Going to Market in a Locked Down World

Going to Market in a Locked Down World
In the world of fashion retail, we’re thinking about Christmas in July and strategizing for the following Fall during Christmas. What I mean by that is, we fashion buyers place our clothing orders at least three seasons in advance.

“Going to market,” as we call it, is when we get invited into designers’ Manhattan showrooms to preview lines, spot emerging trends, and place orders for our boutique.

Normally, we book hotel rooms, hop the Amtrak to New York, and run ourselves ragged racing from showroom to showroom on an aggressive schedule.

Normally, you might find Ray on one side of a designer’s loft holding up a pair of pants while Tobi is clear across the room sifting through racks of shirts and sweaters to find that perfectly paired top.

Normally, I’m keeping track of it all, taking pictures of what we ordered, and making notes for us to review each night over restaurant dinners.

Normally, is the operative word here. When the pandemic turned the world upside down, all sense of normal went out the window. Travel? Nope. Market? Postponed? Manufacturing? Maybe. Deliveries? Anyone’s best guess.

The one thing we knew for sure was that our Ruth Shaw customers would be counting on us to deliver for the coming seasons. And so we Zoomed virtually into market, finding safe and inventive, remote ways to shop each trusted designer plus discover exciting new ones. As exhausting as running around NYC could be, Tobi, Ray, and I agreed that working the market from afar was twice as tiring—but worth it.

As always, you can count on our beautiful boutique to be filled with only the best designer clothing, shoes, and accessories. We’re curating our collections a little differently these days, but we’re still doing it all with the same great taste and high quality our many loyal customers expect from Ruth Shaw. Stop in during store hours or by private appointment, or check out our newly renovated website to see what we have in store.

Brian Comes is a curator and co-owner of Ruth Shaw with his husband Ray Mitchener. Despite having incredibly good taste, he describes his primary role as handling the “money side” of the business.

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