Bra~vo will carry quality European and American products, such as Rigby & Peller, Prima Donna, Wacoal, OnGossomer, Lise Charmel, and Feline and Ratratti, purchased through reputable U.S. distributors in a variety of sizes, colors and styles. Our expertise and concentration is in bra fitting full-busted and full-figured women. The greatest percentage of our merchandise will be in bras/intimate apparel followed by swimwear, nightwear/At Home-wear and hosiery. Rebecca will do the initial buying, with reorders performed according to sell thru and open to buy programs utilizing the Retail Pro software.
3.1 Product Description
Bra/intimate apparel (coordinate bottoms)
- Bras are the main focus, comprising 45% of our merchandise.
- We will stock AA-JJ cups, 30-48 band sizes, special ordering other sizes.
- Knowing that the most popular sizes for speciality fitting shops are 34D, 36D, 34DD, 36DD respectively, we will have the largest variety of colors, styles and price points in these sizes.
- Prices will range from $35 to $125, with the average being between $45-$65.
- The customer that purchases from this category may do so for one or a combination of the following reasons: difficult to fit, large cup and/or band size, seeking current fashion not seen in other shops or seeking a better fitting service and comfortable shopping atmosphere not found in the competition.
- For the next three years we expect an average growth of 22.5% from this category, primarily from developing our business and taking a larger share of the market with the addition of mastectomy products in the second year.
- Shapewear will be 12% of the inventory.
- Sizes ranging from Small to 5XL, with a price range from $25 to $85, with the concentration in the Large to 5XL, and price at $45-$65.
We expect to see a great deal of growth, with the increase of our African American customer base, the following year planned at a 40.6% increase.
Swimwear and swim accessories
- Swimwear will comprise 20% of the merchandise.
- Sizes will range from a 6 to an 18, with bra-sized swimwear from a C to G cup.
- Prices will range from $85-$180.
- The customer that purchases from this category may do so for one or a combination of the following reasons: the full-busted/figured customer who has a difficult time finding a selection of fashionable swimsuits, requires a salesperson who knows the fit of each brand, to shop in a comfortable intimate shop, purchased other items at the store.
- We expect to see an average of 38% growth of this category, through high word-of-mouth and loyal customer referrals, as well as our expansion of assortment in the second year.
- Nightwear/At Home-wear will comprise 24% of our store’s merchandise.
- Carrying a size range to appeal to all sizes, carrying sizes Small to 4X.
- Price points range from $60 to $250. A wide price range is due to the seasonal aspect of nightwear and a higher price point for bridal and holiday merchandise.
- The At Home-wear merchandise is less seasonal and more of a middle to low price point.
- The customer that purchases from this category may do so for any one or combination of the following reasons: needs a bridal shower gift, wants a more fashionable assortment than she is currently finding, a local and/or walk thru holiday gift shopper, and the impulse buyer.
- We expect approximately a 16% increase in this category mainly due to word-of-mouth recommendations and updated merchandise, following trends.
- Will make up less than 2% of the store’s inventory.
- The assortment here is lace top stockings and basic panty hose.
- The size range offered will be Small to 3XL.
- Prices will range from $10-$35.
- The customer that purchases from this category may do so for any one or combination of the following reasons: a bride who wants an enhanced lace top stocking for her special day, the local customer who needs a pair of panty hose, walk thru customers.
- We plan a 21% increase in this category for the first year based on: continuously developing a unique assortment, building a reputation as “the store in the metro area” for the greatest assortment of European lace top stockings. This will also build the bridal customer base. She will shop with us for undergarments, nightwear as well as hosiery.
- This category will comprise 1% of our inventory and include accessories, such as lingerie wash, swim wash, and comfy straps (bra accessories).
- The assortment here is small and includes those items that have a successful performance.
- The price range will be $5 to $15.
- The customer that will purchases from this category may do so for any one or combination of the following reasons: is recommended the product by salesperson when being fitted, has been using the product, or is a walk thru shopper that makes an small (impulse) purchase-reacting to the store.
