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Editor's Note: New Year, New Plan

Dance Retailer News

As 2013 kicks off, DRN is here to help you hit the ground running. The economy is gradually ticking up, and dance itself is becoming ever more popular thanks to the growing number of dance-based TV shows and movies on the scene. Here are a few ways you can make the most of the new year:

1. Order early and often. Read our “Guide to Ordering in 2013” (page 20) to learn all the latest dealer incentives and deadlines. And don’t forget to peruse the sidebar ”2013 Trend Forecast” to find out which trends leading manufacturers think you should be paying attention to, as you plan.

2. Upgrade your store…and customer experience. Be sure to read “The Closer” (page 28), which explores why dressing rooms are such a crucial part of securing a sale and offers tips and tricks to help you take your own fitting rooms to the next level. Then, check out “Loyalty Goes Mobile And Social” (page 24), which looks at six new, inexpensive digital loyalty programs that can make it easier for you to keep track of shoppers’ buying preferences and reward your most loyal customers.

3. Refine your brand. In “The Color of Success” (page 32), we shine a spotlight on Haute Pink Dance Wear Boutique, a dance apparel store in a rural area of Ontario, Canada, that turned a profit and saw $175,000 (Canadian) in sales its first year in business. Inspired by chains like lululemon and Victoria’s Secret, the shop’s four co-owners have developed a store that has a distinctly fun, inviting vibe that appeals to young competition dancers. The owners’ impressive marketing strategy, which includes everything from a program that spotlights local dancers to strategic partnerships with other independent businesses (Think a custom raspberry flavored drink from a nearby coffee shop called The Haute Pink!), keeps customers engaged. Get inspired!

Wishing you a profitable year,

—Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note: Planning for the Next Chapter

Dance Retailer News

As consumers gradually reopen their wallets after years of belt tightening, and interest in dance continues to grow, you’re finding ways to get the most out of every sale. You’re probably working harder than ever, but you’re making it work. Bravo! As you gear up for a new year, here are a few ways you can take your business to new heights.

1. Bank on ballerinas. Ballet is considered the basis of all dance education, and for many dance retailers, ballet-related sales are the bedrock of their businesses. You can improve your relationships with customers from this segment by creating unique experiences to encourage them to choose your shop. Read “Beyond the Pointe” (page 26) to find out how three creative retailers are appealing to ballet dancers. Then, check out “The Ballerina’s Tool Kit” (page 14) and “Winter-Ready Warm-Ups” (page 18) to make sure you have all the accessories, warm-ups and knitwear these discerning dancers need.

2. Focus on the details. You may not have the time or the money to redo your entire store, but making a few small changes (such as buying new hangers or redesigning your shopping bags) can have a big impact on the way customers perceive it. To stay fresh and on-trend, read “Finishing Touches for 2013” (page 30).

3. Seek new opportunities. Jayne Dalton-DiPierro, owner of On Your Toes Dancewear in Staten Island, NY, celebrated her store’s 20th anniversary a few months ago. She keeps her business exciting by offering an ever-growing range of side services, including in-store rhinestoning (it attracts both dancers and brides-to-be) and her store’s new “On Your Toes On The Go” program that sends her employees to on-site fittings for local dance classes and cheer teams. (It helps her cater to nearby customers hesitant to cross a toll bridge to get to her store.) Read her story, “Staten Island Success Story” (page 34), and then explore your local community to find new ways to expand your own customer base.

Wishing you happy holidays and a profitable new year,

—Colleen Bohen




Editor's Note: Giving Thanks for Dance Retail Growth

Dance Retailer News

Each November at Thanksgiving, Americans reflect on the good things in their lives. Even though the country’s overall recovery from the recession has been slow, lately we’ve been seeing plenty of anecdotal evidence that the dance retail market is blossoming. In fact, DRN’s Facebook feed is regularly dotted with notices from dance stores around the country that are growing in a variety of ways.

This month we’re revisiting Attitudes Dancewear, Etc., in Wichita, KS. It has had striking success since we first covered the store eight years ago (DRN September 2004). The shop’s owner Shawna Beth Rea recently doubled her sales floor by moving into a new 2,500-square-foot location. Read “A New Attitude” (page 30) to find out how she built up her business, turning it into a dance retail powerhouse with roughly $400,000 in annual sales.

As you plan your orders for 2013, read “All Jazzed Up” (page 22) to refresh your awareness of the latest innovations in the jazz shoe market. Thanks to new technology and manufacturers’ growing attention to the diverse needs of dancers who wear jazz shoes, you have more stocking options than ever before.

Finally, make sure you’re registered for DRN EXPO Online, which takes place November 9 at 12 pm EST. This free webinar—designed especially for dance retailers—will bring you cutting-edge advice on visual merchandising, social-media marketing and more. You won’t want to miss it! Reserve your space at www.drnexpo.com.

