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Vicki Davis, co-owner of The Children’s Shop in Atlanta, on what, when and how she buys to keep customers satisfied for more than 30 years.
Never Enough New: Looking for what’s new is a part of my daily routine. It’s important to not only be constantly scanning for fresh product but to diversify the places you look. I do research through trade shows, social media and our customers’ recommendations. I also devour Earnshaw’s magazine when it arrives to see what’s happening in other areas of the country. I even receive Earnshaw’s Buyer Box, in which I recently discovered a wonderful new line, Beet World!
Relationship Advice: Relationships are everything in retail, and every partnership should understand the importance of give and take. There are some lines we’ve carried for years—like Kissy Kissy, Florence Eiseman, Funtasia Too, Feltman Brothers and Bailey Boys—not just because of the quality but the strong relationships we’ve built. We also love the process of making new connections, like we have with Little English, The Beaufort Bonnet Company and Pink Chicken, most recently.
System Upgrades: When I first started buying, I would have quite a few vendors come to the shop to show me their lines—like making a house call. However, with all the new technology that’s emerged for wholesale ordering (such as Nuorder and Brandboom), things have changed. I place many of my orders at the Atlanta Apparel Mart, and I shop AmericasMart for gift items. The rest of my orders are through online platforms.
Impulse (No) Control: You always want to stock something fresh and easily grabbable near the register. It makes a huge difference. For instance, I’ve found some great new toy lines: Tender Leaf, a great wooden collection, and Green Toys, which are made from 100 percent recycled plastic. I also love the Neckerchew reversible bibs with the chewy teethers attached to it. I came across all of them at the Atlanta Gift Show and have already reordered a few times!