Fashion Versus Function
Purchasing inventory for a new or established yoga and athletic wear store can be scary. Whether you are a brand new retailer experiencing a steep learning curve, or an established sportswear retailer trying to freshen up the vibe of your store, keeping up with what customers are looking for can be a daunting task.
At a Fitness Conference and Tradeshow, I recently overheard one athletic wear retailer telling another retailer that she was in the process of removing ALL basic athletic pieces from her store and replacing them with more “fashion type tops and bottoms.” The rational, the first retailer confided, was that her store needed unique, eye catching pieces that customers would immediately gravitate to. It didn’t matter to the retailer if the fashion tops were not functional (i.e. did not have built in shelf bras or performance wicking fabric) as long as the tops were funky and different. The second retailer (who has been in the business a long time) responded with wise advice…
“Having unique pieces to catch the customer’s eye is good but how many people try on that unique piece and actually buy it? In my experience, customers ooh and aahh over the funky fashion yoga tanks but when it comes right down to it, they end up buying the classic, functional yoga top.”
Which retailer is correct? Well, I would have to say…both! Athletic wear and yoga clothing retailers do need to stock those eye catching pieces in the window of their store to get potential customers in the door. However, retailers also need to balance these fashion tops with classic staple workout pieces such as basic tees, running shorts, board shorts, and tanks with cut away shoulders.
Think about your target market and store demographics. Not every customer walking through the door wants a low cut tank with crazy crisscross straps! In fact, unless the majority of your clientele are looking for the latest, teeny weensy tank top, you should offer both practical and runway fashion pieces.
The Whole Show Dance and Active Wear Opens in Sylvan Lake, Alberta
Congratulations to The Whole Show Dance and Activewear on their grand opening in Sylvan Lake, Alberta. The new store is located in the trendy Sylvan Lake Shopping District--nestled among cafés, scrumptious bakeries, and the beach. The new store is incredible with wall to wall dance basics for kids and youth, ladies yoga clothing, and Canadian made athletic wear…including TerraFrog Athletic Wear.
You can find TerraFrog yoga apparel and lifestyle clothing at Keylime Athletic Wear
Congratulations to Keylime Athletic Wear on their move into an amazing new location in Edmonton City Centre. The new store is incredible with wall to wall yoga, Zumba, triathlon and lifestyle clothing. Keylime is the “go to” store for athletes and yoga lovers in downtown Edmonton. The new sportswear store carries many fabulous TerraFrog items including TerraFrog’s best selling board shorts made with Rayon spun from bamboo, cozy lifestyle jackets , running tanks and TerraFrog’s popular hiking shorts made partly from recycled plastic containers.
Purchasing Inventory for a Yoga or Athletic Wear Store
When putting together your first purchase order, or your thousandth, it is critical to thoroughly understand your target market. Understanding your potential customers' demographics helps you determine exactly what your products or services should be. One of the biggest mistakes yoga and athletic wear retailers can make is purchasing stock as though they are shopping for themselves. Not everyone has the same taste in clothes and certainly not everyone is the same size. Bottom line (no pun intended), different body shapes fit clothes differently and a store owner cannot expect every potential customer walking in the store to fit things the way that they themselves do.
Purchasing inventory for your target market rather than yourself seems pretty common sense but the latter happens more often that you think. I recall a young 20-something bicycle sport shop owner insisting on only ordering the most revealing pieces of the TerraFrog athletic wear line. When prompted to purchase some of the more "forgiving" yoga tanks or shorts, the young store owner argued that she would not be caught dead in athletic bottoms that go past her thighs!
It doesn't hurt to ask the clothing manufacturers you are dealing with which styles and sizes have been selling well to individual target markets (i.e. if you own a yoga store that caters primarily to hot yoga enthusiasts, ask the athletic wear manufacturer which pieces/styles/sizes and colors have been selling well for that particular group) . While you may get the odd clothing manufacturer trying to push clothing that is sitting in the back of their warehouse not moving, you are more likely to get an honest answer. Manufacturers want retailers to be successful and will likely share as much information as possible.
