Page 35 - Dallas Market Center
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I START AT THE BACK OF A SHOWROOM AND WORK MY WAY FORWARD RATHER THAN SKIM OFF THE FRONT OFFERINGS.
Who & What
Who is Rawlins Gilliland, you ask? Here’s a little bit of my background.
I got my start in retail when I was hired as the
 rst male salesperson for women’s couture at Dallas-based luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.
I had no sales experience or knowledge of the female customer. But I understood people. Within months, I was the number two salesperson in Neiman Marcus’s number one store. After two years, I created the retailer’s  rst personal shopping department because I believed in using a broader knowledge of the store’s merchandise and customer service capabilities to give my customers the best experience. Through that department, I sold for six years by appointment only on straight commission. From there, I was named National Director of Sales and Product.
In 2000, I created an Industry Consultancy with the idea of helping real people with regional businesses who catered to real people instead of targeting the rare ed few.
How does this relate to you when you visit Dallas Market Center?
Where & How
Before both Total Home & Gift, and Apparel & Accessories Markets, I spend days researching for my DMC retail store tours. I want to make sure I  nd the products that you need to see. My DMC contract allows me total objectivity regarding what I feature. Here are a few criteria that come into play before we meet for our brisk show & tell walk.
• What is the minimum order required for
you to write the line? Many times I negotiate minimums with exhibitors ahead of our tour I believe smaller minimums can be a win-win for everyone.
• Is this something I believe stands on its own?
• Is this something I have seen everywhere but this is the best version?
• Does this speak to a trend that has relevance in disparate markets nationwide?
• Does this item have markup potential that will add to the bottom line?
• Does this make me smile?
Plan of Attack
Several things enable me to edit these lines to
 nd items that can di erentiate your store’s merchandise assortment in a competitive world. Of course, 35 years in the business helps. Having been a successful salesperson is a  uency few in the ‘retail expert’ world can boast. In the apparel world, awareness of female customer lifestyles and the female form is not something one can fake.
As a man, I was always objective. The same is true of the gift and décor world. The lines I choose to show you are not about my personal taste.
RAWLINS GILLILAND POINTS OUT HIDDEN GEMS TO RETAIL ATTENDEES ON A FREE DALLAS MARKET CENTER SHOWROOM TOUR.
To prepare for you, I visit showrooms that I may not be drawn to. I have trained myself to start
at the back of a showroom and work my way forward rather than skim o  the front o erings.
I research to  nd the right products. If it gives
me goosebump excitement when I am tired and hungry, then I KNOW it’s going to excite you. While trends are a potent force, an eye for the unique impulse purchase remains a secret weapon.
Throughout these Discovery Tours, I encourage guests to take notes and pictures. I also believe that every minute be spliced with education. How would I price something in various regions? Small college towns in rural Nebraska are very different from suburban Chicago or beachfront Florida. As we learn, we laugh. And we walk
so briskly that, afterward, you can indulge in fattening treats, guilt-free!
Money Makes the
“Whirled” Go Round
I guarantee that the lion’s share of ‘tour’ attendees report that their stores pro ted selling things they ordered at my suggestion. Often, these are products they would have missed otherwise.
That is my/our DMC goal. ‘Rawlins Gilliland wants to help you make money’!
*** Times for Rawlins’s DISCOVERY TOURS are listed in the Buyer’s Directory for each market. Or you can  nd them online under Events before each market.
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