- This category is planned at an increase of $13,550 the second year due to the add on items needed for the mastectomy product line.
Note: Category percentages were determined using industry standards.
3.2 Competitive Edge
Bra~vo has major advantages over its competition.
- The owner is working in the industry as a sales representative, selling to stores in the region, watching how each manages their business, knowing their missed opportunities. Below details our point of difference.
- The business will use the Retail Pro software system, which performs inventory control, point of sale, sales reports & analysis, employee & customer record maintenance.
- We will have a detailed record on each customer, logging her purchases, size, brand preference, etc., for customer follow-up and promotional purposes.
- We will launch our business with an aggressive advertising and promotional program reaching the Tri-county area.
- We will perform minor alterations for a nominal fee.
- Our location is central to our target market.
- The owner, currently a sales rep is acquainted with other manufacturers, this will put us in a position to negotiate additional perks in conjunction with purchases such as, co-op advertising, in-store vendor support, markdown money on poor performers, additional terms/dating on swimwear orders, and priority access to close-outs.
- The owner has worked most of the industry markets, domestically and internationally and knows which are key shows to buying.
- The owner is currently working with over 150 store owners across the country and has developed a working rapport with owners, which she can draw on for advice and idea sharing.
- The owner has excellent computer skills, a strong background in inventory management and customer service
We will shop for our merchandise as outlined below.
- For suppliers who have a local representative, we will place our weekly/monthly reorders thru and review any products not previously reviewed, and utilize product catalogs for New York based lines.
- The International Lingerie Show (January in Paris): the largest industry show, is the opportunity to see the most extensive variety of European and domestic product lines and place major Fall orders.
- The Intimate Apparel Salon (March in New York): the largest U.S. industry show. To review lines presented in Paris and place Fall orders on lines not previously viewed.
- March Market Week (March in Dallas): to visit vendors and place Fall orders from vendors not available in New York.
- The Intimate Apparel Salon (August in New York): place Spring orders.
- The International Intimate Apparel & Swimwear Show (September in Lyon, France): the largest show featuring the newest collections of European swimwear and Spring intimate apparel. Place annual swimwear and major intimate apparel orders.
In this type of retail establishment, one with a high number of SKUs, it is imperative that an advanced inventory and point of sales program be utilized to maintain stock levels and track sales. We will utilize the Retail Pro software system, which is currently the best available in managing the number of SKUs we will carry. This company is known for keeping their products current, adding new features when applicable. Retail Pro is a well known program throughout the industry.
3.5 Future Products
As Bra~vo achieves its sales and profitability goals, upon our first year anniversary, we will expand in the following categories.
- We will launch a mastectomy department, currently there is only one shop in the metro area, offering a conservative selection of U.S. products.
- The Tri-county area is home to 41% of the state’s population, this fact demonstrates the strong need for a shop that will carry and be certified in fitting products of this nature. This has been a major concern and need for this market for some time.
- We will offer an extensive mastectomy assortment of U.S. and European products.
- There are an increasing number of mastectomy customers yearly. We know that creating an outreach program in partnership with the hospitals will make this a success.
- We will become certified fitters in the mastectomy products.
- During first year market trips we will explore European mastectomy suppliers, and educate our staff on this customer’s needs. Deborah Summers, with 20 years experience, will set up and manage the insurance billing department.
Swimwear and accessories:
- Add mastectomy swimwear.
- Add three to four new brands that have been repeatedly requested by customers.
- Swimwear is a higher risk category, due to weather and fashion trend predictions. As swimwear buying takes place six to eight months prior to the selling season we will be conservative our first and second years.
Nightwear and At Home-wear:
This category will require continuous fine tuning more than product additions, keeping the assortment small and concentrated, reordering successful styles/brands/colors. Keeping higher stock levels in those items/sizes that have proven to be successful will be a key focus.
This category will expand, based on customer feedback and stock turn, increasing inventory levels in steady performers.
This category will be expanded due to the accessories needed for the mastectomy product line in bras and swimwear.