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Editor's Note: Position Your Store for Success

Dance Retailer News

Dance retailers always tell me they can’t read enough about ways to promote their stores. Marketing is more challenging than ever because storeowners must compete for attention in more mediums than ever before. This month, we’re looking at a tool every retailer needs in his or her promotional arsenal: a strong tagline. A good one gives customers a sense of your store’s role in the marketplace and helps differentiate your shop from the competition—every store needs one. Read “Tagline Tips” (page 24) for pointers on how to write a great one and how to use it to make your business stand out.

Once you’ve mastered the art of catching customers’ attention, turn to “A Matter of Time” (page 22). Through monitoring dance stores on social media, we’ve noticed several that adjust their hours with surprising frequency. While we always encourage readers to experiment, it helps to know when you’re doing too much of a good thing. This piece will help you optimize your schedule, so you’re open when customers need you and when you’ll stand to make the most profit.

Finally, it’s time to prepare for recital season. To help get you started, “Taking Center Stage” (page 18) is filled with performance-ready looks, and “Simple Pleasures” (page 14) showcases several must-have gifts. Then, check out “Recital Window Ideas” (page 32), for fresh window concepts that will draw in customers this spring.

Wishing you showstopping sales!

—Colleen Bohen

*Speaking of Shows…
If you’ll be attending the Atlantic Dance Retail Shows in Chicago (February 9–10) or Baltimore (February 23–24), set aside some time for DRN! I’ll be hosting business-building seminars each day during lunch. Visit for registration information, and then e-mail me at to tell me which topics you’re dying to talk about. I’m looking forward to meeting you!


Editor's Note: Resolutions for Retailers

Dance Retailer News

Welcome to 2014! One of the best things a new year can offer is a fresh opportunity to focus on growing your business. To strengthen your store, adopt these new year’s resolutions as your own.

Improve Your Inventory. Our “Guide To Ordering in 2014” (page 22) features deadlines and incentives from more than 35 companies. You’ll also find feedback from several leading manufacturers about must-watch apparel and shoe trends for 2014.

Amp Up Your Displays. “Dressed for Success” (page 32) discusses the art of dressing a mannequin and offers several tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of those displays. Plus, “Ask Leslie” (page 34) outlines several store design updates that will keep your store feeling fresh in 2014.

Have Lunch With Me! This isn’t a resolution, but rather an invitation. If you’ll be attending this year’s Atlantic Dance Retail Shows, please set aside some time for DRN! I’ll be hosting a series of business-building seminars for dance retailers during lunch each day in Los Angeles (Jan 12–13), Dallas (January 26–27), Chicago (February 9–10) and Baltimore (February 23–24). Visit for registration information, then e-mail me at to tell me which topics you’re dying to talk about. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Wishing you a profitable year,

—Colleen Bohen

*Don’t Miss It!
This month we’re launching a new section devoted exclusively to shoes! Each month, we’ll feature the latest offerings from manufacturers in a different shoe category. This month’s section (page 16) is all about jazz shoes!

Editor's Note: Bolster Your Bottom Line with Ballet

Dance Retailer News

Devoted ballet customers are key to the success of any dance retail business. Whether you cater exclusively to bunheads, or if they account for just a slice of your market, you need to give them reasons to return to your store. After all, highly profitable products that must be frequently replaced (Hello, pointe shoes!) are the holy grail for any successful storeowner. This issue will help you draw ballerinas’ attention and drive sales.

A strong and varied assortment is essential to capturing the hearts and minds of experienced ballet dancers. To keep your inventory fresh, stock up on all the must-have knitwear and accessories featured in “Snow Bunny Style” (page 14) and “Bunhead Essentials” (page 12). Then check out “Service to the Stars” (page 20) to find out how some retailers are tweaking their offerings to attract professional ballet dancers, and how those elite customers can improve a store’s reputation.

Once your inventory and services are up to par, consider how your decor influences dancers’ view of your shop. As “Divine Ballet Decor” (page 30) points out, nothing signals dance to customers like ballet. Get inspired by the gorgeous ballet-centric looks.

Wishing you a December filled with deep-pocketed Sugar Plum Fairies!

—Colleen Bohen

Editor's Note: Something Extra

Dance Retailer News

Leotards? Check. Tights? Check. Shoes? Of course! When it comes to stocking dance staples, you’ve got it covered, so this issue is devoted to helping you round out your assortment with the add-ons customers demand. Read “Hot Legs” (page 12) for a peek at the latest legwarmer styles, and then check out “In the Bag” (page 38), where dancers discuss the dance bags they want and need. Then, head over to “Ask Leslie” (page 34) to get inspired by Leslie Groves’ unique ideas for eye-catching accessory displays.

