Piggybacking on some tricks I blogged about, one of the greatest things that you can ever do when you shop for deals is to learn to build relationships and build them consistently. The many times I hung out at Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, and Pacific Place in downtown Seattle; and all the stores I frequented in Bellevue Square, Redmond Town Center, and Auburn Super Mall led me to meet many people behind the cash wraps who have helped me build networks upon networks that I possibly would never have imagined. These networks provided me with a wealth of information and connections that opened my eyes to the retail world and how that world functions in the consumer industry. To give you an example, if I didn’t check on the frequency of sales and updates on clothing in Banana or Kenneth Cole, I wouldn’t have met the store managers and district managers who helped me understand the business and clothing, specifically:
- The types and quality of clothing that typically goes on sale
- The types and quality of clothing that are being marketed heavily
- The types and quality of clothing that are not being marketed heavily
- Upcoming fashion trends, cuts, styles, and price guidelines
- What types, cuts, and quality of clothing that either stays in store or are shipped to Racks and Outlet Malls
- Featured events, sales, and markdowns, and where to find them
- Other general information, which includes basic information about their particular brand of clothing versus other products and brands, tailoring, etc.
Building upon these listed items, you have essentially a great handle on where to shop, when to shop, how much to pay for it (given the actual value of the clothing based on tailoring, cut, cloth, etc), and most of all, someone to give you a personal helping hand along the way.
More importantly, the relationships being established becomes more than knowledge of where to go shopping. They serve as one of the foundations to which you can build upon as a source of knowledge, and is available to be an external resource on keeping up with trends, price values, and other factors that you think are valuable to you.
And what is more valuable than people giving you a plethora of informative advice?