BLUE CRUSH  Business Plan    Karyn Mariano      4/15/2010
Blue CrushTable of ContentsI) Executive Summary .............................................................................
Blue CrushI) Executive Summary         Upon the completion of my proposed business plan for the opening of Blue Crushbouti...
Blue CrushII) The Business       A. Business Overview        Blue Crush is the sole proprietorship of Karyn Mariano. Blue ...
Blue Crushcome with it. "The Launch at Hingham Shipyard" has been covered in local newspapers such asThe Boston Globe and ...
Blue Crushknowledge, a Bachelors of Science degree in Management with a concentration in fashionmerchandising, I am confid...
Blue Crushcustomers may find it inconvenient to shop at one store for denim and another store for theremainder of an outfi...
Blue Crushsustainability have been on the radar at recent market visits and consumers are increasinglymore aware of what t...
Blue Crushwill have their own, separate alarm codes, so therefore if there are any problems ordisturbances I will know acc...
Blue CrushMonday of every month or as needed depending on the season and traffic that the store hasbeen having. The Manage...
Blue Crushcustomers will be asked what brought them in today and we will try to ask them open-endedquestions to see what t...
Blue Crushreceipt if the customer likes it in their bag and will then walk the shopping bag around the cashwrap, thank the...
Blue Crushthe managers and other responsibilities. At two months the cash wrap will be installed, whenyou walk in the fron...
Blue Crushprevention and product knowledge. Employees will also receive Blue Crush code of conduct inwhich they must take ...
Blue Crushtheir hiring. I also made sure that I hired tailors with at least 15 years experience and previouswork with deni...
Blue CrushPittsburgh Jeans Co. said great sale days were considered normal a year ago. Hes found hisdenim business has set...
Blue Crushno future denim purchases in mind, (Ramey, 2009). Emphasizing the mass sector are jeanspriced under $40, represe...
Blue Crushniche products and services. Image is important to Innovators, not as evidence of status orpower but as an expre...
Blue Crushreason why I ordered the most inventory from Miss Me and in a variety of styles, cuts, washesand lengths. The ne...
Blue Crushpremium brands so after conducting local research as well as industry research I have beenordering denim that is...
Blue CrushCrust, Movers and Shakers, Country Squires and Gods Country. All of these segments have onething in common, they...
Blue Crush344 are well known to the region. Derby Street also has a selection of other retailers andrestaurants to draw at...
Blue Crushcould be very hard to entice them away from their favorite department stores and salesassociates. Both departmen...
Blue Crushexpense control, human resource management and assisting the owner with managingoperating costs. She/he will be ...
Blue Crushschool diploma is not required but preferred and an associates or bachelors degree would be aplus. Preferred ski...
Blue Crushmembership which includes free job postings, free directory listing, free hyperlink to my storewebsite. There wa...
Blue Crushwork together at Blue Crush. I will sum up the orientation and then give ample time for aquestion and comment pe...
Blue Crushmade target will receive a gift card to Blue Crush for $50. By implementing these incentives andrecognition poin...
Blue CrushWorks CitedRamey, J. (2009). Catching Customers On the Downturn. Womens Wear Daily , p. 20B-1NULL.Tran, K. L. (2...
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Business proposal for opening my own denim boutique "Blue Crush." Senior Project (Spring 2010)

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Blue Crush_Senior Project

  1. 1. BLUE CRUSH Business Plan Karyn Mariano 4/15/2010
  2. 2. Blue CrushTable of ContentsI) Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................... 3 Mission Statement .................................................................................................................................... 3II) The Business ............................................................................................................................................. 4 Business Overview .................................................................................................................................... 4 Operations ............................................................................................................................................. 7 Industry Overview .......................................................................................................................... 15 Marketing ................................................................................................................................. 17 Competition ......................................................................................................................... 21 Human Resources ............................................................................................................ 23Works Cited .................................................................................................................................... 29III) Financials ...................................................................................................................................................IV) Supporting Documents .............................................................................................................................Karyn Mariano 24/15/10
