NEW YORK, United States – For the latest news in our series #BoFLive events, Executive Editor Lauren Sherman was joined by Ikram Goldman, founder of the legendary Ikram store in Chicago, and Sherri McMullen, owner of Oakland, Ca.’s McMullen, who shared how they are tackling the economic impact of the pandemic, consumer confidence shifts, and the pace of fashion industry operations.
Since multi-location stores are struggling to find their footing, independent stores are more valuable than ever for both brands and consumers. “Small boutiques will always be there. This is really the time for us to shine … and really show what we are doing, ‘said Goldman. “We don’t shrink like department stores … we grow our businesses … For us, the small boutiques, we live to grow and create.”
Like many companies, Ikram and McMullen have had to run and adjust to operate within the ‘new normal’ by implementing social distance and safety measures. This also includes requiring customers to make advance arrangements, which McMullen expects will be part of the business in the long term.
“We can only have so many people in the store at the same time … I think the most important thing is that people are safe and feel good,” said McMullen. “People are already making agreements, those [was] really encouraging. ‘
“This is our new life, so we’re just taking the best precautions to make everyone as safe as possible,” Goldman added.
For McMullen and Goldman, the period of turmoil has made it clear that the fashion industry in general needs to reassess the pace of garment production and the relentless travel required to obtain inventory.
“This time I really got to think about the pace at which we worked,” said McMullen. “It was non-stop, as a buyer I traveled to a different market every month … and when you think about it, does it really make sense?”
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