As a retail buyer, my vendors loved me. Buying appointments were a breeze.
Vendors didn’t have to show physical samples of items already proven to be top sellers or the silhouettes that I knew resonated with my customer.
For example, I was in NYC in 2007 for an appointment to buy Burberry. The room was full of tables lined with buyers and salespeople.
No samples. No collection to present to every buyer. We bought from sketches.
A Nike or Adidas appointment was the opposite. EVERY item was sampled.
The black legging I bought every season? Sampled.
I already knew by talking to customers and sales teams that the black legging flew off the shelf. Sales numbers were solid and I knew the capacity I had to fill.
So, a sample wasn’t required.
On the flipside, during my time at Ralph Lauren, if the collection wasn’t sampled, some buyers would refuse to come to an appointment.
They were in the cult of “No Sample, No Sale.”
I declined a cult membership by developing a great relationship with my buyers – talking to them throughout the product development process before buying into a specific print, colour, or silhouette.
Every item does not need to be sampled to be adopted.
The notion of “No Sample, No Sale” is nonsense.