Are you ready for spring performance and summer intensive sales? Since dance shoes are the bread and butter for most dance storeowners, now is a great time to reevaluate your footwear assortment to make sure you’re carrying everything your customers need.
“Gold-Standard Shoes” (page 16) features 14 classic shoe styles for a range of genres, and “Sole Savers” (page 14) showcases seven shoe-care accessories you can use to up-sell customers when they make footwear purchases. Plus, “Ballroom Blitz” (page 20) offers an in-depth look at the latest trends driving ballroom shoe sales.
Once your store’s ready to handle customers’ shoe crises, turn your attention to getting ready for unexpected emergencies. Hurricane Sandy’s recent destructive visit to the East Coast served as a reminder that you can never be too prepared for a catastrophe. “Recipe for Disaster Preparedness” (page 26) offers practical advice to help you figure out where your store’s vulnerabilities lie and how you can protect your business from emergencies such as storms, floods, power outages and more.
Read on and then get moving!
Wishing you a productive month,
* Don’t forget to read our latest Retailer Spotlight! This month we visit Downtown Dancewear in Riverside, CA. This new 500-square-foot shop shares space—and a cash register—with a variety of other vendors. Read about it on page 34.
Break out the sequins: Recital season is just around the corner! From stocking up on tights, shoes and gifts, to crafting your game plan for your on-site pop-up shop, now is the time to position your store for spring performance sales. In this issue, you’ll find all the info you need to achieve your most profitable recital season yet. Here are three steps you can take right now:
1. Plan Your Pop-Up Shop. In our Seen & Heard column (page 26), three veteran storeowners discuss their local recital pop-up strategies. Then, in “Perfect Your Pop-Up Shop” (page 30), visual merchandising expert Leslie Groves offers 10 quick merchandising tips to help you create a polished on-site space. Once your plans are in place, refresh your assortment with the gift items featured on page 14.
2. Help Your Customers Get Performance-Ready. While on-site gift and accessory sales are a great way to boost profits, you must still focus on meeting the needs of your core base of dancers. Find out which products they need for spring performances in “Recital Must-Haves” (page 38). And make sure you have alternatives to traditional costumes by stocking the apparel on page 16.
3. Have Some Fun Along the Way. On February 2, take a little time to enjoy the break between the chaos of The Nutcracker and recital season by celebrating Tutu Day with your customers (2/2 = tutu, get it?). We first learned about this made-up dance holiday last year when a handful of retailers posted pictures of their celebrations on Facebook, and we just had to share the idea with the rest of you! Read “Celebrate Tutu Day!” (page 22) to find out how you can get involved.
Wishing you a spring filled with sales,
As 2013 kicks off, DRN is here to help you hit the ground running. The economy is gradually ticking up, and dance itself is becoming ever more popular thanks to the growing number of dance-based TV shows and movies on the scene. Here are a few ways you can make the most of the new year:
1. Order early and often. Read our “Guide to Ordering in 2013” (page 20) to learn all the latest dealer incentives and deadlines. And don’t forget to peruse the sidebar ”2013 Trend Forecast” to find out which trends leading manufacturers think you should be paying attention to, as you plan.
2. Upgrade your store…and customer experience. Be sure to read “The Closer” (page 28), which explores why dressing rooms are such a crucial part of securing a sale and offers tips and tricks to help you take your own fitting rooms to the next level. Then, check out “Loyalty Goes Mobile And Social” (page 24), which looks at six new, inexpensive digital loyalty programs that can make it easier for you to keep track of shoppers’ buying preferences and reward your most loyal customers.
3. Refine your brand. In “The Color of Success” (page 32), we shine a spotlight on Haute Pink Dance Wear Boutique, a dance apparel store in a rural area of Ontario, Canada, that turned a profit and saw $175,000 (Canadian) in sales its first year in business. Inspired by chains like lululemon and Victoria’s Secret, the shop’s four co-owners have developed a store that has a distinctly fun, inviting vibe that appeals to young competition dancers. The owners’ impressive marketing strategy, which includes everything from a program that spotlights local dancers to strategic partnerships with other independent businesses (Think a custom raspberry flavored drink from a nearby coffee shop called The Haute Pink!), keeps customers engaged. Get inspired!
Wishing you a profitable year,
As consumers gradually reopen their wallets after years of belt tightening, and interest in dance continues to grow, you’re finding ways to get the most out of every sale. You’re probably working harder than ever, but you’re making it work. Bravo! As you gear up for a new year, here are a few ways you can take your business to new heights.