Wishing you a profitable November and a Happy Thanksgiving,

—Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note: Looking Ahead

Dance Retailer News

How will you make 2013 your most profitable year yet? Now that back-to-school is over and your holiday plans are in place, it’s time to figure out how you’ll make your store feel fresh in the coming year. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Reevaluate your image. If you can’t remember the last time you updated your store’s logo, read “Logo Logic” (page 30) for insight from marketing specialists and designers. They’ll help you determine if your logo is doing all it can to build your brand. And, “Ask Leslie” (page 31) offers strategic advice on where to place your logo in your store.

2. Find new ways to drive business. If your store traffic has leveled off, it may be time to look for ways to expand your assortment. In “Selling Shapewear” (page 26), we examine the emerging shapewear category. While contouring garments have been a staple in mainstream apparel for years, dancewear makers have only recently begun to create their own versions. Read to find out how you can position these items for your customers.

3. Replenish your assortment. As you plan for your biggest order of the year, be sure to check out “Stepping Out in Style”(page 20) for an update on all of the best-selling shoe styles to stock in the coming year. “Seasonal Shift” (page 18) also offers a roundup of the latest tights and legwarmer styles from 14 leading manufacturers.

Start reading so you can start planning!

—Colleen Bohen

Sign Up For DRN Expo Online!
On November 9, 2012, we’re bringing DRN to life in a free webinar! This one-hour event will cover a range of hot topics and include practical tips to help you boost your business. You won’t want to miss it! Visit www.drnexpo.com to pre-register now.



Editor's Note: ’Tis the Season for Selling

Dance Retailer News

The holidays are just around the corner, and this issue is filled with the product and decorating ideas you’ll need to ensure a successful sales season. Help customers find the gifts they need by offering the stocking-stuffers found in “Dancer’s Delight” (page 16), and the winter-friendly styles in “Chill-Proof Classwear” (page 18). Then, create an eye-catching holiday window installation using one of the three easy-to-implement concepts described in “Ask Leslie” (page 29). And if you’re looking for ways to refresh your gift-wrap service, read “That’s a Wrap!” (page 26).

Once you’ve finished planning for the holidays, set aside an hour to participate in the new DRN Expo Online. We’ve listened to your feedback and we’ve learned that, for most retailers, the expert seminars and breakout sessions are a perennial favorite at the DRN Expo. Now, you can get the same creative advice without stressing about having to leave your store. This November, we’re bringing the magazine to life in a free webinar that will cover a range of hot topics and offer practical tips to help boost your business. You won’t want to miss it! All you have to do is sign up and log in. Visit http://bit.ly/MmtyQ9 to pre-register now. And connect with us on Facebook for all the latest details—including valuable tips for your store!

Wishing you a profitable holiday season!

Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note: Entering the Home Stretch

Dance Retailer News

The back-to-school season is in full swing, so it’s time to figure out how you’ll maintain your momentum through the end of the year. Here are a few suggestions:

Bulk up on the basics. Our fashion feature, “Beautiful Basics for Every Body” (page 18), includes 19 leotards in varying cuts and styles, along with fitting tips to help you provide shoppers with leos that flatter their individual body types. Once you’ve stocked up, check out the Ask Leslie column (page 31) for advice on how you can use color schemes to create compelling basics displays.

Educate yourself on emerging categories. As dancers return to the studio, there will be a new crop of young ones itching to get their first pair of pointe shoes. However, since every dancer isn’t ready to take that step, manufacturers have a solution: demi-pointe shoes. In “The Halfway Pointe” (page 24), DRN talks to leading manufacturers about this growing category, pinpointing potential customers and gathering advice to help you position demi-pointe shoes in your stores.

Get creative. When you’re ready to start preparing for the holidays (They’re just around the corner!), turn to “Holiday Displays: Nutcracker Edition” (page 30) to get inspired by three unique window displays featuring elements from the classic holiday ballet. When you’re done, shoot DRN an e-mail at cbohen@dancemedia.com to fill us in on your own holiday plans.

Wishing you a profitable fall,

Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note:The Final Countdown

Dance Retailer News

Back-to-school season is on the horizon. Here are a few final touches to add to your plans:

1. Expand your inventory. You’ve already placed your major fall orders, but now’s the time to double back to make sure you have the extras your customers will need as they head back to the studio. “Fashion-Forward Warm-Ups” (page 20) offers a roundup of the latest trends in this favorite fall category. For a rundown on the best-selling legwear from a range of manufacturers, check out “Top Tights” (page 16). Oh, and don’t forget to load up on impulse items like the accessories showcased in “Personalize Your Pointe Shoes” (page 14).

2. Reevaluate your lighting. Is your store as bright as it needs to be? Are you using your accent lights to highlight your best products? Read “Bright Ideas” (page 28) for an in-depth look at how retail lighting influences customers, along with advice on how you can rearrange your lights to better reflect your store’s image. “Ask Leslie” (page 30) examines the art of accent lighting and offers tips for using floodlights, spotlights and pin lights to create a variety of effects.

3. Polish your promotions. If you’re still trying to think of new ways to attract customers this fall, turn to “Fresh Fall Promotions” (page 26) to get inspired.

