Continuing from my last blog post, we’re now really running with our planning for what the showroom will look like in 2016. Last week we had our conference calls with the Upholstery, Casegoods, and Accessories Teams where they shared PowerPoints with our new product information. Now we know what new items we’ll be working with and also what items will be dropping.
In addition to our planning with our showroom map, we have a lot of tools to gather together. In the picture you can see bins with fabric and leather swatches. Our Visual Associate gathers together all of the material swatches she will need in planning out pairings for room settings. This includes not only fabrics and leathers, but also samples of wood finishes and all of our rug offerings too. We’ve printed out the PowerPoints we viewed last week and have them placed in binders for easy reference (and I updated the labels on them to 2016 after I took this picture). We also have many other sheets to print out and track that our Central partners provide for us. There is a grid to see what pieces pair best together, checklists for accent chairs, and various timelines for different roles (Visual Associate, Inventory Associate, Merchant, Tagging Liaison, etc).
As the Retail Merchant Liaison for our store, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately with our Representation Worksheets. These spreadsheets give us directives on how many showings of each collection we should be showing in our store amongst various categories. Since our store is smaller, we have to make decisions about what not to show. For instance, our grid calls out representation for 18 Bedroom showings, but our showroom only has 14 Bedrooms. In this case, we look at overall collections sales for the company, compare them to how collections are selling in our store and market, and then make our decisions from there. Trust me when I say that there is a LOT of information and feedback to consider!
In two weeks, I’ll be travelling with our Retail Market (Store) Manager and Visual Associate for our new assortment meetings at the Central offices in Minneapolis. We’ll spend four days there and will get to see the new products in-person! We’ll also be able to meet with our Vendor Managers in-person and make sure that our representation choices feel correct to them. I’ll plan my next post to coincide with this visit to share a little more about that process. I’ve been to Central before when I was training as a new hire, but I haven’t been to the assortment meetings. There is a lot of work to do, but I’m excited to be part of it!