By Carimé Lane

Hot sunny days will be here again soon! Read on for top-selling summer and resortwear items, and sales and display strategies, from four boutiques in resort areas.
Kim Galland, owner of Kimbals in Palm Springs, Calif., said her top-selling summer apparel item is a sheer, long, halter-style dress/cover-up. This piece of apparel is a year-round best-seller. It’s a one-size-fits-all, flowy fit that comes in an array of solid colors and prints.
“[They’re] pretty and sexy, they fit most, and are very affordably priced,” Galland said.

Displays of brightly-colored apparel at Kimbals. This 1,000-square-foot store offers items for a finished outfit, the owner said.

Her top-selling items that make for ideal resort wear all shows a little skin, are a loose, flowy, and often a one-size fit item. Grab and go merchandise is also a top-seller in this area. This merchandise is ideal for the customer and the store owner, Galland said. For the customer, they are “pretty, flattering and affordable priced.” And, for the store owner, “…the one-size fit allows me to carry a broader selection without a bigger cash outlay.”
Swimwear, sheer cover-ups and kaftans, bias cut print dresses, bohemian-style long, flouncy, halter-style, low-back dresses, and magic wrap dresses/cover-ups are all top selling summer items for Galland.
Showing customers a finished outfit often helps to sell apparel, Galland said.

Kim Galland, owner of Kimbals in Palm Springs, Calif.
One-size items sell well for the store.

“I have found that a lot of customers can’t visualize an outfit on, or how to accessorize,” Galland said. “If I place mannequins throughout the store and display outfits with coordinated jewelry, hats and handbags I can often sell the entire accessorized outfit.”
At the 3,000-square-foot Frenchy’s Fashions – specializing contemporary cruisewear, resortwear and swimwear – in Palm Springs, Calif., resort-themed tops and sundresses are best-sellers, according to owners Denise and Marshall Boyer.
“They are perfect for a weekend get-away or vacation,” the Boyers said.
Their top-selling resortwear pieces are artist inspired. They believe this type of apparel sells well because they are unique and appeal to a wide variety of tastes.

A shoe display at Frenchy’s Fashions. This Palm Springs, Calif., store is a third generation, family-owned and operated resort boutique that has been open at the same location since 1955.

When it comes selling apparel, the owners of Frenchy’s recommended listening to customers and finding out what they’re looking for. They also find it helpful to emphasize the many made-in-the USA and made-in-Canada products they carry.
Daniela Patino is manager at Blue Moon on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Their best-selling summer apparel item is a versatile tie-dyed set with a long-sleeved shirt and short. It’s comfortable and versatile – suitable for slipping into at the close of a beach or pool day, or worn as cozy pajamas at night. Another top seller is their light blue tie-died short dress. It’s primarily used as a cover up, but could also be paired with wedges or nice sandals to suit a walk around town.

howluckyAMI Owner Jane Sperlazzi with her husband. Among the store’s resortwear selection, beach dresses are the number one sellers.

“We’re sure it’ll become one of the favorite items in [a customer’s] closet because of the short length that’s so convenient for the weather we have, and it’s a beautiful blue that’ll remind [customers] of the beach,” Patino said.
Leggings–fleece for cooler weather, and workout-style leggings for warmer weather–are another favorite here.
In terms of resortwear, Patino said the dresses are the number one seller during the summer, because dresses make for a convenient piece to wear in high temperatures.
“You just have to add something nice [to the dress] like wedges or sandals and some nice jewelry, and you’re all set,” Patino said.
To sell apparel, Patino recommended looking into trends, especially when it comes to selling apparel to demographics like juniors or teens. Comfort is also important–for instance, itchy fabrics may not perform well, Patino said.

Tie-dyed and other types of apparel at Blue Moon. A tie-dye set is best-selling for the store, as is a tie-dye short dress, according to the manager.

Jane Sperlazzi, owner of howluckyAMI, in Anna Maria, Fla., sells a variety of merchandise for hitting the beach in style, including apparel, ranging from long and short sleeved T-shirts to beach towels to a line of drinkware– all emblazoned with their trademarked logo.
Beach dresses are the number one seller among their resortwear selection. This dress is a made-in-the-USA tank style swim dress, made of SPF 50 fabric. It’s sold in a few different styles, and sports their logo. They’re made with a micro bacterial fabric that’s very breathable, cooling and comfortable, Sperlazzi said.
“You can sit four hours in a beach chair, walk to your rental cottage, put some lipstick on and head straight to a cocktail party,” remarked Sperlazzi. “It’s very island friendly and comfortable.”

Jewelry and apparel displays at Kimbals. The store features a sunken-down-two-steps area called “The Jewelry Place.”

To sell their merchandise, Sperlazzi said customers are drawn to howluckyAMI’s branding. The sentiment: howluckyAMI, is a reminder of the memories they have from their vacation.
“There’s a feeling of gratitude and happiness that [howluckyAMI] evokes,” Sperlazzi said.
Amy Fleece of Pink & Navy Boutique, a beach boutique also on Anna Maria Island, said their top selling summer items are – produced by Salt Tolerant and AnnaBPaints – shirts, tanks and dry fit tops designed by local artists. These are both unique, and a practical memory of Anna Maria, Fleece said.

An apparel display at Blue Moon. Comfortable fabrics are important apparel attributes, according to the manager.

Fun sundresses are tied with these items as best-sellers Fleece said.
“Everyone loves them because you can throw them over a swimsuit or wear out for the evening,” explained Fleece. “Anna Maria Island is a very relaxed place, so these dresses are truly versatile here.”
The Never Wrong Sarong is a top seller at Pink & Navy that makes for ideal resortwear.
“Everyone I know has bought a sarong and couldn’t remember how to tie it,” said Fleece. “This one takes the guesswork out!”
To sell apparel, Fleece buys the best quality items at a reasonable price, so she can pass these on to her customers as well.


What’s Your Top Apparel Display Tip?

A display of name-dropped apparel and accessories at howluckyami in Anna Maria, Fla. The owner purchases with the aim of presenting collections in the same color tones.

At Kimbal’s, Kim Galland said the most important thing is to accessorize your displays.
At Frenchy’s Fashions, Denise and Marshall Boyer agreed. They said the best way to display apparel is by curating the whole display from head-to-toe: the accessories, clothes, shoes and handbags–in other words: “the full look.”
Daniela Patino of Blue Moon recommended displaying your most popular items in high traffic areas such as near the front door and register.
Jane Sperlazzi merchandises to create a story at howluckyami. For instance, she might have a beach dress on a face out surrounded by towels of the same color folded to show the logo, with a lap throw, pillow and beach bag–all of the same color tones. She’ll also purchase with the aim of presenting collections in colors in this way.
At Pink & Navy Boutique, Amy Fleece agreed.
“Group colors that play well together, find a theme and run with it,” Fleece said.