Advertising Furs And Fur Garments
( Originally Published 1902 )
Profits on the sale of furs and fur garments are excellent, but they must be made in the proper seasons. A cold snap will set the sale of furs bounding upwards, and a warm or wet season will truly throw a wet blanket over the season's business. He who advertises these goods must constantly keep a sharp eye out for weather conditions. With weather so variable as it is in New York and adjoining States, the question of keeping in touch with meteorological moods is more than a matter of passing moment with the advertising man.
For this reason fur advertising must frequently be prepared and issued in double quick order. The best plan is to have a number of ads prepared in advance. Then as occasion requires these ads can be used.
In advertising furs it is extremely essential to give full descriptions of the articles advertised. So much depends upon the description as affecting a sale that every fur dealer should remember this point. And if the fur is a poor skin or prepared from the skin of an animal like a skunk, say so. Many dealers do not carry such furs, and so do not have to bother making explanations, but those who do will have more effective advertising when it tells exactly what is offered. A skunk skin is a skunk skin, and all the " trade terms" in existence cannot make it otherwise. If a woman is induced to buy a poor article of fur under false representations, she feels like (and is justified) in classing in with poor skins the dealer who sold her. I know a woman who once bought (by mail) a " marvelous bargain in a $5.98 handsome fur scarf." The " handsome scarf" came along all right. When the package was opened one of the (glass) eyes of the animal's head dropped to the floor. The next day one of the tails dropped off. Then the hair began to fall out. Talk about a case of dandruff! Her friends advised her to take it to a barber shop and give it a shampoo in order to stop the dandruff. Inside of a week it was given to the servant girl, and inside of a fortnight it was resurrected from the ash barrel by a thrifty Italian equipped with a large hook' and a big bag.
There's no particular moral to this little tale except to say that the mail order concern lost this woman's trade and the business of several of her friends-as far as she could spread the scarf story. It pays to be good in this world, even from the view point of worldly interest.
I have never been a fur retailer, but have advertised quite a lot of furs, and it has often struck me that the fur retailer who opens his season with a rattling good sale of furs, stands a better chance (other things being equal) of getting the lion's share of the season's business than the man who only does so when the season is well advanced.
Along towards the latter part of October and the first of November the thoughts of womankind turn to winter garments (which, of course, includes furs.) A sale—made interesting with cut prices—at this period would meet the wishes of many. It is not necessary during such a sale to cut many prices—three or four good specials would be sufficient—and after the sale had run its course, normal prices on these specials could prevail.
Cut prices on three or four leaders need not operate against the profits on other goods. Such a sale would create comment and bring visitors, after which clever salesmanship could dispose not only of a number of leaders, but also other fur articles.
When the season is well under way, prices begin to drop. About this time many small fur manufacturers undergo hard luck experiences, and stocks can be gobbled up at mere fractions of their worth. Then ho! for sweeping sales!