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.
Small Town and City Retailing that rewards the community, retailers, and customers…
Specialty stores could be better designed to present new customer experiences (CX) and unique shopping rewards for all shoppers and for loyal program customers. Some communities are now supporting specialty retailers who have been challenged by incoming and ongoing mega-retail, but are rebounding with more nimble, creative and unique thinking.
This can be managed by encouraging people with shopping strategies that offer the customer unusual incentives for rewards for their purchases. For example, strategies we have recently seen could be to design customized: t-shirts, gift cards, items of artwork by local artists and artisans.
In tandem with, and actually preceding the shopping reward could be a Rewardtailer’s complementary multi-media strategy of rewardadvertising.
Also a Rewardtailer’s advertising should not only offer purchase rewards and overall discounts, the consumer is inundated with a plethora of offers and the followup survey — so the question should be: What will make YOUR offers/rewards different and more desired by your customers?
Could you envision offering purchase rewards that provide Knowledge and Value of the town’s or retailer’s history — developing a special intriguing persona? The Reward strategy is part of the customer’s Decision-making process. As we have written before, Knowledge, Value, and Decision is a KVD strategy that can build a mutually valuable relationship. People and companies desire a community that is involved in the happiness of their residents and success of their businesses.
Before the razzle dazzle of our fascination with technology gets us all excited… Let’s remember that “there is nothing as powerful as a good idea whose idea has come.” (Thank you Victor Hugo — even then and all the way to now.) At the core of our new strategies must be something that will carry the day… This is the excitement of retailing through the centuries — if you want a historical view, watch PBS’s Masterpiece retail stories: “Mr. Selfridge” and “The Paradise.”
What will we, “our time,” be known for in our future years?
Perhaps — ADVERTISING? Interactive print newspapers in 4D?
For more on the use, value and research on Loyalty Programs: