My thoughts on the Future of Retail

Every day I get emails from young people starting new brands & stores asking for advice on how to “make it?”  The answer is I DON’T KNOW. After working in the business for 8 years the future of the retail business is a complete mystery to me.   My staff and I are constantly discussing distribution channels & ways to stand out in a crowded retail space. We come up with a lot of great ideas but I find that it all boils down to the consumer coming back to the malls and shopping.  My only suggestion to people trying to get into the business is to either have a brand affiliated with a celebrity & a heavily promoted media outlet (i.e.Young & Reckless) or work on an exclusive with a major retailer that has national reach & financial stability.  I only give these two solutions because they are working for us today. The days of how Five Four started is no longer relevant since the retailer and consumer have near vanished in this economic downturn.


New brands must understand they face a vicious retail cycle of markdowns and discounts. Consumers have become so used to discounts & heavy promotions, retailers can no longer expect to sell full price merchandise. The brand is then forced to give markdown money to support the retailer, which in turn means less money if at all for the brand.  As you can see this is not a sustainable business model for a BRAND to survive, so finding an alternate strategy is critical to staying in the game.   Partnering with a celebrity or national retailer gives you a chance of succeeding beyond the traditional route of waiting for the consumer to SHOP.  However, buck up, history does show us that the consumer will inevitably come back once job growth gets back on track.

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