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Editor's Note: What’s Your Back-to-School Strategy?

Dance Retailer News

In just a few months, dance students will be streaming through your doors for the uniform basics and fashion-forward pieces they’ll need as they head back to their studios. With planning, this could be your most successful back-to-school season yet. Here are three steps you can take right now.

1. Get your head in the game.
“Gearing Up for Back-to-School” (page 20), features a roundup of leading manufacturers’ fall ordering deadlines and incentives, plus a fabric forecast, an update on the latest trends within the ever-growing tot market and a peek at the best-selling fashions inside the developing liturgical category. Check out “Falling for Footwear” (page 16) and “It’s in the Bag” (page 14) for a preview of the shoes and dance bags your customers will be clamoring for this fall.

2. Strengthen your network.
Local dance teachers are your closest allies. They share their studios’ uniform policies with you and refer students to your store. It’s important to keep those relationships strong and vibrant as you approach this crucial selling season. Turn to “Showing Gratitude Pays Off” (page 24) to see how four retailers cemented their bonds with local dance teachers.

3. Safeguard your store.
The extra traffic you’ll see during the late summer and early fall means you’ll need to be more vigilant about protecting your shop from thieves. The upcoming quiet summer period is the perfect time to reevaluate your store and repair security gaps. “Outsmart Shoplifters” (page 26) offers practical theft-prevention advice from a retail security expert.

Get moving! This issue is filled with valuable fall planning advice. If you’d like to share your own back-to-school preparation tips, we’d love to hear them. E-mail your thoughts to cbohen@dancemedia.com.

Wishing you a super back-to-school season!



Editor's Note: Summer = Sales

Dance Retailer News

Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to gear up. As school lets out, dancers pack their schedules with intensives, camps and national conventions and competitions. It’s up to you to stock the essential attire and shoes they will need. This issue has been designed to help you get the most out of these summer sales opportunities. Here are three steps you should take this month:

1. Refresh your assortment. Read our fashion feature, “Summer Study Must-Haves” (page 18), to find out which styles your customers will need to be on-trend at their intensives. Then, check out “Sensational Skirts” (page 16) for a glimpse at the latest skirt styles on the market.

2. Rejuvenate your displays and decor. Have you thought about how the colors in your store influence your customers’ buying decisions? “Beyond The Pale (Pink)” (page 28) shows how dancewear retailers can use color (on the walls or through cleverly arranged products) to drive sales. Once you’ve mastered the art of using color inside your store, carry it through to your windows. In “Bright Ideas” (page 29), our resident visual merchandising columnist Leslie Groves shares her strategy for creating bright windows and offers tips so you can do it, too.

3. Reevaluate your reputation. If you’re not sure what your customers are saying about you online, you could be missing out on an inexpensive marketing opportunity. Check out “Yelp Help” (page 34) for advice on how to monitor and respond to online reviews. Act now to make sure potential summer customers will see that you’re a responsible, proactive merchant before they even set foot in your store.

Dig in! The following pages are jam-packed with helpful summer-stocking advice and information. We hope you’ll use what you can and tell us how it goes. Send your summer sales success stories to cbohen@dancemedia.com.



Editor's Note: The Next Step

Dance Retailer News

Dear Readers, as editor of DRN, I’ve always encouraged change. As you know, simply changing your displays or marketing strategy can help sales. This month things are changing at DRN, too, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to its new editor in chief, Colleen Bohen.

Since taking over at DRN three years ago, I’ve been excited to work in such a lively industry covering so many people who are passionate about their business. It’s time for me to go on to a new opportunity, but I’m not leaving DRN altogether. You’ll continue to see my byline in the magazine.

All my best to you.

—Libby Dowd


I’m thrilled to step into Libby’s editorial shoes at DRN. As the dance retail industry’s leading magazine, DRN delivers all of the news and information you need to run your business. We intend to carry on that tradition, helping you grow as the magazine enters its second decade.

It’s exciting to have the chance to delve into the dance retail market—especially at a time when the economy is poised for resurgence—because dance has always been an essential part of my life. I most recently served as the managing editor of DRN’s sister publication Dance Spirit, and I spent 16 years studying dance and competing with my local studio when I was growing up. I look forward to sharing strategic business knowledge with a community of small business owners who cater to young, optimistic dancers, just like I once was.

Dig into our fabulous shoe issue! Then, send me an e-mail at cbohen@dancemedia.com to let me know what you think. Tell me what you hope to see in DRN going forward, and fill me in on your business. I can’t wait to hear from you.

—Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note: It's Show Time!

Dance Retailer News

With dancers busy in the studio perfecting routines for spring recitals, now is the time to stock up on performance wear. A deep inventory of tights, shoes and accessories in the appropriate colors and styles will win studios’ attention this season. If you order wisely and market shrewdly, you can easily draw traffic to your store. In this complete guide to recital season, we have lots of ways you can highlight the products and services you offer.

