According to Tsai, cotton prices are a difficulty, but also an inspiration to increase the value of products. "Cotton prices are not helping anyone, not suppliers, not distributors and not [end-buyers]," she said. "That being said I think the overall rise in all fabric prices just makes it more important than ever that distributors are putting brands and styles in front of their [end-buyers] that are a good value."
Robinson agreed on the value of fair pricing. She suggested finding the best value for your customers is the way to handle rising cotton prices. "This challenge has made the relationships with our customers even better. They recognize that we sincerely want to be their partner and help grow their business," she said.
Marketing to Moms and Alma Maters
The important thing to remember when selling women's apparel is that these are not styles for young girls. "We as a society tend to idolize youth—and in our industry a lot of the brands you see do a great job of selling that teenage girl look to everyone. But what about a working mom?" Tsai inquired. "There's a lot of untapped demand for stylish, age-appropriate clothing for women in our market." The look is not about being matronly. It is about catering to professional women who need to juggle family, friends and a career. "We're targeting more of a life stage or mindset than an age—we're targeting working women and working mothers," Tsai said. Women in the life stage of developing their personal and professional lives have a variety of responsibilities and need fashion that is functional and attractive. "The best way to sell women's apparel is to treat it as fashion," she said. "When it comes to women in the workplace, you are talking about their whole sense of style. And for most women, that's pretty important."