Sisters off to Milan, Italy
Delores Sullivan has been in the fashion industry for several years but it wasn't until she opened her own store, Sisters on Huron, that she realized her dream.
"While most clothing retailers were diverting their product to a younger market, I was convinced that the focus for my business should be on the babyboomer age and the women of my sisters' generation of 40-something to women in their sixties. To me, there seemed to be a void developing in fashion retail for this segment of women which, to me, was a mistake. They are sophisticated, intelligent and creative and want to dress that way."
Deciding to delve into haute couture, Sullivan found that most designer labels expect a certain level or quantity of product to be ordered and then she discovered Hermann Coutures of Germany who was willing to offer a small number of designs to Sisters to test in the marketplace. "I was nervous about bringing in such a high-end product but, much to my surprise, it sold out in the first week!" says Sullivan.
What that indicated to the new owner was that fashion in the region wasn't price driven and that there was a demand for high fashion. "I began then to search out designers in earnest. I brought in an Italian line, Sarah Pacini, that soon developed a very strong following," and, as the demand grew, Sullivan began to travel more widely in search of product, attending shows in Montreal and New York.
"As I brought in different designers, my customers began telling me they wanted more and more unique designs not seen in the area and, therefore, it became necessary to go to international resources and that's what drove my decision to attend the largest showcase of international designers in the world at the fashion mecca of Milan."
According to Sullivan, she doesn't necessarily follow fashion trends but relies instead on her own personal taste and judgement after listening to her customers. "I try to determine what my customers want and go from there..." and in trying to answer her clients' requests, she will be off to Milan on September 19th. "Not everything in Milan is haute couture so I'll also be looking at very mid-range priced items. I think it's important that women have the opportunity to develop their own style by complementing their wardrobe with a variety of items from every price range. I'm anxious to see what Milan has to offer."