Thursday, 29 May 2014

Summer IS Coming

Hay Copenhague Barstool (designed by Ronan and Erwan Bourboullec) £206 from Haus, Stelton Cylinda Martini Mixer and Cocktail Shaker £69.95 and £119 from Occa Design, Uniqlo Supima Cotton Sweater £19.90, J.Crew Broken-In Chinos £75, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Zinc Globe Trotter Atomiser €85 (refils for €60) and Acqua Universalis 70ml €110, Acqua di Parma Ginepro di Sardegna 75ml and Deo Spray £54 and £27

So it feels as if I have been setting Seasonal Ideal Stock Levels constantly since the beginning of the year. As I've described before, sales patterns change at Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Easter and Father's Day, and you need to make sure the stock is in place by using special Seasonal IS levels.

But before July, August and September, I need to review the Standard IS levels. I'm working on this at the moment.
These are generally quite quiet months, with no events (like Valentine's or Mother's Day) to interrupt them. Local customers might go on holiday and be replaced by tourists with different purchasing preferences. And so to realise sales potential, and avoid overstocks, it's necessary to reset your Standard IS levels using last Summer's sales.

To do this, I will calculate the average weekly sales of each product in each store. If a store receives weekly orders and runs on three weeks of stock, I will set their IS level at three times their average weekly sales.

There are special-case products, of course: ones that sell infrequently but of which you need one or two on hand at all times; testers, samples and wrapping (I try to base my samples and testers on sales and my wrapping materials on consumption). But apart from that, it's pretty simple.

September is a small event in my calendar. In France, it's called the Rentrée. It's the time when you get back into everyday life, after your summer break. And some people like to buy themselves something - as a treat after they return to work, or as an inducement to work hard through the autumn/winter, or just because it's a fresh start. So I'll probably check the IS levels against September's sales, come the beginning of August, to make sure the stores won't be short of anything they need.

So this is how my year looks -
January to June - setting of standard IS levels, setting and re-setting of seasonal IS levels to meet the demands of shopping events such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Easter....
July to September - review of standard IS levels
October to December - setting of seasonal IS levels so that the stores are ready for Christmas.

With Father's Day, the last of my spring events, on the horizon, I decided to post a selection of men's merchandise. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

We've just got back from a trip to Rabat, Morocco. It was such a wonderful weekend I'm worried that if I think about it too much, or try to describe it in too great detail, it will slip away from me - I'll realise my memory is incomplete or inaccurate. It's sort of taken on the qualities of a mirage!

So to sketch out our stay, everything we saw was remarkable in its own way: the Kasbah was so colourful; the Medina and Souk were so bustling and fragrant (literally kilograms of herbs were for sale - thyme, mint, others I couldn't identify); the Chellah - a ruin dating back to Roman times, now the roost of dozens of storks - so dramatic; Tour Hassan - a half-built, twelfth-century minaret, covered in intricate Islamic brickwork - so beautiful.
Our accommodation was charming and the food was good.

Even retail in Rabat was remarkable. In the Medina, you could buy anything you could possibly want (fresh fruit and veg (melons, mulberries, artichokes, peas...), the aforementioned herbs, tortoises, teapots, rugs, MacBooks!) There was little touting of wares and, even when you entered a shop, there was minimal pressure to purchase. We did manage to buy a couple of souvenirs though, including a tajine from the charity Terres de Femmes.

I don't think I saw an outlet of a brand I recognised the entire time I was there. Though apparently, there was a Diesel, and a handful of other stores I know, in the Mega Mall, on the outskirts.
When I leafed through a local magazine, it seemed Rabat was less a retail centre than Casablanca and Marrakech. There, I got the impression that there were some good independent boutiques. There were also some striking features on kaftans and beauty treatments.

Anyway, if I were trying to recreate the feel of the holiday at home, I would buy some things similar to the below. There were lovely textiles, rugs and cushions, everywhere. In the Kasbah's Café Maure, mint tea was poured into glasses a bit like these. And the delicious hotel breakfast incorporated lemon marmalade and fig jam - trop bon! A holiday that was trop bien!

 Tory Burch Cotton Kaftan £285, Garden Trading Recycled Glass Tumblers £22 for 4, Toast Hand-Blown Glass £13.50, Thorody Ivor Cushion £75, Bonne Maman Lemon Marmalade and Fig Preserve £2.29, Dinny Hall Talitha Earrings £455, Isabel Marant Textured Bead Bracelet £70

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Last month, we had a pretty important product launch. Now, there are many points at which you can come unstuck with a launch: there are the pre-series, testers or samples to be sent out, so stores can build up excitement and perhaps a waiting list; then the stock has to be in store in plenty of time - and calculating how much to send is far from easy; and then there's all the promotional material - window schemes, sampling supports, gwps...

Here are some of the things that informed my decision on how much stock to send:

- Previous launches and how much was sold in the first months.
 When considering historic launches, I though about whether they were singular or if we were launching several skus in one go, what price point the products came in at and how that might have affected sales, what size the products were, what category they fell in (body, fragrance, home fragrance, gift sets...), what their functional, olfactive, aesthetic etc. characteristics were...

- Feedback from the stores, the sales team, the press, etc.
 There's always enthusiam around a launch - over time, you get a feeling for just how much of this will translate into sales.

- The demands of window scheme and merchandising. For this, I looked at photos of windows from last year and estimated how many testers / actual product would be required.

In the end, I pulled figures for what each store had sold of earlier, similar launches. I then tweaked this to take into account their targets, how this particular launch differed from earlier ones, general feeling around the product and visual merchandising requirements...

I think that's a comprehensive list of what influenced my decisions.
 And the launch has gone well so far, so our preparation must have been comprehensive enough. Yay!

I realised last week that I've never posted any merchandise for men. As merchandising is at least 50/50 men to women, that seems a bit remiss. So I'll start making up for it straight away.

1978 501s Levi's Vintage Clothing £180, Patterned Cardigan Raf Simons £560, Weather Report Teatowels and Plate Marimekko £29.50 and £32, Cirro Mug and Tumbler LSA £36 and £45 for 4, Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado Kiehls £33, Clean & Shave Neville £22, Nourishing Moisturiser Perricone MD £62