Featured in Earnshaw’s
Kelly Dowdy, owner of English Rabbit in Beverly Hills, CA, reveals five acumens to her buying strategy.
KNOW THE CUSTOMER
"Seems obvious, but it's important to remember! Everything is very casual here - California Cool. Kids are not as buttoned up as in New York or Europe, so I look for high-end formal pieces and envision how they'd look with sneakers or a denim jacket before placing an order."
"You can't just operate with what works on paper. Sometimes you have to go with your gut. Sure, that can lead to overbuying, but believe me, taking a risk occasionally can be very rewarding. I invested a huge portion of my buy in designer clothing when I started, not really knowing if the customer would buy$400 sneakers. Turns out designer kicks for kids are a hit! Now I'm buying double and triple the size run."
CHOOSE SUPPORTIVE RELATIONSHIPS
"Although we work with several European. brands, it's important for them to understand the American way of doing business. Quick response time is imperative, especially when there may already be a language barrier. It's only a buyers dream world where everyone uses the same software, so that's always going to be a challenge. But if my brands can be accommodating beyond that, it'll make me loyal season after season.
SKIP THE COLD CALLS
"I don't respond well to cold calls or brands just walking into the store with their wares. To pick up new brands, I typically make private appointments, see reps or go to trade shows. I do love working with brands directly, just on my own time. I like reaching out to them because it makes me feel like I discovered them."
"I’ve been to places like New York, Milan, Belgium, London and Paris, just to name a few. I've been able to develop relationships with brands that don't sell to anyone near me. We even carry Gucci, which is hard to find in this country for kids. It helps me provide the customer with an experience that is luxurious while still friendly and convenient."