In mid-November, more than 1,100 women from over 30 countries gathered at the Knockdown Center in Queens, New York, for the fourth annual Girlboss Rally. It’s here that panels of hard-hustling entrepreneurs and successful in-person sellers offered up a number of insights that are helpful for retailers. Without further ado, here are some of the top takeaways for retail entrepreneurs from this year’s conference.
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As entrepreneurs, and especially as retailers, the way you feel about work can be an emotional rollercoaster. One month you’re on top of the world, the next you’re questioning why you’ve even dedicated yourself to your business — especially during those slower months. The beautiful thing is, inspiration is everywhere. You simply need to pause every now and then, and notice the words of wisdom of successful business people and thought leaders surrounding you.
And while your Facebook feed might currently be filled with intense political rhetoric, over on Pinterest and Instagram you’re likely to find inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs like you.
Bookmark this article for when you need that boost of inspiration. Save your favorites as your desktop background or print them and post them in your office. The point is, take in these words of wisdom to help guide you on this sometimes *wild* and whirlwind journey also known as retail.
You never know: your new business mantra might be right here.
The rappers, celebrities, and streetwear were in full effect — and all over Instagram Stories — this weekend in Long Beach, Calif., at the second annual ComplexCon.
If the in-demand brands on display didn’t induce enough FOMO, the celeb sightings certainly did. Between Pharrell, legendary artist Takashi Murakami, and Off-White designer and founder Virgil Abloh (who are all part of the Host Committee), as well as designer Alexander Wang and Usher, the list of celebrity names at ComplexCon reads like a mashup of the MTV Awards, New York Fashion Week, a Lakers game, and a touch of Art Basel.
Most importantly, ComplexCon is a prime example of one of the pillars of the future of retail — experiential marketing — and the magic that’s created when music, merchants, and most-definitely the right booth experience, all collide.
To help fuel innovation and creativity, Shopify provided 10 influential brands with the unique opportunity to sell at ComplexCon with our “TEN powered by Shopify” pop-up. Shopify helped these retailers bring their brand to life offline and to sell (with the help of Shopify POS and our Chip & Swipe Reader), connect, network, build community, and showcase their wares and brand, alongside some of the biggest brands in streetwear fashion. Consider it the retail runway, with these 10 brands were in the front row.
We spoke with five of these retailers about how they translated their brands to a pop-up activation, the importance of community when it comes to in-person selling, and their top ComplexCon takeaways. So, whether you want to sell at a trade show, fair, or festival, take notes: You can join this “front row” too, with a little help from these seasoned sellers.
In an era where brick-and-mortar stores serve as the physical touchpoint between a brand and the consumer, retailers need to excite customers as much as possible. And it starts by drawing them in with a high-impact window display.
A store’s visual presentation not only tells a brand story, it also piques imagination and curiosity, and conjures up emotional feelings of “I need to have this!” — which is truly the ultimate goal.
Kathlin Argiro is a New York-based dress designer at Kathlin Argiro Design Studio and a professor at Parsons School of Design. Take it from her: “The number one thing customers are looking for in retail is an experience. It’s not just about the product(s) they are buying. They also want to feel that they’re in a special environment where they get individual attention. That’s why there has been an upswing for smaller designer retail boutiques and a major downturn in business for the big-box retailers.”
We consulted a panel of experts, including retailer owners and merchandising professors, to learn more about how to ensure your merchandising is on-point — and on track to increase sales.
Having the right merchandise to sell to customers is one thing; knowing how to display it to your target customers is a whole other ball game.
Strong visual presentation attracts and engages the right customers, increases product turnover, and strengthens your branding. But before diving in, this point bears emphasizing: Just as your merchandise needs to be guided by your brand story, so does your visual presentation. Ensure the display is on-point with the brand ethos, aesthetic, and message.
We spoke with Dimitri Koumbis, co-founder of the ecommerce platform Bishop Collective (which offers American manufactured goods that eloquently combine fashion, art, and lifestyle) and part-time lecturer at Parsons School of Design and Rutgers Business School.
According to Koumbis, retailers should display their goods in a manner that best represents the brand and the product, and gives customers the ability to access their merchandise (literally, he means that the merchandise should be easily accessible).
Failing to create an impactful visual presentation in your store in a missed opportunity. So, we rounded up the best visual display advice from retail owners and merchandising professors to help retailers make a positive impact on foot traffic and sales.
There’s something to be said for people destined to do good in the world based on their life experiences and mission.
That’s the case for entrepreneur and fashion activist Kim Smiley, the Toronto-based designer whose jewelry collection is not only beautiful, but positively impacts the world as well — thanks to her mission-driven brand.
Kim Smiley’s eponymous handcrafted line of lace and Swarovski crystal-embellished cuffs, earrings, necklaces, and rings are made with love, but her “why” goes beyond high fashion: Smiley’s mission is “Beauty For The Public Good.” Her business is built on three pillars: fine arts, social justice, and poetry.
Sometimes the most magical ideas are hatched while casually chatting with friends — which is exactly what happened when two California-based married couples, from four different professional backgrounds, were out at a dinner party.
It almost sounds like the premise of a joke or a movie: what happens when a fashion designer, an architect, a designer/illustrator, and a marketing/strategy executive walk into a bar?
The punchline: They knew they had what it takes to create products that they themselves would be proud to own.
Morrow president and cofounder Michelle Paul Toney explains: “We were having dinner together and were talking about business ideas and/or new products we wanted to see on the market, and the home textile space emerged as a mutual passion. This was casual chatter. There was no intent behind the conversation, but it sparked a realization that we all had complementary skill sets and similar aesthetics and would make a great team.”
“It took a few weeks of ideating for us to really make a choice to pursue starting something. We began having weekly meetings and before you know it, we were creating a brand and a business together. We don’t take for granted that the timing and the people were right! The four of us are pretty committed, diligent, and practical humans and we truly work well together as a group.”
And so, Morrow launched in October of 2016 with this mission in mind: A premium interior home textiles company that features a collection of linen bedding and Alpaca throws.