This week the buying team from Lundrigans Clothing is in Denver CO for the largest outdoor retailer market in the US. It's the Outdoor Retailer show - where people from all over the world come to see, try and buy the latest trends in the outdoor industry. For Lundrigans, that means buying our favorite brands such as North Face, Pendleton, Woolrich, Dakota Grizzly, Icelandic, Killtec, Giga, Dylan, Billabong and many more brands our customers have grown to love.
So what exactly happens in the seven days that we are here at the show? Well, we are going to shed light on one of the questions our customers ask us all the time - how do we choose the clothes that we buy for our stores?
I'm going straight to the source on this one, and asked Lundrigans Clothing owner of 20 years, Nancy Freeman.
"When we come out to Outdoor Retailer, we take the first day of the show and just walk the entire show. We do this so we can see what people are offering for that season, the trends, the colors, and the styles. By the end of the walk day we know what styles are going to be popular, what colors we should choose, and how we should pair items."
The next several days are spent with the buying team attending appointments and being shown lines for the next season. Did you know that the clothes you see in our stores are purchased up to 8-9 months in advance? While you are waiting for the spring line to hit our stores, we're already buying for next fall. And the items we are being shown are just samples, many of the brands haven't even manufactured more than a few samples to show at market.
I'm fascinated watching the team make their choices. Some reps know them so well, they don't even bother to show items they know they won't like. They yay or nay items so fast that I can barely keep up. So how do they decide, and always end up with such amazing things in the store for us to choose from?
"We can’t always choose what we like, and that’s the biggest thing." says Nancy. "We have to remind ourselves, we can’t buy just what we like, we have to buy what our customers would like, because we have such a variety of customers. We are also looking for pieces that compliment what we have already bought at other markets. For example a sweater that will look good under a vest we ordered in Minneapolis 3 months ago, or accessories that will go with both of them."
I ask her, how big of a concern is the price of the item? "While we do factor in the actual cost of the item, and what it will sell for in our store, what's more important to us is choosing what our customers maybe won’t see in other stores. We pride ourselves on the specialty items that we offer our customers. And within that, we try to find a good range of pricing so we can offer something for everyone."