Pros and Cons of a Yoga and Athletic Wear Ecommerce Store
Not sure whether you want to open up a brick and mortar yoga or athletic wear store or sell through an online store? Read this first! There are many advantages and disadvantages to launching an ecommerce site.
- Remote Access
You have the potential to market to and reach potential customers who are not located in the larger urban centers. Customers in smaller centers need access to cute yoga gear too!
- Reduce Overhead of Rent
When there is no need for a brick and mortar store, athletic ecommerce stores save a bundle on costly rent.
- Reduce Overhead of Employees
Few employees are required when first launching an online store, as many of the ecommerce functions are automated.
- Grow without Boundaries
When not bound by physical limitations, an online business can grow easier than a brick and mortar yoga and athletic store.
- Open 24 hours
If your customer can't sleep and has the urge to buy that perfect pair of yoga pants at three in the morning, you are open for business.
Many customers prefer real sales personal who can offer face to face advice and expertise.
No matter how much information you provide regarding sizing and fit, online consumers are still guessing how a garment will fit AND whether it will look great on them. This is especially true for form fitting fitness wear such as athletic tanks, sports bras, and yoga pants. You can provide the world's best sizing chart and you are still going to get returns/exchanges once the customer receives the garment and tries it on only to find it does not quite fit.
- Delayed Gratification
When ordering online, customers have to wait to receive their fabulous new yoga gear. This may be a turn off for consumers who like the instant gratification of buying an item and immediately wearing it.
- Credit Card Fraud
This one can be a doozie. Physical brick and mortar activewear stores, as well as online stores, suffer alike from credit card fraud. However, the online yoga store is much more likely to have to deal with chargebacks.
- Too Much Reliance on the World Wide Web
What happens if your groovy yoga wear and accessory website experiences technical difficulties or your webhost crashes? A few hours of down time can lead to a large loss of money and a bad reputation. Consumers get turned off when they click on a link only to be told, "Error, Link broken, or Website not found."
Whether you are opening a physical athletic wear store, an ecommerce store, or a combination of both, it pays to research the advantages and disadvantages. The above pros and cons just barely touch the surface. There is a lot of information out there... network with local businesses, connect with your local business association, and research the web to help you make the best choice.
Playasol Active Wear Moves to New Location in Trendy Cornerstone Shopping District
Congratulations to Playasol Clothing and Activewear on their move into their amazing new location. The new store is located in the trendy Cornerstone Shopping District-- the newest of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan’s premier retail areas. The new location is incredible with wall to wall yoga clothing, Canadian made athletic wear and lifestyle gear. Playasol Activewear is the place yoga lovers, runners, and fitness enthusiasts go to get their fix of high quality, Canadian made yoga and athletic wear. Brands Playasol carries include TerraFrog Sportswear, Karma Yoga Clothing, Enell Sport, Hapari Swimwear, and Gossip Girl Swimwear.
Pantone Reveals Color of the Year for 2012: PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango
Dance into the New Year with this vivacious and appealing reddish orange
CARLSTADT, N.J., Dec. 8, 2011 – Pantone LLC, an X-Rite company (NASDAQ: XRIT), and the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, today announced PANTONE® 17-1463 Tangerine Tango, a vivacious, enticing hue, as the color of the year for 2012.
The 2011 color of the year, PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle, encouraged us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.
"Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. "Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy."
Over the past several years, orange has grown in popularity and acceptance among designers and consumers alike. A provocative attention-getter, Tangerine Tango is especially appealing in men's and women's fashion. Fashion designers featured in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2012, including Tommy Hilfiger, Nanette Lepore, Cynthia Steffe by Shaun Kearney, Elie Tahari and Adrienne Vittadini, are incorporating this attractive orange into their spring collections. A fun, lively take on a traditional autumnal hue, Tangerine Tango will surely carry through to fall fashion as well.
About the PANTONE Color of the Year
The color of the year selection is a very thoughtful process. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.
For more than a decade, Pantone's Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design. Past colors include:
Pantone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, Incorporated, has been the world's color authority for nearly 50 years, providing design professionals with products and services for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity.
