Buying 101: Pickin Up What Your Puttin Down


 It may be hard to believe, but we are already excited about fall!  For more reasons than the beautiful change in weather, the promise of layered looks and rich hues too.  Fall brings with it some of the best shopping and this year will not disappoint.  To paint the picture better for you, on top of the fabulous fashions that will be arriving daily, we are excited to be hosting a 3-day trunk show with Layafette 148 New York!
It's these mini-sprees, tucked away into an already thrilling shopping season, that we are always excited about.  Being able to shop the entire fall collection!  The promise of finding a one-of-a kind piece.  Matching an essential back to a new silhouette or fab color.
To help illustrate how a certain designer can make all the difference to the shopping experience, we interviewed Jophiel President Julie Eckert Clancy.

When purchasing a new line for Jophiel, what are you looking for? 

Julie Eckert Clancy: Sometimes when I purchase a new line for Jophiel it is spontaneous: a new look, a new idea, a new trend.  Other times I have been actively looking for a new line for the store, and other times a designer we have been carrying goes out of business or changes and they aren’t a right fit for us any longer.  By a new look, I am referring to a vision or need that I recognize as important to Jophiel’s offerings. 

Has that changed at all since your first few years in business?

I don’t think my process has changed in all the years of business, I just know more now and am known more in the market, which makes it easier to find what you are looking for and sometimes it finds me.  I think what has made us change our offerings the past five years is the ath-leisure trend.  This is one of the most influential fashion trends and it is all because we are a more casually dressed society than before. 

Professional attire is more casual.

Sport attire is more casual.

And many more go out to dinner or to church in their jeans than ever before. 

This is not a criticism of how anyone chooses to dress, it is just a fact which has an influence on design, fabrics and what stores choose to carry.

Can you speak specifically to buying for the NE Indiana market?

I do not think of myself as a trend follower.  While the Midwest tends to be a little more conservative in its approach to fashion, that doesn’t mean we should be dull or dated.  Instead, Jophiel recognizes and develops trends that our clients will want to wear and should be wearing.  Sometimes this is perfectly in line with the international fashion scene and sometimes it isn’t. 

Why would I not follow the fashion scene?

Because it isn’t always appropriate for our clients.  I am not going to tell all our clients to wear mini-skirts, just because someone declares it a must have for the season.  I also didn’t get on the sheer trend when it was all over the magazines.  I honestly don’t think it is OK to see every outline and detail of a woman’s bra.  A bra is an undergarment not a piece of clothing. 

It is all about offering our clients what they don’t know they want or need yet.  One other factor that definitely plays a role in offering a new designer is a simple fact of is it sellable now?  Over the years, I have learned that sometimes the client isn’t ready to wear a certain look or style immediately.  There may be nothing wrong with the design, but the timing for it to be actually sellable is off.  Our clients need to want to wear it now!  So maybe you wait a year for the designers to hone the new trend and then the look becomes more current.

What about the new look of Lafayette 148 makes you excited to hold a trunk show?

We are going to offer Lafayette 148 again this year.  We carried Lafayette 148 for 18 years.  We took a break because while the quality held fast, I felt the design was looking stale, too mature and not as sellable to our clientele specifically. Right now, I can see it being relevant to our client again.  I can actually see what pieces will be bought and who will buy certain pieces. This excites me! Remember that the Jophiel experience is sometimes head to toe one designer, but our specialty is in styling from multiple lines to create a unique look for each client and the design of Lafayette 148 right now enhances our ability to do this well.

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Lafayette 148 is a nationally recognized line, what about that fact either strengthens or weakens your decision about possibly bringing it into the store?

I am looking at it again because they have a new design team and the marketing of the product is younger and truer to the original, fine design of the company.  When a company focuses on strengthening their appeal to their clients at a national level like Lafayette 148 has, it will help us and when they don’t market in the appropriate manner, it can hurt us.  This is important because I can then promote and develop a collection for our clients along with the national campaign. 


Since there are almost 6 months between when you order the merchandise and its arrival, do you ever hate the wait? Is it exciting and/or rewarding when a customer loves it? 

Always exciting when our clients love the new season’s offerings or a new collection.  When they like it, I know I have done my job!  Can’t get better than that.  As to waiting six months, I actually don’t mind it at all.  I think a good merchant/buyer needs the time to develop the story for the next season and give the staff and clients the opportunity to be ready too.  I think that good fashion doesn’t have a season, so it will be good anytime that it arrives.


Where does a trunk show fit in with this timeline?

When we host a special event like a trunk show for certain designers, this allows a client to see a complete collection, not just the edited collection that I bring into the store.  I may like many things from a designer that I do not purchase for the store, because the look is too precise and not broad enough fashion for many clients.  Unique, special pieces can be purchased at a trunk show directly by the client and often times a client may be the only one ordering it from us.

 Be sure to schedule an appointment with your stylist for the Lafayette 148 trunk show August 10th, 11th, and 12th.  Get in while it's here or you'll miss it entirely.
Read more of Julie's Buying 101 series and learn about our history at Jophiel.


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