The children's market has perked up and has almost recovered from the crisis. But the times are still fresh in the memory when confusion reigned on the market and many old-timers could not predict the development of the situation, not only for months, but even for days ahead. Nevertheless, even then new showrooms and shops were opened. Some of these intrepid newbies have survived, gained experience, and are ready to share recipes for successful business with SR readers. Coordinator of the Information Center of Children's Products Elena Gerke talked about what, when, where and how to sell to a novice entrepreneur with the General Director of the ES'ENTE showroom Elena Minaeva, the General Director of SOFI CATALU Irina Brekhova, the Commercial Director of the BIMBAVERA showroom Natalia Ivanova and General Director of FASHION FOR CHILDREN (NUCLEO store) Alexandra Butuzova.
- By what principle did you choose the assortment and trade marks, given that the market for children's goods is saturated?
Elena Minaeva: Focused on their own ideas about the beautiful.
Irina Brekhova: Our selection principle is an original design and a combination of models within each specific collection.
Natalya Ivanova: There is always room for something new and interesting. We very carefully approached the choice of brands and settled on companies that have already established themselves in the field of production of children's clothing. From the very beginning, we tried to cover all the main groups of children's clothing from 0 to 14 years. We believe that our offer is sufficient for the customer to be able to fully formulate the assortment of his store.
Alexandra Butuzova: Not so long ago I became a mother and faced with the problem of choice: in Moscow there are very few high-quality clothes at reasonable prices. The market is oversaturated with clothes of the premium segment or clothes of the category “cheap and low quality”. Therefore, the idea came up to launch the Italian brand Nucleo on the Russian market, offering high-quality clothing at reasonable prices. Almost any family can afford to buy a full set of casual clothes.
- What are the typical mistakes made by novice businessmen?
EAT.: They focus on their own ideas about the beautiful.
I.B. Many novice entrepreneurs buy up leftovers or slow-moving goods at a reasonable price, as they think, and then they can’t sell it.
N.I .: Perhaps the most common mistake at the initial stage may be a chaotic choice of brands at different price levels. It is important to first determine the target audience and, as a result, the price level at which you will work, and select brands specifically for the task. And from the very beginning you should closely deal with issues such as certification, logistics and customs. In our country, unfortunately, every day you need to be prepared for the next legislative changes.
- Where and how is it best to choose foreign suppliers: at exhibitions, on the Internet, plan a trip to other countries?
EAT.: It is very convenient, of course, to choose goods on the Internet. Or a run through a couple of exhibitions - you will definitely like something. But! In this case, it is difficult to plan a long and happy future with this manufacturer. It is possible that one day he will surprise you. And, believe me, it’s hardly pleasant. I need to see all the stages of the production process, get acquainted with the masters, listen to feedback from their colleagues, competitors, find out the smallest details in order to be sure of the stable quality of the goods, that this manufacturer will never let you down. Yes, I'm a meticulous bore!
I.B. It seems to me that it is preferable to choose a product at exhibitions. There you can not only see and feel it, but also evaluate the level of stand design and the general atmosphere, which also characterizes the company.
N.I .: All three methods are effective and have a place to be. For example, besides the traditional visit to foreign exhibitions, I am impressed with the option of traveling to various countries. Indeed, in local stores you can find very interesting brands that have not yet entered the international arena. The Internet greatly simplifies the search, if, say, you did not have the opportunity to visit any exhibition, you can browse through the list of its participants the websites of companies, and perhaps something will interest you. At the same time, the Internet, being a more affordable and cheaper means compared with foreign trips to exhibitions and shops, requires a more thorough study of the information received.
A.B .: Of course, many brands are presented at the exhibition, but interesting brands can also be found on trips to other countries, as was the case in my case.
- What should you pay special attention to when talking with a foreign manufacturer (prices, delivery times, promotional materials)?
EAT.: Suppose that the angel-producer of the most beautiful shoes in the world gave you an incredible discount, paid for advertising, and the whole country is eagerly waiting for 1 of September to dress his beloved children in these shoes. But due to the “fateful coincidence”, the delivery was delayed by only a couple of weeks. And you were left alone with these beautiful shoes to wait for the New Year, Defender of the Fatherland Day, Hanukkah and Kurban Bayram. I can predict many different uncomfortable situations, from which only one conclusion follows - you need to pay attention to everything!
I.B. And on prices, and on delivery times, and on the availability of promotional materials - that is, almost everything.
N.I .: Based on experience, I would prioritize as follows: delivery time, price, advertising support, etc.
A.B .: Most importantly, delivery times. You need to request production calendars so that you can predict the supply calendar.
- In what season is it best to open a new showroom (store)?
EAT.: When you are ready for this mentally and physically.
I.B. As for the children's clothing that I do, it is best to open in such a way as to offer an autumn collection. Still, in Russia this is the main sales season.
A.B .: Of course, in the season of high sales: August or September.
- Where to find good shots?
EAT.: But really ... where to find good shots ?!
I.B. I managed to do this on the recommendation of friends. In my opinion, this is the best way.
A.B .: Finding good shots is extremely difficult. I was lucky, I have a very professional team now, but it took almost six months to search. I tried to find the store administrator on my own, but nothing came of it, I had to bring in a recruitment agency, they selected a very competent specialist.
- How to promote the newly opened showroom (store)? Where and what kind of advertising to give?
EAT.: If you suddenly opened an inheritance somewhere on the Golden Mile, then it’s nice to hang with banners the catacombs of the Moscow metro and banners all the central streets of our wonderful city. Didn't open? Then advertise the showroom only in specialized publications. It is not necessary to shoot from a cannon at sparrows - this rule applies in all areas.
I.B. First of all, at specialized exhibitions, then on the Internet and in professional media.
N.I .: We believe that at the initial stage it is necessary to take part in all exhibitions held in the children's fashion segment of your region. For ourselves, we chose CPM and CJF. Despite quite impressive investments, exhibitions remain perhaps the most effective means of promoting a new showroom. In this age of information technology, Internet support is also very important. From the first days of the existence of our showroom, we launched our website and placed ads on a specialized portal. And I must say that many customers learned about us through the Internet.
A.B .: Internet and exhibitions.
- With what residues does a new showroom (store) usually end a season? And what to do with them?
EAT.: A showroom, by definition, cannot have leftovers. As for the rest of the store, you just don’t need to be greedy - it’s enough to offer a fair discount to wholesalers, and, believe me, if you have a decent product, it will not go to stock!
I.B. Definitely - less than half. The best way to get rid of trivial residues is to sell at discounted prices.
N.I .: At the initial stage, the showroom should not have any leftovers, but after a couple of seasons problems may arise such as unredeemed orders and accumulated samples. In this case, we see two options - sale / sale according to the existing customer base and charitable donations. But it’s too early for us to talk about leftovers.
A.B .: The rest of the goods should not exceed 12%, part I set aside until the next sale season, part - for charity. I plan to open a stock store in the future.
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