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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.



Editor's Note: The Next Step

Dance Retailer News

Dear Readers, as editor of DRN, I’ve always encouraged change. As you know, simply changing your displays or marketing strategy can help sales. This month things are changing at DRN, too, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to its new editor in chief, Colleen Bohen.

Since taking over at DRN three years ago, I’ve been excited to work in such a lively industry covering so many people who are passionate about their business. It’s time for me to go on to a new opportunity, but I’m not leaving DRN altogether. You’ll continue to see my byline in the magazine.

All my best to you.

—Libby Dowd


I’m thrilled to step into Libby’s editorial shoes at DRN. As the dance retail industry’s leading magazine, DRN delivers all of the news and information you need to run your business. We intend to carry on that tradition, helping you grow as the magazine enters its second decade.

It’s exciting to have the chance to delve into the dance retail market—especially at a time when the economy is poised for resurgence—because dance has always been an essential part of my life. I most recently served as the managing editor of DRN’s sister publication Dance Spirit, and I spent 16 years studying dance and competing with my local studio when I was growing up. I look forward to sharing strategic business knowledge with a community of small business owners who cater to young, optimistic dancers, just like I once was.

Dig into our fabulous shoe issue! Then, send me an e-mail at cbohen@dancemedia.com to let me know what you think. Tell me what you hope to see in DRN going forward, and fill me in on your business. I can’t wait to hear from you.

—Colleen Bohen



Editor's Note: It's Show Time!

Dance Retailer News

With dancers busy in the studio perfecting routines for spring recitals, now is the time to stock up on performance wear. A deep inventory of tights, shoes and accessories in the appropriate colors and styles will win studios’ attention this season. If you order wisely and market shrewdly, you can easily draw traffic to your store. In this complete guide to recital season, we have lots of ways you can highlight the products and services you offer.

The most important accessory to every dazzling costume is a new pair of tights. In “All About Tights” (pg. 20), learn what’s new in the legwear category, so you can stock up on the latest styles. You’ll also find display tips to keep your product organized and easy to shop. And don’t forget the icing on the cake—stage-worthy hair accessories. In “Polished Ponies” (pg. 14), we round up the best buys for star performers.

Shoes are another recital must-have, and boosting their sales can help your bottom line. We asked columnist and DRN Expo speaker Laurel Tielis to share some of her favorite shoe event and promotion ideas. Turn to “Practical Promotions to Put Your Best Foot Forward” (pg. 36) for easy ideas you can use right away.

Before you place spring recital orders, it’s so important to know local studios’ requirements. Find out how four storeowners keep communication lines open with teachers in “Recital Season Marketing” (pg. 26).

Now is also the perfect time to get your customers talking about their recitals—and your store—through social media. Twitter is a powerful tool for engaging your customers, but using it the wrong way can hurt your business. In “Owning the Twitterverse” (pg. 34), we offer advice for best Twitter practices.

What are you doing this month to prepare for the recital season? Share your top marketing ideas and unique displays on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/danceretailernews.




Editor's Note: Your 2012 Guide to Ordering

Dance Retailer News

When it comes to ordering, there are a lot of factors you have to consider. Selecting the right styles, colors and sizes is a science, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. This month, we dedicated the entire issue to helping you stock your store with the best products for the new year.

We tracked down all the deadlines and deals you need to know about in our “2012 Guide to Ordering” (pg. 20). This year’s guide is overflowing with incentives from major vendors, so you’ll want to hang on to it all year long.

Before you order, take a look at the newest spring dancewear styles from the top manufacturers. You’ll be itching for the end of winter once you see the new leotards featured in “Polished Pastels” (pg. 16).And to help dancers start this year off on the right foot, we highlight some of the most essential shoe accessories in “Happy Feet” (pg. 12).

