Earlier this month I went to Market, which in boutique world means you attend a fashion tradeshow to view upcoming seasons of clothing from different brands, designers, and showrooms. Market tradeshows happen all over the world (I was fortunate enough to attend one in Paris last Autumn!) and there is a tradeshow for practically anything!
This time, I took one of our newest team members, Astrid, with me to market since she had took a few courses in school on buying and was interested in learning more about the process for buying clothing and inventory for a boutique.
We sat down during a "Fireside Chat" (a segment we're doing on Instagram IGTV where I am joined by extra special guests, i.e. the Adored Vintage team, lol, though I will be hoping to bring some small business owner friends on the mini-mini show) to talk about the goings on of Adored Vintage, small business, or maybe just to spill some tea and talk about life.
Here is our Q&A below! Don't forget to watch our first episode of our Fireside Chat on IGTV for Question 5!
Rodellee: You went to school for fashion merchandising and learned a bit about buying, what would you say draws you the most to learn about becoming a buyer for Adored Vintage?
Astrid: I love creating a story and telling stories through garments. The reason I first became so interested in visual merchandising was because I believe while a garment can be beautiful on its own, if it is placed in a beautiful environment and merchandised to highlight its best features it not only attracts a customer towards the piece but the customer can also see themselves doing certain things in the garment. Whether that be a quaint picnic, a walk along the beach, etc. I became interested in buying because I can be the one making the decisions for what we bring in and help create happy memories and experiences for customers while they are wearing our pieces. I know personally, I am at my happiest and at my best when I feel as if I am wearing something that I feel confident in. I want to be the one that helps create those memories for our customers.
Astrid: What drew you to selling modern from being a solely vintage seller and do you miss anything about only selling vintage and being a stylist?
Rodellee: When I started Adored Vintage it was a way for me to share things of beauty (at least in my eyes), with the world. At that time I had really started discovering the beauty and wonder of vintage and antique garments. I never set out to be a vintage clothing shop, it just happened that way. I was drawn to selling modern clothing because I could no longer keep up with the demand for vintage garments. Sourcing vintage garments is a very guarded industry secret but one thing I can reveal to you is that it is extremely time consuming. A lot more time consuming than going to a tradeshow, that's for sure! I still sell vintage clothing in the shop here and there, so I don't really miss just selling vintage and I don't miss being a stylist. Too many fashion egos, lol! I love styling looks for Adored Vintage because it's a world I am very comfortable in and a style that I adhere to personally. I'm not trying to create a narrative I myself would never follow.
Rodellee: What was your favorite thing about going to market?
Astrid: Seeing all of the new things and just getting to know what the next few months of inventory are going to look like!! It was also awesome seeing other boutiques and what they are buying too..hehe. I love learning about other stores aesthetics and how they conduct buying as well.
Astrid: How have your experiences at trade shows changed over the years? What is the biggest thing you've learned from your first show vs. our most recent one?
Rodellee: The biggest thing I learned is to be organized and what that actually looks like. A lot of showroom reps usually go "Oh, wow you're really organized" when I bust open my Market binder neatly organized by delivery date tabs. It saves SO MUCH time in the long run to be organized! The most IMPORTANT thing I've learned between my first show and this last one is to wear comfortable shoes, bring bandages for your feet, little pads for blisters, Icy Hot, ibuprofen, lots of snacks, and water!
Rodellee: What is the biggest lesson you've learned about your first experience going to Market?
Astrid: Oh my gosh!! This doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the actual experience of market but I learned that I need to travel with a suitcase on wheels instead of a duffel bag! Lugging that big thing around was definitely the worse part of the trip for me. As far as the actual experience of Market, I learned the importance of staying organized and making sure delivery dates and products never overlapped each other and were evenly spread up throughout the months we were buying for. Rodellee is a fantastic teacher and I had an amazing experience learning from her!
Astrid: What is the most satisfying thing and the most stressful thing about the shows for you?
Rodellee: I think the most satisfying is selecting the garments and curating them on our buyer's rack. I LOVE seeing an organized, color coded, themed out garment rack. I can see the stories in my head already. It's my INTJ 5W4 persona being all "Yassss queen!" I get such a rush from finding those beautiful little gems in a big sea of basic things. The most stressful honestly is probably all the socializing. I'm an introvert and having to talk all day for 3 days in a row and just being "ON" all the time is really, very exhausting. I always take a day off, sort of, when we get back.
Rodellee: What were some of your expectations about Market before you went versus what it was actually like?
Astrid: - - -
Astrid: What is it like not only making sure you are on top of your game and focused while also training someone at the same time?
Rodellee: I think being organized is key. This was your first tradeshow ever and I think you did an excellent job just getting into the swing of things and really learning as you go. You can only learn so much in a school setting, so getting down in the field is really where all the learning happens. I think for me remembering to go over certain aspects of the training with you and setting up certain moments of the day for questions was helpful for me so I knew there was a time for when my brain could switch from buying manager mode to training manager mode. Gosh, I was sick during the tradeshow too and my monthly came a week early and I was battling crazy migraines throughout the week, so I'm glad you found me pleasant (haha, I hope) to be around 95% of the time!