Up and Coming, the next big thing, it’s going to be hot, Hot, HOT!!!! So, who hasn’t heard an ambitious salesperson espouse these credits as they gesture handoffs of one sort or another. Want a different rave, walk to the next retailer. If you don’t have some means of discernment or filter, your mind could easily become a cloud in the pursuit of our passion to be the first, an early adopter, to smile with the smirk of “look what I found,” or “ya, I had it first,” or even simply, “the latest is greatest” mentality. Without a plan, you can become a victim of trailblazer burnout.
Today’s up and coming usually becomes tomorrow’s “you took the bait.” Bring on the sidewalk sale to clear out and make room for more wide-mouth floundering. A wise shopper learns to start taking some steps, do some research, and pay better attention, if for no other reason, to impress – which was the reason to start with.
Will it stay or will it go? Knowing which new product line or fashion has the legs is more than just having a gut feeling. There are some questions to ask when you are considering a purchase to help make that decision and spend that hard-earned money more wisely. As an independent jeweler, it seems a little boastful, but I have to prop up the independent retailer as the best place to get those questions answered. The chain stores just don’t have the involvement with the buying decisions on location making them limited to the full scope of the decision.
Here are the questions you should be asking;
1. How long have you been carrying the product line? It’s important to know how much experience the retailer has with it and what that experience has been. You aren’t looking for it to be a long time, because, after all, you want to be one of the first to own it and the first to tell your friends about it. But, you also don’t want to hear that they just got it in today, unless you are that rare breed of person that likes to be the first of the first.
2. How did you first discover the line? This can be the most interesting answer of all. You might get answers like they saw it at a trade show or magazine, or they heard about it from an industry peer. Then there are the interesting answers like they saw it at another faraway store while traveling and had to research it when they got back. I love it when you hear that they know of stores in small towns in Connecticut that are selling this like hot cakes.
3. Why do you think it’s going to be a growing product line? This is when you find out the passion for the product. Don’t just listen to the reason, listen for the emotion. If the retailer believes in the line, then usually there is a good reason.
4. How should a new collector get started? Okay, silly, they might just say, well buy one. But, that’s not the answer you want. You want a reply that has some thought. For example, they might ask you about some of your interests and as you talk, a few items get pulled out from the selection and laid out for you. Another good approach is to explain the line to you and give you some hints on a first assortment to try, a “one of these, and 2 of these” angle. But, ultimately, don’t let someone tell you what you have to buy to get started. Any good collection can handle a dive in the deep end as well as the toe in the water.
5. What is the return policy? Ours is 30 days, but you don’t need that much time for the reason here.
Once you leave the store, assuming this was a completely impulse purchase of a product line you’ve never heard of before, make sure to show it to your friends and get some feedback (like you weren’t going to do that anyway). But, the real test after leaving the store and getting on with things is “does the collection leave you wanting for more?” If it does, then it’s probably going to do the same with others and others and others, and viola – it’s a hit – you are a hit – and a trailblazer.
– David Hevia