The most important accessory to every dazzling costume is a new pair of tights. In “All About Tights” (pg. 20), learn what’s new in the legwear category, so you can stock up on the latest styles. You’ll also find display tips to keep your product organized and easy to shop. And don’t forget the icing on the cake—stage-worthy hair accessories. In “Polished Ponies” (pg. 14), we round up the best buys for star performers.

Shoes are another recital must-have, and boosting their sales can help your bottom line. We asked columnist and DRN Expo speaker Laurel Tielis to share some of her favorite shoe event and promotion ideas. Turn to “Practical Promotions to Put Your Best Foot Forward” (pg. 36) for easy ideas you can use right away.

Before you place spring recital orders, it’s so important to know local studios’ requirements. Find out how four storeowners keep communication lines open with teachers in “Recital Season Marketing” (pg. 26).

Now is also the perfect time to get your customers talking about their recitals—and your store—through social media. Twitter is a powerful tool for engaging your customers, but using it the wrong way can hurt your business. In “Owning the Twitterverse” (pg. 34), we offer advice for best Twitter practices.

What are you doing this month to prepare for the recital season? Share your top marketing ideas and unique displays on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/danceretailernews.




Editor's Note: Your 2012 Guide to Ordering

Dance Retailer News

When it comes to ordering, there are a lot of factors you have to consider. Selecting the right styles, colors and sizes is a science, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. This month, we dedicated the entire issue to helping you stock your store with the best products for the new year.

We tracked down all the deadlines and deals you need to know about in our “2012 Guide to Ordering” (pg. 20). This year’s guide is overflowing with incentives from major vendors, so you’ll want to hang on to it all year long.

Before you order, take a look at the newest spring dancewear styles from the top manufacturers. You’ll be itching for the end of winter once you see the new leotards featured in “Polished Pastels” (pg. 16).And to help dancers start this year off on the right foot, we highlight some of the most essential shoe accessories in “Happy Feet” (pg. 12).

Pointe shoes make up the core of your shoe sales, so we’re dedicating space in our magazine throughout the year to providing an in-depth look at each manufacturer’s collection. This month in “To the Point with Capezio/Ballet Makers, Inc.” (pg. 32), we spoke with Paul Plesh, senior product line manager for the company, about fit tips for all foot shapes, new shoe styles and trends. His advice will help you better plan your orders for the coming year.

Smart ordering is not the only thing you need to concentrate on this winter.You can increase your sales with new events and promotions. We turned to trusted retail experts and DRN Expo keynote speakers Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender for their ideas. In “Fresh Winter Promotions” (pg. 22), they share three brand-new events that will make your cash register sing.

How will you kick off this new year? Share your ideas with us online at
www.facebook.com/danceretailernews.

Editor's Note: Make Ballet Sales Soar

Dance Retailer News

Ballet is the heart and soul of dance retail. It’s the reason most of your stores are coated in pink paint and why more than 75 percent of your merchandise features frills, ruffles or tulle. Ballet customers include babies, school-age dancers, pre-professional students and teachers. And the money they dish out for apparel, shoes and accessories makes up the bulk of your revenue. With so much riding on one category, there’s no room for error. That’s why DRN dedicates an entire issue to the ballet business. From the hottest dancewear styles to the best new business moves, we’ll show you how to boost your ballet sales.

To help you plan 2012 orders, we talked to top dancewear makers to find out what’s new and what’s selling. In “Ballet Fever” (pg. 20), get the inside scoop on the latest fashionable and sophisticated ballet looks. Then stock up on the season’s prettiest knitwear to keep aspiring ballerinas warm. Whether you’ve got a beginner or an advanced student, assistant editor Kristin Schwab found the best styles in “Winter Warmers” (pg. 16). And don’t forget to fill your shelves with all the extras—like toe pads, ribbons and tape—that dancers can’t live without. In “Dance Bag Essentials” (pg. 14), we show you the best new options for these must-haves.

Placing the smartest orders is only half the job. Increase your marketing and promotional efforts to meet higher sales goals. In “Effective E-mail Campaigns” (pg. 24), retailers offer their ideas for creating messages that really do get read. And in “The Do’s and Don’ts of a Group Fitting” (pg. 34), we show you the best ways to run a lucrative pointe shoe event—without hassles or stress.

DRN wants to hear from you. Share the ways you’re refreshing the ballet category in your store. E-mail ldowd@dancemedia.com, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/danceretailernews.

Editor's Note: Value Rules

Dance Retailer News

November is a month reserved for giving thanks, and there’s much to be thankful for this year. High quality and great service—two hallmarks of your business—are important to consumers once again. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumer spending has risen. While buyers still make purchases on a need basis, most now say they are looking for the best value rather than the lowest price. That’s why this issue is dedicated to all the ways you can offer more value this winter.

Round Out Your Inventory with Versatile Dancewear: Give your customers more bang for their buck with well-made styles that can be worn to any type of class. In “Dancewear for Any Day” (pg. 16), we show you the most wearable items on the market. You can also find the best lineup of skirts in “Sheer Beauty” (pg. 14).