Pointe shoes make up the core of your shoe sales, so we’re dedicating space in our magazine throughout the year to providing an in-depth look at each manufacturer’s collection. This month in “To the Point with Capezio/Ballet Makers, Inc.” (pg. 32), we spoke with Paul Plesh, senior product line manager for the company, about fit tips for all foot shapes, new shoe styles and trends. His advice will help you better plan your orders for the coming year.

Smart ordering is not the only thing you need to concentrate on this winter.You can increase your sales with new events and promotions. We turned to trusted retail experts and DRN Expo keynote speakers Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender for their ideas. In “Fresh Winter Promotions” (pg. 22), they share three brand-new events that will make your cash register sing.

How will you kick off this new year? Share your ideas with us online at
www.facebook.com/danceretailernews.

Editor's Note: Make Ballet Sales Soar

Dance Retailer News

Ballet is the heart and soul of dance retail. It’s the reason most of your stores are coated in pink paint and why more than 75 percent of your merchandise features frills, ruffles or tulle. Ballet customers include babies, school-age dancers, pre-professional students and teachers. And the money they dish out for apparel, shoes and accessories makes up the bulk of your revenue. With so much riding on one category, there’s no room for error. That’s why DRN dedicates an entire issue to the ballet business. From the hottest dancewear styles to the best new business moves, we’ll show you how to boost your ballet sales.

To help you plan 2012 orders, we talked to top dancewear makers to find out what’s new and what’s selling. In “Ballet Fever” (pg. 20), get the inside scoop on the latest fashionable and sophisticated ballet looks. Then stock up on the season’s prettiest knitwear to keep aspiring ballerinas warm. Whether you’ve got a beginner or an advanced student, assistant editor Kristin Schwab found the best styles in “Winter Warmers” (pg. 16). And don’t forget to fill your shelves with all the extras—like toe pads, ribbons and tape—that dancers can’t live without. In “Dance Bag Essentials” (pg. 14), we show you the best new options for these must-haves.

Placing the smartest orders is only half the job. Increase your marketing and promotional efforts to meet higher sales goals. In “Effective E-mail Campaigns” (pg. 24), retailers offer their ideas for creating messages that really do get read. And in “The Do’s and Don’ts of a Group Fitting” (pg. 34), we show you the best ways to run a lucrative pointe shoe event—without hassles or stress.

DRN wants to hear from you. Share the ways you’re refreshing the ballet category in your store. E-mail ldowd@dancemedia.com, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/danceretailernews.

Editor's Note: Value Rules

Dance Retailer News

November is a month reserved for giving thanks, and there’s much to be thankful for this year. High quality and great service—two hallmarks of your business—are important to consumers once again. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumer spending has risen. While buyers still make purchases on a need basis, most now say they are looking for the best value rather than the lowest price. That’s why this issue is dedicated to all the ways you can offer more value this winter.

Round Out Your Inventory with Versatile Dancewear: Give your customers more bang for their buck with well-made styles that can be worn to any type of class. In “Dancewear for Any Day” (pg. 16), we show you the most wearable items on the market. You can also find the best lineup of skirts in “Sheer Beauty” (pg. 14).

Make Over Your Fitting Rooms: The fitting rooms can make or break a sale. A few quick fixes to your lighting and fixtures can enhance your customers’ experience. In “Dressing Up the Dressing Rooms” (pg. 26), we give you the resources you need to create a fitting room that sells.

Upgrade Your Technology: Mobile payment applications make processing transactions easier—especially those held outside of your store. Retailers who use these new card-processing tools report that they are more cost-effective than any other option currently on the market. Plus the novelty of running the checkout on her iPhone never fails to excite a customer, says Jo Steadman, owner of Freestyle Dancewear in South Williamsport, PA. Learn more about how you can implement services like Square and GoPayment today in “Turn Your Smartphone Into a Checkout” (pg. 34).
I’d love to hear the ways you’ll be adding value to your
customers’ shopping experience this winter.
E-mail me at ldowd@dancemedia.com.