  3. 3. Blue CrushI) Executive Summary Upon the completion of my proposed business plan for the opening of Blue Crushboutique, a sole proprietorship by Karyn Mariano I see how although this is a rough economictime for the retail industry, denim still remains a strong presence in the consumers closet. BlueCrush sets itself apart from other denim stores because we have a specially trained staff ofstylists who have the knowledge and experience in the industry to find our customers theperfect fit and styles to meet their personal and/or professional needs. These premium denimbrands include Rock & Republic, True Religion, Citizens of Humanity, Hudson, J Brand, Seven forAll Mankind, and Miss Me. Along with these well known brands, Blue Crush will also carry ourown private label line of denim that will be premium but at a lower price point than comparedto most of the other brands we carry. Blue Crush is located in Hingham Massachusetts, at 349Lincoln Street (at Shipyard Drive), "The Launch at Hingham Shipyard". "The Launch" is a brandnew development that is described as said to be one of the premier entertainment/shoppingdestinations in Massachusetts. Blue Crush can further guarantee that our customers will leavesatisfied because we can provide tailoring services in house. We are expected to open in theSummer of 2010 and I will be investing $25,00 of my own money into the business and will berequesting a small business loan for $50,000. I will be using the money to paint the store andadd fixtures that will allow for a retail environment appropriate for the atmosphere at BlueCrush. I will also use the money to hire an electrician to come in to do appropriate lighting, andinstall the sound system as well as alarm system. I will be repaying the loan through businessrevenues and at a loan repayment rate that I can handle. By controlling my levels of inventoryand offering premium denim brands that are moderately priced, I will be able to generate saleswhile building a loyal client base through promotion, loyalty programs and excellent service. Mission Statement: Blue Crush was established with the vision of creating a one stop premium denimboutique. We opened with the goal of providing our customers with the ultimate selection inthe finest quality denim. We are committed to providing the best shopping experience possiblethrough our knowledgeable staff, impeccable service, and relaxed environment. Blue Crushbelieves that shopping should be therapeutic not stressful, which is why we pride ourselves onour expert staff of stylists who are committed to finding you the perfect fit and style. Wedeliver services and product of the utmost integrity. We are dedicated to professionalenrichment through teamwork, communication and respect. We will continuously seek ways tostay ahead of the trends and provide our customers with the best selection of premium denim.Karyn Mariano 34/15/10
  4. 4. Blue CrushII) The Business A. Business Overview Blue Crush is the sole proprietorship of Karyn Mariano. Blue Crush was established as apremium denim boutique on Massachusettss south shore. The boutique offers the top namebrands in denim as well as Blue Crushs own private label denim and basic tops to complimentour denim selection. Blue Crush sets itself apart from other denim stores because we have aspecially trained staff of stylists who have the knowledge and experience in the industry to findour customers the perfect fit and styles to meet their personal and/or professional needs. BlueCrush can further guarantee that our customers will leave satisfied because we can providetailoring services in house. Blue Crush is located in Hingham Massachusetts, at 349 Lincoln Street (at ShipyardDrive), "The Launch at Hingham Shipyard". "The Launch" is a brand new development that isdescribed as said to be one of the premier entertainment/shopping destinations inMassachusetts. This waterfront mixed use development opened in the fall of 2009 and featuresnational retailers like Old Navy and Bed, Bath and beyond, and restaurants. Towering over theretailers will be 90 residential units and mixed use office space with ocean front views. TheMBTA commuter ferry is located within walking distance and shuttles thousands of commutersto and from Boston every day. Adjacent to the parking lot for the commuter ferry and retailportion of the development there will be more than 500 elegant single and multiple familyresidential units. This location is right off of route 3A a very busy stretch of road that travelsalong the south shore, which a good portion of the day is heavily traveled, especially bycommuters to and from Boston. "The Launch" is the perfect location for Blue Crush becausethere will be a constant flow of traffic in the area due to the commuter ferry, heavily traveledroad and the draw that this new development will bring to the area. The movie theater will helpattract a teenage crowd while other retailers such as Old Navy and Bed, Bath and beyond willattract working women. This area is an ideal location for Blue Crush because we are gearedtowards a target market that doesnt mind spending good money and Hingham is a town that isknown for its wealth. "The Launch" also allows for plenty of parking space and is a relaxed andleisurely atmosphere, similar to what we portray at Blue Crush. Although our store itself willnot be visible from the street, the development will be, along with the signage for retailers andrestaurants located within it. Because Blue Crush is a brand new denim boutique we are not well known, which is themain reason why I chose this location, because of all the hype and free advertisement that hasKaryn Mariano 44/15/10
  5. 5. Blue Crushcome with it. "The Launch at Hingham Shipyard" has been covered in local newspapers such asThe Boston Globe and The Patriot Ledger and many people have long awaited the arrival ofsuch a one stop entertainment/shopping area and therefore the expected success of thedevelopment is great. This development is a guaranteed attraction that will bring much trafficthrough it and the other well known retailers that will share the area with us will help to drawpeople in. Another draw to the location was the fact that there were no other boutiques likeBlue Crush in the area, there was a definite need for a premium denim store that specializes infit. As of the time of this business plan, there was still 210,000 square feet available of retailspace for lease and the rental rate was negotiable. Therefore I researched various other retail spaces for lease in the Hingham area. I found that for a storeof my size, 1,750 square feet, there was space available for $12 rent/SF/year, therefore theannual amount would be about $21,000. The south shore has many wealthy communities andis a popular destination for summer tourism and boating and therefore is ideal for Blue Crushstarget market. The hours of operation for Blue Crush will be Monday through Saturday 10am-8pm, andSunday 12am-6pm. I chose to be open 7 days a week because the location in which we will bein will have traffic all week long due to the various other shops and eateries located there inaddition to Patriot Cinema and condominiums. The hours of operation for Blue Crush weredeveloped to ensure that we