Many trends are usually started in Europe. European trends differ from the Canadian trends and are not always accepted. I conducted an interview with Helen Brandolph who is the owner of Brando’s located in Woodbridge.
What type of store are you?
“We are a single owned Boutique that sells fashion labels such as Bandolera, Bench, Buffalo Jeans, Diesel, Geox, Lady Dutch, Firetrap, Parassoco, Mexx, Kenzie, and Inwear.”
Who is your target customer?
“Our target customers are men and women. We sell kids, men’s, and women’s clothes, shoes, and accessories. Our main customer is women who usually purchase for them self, husband, children, and family.”
What is your Mission Statement?
“Our store Mission Statement is that we want to sell more and have a lot of business. Being up-to-date in fashion is very important in satisfying our customers’ needs. Customers are our main priority, everyone must be treated equally. The store must be kept clean at all time, and to keep a fun environment for customers and employees. The store must be color coordinated, and organized in a manner that is easy for customers to find what they need.“
What service(s) do you provide to your customers that not many other fashion boutiques provide?
`` We always try and sell fast fashion at affordable prices. When customers come into our store we make sure that they are provided with help whenever it is needed. Some of our customers will try on items and they do not fit because we may have sold out of their size. Or they may want an item in a different color that we do not carry. In this situation we offer to our clients that we are able to order the item(s) for them. If the customer agrees that they will pay for the item when it arrives then we are able to place an order. When their order arrives in the store we phone our client right away to let them know they are able to pick it up. This process takes one to two weeks. We also suggest our customers to sign up for our mailing list. Our mailing list will notify customers when our sales are taking place so they can be prepared to shop. “
What types of problems do you have with customers looking for labels in your store?
“Some problems that occur with foreign labels are that the European designs are ahead in trends. This means that European countries are fashion innovators and their fashion is not yet accepted in our society. A lot of our clients are fashion innovators and are updated in curt trends because they follow high fashion magazines. These clients are our first to try something new in the market. They rely on us to have appealing trends all the time. Some clients may have a hard time deciding whether or not they should purchase fast European fashion designs. This is because they want the feeling of comfort knowing that others are wearing it and have accepted it.
Some customers are not always completely satisfied with all of our merchandise. Our clients may go to a store such as Buffalo Jeans and see an item that they want but will not purchase it because they think we will sell it for less. When the client comes to our store and we do not sell that specific item they get upset. We do our best to try and order that item for them but not all companies offer the same items to sell to boutiques. Some companies will design a special line created specifically for selling to boutiques because they want their own store to be exclusive. In this case we try to offer something similar to what the customer wants.”
Do have any problems receiving ordered merchandise?
“Our orders usually arrive on time and in good shape. Sometimes our orders may be delayed which is a problem when we need to re-merchandise our store, and create window displays that are changed weekly. We do not like to fall behind in schedule. Items made in Canada that we purchase are usually delivered in one to two weeks. Foreign companies such as Diesel may take two weeks to a month because it is being ordered directly from the Diesel Company in Italy although it could be manufactured somewhere else.
Sometimes we m ay also receive the wrong merchandise. This means that we may have ordered ten blue cardigans in extra small and instead received 10 red cardigans in Large. We also have special orders for customers that usually come within one to two weeks and it could be delayed to three weeks and the size or color may be incorrect. We do our best to follow up on all orders so that there are no problems, but nothing is perfect and we do our best do be prepared for the worst.“
How do you prepare for the worst?
“In situation that we have received the wrong item order for a customer, we offer a discount off their purchase so that we remain on good terms with our client. We do our best to please our customers and hope that they will purchase fast fashion. Creating mannequins that show how to wear a new trend and being able to show them many ways to wear it is important knowledge for the customer and our sales. We want everyone to be satisfied and to return into our store with pleasure.
There are many different trends and people who will accept them. There will always be a trend cycle and it will come in many different shapes and sizes. Our goal is to create a larger market for fast fashion. “