Make Over Your Fitting Rooms: The fitting rooms can make or break a sale. A few quick fixes to your lighting and fixtures can enhance your customers’ experience. In “Dressing Up the Dressing Rooms” (pg. 26), we give you the resources you need to create a fitting room that sells.

Upgrade Your Technology: Mobile payment applications make processing transactions easier—especially those held outside of your store. Retailers who use these new card-processing tools report that they are more cost-effective than any other option currently on the market. Plus the novelty of running the checkout on her iPhone never fails to excite a customer, says Jo Steadman, owner of Freestyle Dancewear in South Williamsport, PA. Learn more about how you can implement services like Square and GoPayment today in “Turn Your Smartphone Into a Checkout” (pg. 34).
I’d love to hear the ways you’ll be adding value to your
customers’ shopping experience this winter.
E-mail me at ldowd@dancemedia.com.

Editor's Note: Step Up Winter Sales

Dance Retailer News

Now that the back-to-school crowds have thinned out, it’s time to start thinking about the next rush—holiday performance season. Winter recitals are a great opportunity to get your name recognized. There are several things you can do this month to set yourself up for a successful season. Here are a few of my ideas:

Restock Your Shoe Selection: Chances are your
inventory is low after a busy fall. Now is the time to replenish.
In “Top-Selling Soles” (pg. 16), we show you the most popular styles in all genres that are sure to be in demand once winter performance rehearsals kick into high gear.

Organize Off-Site Sales: Sometimes you need to look beyond your store to build your customer base. This winter, partner with a local studio to display your merchandise at its winter recital. In “Off-Site Recital Sales” (pg. 34), we show you easy ways to set up a kiosk, plus tips on marketing and the best inventory to display.

Try Something New: We’re always encouraging you to keep your store fresh, and the same rule applies to us at DRN. This month, we’re excited to introduce a new column full of effective marketing ideas. Turn to “Laurel’s Leads” (pg. 36) for three great holiday promotions from top retail consultant and DRN Expo speaker Laurel Tielis.

Try something new this winter and let us know how it turns out.
E-mail your ideas to ldowd@dancemedia.com.

Editor's Note: Holiday Sales Secrets

Dance Retailer News

The holidays are approaching, and with them comes the unique opportunity to reach out to new—and nondance—customers. Over the next few months you’ll start welcoming the family and friends of your loyal dancers. As you help them select gifts, showcase your knowledge of the products you carry. Once you educate and impress these new customers, they will spend more and return often. That’s why we dedicated this entire issue to the most effective sales techniques and the hottest holiday products. Read on to learn how you can extend your marketing efforts to reach more customers this Christmas.

Special dancewear, like leotards with velvet details and rhinestone trim, excites everyone and makes the perfect gift for every dancer. No gift-giver will be able to resist the new dressed-up styles from top makers we feature in “Effortless Elegance” (pg. 18). We’ll also show you the best gifts under $20. We searched high and low for the newest and most exciting dance related stocking stuffers. Turn to “Petite Presents” (pg. 16) so you can start your holiday order right away.

Make shopping even easier for customers by offering a gift registry feature on your website. The added service will not only attract more business this winter, but will work for you all year long. Learn how you can build your own in “Make a Wish (List)” (pg. 22). With a little effort, you can have yours up and running by Black Friday.

Since your business is constantly evolving, employee training should be ongoing. In “Training Days” (pg. 35) learn three successful staff training techniques—including the best ways to teach pointe shoe fitting and new role-playing exercises. Then schedule a staff meeting right away. The more quickly you build your sales team, the faster you’ll build your revenue.

What are you doing to build your business this holiday season? Share your special events and promotions with us. E-mail ldowd@dancemedia.com.

Editor's Note: Start Selling More Basics

Dance Retailer News

Basics may be simple in terms of style, but when it comes to ordering, displaying and selling them, things can get a little complicated. As one of your best-selling categories, it’s no surprise that you invest a great deal of time and money into this dancewear staple. That’s why this issue is all about how to make the most of this fundamental category.

Rethink Your Displays: Basic black leotards are a necessity for nearly every dancer, but don’t ignore how you present them in your store. Changing the colors of your fixtures and playing with quantities can make a difference in how customers see the product—and entice them to buy more. We asked several established retailers—including the managers at Capezio’s flagship store in New York—how they make basics pop. Turn to “Displaying the Basics” on page 22 to hear what they have to say.

Expand Your Selection: Basic dancewear styles are not limited to leotards. Try adding a rainbow of legwarmers or expanding your selection of pink and tan tights. The more essentials you stock, the more quickly you’ll become the go-to source for dancewear in your community. See all the new and best-selling legwear styles you need in “A Leg Up” (pg. 16).

Spell It Out: Consider the signage you use to direct customers around your store. After all, it’s the finishing touch of each display. Is the font clear and easy to read? Have you included the appropriate information? Are they visible? See “Secrets of Signage That Sells” (pg. 20) to help you create signage that sells.

The ideas in this issue can be applied to any category. Whether you’re working with practice leotards or performance-worthy dance dresses, try something different this year to increase sales. Then, share your advice and ideas with us. E-mail ldowd@dancemedia.com.