

    Mike C. Well-Known Member

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    Toronto isn't exactly a world hub of fashion, so you need to bring that element to your store. Market it along the lines of fashion from New York or Milan. Let your customers know that you're up to date on the lastest fashions from the streets of NYC and Paris.

    I'd suggest stocking a strong line of street wear with labels such as Von Dutch, PDC, Seven, Deth Killers, etc... I wouldn't be surprised if the streetwear is your best seller.
     
  8. VWpete

    VWpete Well-Known Member

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    I may be interested in a special request for a Dior Homme piece this coming season. Good luck. I was basing my comments on your current supply. I do feel that you need to bring some streetwear into the mix. I personally dislike Versace jeans as well as D&amp;G denim. Mike C. brought in some good streetwear tips. I also love Carol Christian Poell, Les Hommes and Margiella. Is this list complete availability. I'm also not sure how your upscale market is there. Personally, I would buy pieces from designers that are wearable. For example, dior homme coats, dress shirts, t-shirts, accessories (these are soooo limited if you got any, you would sell the all.), but i'd skip out on the woven, laminated sweater that Saks bought. I love going into a store wear it feels like things are in demand because people love them, rather than show off which designer did the tackiest lacey sweater ala Cavalli. I do, however, like some of Cavalli's dinner jackets.

    I definately feel Mike has a great point. Make the customer feel like your store is on the cutting edge of NY/Paris. One of my favorite Boutiques in NYC, &quot;A&quot; on Crosby/Prince does their editing very well. A good mix of cutting edge designers, but wearable pieces ( with brands like Carpe Diem, Les Hommes, Carol Christian Poell, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Own, Dirk Schoenberger and Ann Demulemeester- wow alot of Paris/ Belgian designers when you write it out.).

    Good luck and keep us posted on the launch.
    Cheers,
    Pete
     
  9. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    Toronto, huh? Last time I was in Yorkville, I saw that Holt Renfrew had a smattering of Schonberger in addition to lots from major designers (Prada, Dolce, in particular.) The Zegna/Samuellsohn/Canali market seemed to have been cornered by Harry Rosen.

    I also saw a few stores selling the more Eurotrashy designer labels (lots of Mugler and Cavalli, and a very glam atmosphere overall in a particular 2-storey store (Uomo?)) I'm a Canadian, although I lived in L.A. for six odd years, and I think that my tastes are actually pretty typically Canadian/Northeast USA. I don't think that the sharp pallets and angular profiles of Mugler, Cavalli, and Versace are going to appeal to Canadians much. Even the displaced Caten twins (of Dsquared fame,) brand of rock and roll is much more Tragically Hip than Guns "˜n Roses. Their collections have a lot of washed earth tones and their outerwear often feature corduroy and weathered canvas.

    I think that there would be a real market in Toronto for the softer colors and less vampy silhouettes of Gigli and Miu Miu. Their more reasonable pricepoint would also help move merchandise (there is a reason that everyone carries Hugo Boss.) Prada, Gucci, and Armani classics I could also see selling well - it's a matter or good editing. Since everyone else is offering suggestions, how about carrying Levi's premium, Paper Denim, and Rogan? This hits a variety of pricepoints, and jeans always sell well. I could also see Dries van Noten, Neil Barrett and Costume National (although you'd have to edit Costume very, very carefully) finding a place in Toronto. How about carrying Canadian designers like Dsquared2 and Dubuc?
     
  10. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    Actually, Rick Owens is an L.A. designer.
     
  11. VWpete

    VWpete Well-Known Member

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    Sorry LA Guy. I understand he is an LA designer who recenty transplanted himself to paris. I could be wrong, but I thought he was most recently designing for a fur house in Paris alongside his own line. I love his stuff either way.
    Pete
     
  12. Boulevardier

    Boulevardier Active Member

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    I have a different take on what your store should offer.You could additionally include a service whereby your customers could have things made to order--------suits,jackets,trousers,topcoats,vests,etc.Shoes maybe too.Perhaps your suppliers could have things made for you.A made-to-measure service in essence.
    I like the notion of a timeless look.You will end up with a smaller customer base but they'll be spending more and coming back year after year. And ,let's face it, a man has more disposable income at 40 than at 24.Toronto is big enough for this.
    You cannot have it all in your store but, as I have grown older, I am wary of clothes that date, that scream 1988 or 1998 or whatever.
     
