Can you all believe that January has almost come to an end?! Boy do I feel this year has taken off full steam. I had a super busy month of January with traveling and trips that it just flew by for me. I feel like I am constantly trying to play catch up, but I am trying to not let myself get stressed because there is only so much that can get done in a day. January tends to be a slower month at the shop, so that does help allow us the time to get things priced and in inventory. Carolyn has been such a big help and has a great eye for merchandising. I am so grateful for that because it allows everything to keep flowing and moving even when I am not in the shop.
It had been 4 years since I went on an actual buying trip. I know, you must be shocked and wondering how I could do all my buying and bring you guys the latest and greatest without ever leaving Wilmington. Honestly, this day and age we are so lucky to have social media and the internet to really bring everything right to our fingertips. I have found so many cool vendors and met great brands to work in that way, and there is no travel cost! But there is always something to being at a trade show and getting to see and feel all the beautiful products. My mom and husband rallied together to take care of Ian a few days so I could slip away to America's Mart in Atlanta. I love going there because it is not a bad drive and there are three super-mega buildings filled with vendor after vendor, booth after booth of all kinds of amazing products to oooo and ahh over.
My goal was to travel there and be very budget-conscious; both in traveling and in writing orders. We have over 20 amazing brands we already partner with so I just wanted to add 8-10 more that really brought something new and different and fit within our criteria and brand. I was so lucky to be able to crash with two friends that were actually exhibitors there, so I am beyond grateful for that. I also opted to use uber when I could because the price to park was actually more expensive most of the time. Between that and planning ahead with snacks and breakfast items, I was able to really cut back on the amount of food I needed to buy during the day. Dinner of course was the time to splurge a little because, well, when in Rome... or Atlanta haha. The days there are long, your feet are usually barking at you from all the walking and that cocktail at the end of the day is basically shouting your name. The first day I walked the show, I was so happy to find a handful of brands that I had on my market plan list all right near each other. It made the day very productive because I was able to write a decent amount of orders without having to walk a ton or go up several floors.
I was searching for a good mix of new statement earrings, jewelry that was great quality (sterling or stainless steel) but at a great price and a new handbag line or two. I was able to check off all these and then some, so I cannot wait to hear your feedback. I have a new clothing line coming in, too, which is a silk-cotton blend boho beachy vibe that is just so soft and cozy! I am so excited to share with you guys some of the brands we will be launching this Spring... but more to come on that. You will have to keep checking back in with us, but I really think you all are going to love them!
I have been in the merchandising and buying industry for over 10 years now. I started at QVC, worked with Zulily and most recently our family business. The thing I love is all the contacts that you meet over the years you all end up running into each other again at these events. I saw a few buyers from QVC and one of my old vendors, too. It was amazing to catch up and get to see one of my best friends. I had no idea she was even there so it was an amazing surprise to end the trip! Though it is always an added expense, the trip was well worth it and I was able to go for a few days with staying under my budget... travel budget that is, I may have gone over just a tad with purchase orders. What can I say? That's just the shopaholic in me. You all will thank me later, haha. I will try to keep up with my posts again and keep letting you know when we launch all of these new brands from my trip! Thanks for reading and as always, for all the support.