Once your accessory game plan is in place, turn your attention to a few issues that may be flying under your radar. “Get the Most from Your E-Commerce Site” (page 22) offers practical tips on updating your store’s website to better complement your brick-and-and mortar business. And “What Does Your Floor Say About Your Store?” (page 32) includes advice to make sure your flooring is inviting to customers. Finally, “Tax Tips” (page 18) offers plenty of essential info to help you take advantage of soon-to-expire tax benefits and start planning for 2014.

Wishing you a winter filled with growth!

—Colleen Bohen

*This month in our Retailer Spotlight (page 26), we visit Kim-Lee Dance and Gym Wear in Fort Worth, TX. Find out how owner Sierra Krohn makes her boutique stand out in a competitive local marketplace.

Editor's Note: Put Your Best Foot Forward

Dance Retailer News

Strong shoe sales are the foundation of a successful dance retail business. This issue has all the tools to help you attract shoe shoppers and drive sales. First, to ensure you’re stocking all the styles your customers need, check out “Shoes on the Rise” (page 14). It showcases best-sellers across all genres from leading manufacturers. Then turn to our “2013 Pointe Shoe Special” (page 18) for insight on the latest developments in pointe shoe technology from nine leading makers.

Once your stockroom is in order, check out "Staying in Step" (page 30) for tips on creating eye-catching shoe displays that will draw in shoppers. The article features several real-life shoe display solutions from veteran dance retailers. We think you’ll be impressed with the storeowners’ creativity and inspired to create your own clean, functional and inviting shoe showcases.

Wishing you a season of shoe sale success!

—Colleen Bohen

*Don’t forget to read our Retailer Spotlight (page 24). This month we visit Li-Bo’s Dance Barre, Inc., in Dothan, AL. Find out how owner Bobbie Johnson draws on the merchandising skills she learned as a manager at Macy’s to attract dancers from three states.

Editor's Note: Jingle All the Way (to the Bank)

Dance Retailer News

The holiday season is fast approaching, so this issue includes tools to help you draw in shoppers and drive sales during this ultra-competitive selling period. First, stock your store with the products in “Gifts for Every Dancer” (page 12), which are sure to please everyone, from ballerinas and comp kids to tots. Then check out Seen & Heard (page 32) to learn about the promotions and events four veteran dance retailers rely on to attract customers during the holidays. Finally, “Eye-Catching Holiday Displays” (page 28) showcases inspirational dance store displays. The storeowners explain the nuts and bolts behind each display, and our own visual merchandising expert Leslie Groves offers her take on why each one impacts viewers.

Once your holiday game plan is in place, turn to “Partying for Profit” (page 20) for insight on a fresh business-boosting service you can offer year-round. Several dance storeowners discuss hosting in-store birthday parties to strengthen connections with customers and increase apparel sales. Studios have been using this tactic to drive business for quite some time, but it’s inspirational to hear how entrepreneurs in our own field are now using it, too.

Wishing you a profitable holiday season!

—Colleen Bohen

*Don’t forget to read our Retailer Spotlight (page 22). This month, we visit Prima Bodywear in Fort Collins, CO. Find out how owner Mary Pat McCurdie, a former dancer with a PhD in chemical engineering, transformed her shop into a mecca for local dancers and fitness enthusiasts.

Editor's Note: Competitive Edge

Dance Retailer News

Thanks to a still-recovering economy, and online retailers and studios that sell directly to students, there has never been more pressure to be competitive. Though storeowners are drawn to the business because they love dance (and dancers!), the ones who thrive combine that passion with the business savvy required to effectively assess and cater to the changing needs of local dancers. This issue is devoted to helping you sharpen the skills you’ll need to stay competitive in a demanding marketplace.

The ability to provide customers with a great pointe shoe fitting experience is essential. “Classic Pointe Shoe Fitting Mistakes” highlights key fitting errors that master fitters see retailers making over and over again. Turn to page 24 for these experts’ tips on how to fix these issues.

As social media continues to be crucial to connecting with customers, it’s vital to recognize the types of posts that elicit the best responses from shoppers. In “Successful Social-Media Posts” (page 34), we talk to four retailers about the posts that have gained the most attention and gotten the best results.

Finally, in this month’s Retailer Spotlight (page 26) we’re profiling Lorna Handy, a storeowner who gets results. She opened DanceMax Dancewear two years ago after spending nearly 30 years working for other Atlanta-area dance stores. When she finally had the financial resources to open her own store, she saw just under $1 million in sales in the first year. She utilizes a large, convenient location with a vast inventory to draw in customers from three states. We hope her approach to serving the regional dance community will give you new ideas about how to approach your own market.

