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Editor's Note: Kick Start Your Fall

Back-to-school may still be a few months away, but May is the time to place your orders. You’ll want to be ready when crowds of eager dancers flock in for armloads of new product, so we packed this issue with advice to get you ready for the busy season. Here’s DRN’s checklist for fall planning.

Order Early: Start with our handy Back-to-School Buying Guide (pg. 20) to keep track of deadlines and incentives from top makers. You’ll want to hang on to this for a few months—several of the
discounts extend well into September.

Order Wisely: Now is also a good time to check with local studios for any changes to their dress codes. More teachers are recommending their students seek out technical fabrics—and there are lots out there. Writer Courtney Rae Allen explains the latest textiles in “Fabric Forecast” (pg. 22).

Add Lots of Options: Our experts are recommending that you stock plenty of dance and active wear separates this fall. Dance teams need jazz pants to wear to early season practices, and a good selection of workout tops will catch the eye of fitness enthusiasts. We’ve got the latest styles and best-sellers in “Let’s Get Physical!” (pg. 16).

Enhance Your Image: Polish up your displays with some new ideas. In “Product Placement” (pg. 27), Leslie Groves offers tips on how to make a $5 product look as if it should cost $15.

Take a Break: Last—but certainly not least—make time for a vacation. We know it’s not easy to leave your store, but it is possible. In “Vacations 101” (pg. 34), we spoke to three storeowners to learn how they prepare their store, and staff, for their absence.

What does your back-to-school checklist look like? Tell us what you do during the summer months to get in gear for fall. E-mail