Chamber Chat – Local Business Owners visit Apparel Market

March 07, 2021 | Written by: sanford-user



By Meg Moss


Maggie Cranford is the owner of High Cotton Couture, a women’s boutique located in downtown Sanford on South Steele Street. She recently recounted to me her experience about going to the Amerismart Apparel Market in Atlanta.
This was Cranford’s second trip to Market. After completing the Real Investment in Sanford Entrepreneurs program, Maggie and her husband Luke headed out for Market in June 2020. “But due to the pandemic,” stated Cranford, “it was very different; it was low key and quiet. It was before I opened High Cotton Couture, and honestly it was a good way to get my feet wet before attending a full-fledged market”
“Boutiques are known by nature to be highly curated shopping experiences, allowing shoppers to come home with the most unique treasures, fashions and trinkets they didn’t know they needed.
How does a boutique owner begin to find such unique pieces that no one else has?
Sure, there are many online shopping sites that boutique owners use to buy in bulk, but by making trips to gift and apparel markets, many boutique owners find the most unique brands of all” according to the Boutique HUB.
Last month, the Cranfords again set out to Market, and this time, it was the real thing. Although temperatures were taken, and masks were worn, it was filled with what you’d normally expect to see at an apparel market event. Maggie stated that this time, “I went in feeling confident and I knew what I needed to do since I had experience from the smaller market in the summer. And since my store is now open and I know my clientele, I knew what I wanted to bring back to my Sanford girls. I felt more prepared in my selections”
The Boutique HUB goes on to say in its online tips for boutique owners and market-goers, that you have to make a plan, know what to bring, know how to handle “the big day”, and take advantage of the educational seminars. In other words, you can’t just “show up,” you have to be organized. Cranford agrees. “If you don’t have a plan, it can be overwhelming.”
At market, boutique owners can see a showcase of all the lines and brands available. “I was able to meet face to face some of the reps I’d been meeting with virtually” said Cranford. “It was great to be able to go through the racks and feel the fabric and see the true colors of the materials. We were even able to ask reps to try on the clothing so we could see how clothes truly fit.”
You can already see some of Cranford’s market selections at High Cotton Couture, as she did purchase a few “cash and carry” items. And as of Monday, she has received three huge boxes of merchandise. Luckily, she learned the art of staggering her orders so that she’s not packed out in her storage area, and she’s able to stagger the cost of merchandise.
Cranford was happy to see another local boutique owner from Sanford at the Amerismart Market. She said seeing Rebecca was like “having a little piece of home with her.” Rebecca Love Pedley also completed the Real Investment in Sanford Entrepreneurs program, and opened With Love Boutique soon after. With Love is also located on South Steele Street in downtown Sanford. Steele Street is lined with cute boutiques – each one is unique in its style and offerings. So put on those shopping shoes, and head downtown!