1. Bank on ballerinas. Ballet is considered the basis of all dance education, and for many dance retailers, ballet-related sales are the bedrock of their businesses. You can improve your relationships with customers from this segment by creating unique experiences to encourage them to choose your shop. Read “Beyond the Pointe” (page 26) to find out how three creative retailers are appealing to ballet dancers. Then, check out “The Ballerina’s Tool Kit” (page 14) and “Winter-Ready Warm-Ups” (page 18) to make sure you have all the accessories, warm-ups and knitwear these discerning dancers need.
2. Focus on the details. You may not have the time or the money to redo your entire store, but making a few small changes (such as buying new hangers or redesigning your shopping bags) can have a big impact on the way customers perceive it. To stay fresh and on-trend, read “Finishing Touches for 2013” (page 30).
3. Seek new opportunities. Jayne Dalton-DiPierro, owner of On Your Toes Dancewear in Staten Island, NY, celebrated her store’s 20th anniversary a few months ago. She keeps her business exciting by offering an ever-growing range of side services, including in-store rhinestoning (it attracts both dancers and brides-to-be) and her store’s new “On Your Toes On The Go” program that sends her employees to on-site fittings for local dance classes and cheer teams. (It helps her cater to nearby customers hesitant to cross a toll bridge to get to her store.) Read her story, “Staten Island Success Story” (page 34), and then explore your local community to find new ways to expand your own customer base.
Wishing you happy holidays and a profitable new year,
Each November at Thanksgiving, Americans reflect on the good things in their lives. Even though the country’s overall recovery from the recession has been slow, lately we’ve been seeing plenty of anecdotal evidence that the dance retail market is blossoming. In fact, DRN’s Facebook feed is regularly dotted with notices from dance stores around the country that are growing in a variety of ways.
This month we’re revisiting Attitudes Dancewear, Etc., in Wichita, KS. It has had striking success since we first covered the store eight years ago (DRN September 2004). The shop’s owner Shawna Beth Rea recently doubled her sales floor by moving into a new 2,500-square-foot location. Read “A New Attitude” (page 30) to find out how she built up her business, turning it into a dance retail powerhouse with roughly $400,000 in annual sales.
As you plan your orders for 2013, read “All Jazzed Up” (page 22) to refresh your awareness of the latest innovations in the jazz shoe market. Thanks to new technology and manufacturers’ growing attention to the diverse needs of dancers who wear jazz shoes, you have more stocking options than ever before.
Finally, make sure you’re registered for DRN EXPO Online, which takes place November 9 at 12 pm EST. This free webinar—designed especially for dance retailers—will bring you cutting-edge advice on visual merchandising, social-media marketing and more. You won’t want to miss it! Reserve your space at www.drnexpo.com.
Wishing you a profitable November and a Happy Thanksgiving,
How will you make 2013 your most profitable year yet? Now that back-to-school is over and your holiday plans are in place, it’s time to figure out how you’ll make your store feel fresh in the coming year. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Reevaluate your image. If you can’t remember the last time you updated your store’s logo, read “Logo Logic” (page 30) for insight from marketing specialists and designers. They’ll help you determine if your logo is doing all it can to build your brand. And, “Ask Leslie” (page 31) offers strategic advice on where to place your logo in your store.
2. Find new ways to drive business. If your store traffic has leveled off, it may be time to look for ways to expand your assortment. In “Selling Shapewear” (page 26), we examine the emerging shapewear category. While contouring garments have been a staple in mainstream apparel for years, dancewear makers have only recently begun to create their own versions. Read to find out how you can position these items for your customers.
3. Replenish your assortment. As you plan for your biggest order of the year, be sure to check out “Stepping Out in Style”(page 20) for an update on all of the best-selling shoe styles to stock in the coming year. “Seasonal Shift” (page 18) also offers a roundup of the latest tights and legwarmer styles from 14 leading manufacturers.
Start reading so you can start planning!
Sign Up For DRN Expo Online!
On November 9, 2012, we’re bringing DRN to life in a free webinar! This one-hour event will cover a range of hot topics and include practical tips to help you boost your business. You won’t want to miss it! Visit www.drnexpo.com to pre-register now.
The holidays are just around the corner, and this issue is filled with the product and decorating ideas you’ll need to ensure a successful sales season. Help customers find the gifts they need by offering the stocking-stuffers found in “Dancer’s Delight” (page 16), and the winter-friendly styles in “Chill-Proof Classwear” (page 18). Then, create an eye-catching holiday window installation using one of the three easy-to-implement concepts described in “Ask Leslie” (page 29). And if you’re looking for ways to refresh your gift-wrap service, read “That’s a Wrap!” (page 26).
