Our approach involves evaluating how skillful the brand or retailer is in the process of blending and balancing design and data...optimism and pragmatism...art and science.

Merchandising Metrics is a set of disciplines and thought processes arrived at by the partners after years of experience in the apparel business.  

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It's the left brain cooperating with the right brain.  

It's fulfilling the creative and emotional aspects of the Brand Promise with strong filters in place for Risk Mitigation...giving risk the right boundaries.

Risk Mitigation involves pressure testing the key components of the business in the context of a bell curve paradigm:

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  • Risk Mitigation = Item & Classification Balance + Color Management + Flow.
  • Bell Curve - every event, every outcome, every variable falls somewhere in a bell curve.  Understand and respect that.
  • Brand Promise - What is it?  Is it product, price, positioning, presentation, path to purchase?  What customer with what competition?
  • Bullseye - What are you aiming at?  What customer, demographic, psychographic...?  What competition with what voids and vulnerabilities and no moat...?  What are the 1-3 words that can instantly bring you back into focus?
  • Flow = What + Where + When.  Establishing a different shelf life for different risk levels.
  • 5R Product = Right Product, Right Price, Right Place, Right Time, Right Quantity.
  • Focus and Discipline - How are boundaries set? 
  • Item & Classification Balance - Low, medium and high risk.  Core, Seasonal Key Item and Fashion/Novelty.
  • Color Management = Color Balance and Flow.  Low, medium and high risk.  Balance at a moment in time and over time.  Seasonality.  Timing and content of Flow over multiple regions and climates.
  • Calendar Management - Establishing appropriate entry and exit points.  Life span, life cycle.  Seasonality.  Product development T/A calendar?  Appropriate lead times?  Testing?
  • Best use of Space - Understanding size, shape, and configuration of the space.  Capacity.  Options for presentation. Are you practicing the art of storytelling?
  • Dosage - How much is enough?  Challenging each metric in and of itself as well as against all other metrics.   Breadth of the offering, and the risk configuration within the offering.
  • Scarcity - Creating and managing.  Breadth of offering.  Depth of the buy.
  • Listening and learning skills - What are they and how do you master them?  What's the process?  TESTING?  Feedback loop from the field?  Curiosity?  Humility?  How does learning elevate into KNOWLEDGE?
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We're available for different kinds of assignments:

Merchandising & Branding Projects:  Your Brand Promise needs refining, clarity, focus.  Your product needs alignment with the Brand Promise.  Your constraints are holding you back.  How can they be lived with, managed, and ultimately overcome?  What is your process for getting to 5R product...???

Our mantra is KNOW, PLAN, SOLVE, EXECUTE, LEARN.  You may have problems in each bucket that require a series of solutions.

Financial & Investment Projects:  You have a specific assignment with clearly defined deliverables and a set due date.  Most of these are research-based or due diligence related reports.  Your brand relative to the competition and relative to the market at large.  

What are the dynamics at work?  

If you're considering an acquisition, you'll want an unvarnished, arms-length portrait of the health and viability of the target business.  This is an assessment from a merchandising and brand status point of view.  We evaluate the skill level of the team.  Planning, Merchandising, Design, In-Store Execution.

                           Managing Color = Managing Emotions

                         Managing Color = Managing Emotions

Ongoing Tutorials:  Since the very nature of the business revolves around change over time, it makes sense to be immersed in an ongoing study and evaluation of the business.  

While a project looks at a moment in time, an ongoing tutorial manages  change and evolution over time.  The fluid nature of the retail landscape demands that there is a constant freshening and updating of your perspective and an ongoing interpretation of the dynamics of the market.  

The market rarely presents binary black and white alternatives.  

Nuanced perspective is required and that's what our left brain/right brain set of metrics provides.  Some knowledge and experience can be transferred and adopted quickly.  Other life and business lessons require more time to internalize and adopt. And some lessons require constant reinforcement because they are counter-intuitive and/or they stand in stark contrast to long practiced bad habits.