The buying team are busy all-year round hunting for new styles at great prices. Here’s how we do it…
Business never sleeps in the fashion trade and even though we’re just over half way through July, the work to prepare for Autumn and Winter season is almost done.
EJ Menswear is dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s on an exciting collection of styles and brands instore and online at ejmeanswear.com from August/September.
So, you might wonder, how does it all work?
Well, the lads have already been back and forth to different European fashion capitals, including London, Berlin and Florence, visiting brands such as Gant, Hugo Boss, Paul and Shark, Ralph Lauren, Boss, Farah and Tommy Hilfiger.
Tom Clarke, Eamonn and Mark Cunningham would have been among the EJ’s expert team who earlier this year visited the home of the big brands and got to see all the 2017 offerings, sampling new styles and making crucial buying decisions.
Planning what to sell in a busy men’s store and as part of a constantly evolving 24/7 online retail requires through, imagination and a bit of a gamble on new styles.
“Planning is everything and we do our homework. The lads have so much experience, they know what’s popular, what’ going to look well and their judgement is always spot on,” explains EJ’s online marketing manager Gary Dolan
“The guys stay up to date and on point with current trends and they see things from a young lad’s perspective, what they are looking at, what they’re wearing,” adds Gary.
Mark explains: ”Part of that is knowing, for example, when we see someone walking down the street in London in a particular getup, that it may not work so well in Ireland!
“We are constantly trying to stay ahead of ourselves – the visits are by appointment only and you might have three to four hours to look at the clothes. We would analyse every single piece personally.”
Mark recalls visits to Carnaby Street, the home of 1960s London fashion as well as Ralph Lauren in Old Bond Street and Hugo Boss in Camden Town – “a 30,000-sq. ft. showroom that was more like a 5-star hotel.”
EJ’s is an important customer for these big international brands and the team always gets a warm welcome. “We don’t pop over on a wing and a prayer – our logistics and planning are well planned,” adds Mark.
A ‘digital wardrobe’ is part and parcel of buying trips for Autumn and Winter. During a visit, brands produce a ‘sampled up’ product in a single colour with the item in other colours displayed on screens or a ‘virtual catwalk’.
The summer may have been hit and miss but one thing that is always in, even for Autumn and Winter, is t-shirts – though they tend to be made of heavier material, such as a very popular line produced by Superdry.
As usual, knitwear, coats and boots will be big sellers for Ej’s - browns and navy will be staple colours for many garments but and there’s more than a whisper this year that Ralph Lauren has fallen for military green in a big way – so expect to see plenty of that gong on this winter.
Though the half price summer sale is in full swing, the Autumn and Winter styles are being rolled out on ejmenswear.com – and there will be more items added soon as photographers catalogue all the new stock.
In the shop, Eamonn, Mark, Tom and the rest of the team will be thinking about the season after that and the season after that, to stay ahead of the game.
On the floor, Rodney will be among those leading the work around store layout, creating displays to show the Autumn and Winter offerings to best effect.
At the same time, the lads will be booking more tickets to London for new collection previews for Spring and Summer. They’ll have a cheeky peek and then make the buying decisions for the threads destined to hit EJ’s in 2018. It’s all in a day’s work.