Ready, set, go! This issue is filled with information you’ll need to ensure your most successful back-to-school season yet.

Wishing you a profitable fall!

Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note: Reinventing the Wheel

Dance Retailer News

Change is good, so we’re excited about what’s happening in the dance sneaker category. Bloch’s new line of sneakers for dance-fitness enthusiasts is part of a wave of inventive products in that segment, creating opportunities for retailers to reach new customers and better serve their existing base. Read “Sneaker Selling Points” (page 22) for an in-depth look at the latest dance sneaker trends, along with advice from leading manufacturers about how you can position those items to entice shoppers.

Innovation isn’t just for shoe and apparel makers. Plenty of dancewear retailers have found ways to alter the basic dance store blueprint to create distinctive shops. Check out “Clean Lines, Clear Vision” (page 30) to learn how On Pointe Dancewear ’N Apparel owners Dan Aries and Marisa Figueroa-Aries used their experience on the competition circuit and in the classroom to produce a boutique that caters almost exclusively to tots and competition dancers. Thinking about tweaking your own assortment within these lucrative categories? Turn to “Baby Ballerinas” (page 14) and “Competitive Edge” (page 38) for a look at the latest fashions for tiny dancers and for the scoop on the styles today’s competition dancers crave.

While changes are exciting, they don’t have to eat up time or money. If you’re looking for quick, easy ways to make your store feel new again, consider adding another in-store event to your calendar or updating a section of your shop. Four retailers share their secrets to hosting successful bun-making clinics in “Hair-Raising Events” (page 26), and our resident visual merchandising expert Leslie Groves offers five ways to revamp your cash wrap in “Lasting Impressions” (page 28).

Get moving! This issue is filled with information and ideas we’ve collected to inspire you to change and grow. If you decide to tweak something in your store, we want to hear about it. E-mail photos and stories to cbohen@dancemedia.com.

Wishing you a summer of progress,

Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note: What’s Your Back-to-School Strategy?

Dance Retailer News

In just a few months, dance students will be streaming through your doors for the uniform basics and fashion-forward pieces they’ll need as they head back to their studios. With planning, this could be your most successful back-to-school season yet. Here are three steps you can take right now.

1. Get your head in the game.
“Gearing Up for Back-to-School” (page 20), features a roundup of leading manufacturers’ fall ordering deadlines and incentives, plus a fabric forecast, an update on the latest trends within the ever-growing tot market and a peek at the best-selling fashions inside the developing liturgical category. Check out “Falling for Footwear” (page 16) and “It’s in the Bag” (page 14) for a preview of the shoes and dance bags your customers will be clamoring for this fall.

2. Strengthen your network.
Local dance teachers are your closest allies. They share their studios’ uniform policies with you and refer students to your store. It’s important to keep those relationships strong and vibrant as you approach this crucial selling season. Turn to “Showing Gratitude Pays Off” (page 24) to see how four retailers cemented their bonds with local dance teachers.

3. Safeguard your store.
The extra traffic you’ll see during the late summer and early fall means you’ll need to be more vigilant about protecting your shop from thieves. The upcoming quiet summer period is the perfect time to reevaluate your store and repair security gaps. “Outsmart Shoplifters” (page 26) offers practical theft-prevention advice from a retail security expert.

Get moving! This issue is filled with valuable fall planning advice. If you’d like to share your own back-to-school preparation tips, we’d love to hear them. E-mail your thoughts to cbohen@dancemedia.com.

Wishing you a super back-to-school season!



Editor's Note: Summer = Sales

Dance Retailer News

Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to gear up. As school lets out, dancers pack their schedules with intensives, camps and national conventions and competitions. It’s up to you to stock the essential attire and shoes they will need. This issue has been designed to help you get the most out of these summer sales opportunities. Here are three steps you should take this month:

1. Refresh your assortment. Read our fashion feature, “Summer Study Must-Haves” (page 18), to find out which styles your customers will need to be on-trend at their intensives. Then, check out “Sensational Skirts” (page 16) for a glimpse at the latest skirt styles on the market.

2. Rejuvenate your displays and decor. Have you thought about how the colors in your store influence your customers’ buying decisions? “Beyond The Pale (Pink)” (page 28) shows how dancewear retailers can use color (on the walls or through cleverly arranged products) to drive sales. Once you’ve mastered the art of using color inside your store, carry it through to your windows. In “Bright Ideas” (page 29), our resident visual merchandising columnist Leslie Groves shares her strategy for creating bright windows and offers tips so you can do it, too.

3. Reevaluate your reputation. If you’re not sure what your customers are saying about you online, you could be missing out on an inexpensive marketing opportunity. Check out “Yelp Help” (page 34) for advice on how to monitor and respond to online reviews. Act now to make sure potential summer customers will see that you’re a responsible, proactive merchant before they even set foot in your store.

Dig in! The following pages are jam-packed with helpful summer-stocking advice and information. We hope you’ll use what you can and tell us how it goes. Send your summer sales success stories to cbohen@dancemedia.com.