Anne Rohr is the owner of R Group, a company representing designers with passion and a story. R Group was created by California girlfriends whose friendship is filled with non-judgmental, unconditional love. They strive to bring representation to lines based upon those same roots; honesty, loyalty and productivity is the core approach to sales and market. Anne gives us a peek at what working in the fashion industry is really like:
I am a lady that is about to tell you I like what I do. I am a serious Lucky Lady. How many people get to pack up some of their favorite accessories which include incredible vintage jewelry, great leather bags, fine wool silk blend scarves and hit the road for some of the best cities in our country? I have the great opportunity to travel and with that comes meeting new people. Making new connections with buyers and shoppers alike across the United States, makes me pretty dang Lucky. As a lady with a family it is never easy getting out the door or leaving with the confidence that the ship will not sink while the captain is away, but some how I make it on the plane.
Each time I hit the airport, I am refueled with energy and excitement for what is to come. What buyers will I be working with? Who will I meet? What connections will I make at this show? Having been to nine different wholesale shows in seven major markets in the past year, I now hold the wisdom to not predict the answers to those questions but to just enjoy the ride. Of course each geographic area has trends and stereotypes, but it seems as though there is a residual theme among all shoppers today.
If they are going to be spending their money in these incredibly tough economic times, then they must be able to connect with their purchase. An accessory is often the most talked about part of an out-fit, therefore buyers want to provide the connection and story to their customers. When asked about their gorgeous Love Strand necklace they are wearing, they want to be able to provide an answer that has some substance. I continue to field questions such as: Where are they made? Who is the designer? Are they handmade? Can you show me how it is worn? Can we get information on the story of the line to pass on to the customer? How do they come packaged? In answering these questions for buyers, they are given the tools to build their unique story that will be able to be passed on.
Versatility is also something that is being sought out by buyers. They want to see the product worn different ways. An accessory that can be worn on an elegant evening or thrown on with boyfriend jeans and a t-shirt IS desirable. A necklace that can double as a bracelet, oh heck yeah! Why not?
I have worked with many different buyers types. There are the fast talkers, the slow movers, the silent lookers, the stop and go’s, the indecisive, and the “I want it all’s”. It gives me great joy to work with all of these different people and pass on the story of the accessory that is before them. Even in these market conditions, the basics still apply. If you keep providing a quality product with great design sensibility while providing the shopper with a story they can connect with, they will purchase the accessory that they are looking for.
With more and more pressure to save a dollar, it is rare to see an accessory designer adhere to the buyer’s requests to make a line unique. I so often get a look of surprise when informing Saint Vintage buyers that designer Paige Jansen Nichols will donate a percentage of each purchase to Cancer research, each handmade piece will come tagged with information on Saint Vintage, and it will all come packaged in a velvet box! Just keeping it classy per the usual for Saint Vintage.
I will continue to keep listening to what the buyer wants and remain mindful of their requests all while enjoying the connections made when representing quality accessory designs with a story. Lucky me!
R Group http://www.rgroupreps.com/#
Representing Saint Vintage