Wishing you a fall filled with growth,
—Colleen Bohen

Editor's Note: Adapt or Perish

Dance Retailer News

The most successful businesspeople reinvent their companies or products to suit customers’ changing tastes. In this issue, we’re celebrating several dance retailers and manufacturers who have found fresh ways to serve their clientele in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

As the popularity of barefoot dancing has grown, several dance shoe manufacturers have come up with inventive solutions that allow retailers to draw in barefoot dancers. In “Barely There Footwear” (page 18), we explore the rapidly growing footwear category for dancers who prefer to dance barefoot. The featured styles showcase the seemingly endless ways that creative designers can retool even the simplest products
to meet the diverse, hyperspecific needs of a wide range of dancers.
Retailers are also finding several fresh ways to keep customers satisfied and engaged. In “Upselling Strategies” (page 34), five dance storeowners discuss the varied methods they use to encourage shoppers to buy more whenever they’re in their stores. And “Strengthening Studio Bonds” (page 24) highlights three retailers who go above and beyond standard tactics to connect with local studio clients.

Inventory updates and customer service tweaks aren’t the only ways you can improve your store. “Sense and Sensibilities” (page 30) discusses how and why stores can appeal to all five of shoppers’ senses to create more memorable in-store experiences that will encourage brand loyalty.

Wishing you a summer filled with innovation,

—Colleen Bohen

* Shaping Sales
Don’t forget to read our Retailer Spotlight on page 26! This month, we visit Shape Shop in Boca Raton, FL. Find out how the owner, a New York native with a background in women’s apparel sales, has revamped a dance and activewear shop to better meet the needs of the area’s growing dance community.

Editor's Note: Your Back-to-School Game Plan

Dance Retailer News

The most important selling season of the year is around the corner. To help you prepare, we’re bringing you plenty of must-order products, along with advice that will help you attract shoppers and drive sales during back-to-school.

Now is the time to place the bulk of your orders, so you’ll have plenty of fresh inventory on hand for the end-of-summer rush. Our Fashion feature (page 14) offers 10 fresh shoes for fall, and our Products section (page 12) is packed with 14 of the latest dance bags. Plus, “Golden Opportunity” (page 18) discusses the growing gymnastics category and offers insight on the apparel gymnasts want and need.

Once your stockroom is in order, it’s time to think about how you’ll draw in customers this fall. “Back-to-School Blowout” (page 20) takes a look at five recent back-to-school promotions held by big-box retailers and offers expert advice on ways you can reinvent these concepts so they’ll work for your own clientele. Then, “Ask Leslie” (page 32) offers three simple, engaging back-to-school window concepts you can use to grab shoppers’ attention.

Dive in!

Wishing you the best B2S season yet!

—Colleen Bohen

Super Store
Don’t forget to read our Retailer Spotlight! This month we’re visiting Elite Dance Outfitters in Clive, IA. Turn to page 24 to see photos of this bright, colorful stage-themed store and to learn how the owner’s creative marketing techniques (a text-messaging club and a proprietary app) appeal to her young, tech-savvy customers.

Editor's Note: New Beginnings

Dance Retailer News

Are you ready for back-to-school season? The best way to ensure a low-stress, high-profit sales period is to plan ahead. Turn straight to page 18 for our comprehensive ordering package. It features key ordering deadlines and incentives from more than 30 companies, along with articles on the latest trends in ballet slippers, tutus and legwarmers. For more must-have apparel, check out our Fashion spread with its fresh looks for baby ballerinas (page 14), and our Products section, which is filled with gorgeous skirts sure to sell (page 12).

Once your shopping list is in order, take some time to reflect on your store’s decor. In “Walls That Wow” (page 28), we talk to savvy retailers and design consultants about the best ways to create a backdrop for your store that pleases customers and drives sales. From painted-on architectural detailing to blown-up photos, there’s sure to be something that will work for you.

As you spend the summer getting your store ready for the fall rush, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to hear about any special promotions, displays or other plans that you’re working on to draw in customers this fall. E-mail us at

Happy planning!

—Colleen Bohen

*Standout Store
Don’t forget to read our Retailer Spotlight (page 24). This month, we’re focusing on Just Dance Wear & Boutique, a four-year-old store in North Andover, MA. Check out how owner Kimberly Mollica attracts dancers from a variety of studios to her off-the-beaten-path location.