It’s buying season! The retail world turns quickly, and even though we are still enjoying beautiful Summer 2021, we are already thinking about the latest items we will be bringing in for Spring/Summer 2022!
I have been going to “Shoe Shows” since I was seven years old with my parents, who started Plum Bottom. Back then, vendors would rent rooms at some of the poshest hotels in New York City. Some brands kept elaborate showrooms along West 57th Street or 5th Avenue. They would put on fashion shows with their new collections while offering a buffet of gourmet food. It was quite a scene—and such fun as a young girl. All of that has changed and much of the allure of the process has lost its luster over the years. The New York show is almost entirely held in a cramped hotel where shoes are laid out on beds and tables. Some companies maintain showrooms, but they are scattered all throughout the city.
Several years ago, most of our buying shifted from NYC to a huge shoe show at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta. This has created an entirely new buying experience for me, and one that has positively impacted the store. There are more and different vendors at this show, allowing us to find new and exciting brands to display. And because the show is centralized in one location, we have more time to work with our vendors.
Carla in the Vince Camuto room of the Atlanta Shoe Market, August 2021
The venue is huge. Two ballrooms are filled with booths where the vendors set up shop for a long weekend. We make appointments to visit brands that we carry but leave enough time to wander the aisles discovering new products. In three long, full days we will have done the bulk of buying for the next Spring/Summer season. We will wrap up any additional buying over the next few weeks, as some of our biggest lines will make appointments to visit us at our store, where we can take more time to revisit things we’ve seen at the shoe show and finalize our decisions.
Walk the buying floor with Carla to get a peak behind the scenes!
Andrea and I take turns attending the shows with our buyer, Lauren T. We often collectively make decisions. With three decision makers, we always have a tie-breaker person who can make the final call. Since Lauren and I wear sample sizes (typically a size 7 or European 37) we have the added advantage of being able to try on all the shoes before we buy them. That is a huge advantage—I’m not sure how someone can buy an entire collection of shoes without knowing how they feel on the foot. Lauren’s foot is on the narrow side, while mine is wide. Between the two of us we have an exceptionally good idea of how the shoes are going to work for most of our customers. We prioritize finding shoes that offer comfort, look unique, and are of the highest quality.
The most exciting part of a buying trip comes when we discover brands that are new to the store. This year we picked up several brands that range from European comfort to high fashion. We're not naming names just yet, but we know that you'll love the fresh looks that will hit our shelves next spring.
Look forward to buying this flatform sneaker from Dolce Vita--arriving Spring 2022!
The next time you marvel at our huge and varied selection when you are in one of our stores or browsing the website, consider how overwhelming it is to narrow down the selection from the hundreds of thousands of shoes we have seen, to the several hundred styles that wind up in Plum Bottom. We always listen to feedback from our customers about what you are looking for and keep that in mind when buying for the season. If there are styles or brands that you think would work well in the store, we'd love to hear from you! Comment on this post or get in touch at the store. We promise to keep YOU, our customer, in mind when we are buying for Plum Bottom!