As I try to stay cool on this hot and humid early July day, I’m catching up on some reading. No, not STAR Magazine or GLAMOUR but the latest catalog from one of my favorite vendors. It’s the PRE-BOOK for WINTER DOGGIE FASHIONS! I know some of you are scratching your heads wondering why I’d be tallying an order for that kind of stuff when we are only a few weeks into summer. I can’t believe it either. Contemplating which style of thermal-lined dog coat I should stock the shelves with when the DJ on the radio just said we reached a high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit today seems CRAZY! But, I have worked in retail long enough to know that ordering of seasonal merchandise happens 4 to 5 months before it is actually needed.
So what will be hot when the weather turns cold? Bear in mind that one of the most important things to remember as you read my list and begin to map out your store's winter floor set is knowing who your customer is. This will ultimately be the key to getting it right. Even a new business should be able to list what the buying taste is of their clientele. Are they more outdoorsy or more high fashion? Do they value a lower price point or do they buy something they like regardless of the price tag?
I have looked into my retailer crystal ball and have identified a few trends that I think will be some of my best sellers this winter:
- Tye Dye/Peace Sign Apparel/Accessories: This pattern is hot right now in "human" clothing and I feel it will carry over into the dog world for winter. Sweaters, collars, hoodie sweatshirts and even dog carriers will all be donning this colorful design. Here is an example where function meets fashion. This pattern’s popularity with the younger demographic is an added bonus that can potentially expand your client base.
- Animal Prints: Love them or hate them...animal prints are here to stay. Collars, dresses, even sporty harnesses are being coiffed with these great designs. Your customer doesn’t have to have a Real Housewife of New Jersey bank account balance to enjoy this trend for her pup. Most manufactures have something for every price point from extreme luxury of the cashmere leopard print dress trimmed with crystals to the affordability of a black and white zebra print ribbon collar. A smart retailer will know which of these categories (luxury vs. function) will be snatched up this winter.
- Sporty Harnesses: I see this product consistently growing in popularity throughout the upcoming winter season. Customers have a need for this item that helps manage the damage a pulling dog can do to itself and its owner. They are far more comfortable than traditional H harnesses or even step-ins. Manufacturers continue to jazz up this functional piece with popular patterns (i.e., skulls, camouflage, stripes, and plaids), fleece lining, even adding a high fashion flair with sequin accents.
May all of you fellow retailers enjoy these HOT summer July days as you too thumb through your winter doggie catalogs!
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