Survival of the Fittest
It is September. Repeat that to yourself a few times, because it is hard to believe. The months of barbecues, beach days and hair-frizzing humidity are over. You've already sent out your back-to-school promotions and now you're focusing on the shiver-inducing task of selling outerwear. The jackets are not bothersome, but what they mean (below zero weather, snowstorms and black ice) is unwelcome.
Once you take the time to really explore the outer garments for this winter, you might cheer up. They have well-constructed shells to combat the weather and extra lining to trap body heat. They even include stylish additions like elbow pleats and ribbed cuffs to appeal to the outdoorsman and sartorialist in everyone. Two industry experts broke down the most important elements of outerwear sales: shells, linings, styles, fits and trends. After you read their advice, you might even find yourself enjoying the cooler temperatures as you gather more clients to buy these fashionably durable coats.
The Outer Layer
Nicole Parker, director of sales and marketing for Dri Duck Traders, Overland Park, Kan., noted that outerwear buyers are often active outdoorsmen and women. "In my experience, the industries that are most likely to purchase outerwear include transportation, automotive, agricultural, manufacturing and energy," she said. These winter-weather workers need outerwear that keeps them warm without limiting their movement. Parker suggested cotton canvas with high-twist yarns and anti-abrasion/waterproof soft shell as sturdy materials for outerwear. She also stressed the durability of the new material flex fleece. "Flex fleece has a three-layer construction that combines a flexible and breathable membrane with two layers of anti-pill fleece for wind resistance and maximum durability," Parker explained.
Florence Wong, public relations and marketing associate for Tonix, Fremont, Calif. mentioned poly-microfiber as another leading jacket material. "Poly-microfiber is a new generation, soft shell fabric that is supple and smooth to the touch and is also extremely quiet (no crinkly, 'swishy' noise associated with nylon)," she explained.