Western & English Today

Fall 2016

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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FALL 2016 Western & English Today 17 "We had one about 10 years ago, and it was a nightmare! We quick- ly found out that we really are manufacturers, not retailers." "Wholesale remains our main focus and concern, as does pro- viding the most for the retail stores that carry our line," says execu- tive vice president John Polizzi of Tasha Polizzi in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. RESPECT FOR THE PARTNERSHIP ere's no waffl ing at e Brontë Collection in North Palm Beach, Flor- ida, which elects not to sell current season product direct to consumers, say eresa ompson, founder and designer, and Sharon Magruder, partner and vice president. Both have extensive retail experience. "It's an ethical decision that we believe will be a good business decision in the end, and we won't change our position," says omp- son. "We feel it is a confl ict to compete with retailers that support and grow our company." " is should be a partnership between retailers and designers," says Magruder. "In the end, retailers will waiver and then fall away from those who continue to directly compete with them—especially the mom-and-pop stores, the original foundation of the industry." Retailers know their demographics, and since working together benefi ts everyone, Brontë maintains open communication chan- nels. When a consumer contacts them directly, "we look to fi nd a local retailer for them in hopes they'll become its long-term cus- tomer," Magruder says. Farther north, with a website that he says is "basically the com- pany's business card," CEO Robert Goldfeder of Roja in Long Island City, New York, is taking his time. " e eventuality is that we will sell online, but we don't have a timetable yet," he says, adding that he's in no rush. With sales up 60 percent over last year, Goldfeder says it's because women respond to Roja's mission. "We don't sell a commodity prod- uct. Our consumer wants to see, smell and touch what we do, to feel good in something beautiful and diff erent that's reasonably priced." For now, he likes Roja customers to benefi t from retailer contact. "Retailers make us tick. We'll wait until it's appropriate for them to be comfortable with us doing anything new," he says. WHAT FEELS RIGHT Recalling her 1987 store debut, Gayle Hill remembers her fi rst web- site "was pretty pitiful. It's better now and we're selling more, but never enough. We want online to be a bigger part of our business." In the wide world of retail, non-random acts of kindness don't go unnoticed, she says. At her Maverick Fine Western Wear in the popular tourist area of the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, Hill says, "We try to support manufacturers who refuse to compete with us for customers." When considering two similar items for purchase and her buy- ers like both, Hill says the non-competing company will prevail. "It really makes us stop and think." She knows retailers and manufacturers can still be strong allies. "I've been friends with the Double D family for 26 years. It's helpful to me when they price things higher on their site and when they share photography and marketing materials." TRIGGERS BOUTIQUE

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