for retailers when they head out to the Vegas Shows is to keep an open mind and be more optimistic than
the current facts allow. By this I mean, you cannot create your store of
the future if you're buying inventory based on your past.
Don't let fear, or the pain of recent months, drive your buying decisions.
This is the time of every norm breaking down -- of every part of your business being fractured in some way -- so do not follow what you've always done. Do not buy JUST what you "think" is safe since the old safe doesn't exist in the new marketplace.
Be open to new designers -- be open to reviewing designers you've said no to in the past.
Try blackened metals if you never thought it would work in your town or add some new colored stones or a line that is a little too avant garde for what you think your customer is. Go bigger, or more sentimental, or more colorful -- go MORE something!
Be open to the fact that your customer is thinking in new ways and trying on new things that SHE never thought about either.
Be her agent for change -- be her tour guide into new design territory that previously she might have been closed to based on a limited view.
She's scrambling to redefine herself, too. She's itching to break out of the doldrums she's been in for months or even years. If she walks into your store nowadays she's dying to be wowed.
And it's no longer just size or price that will wow her. She might not need that 2 carat diamond to impress her neighbors anymore -- she might need a personalized jewel or a sentimental choice that can show off her life rather than just her lifestyle.
And by show off I mean celebrate to the world.
Where once she might have wanted just something that screamed status -- whatever that may mean to her social crowd -- now she might want to communicate her commitment to family, social causes, environmental issues or other things that underscore her new values.
The world is different now -- luxury has to have meaning with it to movtivate the customer into parting with her money. They're not comfortable or fulfilled, by bling for bling's sake. They want more from their purchases -- they want meaning, a sense of value or to underscore their values, they need to feel good about the message as well as the medium.
So shop with an open mind -- look for collections and items that can underscore this new, emerging definition of luxury. Your customer is waiting for you to present this to her -- she just might not know it yet.