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LA Market Week Interview: Jerry Neckanoff of Nek-Enuf #TheNewMart #LAFashion

We recently caught up with Jerry Neckanoff of Nek-Enuf, regular at The New Mart during Market Week, while we were doing our Fashion Week walk-through. Jerry gave us some very useful insights into the "business of fashion." Enjoy!

 

The New Mart: How has market been going for you?

Jerry Neckanoff: So far it looks pretty busy.

The New Mart: Did you have some accounts show up, or maybe some no-shows?

Jerry Neckanoff: My accounts generally show up, maybe sometimes a day late. Today looks pretty good from just looking at all the showrooms and people who I didn’t even realize who came, people I saw in Las Vegas.

The New Mart: If you had to theorize, why do you think yesterday was a little slow?

Jerry Neckanoff: I think it’s just a little slow in general in the past 6-8 weeks.

The New Mart: Are people buying less or just less buyers coming in?

Jerry Neckanoff: I think it’s a combination. I do think that people have been much more cautious of the last year or so even though the economy is improving, I think that people are afraid to take chances. One of the clearest things that most reps I know say when we talk is that people don’t look for new things like they used to. Years ago when I was in the California Mart we’d set up manikins in the window, you’d have people coming up to windows and looking to see what was different as opposed to going to see the lines that they know pretty well. Just like it’s hard to break into a department store, it’s their philosophy to limit their dollars and the companies they have arrangements with, like the big names, it means there is a smaller window for non-famous names. They still look though because they have to find new things because of all the corporate pressure. With small stores, they just get scared. They’ll only go with what has been selling and sometimes they lose out because they’re not looking enough for new things.  

The New Mart: It seems there is a change in ideology.

Jerry Neckanoff: Totally. If you talk to any rep from any other part of the country you’ll hear “The market is slow, but we did OK.” It may not be a completely honest answer because they don’t want anyone to know they’re not doing OK. Big lines that have enough variety, I don’t think that they have slowed down. You have to be prepared to take a risk, and that’s easy to say. You can just increase your size for the sake of it. People go with what they feel comfortable with. There are a lot of lines that are doing really well. I myself gave up my other lines, and now I’m just doing this one line which I’ve had for almost 14 years. But that’s a different element. I wanted to simplify things.

The New Mart: We really appreciate the insights you’re giving us. So many times the trade press will report that people say market week is slow, but don’t offer any reasons. We’re looking for reality.

Jerry Neckanoff: Definitely, people have to risk to make a change and one of the things I always tell my manufacturers is that they don’t have to make 50, 60, 70 pieces especially when it boils down to just 10 pieces that really sell and make the profit. And then if you don’t do that, i.e. don’t make a huge line and make a smaller line and take what’s good, you’re fine with adding another 10 pieces with the half-dozen or 10 that’s good, it doesn’t increase your cost. When people make a line of 50, 60, 70 pieces it costs a fortune.

The New Mart: Sometimes the buyer might like that flexibility, they might like a top but they ask if they can do it in a long sleeve. Would you find that’s more common with boutiques as opposed to majors, or all buyers?

Jerry Neckanoff: They’ll wind up with a smaller, tighter selection. In most cases, I want the buyer to go through the line. You can see how fast some people can go through a line. They know what they want unless they’re brand new and they don’t what they’re doing.

The New Mart: You’re looking to develop relationships.

Jerry Neckanoff: It’s the people who’ve been in the business, they always have the opportunity to show something new to the stores they’ve developed relationships with even if they don’t want anything, they’ll let the person come in and show them because they know them. You do have that entre that other people don’t have once you’ve built the relationships.

The New Mart: What is some of the feedback you’ve been getting from the buyers? What’s going on with them at their stores? Are they sitting on a lot of inventory, do they want to buy immediates, are they waiting to buy?

