At Horseshoe, we pride ourselves on carrying clothes and accessories that our customers love to wear. But how do we choose these different pieces? What is that process like, and who buys for the store? Our customers regularly ask us these questions, and we thought it would be interesting to share a little about that process with you! Jill (original Horseshoe Gal and the store's owner) and Rachel (longtime Horseshoe Gal and co-buyer) collaborate on buying merchandise for the store each season. Several times per year, they will go to "Market" to meet with vendors and select merchandise for the store. Read on to learn more about this process, plus what trends we're excited to see for spring and summer!
Jill and Rachel pick out merchandise in the Corey Lynn Calter showroom.
Lots of people may have heard the term “Market,” but may not really understand what it is as it relates to fashion. Can you explain a little about what Market is, where and when it happens, and who attends it?
The term "going to market" is the industry term for retail buyers attending wholesale tradeshows. Fashion markets happen in Los Angeles, New York, and Las Vegas, as well as smaller regional cities throughout the country. Attendees to these shows are people who own their own stores or have the role of buyer for a company. There are market shopping opportunities almost every month of the year with the biggest shows being for spring & fall shopping. We shop seasons six or more months in advance. In February & March we are shopping for fall deliveries, which ship to stores July through September. In August & October we are shopping for the upcoming spring deliveries, which ship to stores January through March. Inbetween those big seasons we shop smaller markets for seasons such as Summer and Holiday.
Shopping Sanctuary's collection at Sanctuary's showroom.
How far in advance do you buy for each season?
Most brands expect a minimum of six months advance for orders. For example, we’ll write an order in March that will not ship to us until August or September.
What is your process when you go to Market? How do you determine what brands/designers to see?
For each big season like Spring & Fall, we attend two shows in order to preview all the brands we represent while also allowing time for sourcing new lines. Because we represent categories such as footwear and swimwear, we have to ensure that the shows we attend will have these brands there for us to shop. Attending market requires making specific appointment times to see key brands. We will always make time to see our best-selling brands and then go from there with the allotted time remaining.
Jill snaps a photo at the Trina Turk showroom.
How do you discover new brands/designers?
Often at tradeshows you just stumble upon a new line while you’re walking the aisles. In Los Angeles some of our sales representatives may have picked up a new line and we find it through them. Other ways we discover new lines is simply from being a consumer. Since shopping is one of my biggest passions I’m often out seeing what’s new in the marketplace and finding brands that I’d like to look at further.
Shopping in the True Collaborative Fashion showroom.
How do you decide which items to carry from different designers?
We have a lot of different customers but one thing that is the same is our brand as Horseshoe. Our customers trust us to pick what we feel are the best fashions that not only suit our lifestyle but our individual styles as well. I find editing the selection from a brand a very easy process: it’s either a yes or no, there should be no maybes in your final selection. Additionally, you learn over the years which shapes are most flattering and fabrics that are desired. This knowledge aids in making the best choices.
Bailey 44's showroom.