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Ash Vasanji, co-owner and buyer for Heaven in Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA, sheds light on the boutique’s divine selection.
1. KNOW YOUR VALUE It’s all about quality and, more specifically, value. A $60 dress must have as much value per pricing as a $360 dress. The quality of materials and construction have always been incredibly important to me. Everything must have great hand. A well-cut pattern also allows for a longer wear—at least as long as growing children allow!
2. NIX THE NORMS Uniqueness is another key characteristic I look for in brands to give customers that ‘wow factor.’ But I stay far away from of-the-moment trends. If I do buy into a current color or print trend, it’s because the aesthetic aligns with our specific styling. I find myself drawn to brands that are similarly minded—those that value being different, not trendy. Molo, Mimisol and Imoga are just a few great examples.
3. STAY CURIOUS I primarily find brands and products at trade shows. I try to attend a new show at least once a year, mostly in Europe. This helps me discover what’s not in the States yet. In general, my process is quite instinctual. It’s about looking for new ‘flavors’—something that doesn’t feel like what’s already out there. This could come from a new or established brand seen at a trade show or playing on my iPad at 4 a.m. I’m always looking for what’s fresh and exciting to keep my merchandising evolving and still stay true to Heaven’s DNA.
4. MAKE (SMART) FRIENDs Talk to people in the know, get their opinions, even pay for consulting—if you can. This can save you from a ton of costly mistakes! Finding credible people to ask is key. Taking the time to listen to established, knowledgeable professionals can make all the difference in your future.
5. THE BEST OF TIMES While the business has its share of challenges, it’s still a wonderful time to be a buyer in children’s fashion. I’m amazed by the advancements in new fabrics and materials, as well as the emergence of more creative designers! As quality continues to improve, the gap between European and U.S. brands has become much closer. Honestly, there’s more choice for childrenswear buyers now than ever before!