TerraFrog Clothing Corporation Announces Santa's Anonymous Gift Donation Program
TerraFrog Clothing Corporation, announced their Santa's Anonymous Donation Program this month. TerraFrog announced they will donate a toy to Santa's Anonymous each time an Ecosensor Hoodie is purchased from TerraFrog's online store between November 23 and December 13, 2011.
"We chose the cozy Ecosensor Hoodie made from recycled plastic containers for our Santa's Anonymous Donation Program because it is our best selling jacket this season," said TerraFrog Director Cori Windsor. "We know tying the donations to this popular jacket will result in TerraFrog donating a lot of gifts to Santa's Anonymous this year."
The hoodies, affectionately referred to as the "Pop Bottle Hoodie" by TerraFrog customers and retailers, are available for purchase on TerraFrog's online store at www.terrafrog.com. TerraFrog Clothing Corporation will inform customers who purchase the Ecosensor Hoodie during the Santa's Anonymous campaign about the donation. Said Windsor, "Customers will not only be notified of the donation but they will also be told whether the gift TerraFrog donated was for a boy or a girl."
Black Friday 101
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving, traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season. It is a holiday in many states and one of the busiest shopping days in the USA. Many stores extend their hours of operation and offer significant discounts and holiday promotions. This year Black Friday falls on November 25th, 2011.
Many Canadians flock to the U.S on Black Friday to take advantage of the deals. To combat this, in 2009, several major Canadian fashion retailers started their own version of the day by running promotions to discourage shoppers from leaving for the U.S. This trend has continued as smaller Canadian retailers are now getting on the bandwagon and offering Black Friday shopping deals of their own.
The Christmas shopping season is of colossal importance to sportswear retailers on both sides of the border. While many yoga and athletic wear retailers make profits during every quarter of the year, some retailers rely on the Christmas shopping season to carry them through year and make up for losses from other quarters.
Will Black Friday Become a Canadian Tradition?
If you think about it, Canada already has their own shopping tradition—Boxing Day. However, in Canada’s current bumpy economy, Boxing Day sales come one day too late for shoppers needing a break on their Christmas Shopping. Canadian athletic apparel retailers need to respond to the current economic conditions and offer Black Friday sales.
Where does the Name Black Friday Come From?
The name Black Friday originated in Philadelphia where it was used to describe the black marks heavy vehicle traffic would leave on the roads at Thanksgiving. Later on, the name Black Friday came to describe the day when retailers could turn their sales around from being in the red to being in the black.
Increasing Traffic to Your Yoga or Athletic Wear Store
Own a yoga clothing store or athletic wear shop? Having a slow month? Feeling like you finally have a few minutes to update your website? Here are some ideas to keep traffic moving to both your storefront and website.
1. Add Website Keywords
Who is your target market? What words would your target market use to search on the internet for what they are looking for? Is your target market looking for Canadian made athletic wear? If so, then make sure you use "Canadian made athletic wear" as a key phrase somewhere on your website so that your potential customers can find you.
Do the clothes you carry fill a niche? If so, shout it to the online world. If you carry plus size athletic wear, make sure you have key phrases indicating this (i.e. plus size yoga wear, plus size athletic clothing, Canadian made plus size clothing, plus size sports wear). Same goes for tall girl clothing, Kundalini yoga wear, clothing made specifically for hot yoga, triathlon performance wear, Canadian made tennis clothing, ladies golf shirts and athletic compression running gear. If you do not have your website programmed with these keywords, then how will your customers find you?
2. Update and Enlist Website Directories
Again, think of your target market. Who are they? What are their interests? What directories and forums might they be following? For example, if your target market is adult runners, then search for, and join, running forums and directories that you can add your URL and store information to. A lot of forums and directories are free, or can be added for a small fee. A few that we recommend are:
Facebook ads Canadian Yoga Directory Hotfrog Canada Pilates Yoga Studio Canada Wholesale Yoga Canada Localsites.ca Canadian Business Directory AllCanSeek Google Adsense Sifter Buycanuck.com Homer.ca Yoga Finder Runningforums.com Canada Yoga Journal Elite Runner Sonic Run Ladies Tennis Gear Pure Yoga Style Canada Performance Gear Cool Running Runners Web Canadian Triathlete
If you already belong to various website directories and forums, when was the last time you updated them? Just as continually updating your website is important for the search engine webcrawlers to find you, so is updating directories.
