Friday, November 03, 2006

The Hook Up

The consumers that shop in your Army-Navy and apparel stores are great folks, but they desperately need your help. You see, they don’t know how to deal with this military fashion thing. They know they want it and they may even pick up those great Rothco Vintage Paratrooper Fatigue Pants, but you’re losing out on a great sales opportunity if they don’t walk out of your place with the Hook Up.

What’s a Hook Up? While some of you selling street fashion know exactly what I speak of, there are others of you that may not be familiar with the term. Basically, you need to set them up with an entire ensemble including top, bottom and accessories (see picture to the right). Shoppers, especially men, will often just point to a mannequin that has the look they want and say, “Give me that!” And instead of just selling a pair of pants, you can sell the pants, top, t-shirt, cap, belt, etc. What was once a $39.95 sale is now closer to $129.95. Do that a few times a day, and your business becomes a whole different ballgame. By the way, this hook up consists of a 2866 Woodland Camo Special Forces Vintage Fatigue Shirt, 2562 Brown Vintage Paratrooper Fatigue Pants, 4147 Black Vintage D-Ring Belt and 10200 Military Sunglasses.

Even though Halloween is past, it’s not too early to start thinking about your merchandising for next year. Most retailers I spoke to had record Halloween seasons, but some folks say that they just don’t have any Halloween business. If your in America (except certain parts of Utah) you have Halloween. But it won’t necessarily come to you; you have to go get it. Merchandising is a big key. Put together some adult and kids soldier uniforms from boots to pants to tops to hat to pistol belt and accessories. Jeff Goldsmith from Joe’s Army Navy told me of a great idea. He takes all those messed up dog tags from misprints and puts them into sets and sells them off as cheap costume accessories. He also said that S.W.A.T. and Tactical uniforms were big sellers this Halloween. Hook Up a mannequin like the Ultra Force Poster at left (you can get a poster like that FREE from Rothco - use item #UNP on your next order) and watch some high end Tactical Vests fly out the door. Richard Geist at Uncle Sam’s had the same kind of success with tactical costumes.

Sell scrubs? Then put a set together with a stethoscope and there you go, Grey’s Anatomy (thanks again to Jeff Goldsmith). For the ladies, sexy costumes are preferred over scary, so camouflage pants or a camouflage skirt paired with a Pink Army tee gives just the right mix of sweet and sassy.

Whatever the season, keep those mannequin and window displays rotated every month or two. You have plenty of regular customers who come by often, give them something new to look at every time they come. Even if you have the same merchandise, changing your displays will make old goods seem brand new.

Got any more ideas? Just click on the comments link below or e-mail me at We’d love to hear YOUR success stories.