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February 8, 2012

Warm Weather Blues
It was a beautiful sunny, almost 50 degree temperature weekend here in Michigan and most people loved it.  Golf courses opened, runners and walkers left their treadmills and hit the streets, and car windows were cracked open.  It’s been that way for most of 2012 too - and not just here in Michigan.  From Fargo to Central Park the scene is similar.  No snow.  No ice.  No winter.  No good!

Global Warming?
Now I’m not a big believer in the whole man made global warming scenario.  I do believe that weather patterns are cyclical and that we are in the middle of one heck of a warm winter.  We have had this once before in my career.  I think it was 1997 and they called it El Niño.  And I hated it then like I hate it today.

Bad For Business
Now you know that I sell hats and gloves for a living.  So, warm winters are as appealing to me as root canals.  But it affects a lot more businesses than just mine.  How about the ski resorts and the towns around them that make a living on their customers?  How about the ice fishing industry?  Or snowmobiles?  How about all the hardware stores selling snow shovels, ice melting salt, and snow blowing machines?  Or the kids who get paid 20 bucks to shovel the neighbors’ driveway?  Or the snow plow services that get paid by the push?  It will be devastating for some; that is for sure.  And in all these cases, the businesses did nothing wrong.  You just can’t control what you can’t control – and that makes a seasonal business dangerous.

Talking to our retailers 
We are out selling our fall 2012 line and I have probably spoken to about 50 or so of our retail customers during the past month.  And the subject of warm weather has been in every conversation.  In our case the results were better than I feared.  Most of the report cards had the Broner brand selling better than other seasonal categories.  I’m encouraged by what I have learned.  While I wouldn’t say that we are getting all A’s on our report cards (an analogy I’m into since my high school son just finished his first semester and I’m encouraging all A’s); I’d say our grades are good enough to pass onto next season.  Sure the cold weather items will have to be carried over or marked way down and liquidated.  We are still going to put new products into our stores next year.  I’m just lucky I’m not the guy supplying snow shovels or snow boots, ski jackets and outerwear, or other categories that are really getting hurt.

The Game Goes On
We’ve been to several trade shows already.  Our team line review is Friday.  We’ll get together and discuss how to grow our business despite the lack of winter.  The MAGIC show is next week.  Our brand will be on display and I’m excited to show our line in Las Vegas.  And then I leave for Asia and it starts over again.  This time with the Spring 2013 collection. 

Thank You
So the final thought in this warm weather blog is thank you.  Thank you to our retail customers who continue to retail our brand.  And thank you to the many, many consumer customers who wear our brand.  We get calls every day asking where our hats can be bought.  If you are reading this on Facebook  or Twitter and know a cool shop selling the Broner brand, give them a shout out.  And if you know how to make it snow – we could use your help there too.  For that I thank you in advance.



Mid States Show 2012

Bob making new friends at the Mid-States Big Show





Stars in Hats



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