Earnshaw's Magazine and Playtime teamed up to give you the keys to get into a buyer’s mind. Each month, through the new section “Be The Buyer”, the magazine will invite an American buyer to share his tips and expectations. Worth reading here and in the magazine!
Justine Hoagland, founder of the online shop CLOTH reveals how to buy smart from the heart:
1. BE FLEXIBLE
“When I began this journey in 2016, I did a ton of research and had a list of brands I planned to carry. But it quickly became obvious this process wasn't going to be so cookie-cutter. Many companies would only sell to brick-and-mortars, so I had to expand my horizons. Moral of the story? Dont be afraid to throw out the map! Keeping an open mind was that shaped my ethically sourced, high-end selection and promoted more creativity for seasons to come.”
2. TRUST YOUR GUT
“I've always considered myself a huntress. My best buys come from selecting what I love—listening to the feeling I get from that impression. It's not all about numbers. If I wouldn't put my daughter in it, it's not getting sold to my customer."
3. GET SOCIAL
"There's always going to be a time and place for traditional buying, but that doesn't mean ignore new age opportunities. As a buyer, I find Instagram just as useful as the consumer. I go to trade shows like Playtime in New-York, but I'm always searching the depths of Instagram for what's new year-round. It's perfect for that impromptu order."
4. MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
"I prefer to connect with a brand directly when possible. Meeting the designer and other brand executives is always such a rich experience whether it's at a trade show or in my DMs. When I work with a showroom, it's usually more impersonal and that initial relationship is make or break for me."
5. MIND THE DETAILS
"I will go the extra mile for a seamless presentation because the first impression is everything—especially today. I almost exclusively use lifestyle images because it really shows the clothes in the life of a child. I pay close attention to how collections are presented, and if I don't like a brand's campaign I will either not buy or have looks reshot by my own photographer.
All my orders are packaged with a handwritten note and a few sprigs of eucalyptus. I also have several direct message chains with customers on Instagram—checking in, giving them updates, suggesting product or just saying 'hello'. My biggest concern as I grow is keeping up with that personal touch. I don't want to just be a store—I want to be a friend."
Justine Hoagland, founder of CLOTH