3. Write a Press Release
Carrying a new unique item? Recently donated to a great cause or charity? Having an upcoming sale? Celebrating a business milestone? Recently won a business award? Write a press release! Writing a press release may seem to be a daunting task, but don't worry – no one knows your business better then you. Even if you do not get any responses back from your press release submissions, you still made an impression. When you send out a new press release six months to a year from now, people will be that much more likely to remember your company.
4. Display Point of Purchase Material
Displaying point of purchase material is critical. It may be the visual tipping point required to convert a potential customer to a buyer. However, point of purchase material should not be the sole responsibility of the athletic wear store owner. Ask your suppliers for print material such as postcards, posters, and additional hangtags.
Having a slower month then normal can be scary for any store owner – big or small. Retail is a funny business. We feel panic when it is too busy and we feel trepidation when it is too slow. Take the slower times to breathe, reassess, and make that "to do" list that you have been avoiding. That "to do" list may just include quick and easy items that keep traffic moving to both your storefront and website!
Helping your customer put together a work out ensemble
Shopping for a new workout outfit can be scary and exciting at the same time…especially when starting back at the gym after a long hiatus. Yoga and athletic wear store owners/staff can help customers find that perfect outfit by educating themselves on a few "body specific" tips.
1. Muffin Top
Avoid the dreaded muffin top by wearing bottoms that either come one finger width below the belly button or two finger widths below the hip bone. Do not wear yoga bottoms that come in between these two points. Having a waistband that lands between these two points only cuts the belly fat in half causing it to hang over your bottoms. Go high or go low.
2. Large Breasts
Besides the obvious trick of wearing a bra top that offers a lot of support, women who wish to make their breasts appear smaller should stay away from scoop neck tanks and instead look for athletic tanks that have a square front. The square front minimizes the chest.
3. A Bit of a Tummy
Look for athletic tanks that have a slight bell shape to them. For example, the TerraFrog Precision Running Tank has a 360 degree built-in shelf bra that is a ½ size smaller than the body of the tank (gives you support in the chest without being too tight in the tummy).
4. Small Chest
Look for a scoop neck bra top that supports and lifts the breasts. Opt for an athletic tank with a little bit of padding. If the customer needs additional padding, suggest they wear a racer back bra underneath a tank that already has a built in shelf bra. The dual support and lift can perform miracles and the racer back bra pulls the shoulders back into better posture creating the illusion of larger breasts.
Playasol Active Wear wins the 2011 Samuel McLeod Business Award
Congratulations to Playasol Active Wear for their well deserved win of the 2011 Samuel McLeod Business Award for marketing. The award recognizes exceptional performance in business marketing, advertising, and public relations.
About Playasol Active Wear
Playsol Active Wear sells high quality Canadian made yoga and athletic wear to the city of Prince Albert and surrounding communities. Athletic lines include TerraFrog, Yogini and Karma. Playasol is well known for their outstanding active wear products, excellent customer service and community relations.
Yoga Pants Everyday?
Edmontonians are a busy, multitasking bunch. We are busy running from 'Billy's' hockey practice to the bank to the gym to the grocery store. We are also a fit bunch of women. Take a look at any Edmonton biking trail, recreation centre, yoga studio, tennis court or spin class and you will see a plethora of dedicated women working hard. Is that why Edmonton women are known for wearing their yoga pants on a regular basis? Absolutely! We are proud of our outdoorsy, fitness oriented lifestyle. Check out the Edmonton Journal article below that tackles this exact topic.
Those form-fitting bottoms designed for the stretch and bend of the yoga studio have been creeping into the wider world of the grocery store, the casual restaurant and even the office. Is this a fashion disaster or a sensible solution to our busy lives?
EDMONTON — Yoga pants, those form-fitting bottoms designed for the stretch and bend of the yoga studio or the gym, have been not-so-slowly creeping into the wider world of the grocery store, the casual restaurant and yes, even the office.
While lovers of comfort and yoga pant manufacturers might embrace this evolution, lovers of fashion tend to cringe at the sight of an army of women clad uniformly in lululemon, or one of its competitors.
