EMPTY NEW YORK
Every time I walk the streets NYC I'm astounded by how vacant it's become. Many of my pals who live on the island tell me how their building are becoming so empty. Many are even negotiating lower rent prices, which is awesome. The most visible signs of this mass vacancy is the store fronts. I went to the movies in Union Square (yes, I do actually leave Brooklyn) and was stunned to see that Circuit city and The Virgin Mega Store that share the block with the theater were closed or closing soon. What's going to become of this vacant city? Interestingly enough recently I've been approached by a couple of people with access to prime retail locations to open a Junkprints brick and mortar store. In theory this all sounds amazing but the reality is that running a store and running a brand are two very cumbersome endeavors and right now I can't handle both. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but the overhead stocking and staffing a store sounds like the formula for a quick bankruptcy. Over the last six months I watched dozens of indie designer stores close due to a major reduction in sales. Some of the still existing indie stores are keeping their stores stocked by only carrying brands/designers on a consignment basis or attempting to run stores using alternative business structures. Consignment may be a way to introduce a line that a buyer is unsure about, to their store, but is not a substitute for not being able to afford new stock. Dealing strictly on consignment is isn't a good long term solution for brands or stores. For brands/designers it can result in going into production on items that may be returned to the brand/designer at the end of season making it so the brand/designer is forced to discount the items before having a chance to expose them to perhaps a more targeted audience. For stores it creates a cycle in which they are never able to purchase lines within true wholesale parameters (40-60% off retail). By purchasing on wholesale terms the profit margin is larger and allows for seasonal sales and a healthy rotation of inventory. No disrespect to stores that deal strictly on consignment, but I haven't seen one transition into larger business models. If anything I suggest stores attempt to negotiate smaller wholesale minimums and diversify the lines they carry instead of committing to the whole season of a newbie line. Now's a great time to negotiate. I also suggest that smaller designers hold there ground and not do go into production on consignment orders. With e-commerce it's hard for me to justify having back stock, so the expense of having stock overhead isn't something I'm trying to tangle with. If it doesn't make sense, it can't make cents. I'm always trying to improve my hustle, let me know yer thoughts on this.