SN: Bootstrap is a blog for apparel-focused design entrepreneurs. If a new designer wants to be taken seriously by a retailer, what are some tips to successfully impressing a buyer?
C: They definitely should do their research about the store...what other lines does that store carry, what are their price points, what type of aesthetic and experience does the store have. The designer should want to make sure it's the right fit for their brand as much as the store wants to make sure the new designer fits with their store.
SN: With the current state of our economy, do you think support for local designers has increased? If so, do you expect that support to stay when/if the economy recovers?
C: I do think it has increased, not just with local boutiques buying local designers, but customers getting excited to shop local designers. Customers get really excited when they pick a beautiful dress off the rack and then find out it's from a local designer. I hope buyers and customers continue to support and shop locally once the economy recovers a bit more.
SN: Some designers pigeon-hole (in the words of Kristen Amato) themselves as local (Chicago) designers. Amato advises to remove this label and embrace being a "designer" - not constricting your location. Since Cerato is 90% local product, how does your boutique focus on growing your featured designers outside of Chicago? Or, do you focus solely on raising local awareness?
C: Cerato Boutique has received a lot of press, some of it nationally. So we like to promote our local designers whenever we have press opportunities. We have recently launched with an ecommerce partner - www.taigan.com/cerato who features amazing products from around the US, so we hope that is great exposure for our Chicago designers as well. I also would never underestimate the power of social media...that certainly doesn't have any restricting boundaries, we have people following us on twitter from all over the world. I enjoy promoting, embracing and celebrating the talent that is here in Chicago (as well as the other designers we carry).
SN: "Chicago fashion" - this phrase, often gets a smirk, some raised eyebrows, and even a scoff when uttered. What's up with that? Is this changing? Can it change? Or, will we always live in the shadows of NYC & LA?
C: I do think it will be hard to be perceived as "cutting edge" or "on the forefront of trends" as NYC & LA, but if the Chicago fashion community continues to be a close network and continues to showcase the talent and quality of lines we have right here in our city, we will be taken serious as a city to find talented designers.
Thanks to Tracey for answering our questions! Look our for a #localfashion tweet from @ceratoboutique.
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-- the SN team