Jerry Neckanoff: Immediates are much more important in the last couple of years. 10 or 15 years ago you couldn’t get immediates but now there are 2 or 3 industries within this industry. There are people who just make immediates. Some manufacture just for the outlets stores. Left overs used to go to the outlet stores, now they manufacture for outlets. When you see the big name stores, you may never have seen what’s in there, like Nordstrom Rack. Now, there’s not much overstock. It’s a separate buyer that’s buying merchandise for that store. Even when you go into certain outlet stores, say in Camarillo, there you have regular merchandise from their stores because they’re set up that way. They have many stores so whatever is not doing as well goes to the outline, or they may even buy in excess so they can do that. Even those stores, they manufacture their own stuff too. Saks has their own labels just like Nordstrom has 2 or 3 brands.

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Q&A: Hallie Shano Cecere, Director of Sales and Design for Necessitees Apparel #TheNewMart @necessitees

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Q&A: Hallie Shano Cecere, Director of Sales and Design for Necessitees Apparel #TheNewMart @necessitees

We recently caught up with Necessitees Apparel Director of Sales and Design Hallie Shano Cecere during our Fashion Week walk-through at The New Mart. Hallie gave us some useful insights into the "business of fashion." Enjoy!

 

Hallie Shano Cecere, Director of Sales and Design for Necessitees Apparel

708 Necessitees Apparel  213.683.1284   F/213.683.1459  www.necessiteesapparel.com

The New Mart: How was Market on Monday?

Hallie Shano Cecere: It wasn’t as busy as we usually see, but the people who did come in were looking for immediate goods. I just sent all my reps the next few delivery dates and we’re two weeks out. They still want brights, grays and fresh colors. I’m not really selling my stripes. It’s basics, basics, basics, solid color basics, even over my novelties.

The New Mart: We’re surprised about the stripes.

Hallie Shano Cecere: People want to be safe right now. People are staying safe. What do you want to go with your jeans or your printed skirt? So you want something solid, it’s easy. They can accessorize it. They do a more expensive necklace, or scarf, or cardigan. They know they can sell jeans and denim, summer dresses and t-shirts. It’s an easy formula.

The New Mart: Is that across the board with department stores and boutiques?

Hallie Shano Cecere: 100%. A little fad that I’ve noticed is – a few years ago people were asking “Are you guys organic?” which we are not, but we’re domestic. Now they rather ask that we’re made in L.A. That the bigger trend right now.

The New Mart: Yes, for the right reason. Diversity in manufacturing is wonderful and it’s cool to know that something is made around the corner.

Hallie Shano Cecere: I think that’s a big thing. Somebody who has a multi-chain that I’m working with on some private label stuff like that – that’s one of the reasons he came to me is because we’re domestic. Somebody else I work with in Vegas said the same thing. I think that’s more of a trend right now than “what kind of fabric are you?” and now “where are you made, where are you produced?”

The New Mart: We love hearing that because it supports the local economy.

Hallie Shano Cecere: It does. If they want quality, they know where to go for quality. We’re going to see a lot more of that.

The New Mart: When you’re manufacturing domestically we have a certain standard and we know what we’re turning out. It’s not to say that internationally made clothing isn’t quality but it’s harder to monitor.

Hallie Shano Cecere: I think it just creates fashion that people have to depend on right now, and that’s fine. For them, they just want fashion at a price and they have to compete with the Forever 21’s.

The New Mart: Have they ever contacted you to do a private label?

Hallie Shano Cecere: No, I’m not interested. What happens to a lot of the manufacturers that do, if they stop doing business with them, they’re done. They can’t keep afloat. They do incredible quantities.

I think we’re seeing that more people are caring – they’re not saying this price point is too high for me. They get it now. If you want a t-shirt that is $6.50 you know where to go.

The New Mart: What do you think about the minimum wage going up, and all the doomsday commentary in the newspapers saying it will take manufacturing out of LA?

Hallie Shano Cecere: Well, you’ll always see some fallout from the bigger retailers, but the mom and pop stores aren’t complaining. We’d hear if they were not moving merchandise. And the online businesses have changed things significantly as well. It’s adapting with what’s happening in 2017.

The New Mart: I can imagine that your product would do with an e-commerce store where you can measure the dimensions and fit.

Hallie Shano Cecere: Oh yes, it’s something that needs to be done.

