Elbow Grease

Publisher & Editor in Chief

Just like you, I’ve been on the trade show circuit for the last few weeks. And of course at …

Publisher & Editor in Chief

Caletha Crawford

Just like you, I’ve been on the trade show circuit for the last few weeks. And of course at every stop, people want to know how I think the shows are going. Thankfully, I’ve had mostly good news to report—but the positive vibe isn’t just happening to us; we’ve created it. Vendors have tightened up offerings, serving up only those garments sure to please both retailers and consumers, while buyers have done their homework before hitting the shows in an effort to better direct their energies and dollars.

Similarly, making a go of an emerging product category takes planning and effort. In “Wrap It Up” (page 28), we offer advice from retailers and moms on how to get cash flowing from the babywearing trend. The top takeaway? Customers need instruction. With the wide variety of products on the market, parents rely on knowledgeable staff to inform them about the benefits and characteristics of each one. While it’s a more labor-intensive sale, the payoff is worth it because, just as with diaper bags, caregivers who love babywearing often end up with an array of styles and varieties for different occasions.

As for vendors, many are opting to push into new geographical markets rather than expand their product categories. Those that are most prosperous with sales in foreign countries will attest that it’s essential to take the time to learn about the cultures in the areas you’re targeting. In “Dollar Devotion” (page 38), we outline the top qualities that prompt Canadians to pledge loyalty to a store. While these consumers’ tastes are not that different from Americans’, there are subtle distinctions. For instance, it didn’t take the economic fallout for Canadians to embrace the idea of value; looking for quality products at a fair price seems to be in their DNA.

Finally, fashion takes effort, too. Turn the clock back two decades (as designers have done) and recall: You didn’t just roll out of bed looking like Madonna at the VMAs. You had to work at it by crimping your hair, piling on the jelly bracelets and searching for that other lace glove. In this month’s fashion pages, we did the work for you and came up with some easy pieces you can mix into your tween assortments to give them that ’80s rock vibe that’s permeating spring collections. —Caletha Crawford

Leave a Comment: