Attention Clothing Retailers

September 26, 2009 by  

Undue caution

When I was looking for a room in a spa or salon to do PCAs, I spoke with 9 different businesses. 8 were run by women, 1 by a man. Know how many were even curious? Know how many said “That sounds interesting.” or “I remember it from the 80s and it didn’t work. Has it changed?”, let alone saw an opportunity to expand their own business? One. 1. That’s it. (Proud to say she was a woman.)

Xmas mannequin.

I encounter so much more resistance to the concept of colour analysis from the women who sell to other women than I do from anyone else. More than from men who sell to women. More than from the clients themselves.

I understand caution about new ideas. I have it myself.

I understand that retailers have negative memories from the old days. Women would come in with those annoying swatches. If the item didn’t match the swatch, they wouldn’t buy, and neither would their friend. What a headache. When it finally died down, they celebrated.

Clearing the air

There is one source of doubt that I’d like to dispel.

Colour Analysts are not your competition. We are not selling clothing or hair colour. We are selling knowledge that can’t be acquired any other way – but information that is invaluable to you as you advise your client.

Your GP is not competing with your dermatologist. They are helping you in different ways.


Nobody is saying that you are not good with colour. You are as good as anyone can be without a true analysis of the client. Nobody can see anybody’s undertones. The more people you analyze, the clearer that becomes. It’s not a flaw or a fault. Nobody is capable of it by just looking at someone.

Elementary marketing

It is not an accident that the genius marketers at Macy’s employ colour analysts. It is a new spin on the very prestigious and successful concept of personal shopping. They’re not firing them for lack of consumer interest or any other reason.

A good marketer sees selling opportunity everywhere. They don’t fight a rising tide, they ride it. If your antennae are up, you can turn anything to your business advantage.

Consumers will want you to understand how PCA works. You can’t wait it out or pretend it’s wrong. Other stores will join in. Your client will shop at those stores because she’s happier with every single purchase. She’ll go out of town to shop because the big stores will get in on this first.

Just as corporations were finally forced to learn and participate in social media, anyone who dispenses clothes or makeup advice will eventually have to make some room for seasonal colour analysis. In the beginning, the corporations didn’t know how to talk to their market, so they stayed silent. They paid a price for that and are still trying to catch up. Is your business so good that you can ignore this marketing occasion? There is barely any investment. What in the world is there to lose?

Paris mannequin.

Use this to your advantage. Step out from the crowd and start a conversation. PCA’s can help you help your client. If you empower your client, she will love you. If you save her money, your word will be gospel. If you save her time, she will tell all her friends about you if she hasn’t already. She will return again and again and spend money because she is never disappointed.

If we allow our marketing juices to flow, we can help each other. Our clients will be overjoyed.


6 Responses to “Attention Clothing Retailers”

  1. Attention Clothing Retailers : At 12Blueprints : A Greener Tea on September 26th, 2009 3:56 pm

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  2. Jelena on September 27th, 2009 7:25 pm

    That is unfortunate that retailers are not more open to new opportunities such as this. Having a color analysis business on site (or even having colour-trained sales staff) would consumers who are serious about looking good, as well as making smart purchases without having to spend a ton of money. This could only benefit a business.

    As a consumer, I would be THRILLED to walk into a store and to be able to get informed opinions of sales people. All to often I have walked into a store and have been pressured into purchasing items that some over-zealous (presumable well meaning?) sales associate tried to convince me was flattering, but actually wasn’t and that I never wore more than once. As if choosing clothing colours and makeup colours under bad store lighting wasn’t difficult enough. Being informed myself, or getting someone else;s opinion (who knows a thing or two about colour) would absolutely make my life easier. I hope that more stores catch on to what an great (and profitable) idea adding PCA to their business would be.

  3. Christine Scaman on September 29th, 2009 12:00 pm

    Agreed, Jelena,

    It is easy to think of something different as either useless or a threat. It’s almost reactionary to do so unless you’re careful.

    Would I be wrong to say women do this more often than men? That our fear of making a bad decision prevents us from making any decision at all, or stalling till we assess every possible related fact, and ask everyone we know what they think. I’m sure that ire will rain down on me for having said that, but this is so win-win that I’m amazed at the closed doors. The risk is almost nil, the expense is negligible, and the prestige and profit potential are significant.

    One little battle at a time…

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  4. Samantha on September 29th, 2009 4:10 pm

    That would certainly be great, I agree, to be able to spend as less money (but spend smarter) to look as good as possible. Especially since my meager monthly budget doesn’t allow me to make mistakes when buying clothes (and most especially if I have to choose between clothes and my phone bill). Unfortunately, where I live, that’s most likely never going to happen because the town is so small for the most part we can’t get anything good.

    And even more unfortunate, I know what I look good in, but salespeople where I live try to tell me otherwise if I even bother to ask. Still, thank you so much for this!

  5. Christine Scaman on September 29th, 2009 4:42 pm

    Hi, Samantha,

    Your comment is interesting in many ways.

    I live in a tiny town too, but there was a shop here that thrived because the owner had the foresight to shop with knowledge of her client in mind. She’d line up 6 outfits for 1 woman, and sell at least 4 of them.

    Once you’re beyond Abercrombie, and the huge department stores are too impersonal, for busy, professional women, she was a gift. Women will gladly spend money for this service and yet so many retailers resist with all they have. I don’t want to drive for an hour for a hit-and-miss shopping experience unless I have no option. I guess the pressure to adapt will have to come from the consumer.

    I wonder what the theme of the salespeople’s advice to you is? I certainly find that they’ll tell you that everything suits you – so I end up buying nothing – but I don’t have a common denominator to the message otherwise, like “you should wear red” or ” you need darker lipstick” or whatever.

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  6. Samantha on September 30th, 2009 2:16 pm

    Hi, Christine.

    For the most part, the theme that salespeople have for me if I ask them about colors to wear is, “you look good in orange.” (This happened when I went to Maurice’s to buy some new clothes back in ’07) They’ve also steered me toward some blues and greens, and even browns. But orange was the big theme of the day for me. Now, while I can wear some warm colors, for me they have to have a cool bent and be clear. I don’t do well with warm colors that are truly warm and/or muted, and I fear that salespeople will tell me I look good in the colors that I feel like a zombie in.

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