 

Producer/Interviewer: Ashleigh Kaspszak

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Q&A: Eveline Morel, CEO of Emblem Showroom #TheNewMart #fashion #dtla

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Q&A: Eveline Morel, CEO of Emblem Showroom #TheNewMart #fashion #dtla

We recently caught up with Emblem Showroom CEO Eveline Morel during our Fashion Week walk-through at The New Mart. One of Eveline's claims to fame is dressing Beyoncé! Eveline gave us some useful insights into the "business of fashion." Enjoy!

Eveline Morel, CEO of Emblem Showroom

707 Emblem Showroom 310.420.0125  F/424.281.6883  www.emblemshowroom.com  emblem@emblemshowroom.com

The New Mart: How has market been so far?

Eveline Morel: Somewhat slow. But there may be a good reason for that. I think this is due to the retailers who are buying immediates are still hurting from last month because February was so rainy. When it rains, nobody walks around. When you’re a boutique, you’re not in a mall so you’re not covered from the rain. I’ll probably see one or two people in a store. It rained so much last month, I don’t think a lot of retailers had a lot of sales. It was also not warm enough and a lot of them were pushing Spring also. If you see sales are slow, you may have been committed to certain levels, and think “how am I going to sell this?” This can be very stressful because you’re buying something for Fall and sales were slow and you’re wondering how you’re going to make the cash flow. And that’s always a bit of a trick, I think a lot of times retailers are buying whatever it is that they have to.

The New Mart:  Do many of your lines do immediates because of that?

Eveline Morel: Yes, many of my lines do immediates. I’ve pretty much told all the designers that they need to have at least some goods in stock because it’s easier for opening accounts.

The New Mart: What’s the good line to draw? From a retailer point of view, it’s the risk, you don’t want to buy a lot and then have a lot of excess inventory. From the designer point of view, they don’t buy enough. You don’t merchandize the collection to sell that brand. So what’s the golden number for retailers to try something out?

Eveline Morel: I would say at least three styles. Frankly, you’re better off having less styles and just having them try it. Because when you’re opening an account, it’s easier to turn around and sell them something if it’s done well than if it hasn’t done well. If they’ve loaded up and it hasn’t sold then there’s a lower likelihood they’ll be buying from you again. I’m seeing situations where they want you to take unsold goods back.

The New Mart: What about chargebacks?

Eveline Morel: You get chargebacks, for example, when you ship the wrong sizes, i.e. the order isn’t correct. They’ll charge you back anywhere from $1-2+ per unit. So basically when their invoices comes due, the chargeback is deducted from what’s due. Sometimes the designers are not careful, the wrong goods are sent. Plus, all damaged goods are sent back. On top of that, sometimes you get a charge back if the packing bags aren’t the right size. This is because they reuse the bags because they’re not going to be repacking everything when they’re shipping or the way they’re stored.

I remember when we were a boutique and there was a brand new designer who got an order from Nordstrom in 2006-2007 (the good old days), he had trouble after only two seasons because he got so many charge backs which meant he didn’t make any money. He didn’t have the right people. When you’re dealing with large orders, you need to quality check everything. It was too bad because he had the coolest line and he could have been successful.

The New Mart: How do you see the economy?

Eveline Morel: The economy is doing better, but I think the consumer patterns are changing. It would be helpful if you provided showrooms with a list of buyers, do you have that?

The New Mart: YES! We have a list of over 6,200 names on it and we track their patterns so you can see whether it’s a buyer that comes once a year, every market, twice a year, so you can see their trends. This way we can tell how many are new accounts and how many are returning to us. We found there is a definite increase in new accounts. Sometimes we’ll find we get an even balance of new vs. returning. We’re trying to determine whether this because of new e-commerce stores or app stores coming online, or other kinds of buyers coming into the business, or bloggers that got popular who are now opening a store. There could be a lot of opportunity for new business.

Any line that doesn’t have tracking means they may be out of business, but we retain it on the list for a period.

Eveline Morel: We do a lot of boutique target research, looking at competing lines. It’s hard to know when some people make it to LA. Some retailers don’t do LA. We started tracking what stores carry what lines at what price points, which helps up determine who to sell this line to.

 

Producer/Interviewer: Ashleigh Kaspszak

 

 

 

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