Friday, September 23, 2011

Shop till you drop - litterally!

"So how do you choose what you bring in to the store anyway?"
Good question. One I should have been more clear on the answer to before I bought this place! lol
I figured I’d get regular catalogues, have minimum orders to meet annually and pick and choose what I wanted as it came out. It turns out that as a retail store owner I have the twice-a-year privilege of driving to Saskatoon to visit all my suppliers and place my orders for the next season. The next season being the one six months away.
Yes, add ‘psychic’ to the list of necessary skills for owning a bridal shop. Or any shop for that matter because apparently many different types of retail stores do this.
Here’s how it works. About 2 months before BuyMart your reps start calling “I’m booking for BuyMart, are you attending this year?” and you haul out your calendar and start filling in appointment slots on the days you plan to attend.
This is not a trade show, not really. You can wander around and view all the great possibilities but only during certain times. Reps book appointments with their standing accounts and those are not to be interrupted for any reason.  As you likely know, my store is open Tuesday to Saturday and my helper works a regular job during the week. So she’s only available to cover after 5pm or on Saturdays. This means that in order to get to Buy Mart I have to close the store, or pack all my appointments into Monday. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for wandering and makes for a crazy full day.
Here’s how it went for me at the most recent Buy Mart, which happened to occur on my son’s first day of school. Nice eh? If I was a more tuned in human I would have realized that before I booked my appointments. But, we made it all work so it’s all good.
First the school thing.
Decided he wanted to take the bus afterall.
Then Tim Horton’s (‘cause a Tim’s double double if for me as required as fuel for the car to do a road trip). And then we are off.
My first appointment was at noon for Bonny Bridal, prom dresses and bridal wear at a hotel near by.Then I needed to zip down to the trade show floor for the rest of my appointments:

2pm for my Calista and JAI rep (more bridal)
3pm for shoe shopping with Sofft and Marc Fisher
4:30 for jewellery
5pm for Spanner business wear
6pm for Mon Cheri and Sophia Tolli (more prom and bridal)
7pm for funky party dresses and great cocktail dresses
8pm was more shoes with Bos. & Co.

A major shopping day!
I decided to bring in reinforcements in the form of my friend Heather. She not only stays on top of current fashion trends, she LOVES shoes.

She wasn't to impressed with having her picture taken though. lol

When you walk in to BuyMart you have to register and then you go into a big hall full of booths full of clothing of every description.
Shoes, jeans, suits, dresses and accessories for all ages, sizes and sexes. Not every company comes to Saskatoon BuyMart. There are bigger events in Edmonton, Vancouver and Chicago. But it’s a little overwhelming and thrilling the first couple of times you attend.
Things were clicking along pretty well until I hit Spanner. My rep Vanessa was running behind as was my rep for Mon Cheri so I zipped out to try and track down burnt orange ribbon for a fix we were doing on a flower girl dress. That meant a trip across town to Fabricland. It was a success but took close to an hour! Much longer then I had expected.
The shift in appointments threw everything else off in a big way. If you love to shop this event is a blast. I do NOT love to shop and by the time 8pm rolled around I was fried. When I finally got out of there I was one of the very last buyers left and it was after 10pm. And I had to drive home! 
Michelle is great, she stays late and lets me eat fries while we book my purchases!

All and all the day was successful. February’s new stock and samples were chosen, Grad gowns will arrive starting in October and my trunk arrangements were made for the big Grad Gala 2012 November 6. I’ll have close to 80 gowns at that event, including Tony Bowls gowns! I am super excited! 
Your look behind the scenes for today. Cool eh?

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