"They're fine for the gym, and that's about it," says Annella Wasserman, who organizes a mobile clothing sale called The Fashion Event several times a year, offering fashion lines not available at local retailers.
"I'm so tired of people walking around in their lululemons or whatever and thinking they look good, but they just look boring, like every other person," she says. "The problem is everyone looks like clones … there's no personality in their clothes and that's what drives me nuts. Why would you want to look like everybody else?"
Leggings paired with a great tunic and boots, or a soft, simple wrap dress are just as comfortable and look far more stylish, she adds. "If you're walking around in sweats or yoga pants, it gives people the impression that you don't care or you've given up."
The image women project in yoga pants, particularly the traditional, tight, "bum-showing, cup-under-the-butt-cheek" ones, is of concern to local image consultant Shirley Borrelli.
"It's too sexy and it's too casual. Those send messages that steal credibility and steal the authority somewhat, because that's what people wear to the gym … How could it possibly be the same piece of clothing that belongs in the office?"
Still, the more generous the fit of the pant, the more generous is Borrelli's assessment. Straighter, less-fitted yoga pants, when worn with a belted cardigan, a trench and a ballet flat, are perfectly fine for shopping or going out to lunch, she adds.
Most companies now make several looser alternatives to the traditional yoga pant, recognizing that people are wearing them for much more than just yoga, says Borrelli.
One Tooth, the Vancouver-made yoga wear that has two franchises in Edmonton owned by Oui3, now stocks 11 different styles of pant, from leggings to "yoga fit" to looser pants that fall straight from the hip, says Lori Lamer, one of Oui3's owners. Lamer regularly wear them to work herself as a kindergarten teacher.
"I see them at the office, I see them at the school — it's not just workout wear. Our research before we opened our store found that 80 per cent of this kind of clothing is worn as streetwear, not exercise wear," she says.
One of her customers, who works for a local TV station, also wears them for work, Lamer adds. "She calls them her 'cheater' pants. A straight pair of black pants she can wear dressed up with a blazer and they look like black dress pants."
Cathy Carlson, owner of Seriously Green, an eco-friendly store in St. Albert, wears her One Tooth black yoga pants to work because her days are spent stocking shelves, moving boxes and dealing with customers. "They're comfortable; I can move around in them and they still look dressy," she says. She pairs them with a simple top and polishes the look with a scarf or vest and boots or dressier shoes.
Deb Ryan, a retired teaching assistant who still works occasionally with her husband's construction company, says she wears her yoga pants "for everything and anything."
"You can wear them with whatever you have on," she adds during a recent shopping trip at a local mall, wearing black, loose-fit yoga pants, blacks sneakers and a black wool jacket. "You can be dressed up or not dressed up. They don't look like a sweatpant."
The key to wearing them outside the yoga studio or gym is in combining them with the right top and shoes, says Cori Windsor of Sherwood Park, who, with sister Bobbi, designs and sells a line of Canadian-made athletic wear called TerraFrog.
"If you're going casual on the bottom, you can go casual on the top, but not messy-casual," she says. "It has to be cute-casual — a little fitted top, maybe with a bit of silk in it; in the summer, a little tank, but not your boyfriend's big, ugly sweatshirt."
Windsor agrees that conventional, tighter-fitting yoga pants don't belong in the office or in an elegant restaurant. But some styles, like the "boat capris" TerraFrog makes — a looser, cropped pant — are great paired with pretty sandals and a summery top for drinks on the patio. Customers love to wear yoga pants on plane rides, too, because they're so comfortable, she adds.
Our penchant for yoga pants may well be a reflection of how busy our lives are — moving from the office to the gym to kids' soccer practices before finally heading home at night, says Borrelli. "Who wants to be in pantyhose and high heels for that?"
Sara Maxwell, a 29-year-old pharmacist, say she chooses yoga pants and jeans for her off-hours because she has to wear dress pants all week at work. In fact, her workplace banned yoga pants after staff tried to pass them off as dress pants in the past. "There's a time and a place to wear them, and work is not a great place to wear yoga pants," she says. "If you work at lululemon, hey great. If you work in an office and you're supposed to be business professional, I would say not."