Robin Droescher teaches SXF 225: How to Style, Plan and Merchandise a Pet Products Line.
So, tell us a little about yourself…
I worked in the women’s fashion apparel industry for many years in design, product dev. and manufacturing. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and my last position was at Liz Claiborne. Six years ago I combined 2 of my loves – dogs and design. I launched Robin Meyer NYC. We produce a line of clothing and accessories for dogs with a fashion meets function point of view. A portion of my business has evolved into consulting for a couple of other dog manufacturers as well as doing private label for Barneys New York Dog and Orvis.
We’ve heard that you’ve emBARKed on a new job path…
I recently opened a retail boutique and grooming salon called Bark Place. I carry my line of products as well as other manufacturers. We have a full product assortment of coats, sweaters, beds, toys and treats. It is a great way to test new products and if they are successful to go into a production run the following season. The grooming business as been doing extremely well from the day we opened. I wanted to create something modern and state of the art – a place where people feel comfortable leaving their 4 legged children and are pleased with how they looked when they are picked up. I believe we have succeeded!
What is exciting in the pet market right now?
I think one the exciting things in the pet market now is that apparel and accessories for dogs really follows the trends of what is happening in the human apparel market. I am starting to work on Fall 2016. I have spent the past few days shopping stores, looking through fashion magazines and browsing trend services on line. I know what sells in my line but it is a matter of taking the basis of what works and making it look fresh and new for the coming season.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your class?
I have taught my class several times now. The first class I ask my students what they really would like to learn and take away. Each class I modify slightly to accommodate their requests. We spend time merchandising an assortment so it is focused, cohesive with a clear point of view. I then teach costing exercises using different classifications of product: coats, sweaters etc. We start with the cost of all the raw materials, add labor, shipping charges etc. to come up with a first cost. We then work on the mathematical formulas to bring the 1st cost to wholesale with margin implications and then to the MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price). I also talk a little about how to import from overseas factories.
Big data technology keeps giving brands more and more personal information about YOU. The rise of technologies available to brands keeps enabling each brand to know intimate details about consumer behaviors. These technologies deliver opportunities to create more personal, 1 to 1 customer experiences (PCX) that will hopefully earn loyalty from customers, not only for their own satisfaction, but also for giving recommendations to others.
What would now be the brand’s strategy for PCX? It is being reported that there is a billion-dollar market for advertising sales on mobile videos. Major wireless carriers will be selling personalized ads that can target 1 to 1 with advanced Web videos. Digital PCX will also help retailers improve their omni-channel blend between digital, mobile and physical — “brick and mortar”– in innovative ways.
What does this all mean for the future of PCX? Is the future of media all about our mobile devices? This rapidly advancing mobile age has certainly created remarkable omni-channel experiences for consumers everywhere in the world, from obtaining instant news, entertainment, to shopping options galore. The interaction that must now be an essential factor for developing strategic PCX is and will continue to be mobile.
With the newest mobile technology in the hands of the customer, retailers are increasing their use of mobile devices to enhance the in-store sales associates’ ability to better serve their customers face-to-face. Whether it is to check prices of competitors; expand the inventory beyond what the store can or does carry; read reviews; arrange for special ordering and shipping; and even to geotarget customers with special and relevant offers as they move through the store.
A newer app option to explore is the concept for visual searching – photographing an item seen on someone while in the street and asking the retailer what they have that is similar.
Both the brand and retailer’s mission is to help the customer enjoy the shopping experience and deepen the relationship between them.
What new PCX technologies have you experienced and enjoyed?
Spring is here and many trends have been spotted in recent fashion shows. As the cold weather is ending, and flowers blossoming, many trends represent the beauty of spring.
In Shanghai, designers manipulate fabric to create texture, volume and completely transform them. Similarly, texture is shown in fabrics in Tokyo, where 3D fabric flowers are placed on garments. There are a variety of flower placements, such as oversized repeats, decorative application, varied scales and scattered. This trend has also been seen on the runways shows on Rebecca Taylor and Michael Kors. Florals have also been detected in embroideries on sheer fabrics to resemble delightful gardens.
Another trend that has been spotted in many runway shows is nude colors, which have been inspired by the light hues of makeup palettes. These colors are soft and sophisticated and are perfect for spring for sheer and silky satin clothing. Some designers to use cosmetic nudes are Sharon Wauchob, Haider Ackermann and Vionnet. Sheer fabric is also used by itself in many runway shows as well as with embellishments to create movement on a barely there fluid surface. The sheer fabric trend uses light silks and layering with chiffon to help achieve a feminine look. Sheer fabrics are also combined with knit fabrics, such as ultra fine silk, mohair and viscose blends to create a pattern suitable for the spring weather.
Floral designs, either done in fabric manipulation or actual application of 3D flowers are used frequently to resemble spring’s blooming flowers. Fabrics for spring 2015 are also breathable materials. Even knits that are used are thin and combined with sheer pieces. These trends for spring 2015 are light and feminine; perfect for the spring weather.