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Owner, Harem & Co.
Owner, Harem & Co.

2015 Economic Outlook: Kathi Cryderman

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With 38 years in retail under her belt, Kathi Cryderman has the Queen City’s eye for fashion.

2015 Projection
“I feel a sense of vibrancy. I see it and feel it in the housing market, in furniture, clothing, accessories, shoes.”

SBJ: Are shoppers still recession minded, hesitating on bigger purchases, or will they move forward in 2015?
Kathi Cryderman: I think what has evolved from the recession of 2008 is a very smart and astute customer. With the growth of the Internet, everywhere in every business and profession, the customer doesn’t have to hunt out everything. By turning on her computer, she has everything at her fingertips. Consumers have become very savvy with their purchases. I think she is a smarter consumer and wants a lot of bang for the buck. It’s not that she is afraid to spend, it’s that she wants to look important, look special for whatever that means in her lifestyle or for what she is buying.

SBJ: The National Retail Federation reported fewer people in the stores this holiday season but increased online activity. Are you seeing that trend?
Cryderman: What you hear is more accurate for big-box stores, not as much for specialty stores. We have a different demographic. Our customers are loyal, and we have long-standing relationships. However, no longer can one business carry one price point or one designer. You have to have diversity; it is essential.

It’s not that our customer isn’t shopping online – she might find a few items – but she likes the service we give. That’s the gold standard of a specialty store; that’s what keeps her coming back.

SBJ: What were the must-have products in 2014?
Cryderman: One huge trend was boots – boots, boots and more boots. OTK – meaning over the knee – was huge for us. Athletic wear is huge for this season and has definitely eclipsed denim. We came off an unbelievable season from 2011, ’12, ’13 with colored denim and embellished denim. In our business, one word is definite and that is change. It is a guarantee.

SBJ: What’s your fashion forecast this year?
Cryderman: I see a continuation of athletic wear. There is such an emphasis on organic eating, healthy eating and so many women are taking yoga, Pilates and CrossFit. Women need chic and sophisticated athletic wear.

In terms of fabric, there will be a fabulous influence of laser cut fabrics. It will be sheer, with an explosion of prints and an infusion of color. I think neoprene – you know, scuba wear – as a fabric will grow. It was huge in 2014.

SBJ: You opened Dec. 29 in the French Quarter. What prompted the move?
Cryderman: We have been in [Aundria Plaza] for 10 years, and even though I am very proud of our store in that location, I think the French Quarter is an incredibly vibrant, activity-filled and a demographically complementary center. Visibility, right off Republic Road is another factor.

SBJ: How often do you go to market for designer fashions?
Cryderman: I go to market 12 to 14 times a year. In our industry, there are five seasons or markets I buy in. I go to Dallas five times a year. I go to New York three times a year. I go twice a year to Vegas to buy shoes and twice a year to Montreal to buy European lines out of Germany.[[In-content Ad]]

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