Once you’ve finished planning for the holidays, set aside an hour to participate in the new DRN Expo Online. We’ve listened to your feedback and we’ve learned that, for most retailers, the expert seminars and breakout sessions are a perennial favorite at the DRN Expo. Now, you can get the same creative advice without stressing about having to leave your store. This November, we’re bringing the magazine to life in a free webinar that will cover a range of hot topics and offer practical tips to help boost your business. You won’t want to miss it! All you have to do is sign up and log in. Visit http://bit.ly/MmtyQ9 to pre-register now. And connect with us on Facebook for all the latest details—including valuable tips for your store!
Wishing you a profitable holiday season!
The back-to-school season is in full swing, so it’s time to figure out how you’ll maintain your momentum through the end of the year. Here are a few suggestions:
Bulk up on the basics. Our fashion feature, “Beautiful Basics for Every Body” (page 18), includes 19 leotards in varying cuts and styles, along with fitting tips to help you provide shoppers with leos that flatter their individual body types. Once you’ve stocked up, check out the Ask Leslie column (page 31) for advice on how you can use color schemes to create compelling basics displays.
Educate yourself on emerging categories. As dancers return to the studio, there will be a new crop of young ones itching to get their first pair of pointe shoes. However, since every dancer isn’t ready to take that step, manufacturers have a solution: demi-pointe shoes. In “The Halfway Pointe” (page 24), DRN talks to leading manufacturers about this growing category, pinpointing potential customers and gathering advice to help you position demi-pointe shoes in your stores.
Get creative. When you’re ready to start preparing for the holidays (They’re just around the corner!), turn to “Holiday Displays: Nutcracker Edition” (page 30) to get inspired by three unique window displays featuring elements from the classic holiday ballet. When you’re done, shoot DRN an e-mail at email@example.com to fill us in on your own holiday plans.
Wishing you a profitable fall,
Back-to-school season is on the horizon. Here are a few final touches to add to your plans:
1. Expand your inventory. You’ve already placed your major fall orders, but now’s the time to double back to make sure you have the extras your customers will need as they head back to the studio. “Fashion-Forward Warm-Ups” (page 20) offers a roundup of the latest trends in this favorite fall category. For a rundown on the best-selling legwear from a range of manufacturers, check out “Top Tights” (page 16). Oh, and don’t forget to load up on impulse items like the accessories showcased in “Personalize Your Pointe Shoes” (page 14).
2. Reevaluate your lighting. Is your store as bright as it needs to be? Are you using your accent lights to highlight your best products? Read “Bright Ideas” (page 28) for an in-depth look at how retail lighting influences customers, along with advice on how you can rearrange your lights to better reflect your store’s image. “Ask Leslie” (page 30) examines the art of accent lighting and offers tips for using floodlights, spotlights and pin lights to create a variety of effects.
3. Polish your promotions. If you’re still trying to think of new ways to attract customers this fall, turn to “Fresh Fall Promotions” (page 26) to get inspired.
Ready, set, go! This issue is filled with information you’ll need to ensure your most successful back-to-school season yet.
Wishing you a profitable fall!
Change is good, so we’re excited about what’s happening in the dance sneaker category. Bloch’s new line of sneakers for dance-fitness enthusiasts is part of a wave of inventive products in that segment, creating opportunities for retailers to reach new customers and better serve their existing base. Read “Sneaker Selling Points” (page 22) for an in-depth look at the latest dance sneaker trends, along with advice from leading manufacturers about how you can position those items to entice shoppers.
Innovation isn’t just for shoe and apparel makers. Plenty of dancewear retailers have found ways to alter the basic dance store blueprint to create distinctive shops. Check out “Clean Lines, Clear Vision” (page 30) to learn how On Pointe Dancewear ’N Apparel owners Dan Aries and Marisa Figueroa-Aries used their experience on the competition circuit and in the classroom to produce a boutique that caters almost exclusively to tots and competition dancers. Thinking about tweaking your own assortment within these lucrative categories? Turn to “Baby Ballerinas” (page 14) and “Competitive Edge” (page 38) for a look at the latest fashions for tiny dancers and for the scoop on the styles today’s competition dancers crave.
While changes are exciting, they don’t have to eat up time or money. If you’re looking for quick, easy ways to make your store feel new again, consider adding another in-store event to your calendar or updating a section of your shop. Four retailers share their secrets to hosting successful bun-making clinics in “Hair-Raising Events” (page 26), and our resident visual merchandising expert Leslie Groves offers five ways to revamp your cash wrap in “Lasting Impressions” (page 28).
Get moving! This issue is filled with information and ideas we’ve collected to inspire you to change and grow. If you decide to tweak something in your store, we want to hear about it. E-mail photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you a summer of progress,