Shear Off Some Sales
Fleece. The cuddly, less waterproof cousin of the jacket. The more sweat-wicky, gym-friendly relative of the classic sweater. The more professional, upstanding "I don't want to look like a teenager who hangs out in front of convenience stores bumming wine coolers" version of the hooded sweatshirt. While similar to many other kinds of outerwear, there isn't any type that is quite a perfect match. Fleece is unquestionably an apparel category all its own.
It has its own strengths, its own weaknesses, its own quirks and its own ways to leave you laughing and feeling like you're just printing money from nothing. If you'd like to take a swing at selling this distinctive style of outerwear, take a look at the seven tips below for insight on what's new, what's selling, and how to angle your sales pitches.
1. Fleece Isn't a "Cold-Weather Only" Item
Just because fleece jackets appear cozier than your bed's comforter on a Sunday morning, don't assume the fuzzy apparel is for chilly climes only. "It doesn't matter what climate you live in—even in the hottest climates they have a cooler period of the year where they could at least use a microfleece," said Vanessa Keefe, director of marketing for Charles River Apparel, Sharon, Mass. "Plus everyone has experienced a cold air conditioned office, plane trip or restaurant and wished they had something to put on."
2. Try Them as Part of a Uniform Program
"We had a distributor that came to us looking for an item to target to an in-home party-based cosmetics organization that had thousands of consultants nationwide," said Keefe. "We recommended one of our plush women's fleeces as a great snugly, warm piece that was reasonably priced, a high-quality item and could be worn by the consultants in their in-house visits or simply as weekend wear," she explained. "The in-home cosmetic company had such rapid success with the fleece that they asked for more apparel recommendations. The program that was originally for one style of fleece led into a program that spanned polos, exercise wear, weekend casual jackets and even yoga wear from Charles River Apparel—all branded with the cosmetics' company logo."