  13. mrprlover

    mrprlover Well-Known Member

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    Question - shouldn't he market towards &quot;one&quot; specific group, be it by income/style preferences/age/etc...instead of trying to cover too much ground.

    Trying to paint with too broad a brush can lead to problems down the road. Sooner than later he'd be holding too much inventory in attempt to please everyone. Yes the customer base might be somewhat small at first but if he treats customers well they'll assuredly return.

    It seems like together we're suggesting too broad a spectrum. Some streetwear coupled with classics, both in their respective pricepoints seems to be the consensus. Keep department store names in the department stores.

    Or would it be best to keep things broad? Wouldn't this require more inventory though?
     
  14. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    I think that he intends to sell at a significant discount. A MTM service (assuredly *not* at retail) would probably not only not appeal to his customer base, which from the list of designers he posted, would be in his/her twenties and thirties and looking for deals. Besides a MTM service would require an entirely separate staff, especially handling fulfillment. I also don't think that the Canadian market is there for that type of thing. Toronto is not New York or L.A., or even Austin, Dallas, or Chicago, for that matter. Canadian incomes are much lower proportionally, (rich in Canada means over 100K Canadian,) and the consumer mindset is just not the same. There is *no* market for Kiton/Brioni/Jacob the Jeweller, mainly because hardly anyone has that type of money. And any business there is, Harry Rosen gobbles it up.
     
  15. jetLab

    jetLab Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the great ideas. However, I don't want to have to deal with too many suppliers because this is a small shop. I think I'll focus on the "safe" designers and start introducing the less known ones once I'm more established. Everything in the store will definitely be discounted, I'll need the large discounts to establish a customer base. Keep in mind that retail stores markup designer items at least 400%. Just to clarify, the store will be opening in Markham, which is a suburb just north of Toronto and has Canada's highest per capita income. I also plan on opening an online store. It'll look something like this: [​IMG]
     
  16. VWpete

    VWpete Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic. I sure have a soft spot for Dior. I think that's the tuxedo jacket w/ leather lapels (top row, second from the right) I bought at Barney's this summer at 70% off. I understand your staying safe at first. You can expand your suppliers once you get comfortable, which could take a short period of time. Good luck and I'd focus on your shop first, then the online store.
    Pete
     
  17. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Well-Known Member

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    jetlab, why did you ask our opinion if you already made your choice? [​IMG] i think it's a good  idea to simply stock a little of everything and see what sells most. or perhaps you'll get requests for certain pieces and/or designers once you're open. good luck and remember to get a good stereo system.
     
  18. mrprlover

    mrprlover Well-Known Member

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    If I were in his shoes and putting down a couple $100K, I think I'd need a tad bit of reassurance as well. Even if the plans have been made and acted upon, there's always space for small business-decisions (adjustments) here and there.

    The best of luck jetLab.
     
  19. Valmont

    Valmont Well-Known Member

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    no offense LA Guy,

    but that is the stupidest thing I haver ever read. I think the term eurotrash in it self is derogatory but I have to come accept it as there is certainly a lot of ppl here in europe who give meaning to the word but then again there is a great deal of Americantrash as well. PDC jeans may be high end but they are too square and boring like many (but not all of your American countrymen), if you find that innovative denim such as energie is too much for you then by all means buy &quot;classic American&quot; but don't label designs you just don't like as eurotrash.
     
  20. Alias

    Alias Well-Known Member

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    Just a heads-up: Take your own pictures of your own merchandise, and don't use any models that belong to companies. Being accused of copyright infringement isn't a good thing.
     

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