Deals with Nordstrom's, et al

Hello All, Occasionally, and I think fairly recently, on this list
we hear stories about sudden deals with department stores… like:
“My friend started a line of beaded necklaces, and within a year, they
had a line in Nordstrom’s”

It started me thinking… In a short while, I’d love to show some of
my work to these mythical “deal makers”. Does anyone know how one
gets their work in front of these people? I am trying to get a second
line off the ground, and am looking for a chance to present it to
more mainstream distributors. Is there an appropriate trade show, or
even better, a list of buyers at various stores, which would enable
me to be “proactive” about this?

Any ideas or support would be appreciated!

Andrew Horn
Alythea Arts

The experience I have had with department stores which goes back a
few years, is to call the buyer of the department store you are
interested in. One important point that I do remember is to have a
enough of a line that “tells a story”. They will let you know when
they are taking appointments for the next season. Be persistent,
and if you receive a machine, call back until you speak with the
buyer or the buyers assistant. I do remember that the buyers were
very open to seeing new items and new people, however there are
certain times of the year that they make the appointments for the
following season. Sometimes you can get started in one store with
just seeing the manager of that department, and if it goes and works
well , then go to the main buyer for all of the chains. I have
personally had that experience with Bloomingdale’s and Saks,
however the items were not jewelry and they were children accessory

Diane Sadel

I was a retail buyer for many years and there are several ways of
getting your jewelry line in stores/shops/boutiques. There are
jewelry trade shows, find out which ones the buyers mainly attend.
Second, call the buying office directly and set up an appointment
with the buyer. Third, if you are attending a show and/or craft
fair, invite the buyer to view your items. Fourth, go to the
managers of the jewelry department. The managers and salespeople
are the money makers, they help the buyer attain sales and they know
what sales and for how much. Usually the buyer will follow what the
"frontline" people are asking for.

When dealing with the buyers, make sure that you have a price list
that will consists of buying by the piece versus in bulk. They will
always ask you what your price points are. Always be professional,
by having nice pictures of your jewelry items in a portfolio will
be fantastic. Present it on a model or display it artfully. Using
a digital camera and then printing it out on a photo printer will do

Know your terms and conditions of shipping, returns, payment, etc.
Many buyers will ask for exclusitivity so make sure you have an
answer for that. Buyers will also want things on consignment, this
is totally up to you but there are risks. Doing things on
consignment in a big department store will get you exposure and
possibly more sales but you could have your items ruined. So if you
do decide to do it on consignment, have in your agreement that any
items that are not in the excellent condition when received by the
store that its the store’s responsibility for payment. Hope this
helps. Dolphin

You can try to contact the corporate buyer for each store, fine
jewelry or accessories. I used to have sales reps in the San
Francisco, Denver and Seattle areas who used to sell through the
accessories trade shows to Nordstroms, Marshall Fields, etc. I don’t
know your area but you might look up that type of sales in yours.
Some will take a line and try it, some will want money up front to
carry it in their show room during a trade show. The volume of sales
is usually worth it. They may want 15% after you have shipped. The
larger dept. stores are usually very good at paying within the 90
days so you have to be prepared to make the goods and ship it to
each store exactly how and when they want it. Also fashion is sold
six months ahead of sales and you need to add something new to the
line constantly. Larger stores also require a 2-3% discount for
buying in volume. The payoff is walking into Nordstroms and watching
a customer getting excited about their purchase of your jewelry! The
library may have lists of Dept. store buyers names, numbers, etc.
But that is what a really good rep is for. They also know what the
buyers are looking for and can advise you what is going to be
selling. Good Luck! Margaret, Oceanside