were open at times that were most efficient as well as in relationto the hours of other retailers in the development. Monday through Saturday we are openingat 10am because other retailers are scheduled to open around the same time and are an idealtime to start a day of shopping for our customer. We will stay open until 8pm Monday throughFriday because that allows our customers to either stop by on their commute home from work,or before or after dinner at the local restaurants. We could potentially do a 9am opening onSaturdays during the summer due to the influx of traffic in the area at that time of year. Sundaywe will not open until 12am because people generally like to relax and sleep in on Sundays andtherefore traffic would not pick up until around noon. Blue Crush will close early, at 6pm onSunday because most local retailers close early as well and people arent as likely to shop lateron Sundays because they go home and relax before the upcoming work week. Ive decided to open Blue Crush as a sole proprietorship because I enjoy the freedomand flexibility that comes with owning your own business. I am able to control all aspects of mybusiness as well as reap the benefits of gaining all the profits. However the main disadvantageof being a sole proprietor is that if my business fails I am personally liable and therefore mypersonal assets can be taken from me. Unlimited liability is a big risk as a sole proprietor but Iam a risk taker and as you will see through this business plan I have done my research andstrategically planned every aspect that will go into making Blue Crush successful. I also have hadyears of retail experience on the selling floor as well as a manager and that combined withKaryn Mariano 54/15/10
  6. 6. Blue Crushknowledge, a Bachelors of Science degree in Management with a concentration in fashionmerchandising, I am confident and prepared. Blue Crush is a premium denim boutique that specializes in fit. In order to give ourcustomers the best opportunity to find their perfect fit and have the best shopping experiencepossible we employ an expert staff of stylists as our sales associate staff. Our team of salesassociates has all had previous experience selling denim as well as styling their clients. This waywe can offer our customer a personal shopper type experience if they like. Blue Crush alsoprovides an in house tailoring service so our customers can really get that perfect fit customizedfor them all in one shop. Our tailor is on hand Monday through Saturday 12-8pm so that ourcustomers can conveniently pick up or wait for their tailoring. Blue Crush also seeks every waypossible to keep our customers satisfied and making their shopping experience as relaxing aspossible so when you make a purchase we will put you into our computer database to includeyour preference in leg opening, what kind of rise you prefer, wash, style and size, all for staffuse only and therefore we can pull new items for you as they come in and alert you when wesee something you would like. Because we are a premium denim boutique we offer some of thebest and most well known brands in the denim industry. These premium denim brands includeRock & Republic, True Religion, Citizens of Humanity, Hudson, J Brand, Seven for All Mankind,and Miss Me. Along with these well known brands, Blue Crush will also carry our own privatelabel line of denim that will be premium but at a lower price point than compared to most ofthe other brands we carry. The Blue Crush denim line will feature basic five pocket styles as wellas denim leggings and specially colored denim such as red, turquoise, plum, yellow, tie-dye, andacid wash. One of the biggest strengths of Blue Crush is that it is a one stop shop for premiumdenim shopping. We offer not only the latest trends and styles in the top designer brands butalso our own private label premium denim at a more moderate price level. Blue Crushsdedication to the perfect fit is strength of our company. At Blue Crush our team of expertstylists can determine what styles and cuts are best for your body type and our in-house tailorscan further customize your denim for you to create an all around perfect fit that you cant getanywhere else on the south shore. Having our own in-house tailor is a huge strength because itallows customers and the ease and convenience to have their denim tailored while they shop orpick it up by the end of the day. A strength for Blue Crush is our continual education andtraining of our sales associates which allows us to help answer customers questions andconcerns about fit and style. The location for Blue Crush poses as a strength because of theconstant flow of traffic due to its close proximity to main roadways and the commuter ferry aswell as other retailers/entertainment. One of Blue Crushs weaknesses is the timing of marketentry due to the economic downturn and high unemployment rate. Probably the biggestweakness for Blue Crush is the fact that we only provide denim and no tops or accessories. OurKaryn Mariano 64/15/10
  7. 7. Blue Crushcustomers may find it inconvenient to shop at one store for denim and another store for theremainder of an outfit, especially if they are pressed for time. Another weakness for Blue Crushcould be the higher price points that come with the sale of premium denim in an economic timewhere retailers like TJ Maxx and Target have thrived. Finally, another weakness for Blue Crushcould be the current saturation of the denim market. There are constantly new competitors andbrands coming into the industry everyday which poses a constant threat to Blue Crush but atthe same time it forces my team and I to constantly be innovative and come up with new waysto stand out from the crowd. B. Operations Goods will be produced for the Blue Crush private label through Plains CottonCooperative in Lubbock, Texas. Plains is a denim factory run by 26,000 farmer- members(Ramey, 2009). Business has been slowing for denim mills, "the business has been slowing forfour to five months," said Jack Mathews, vice president of fabric sales. "Most of our customershave planned very conservatively, keeping inventories very low and turning their inventorymore often," said Mathews. Therefore this denim mill was a good choice for Blue Crushbecause we are a smaller boutique with eventual plans for expansion when the economyregains some strength in a few years, but I know that this mill is well equipped to handle denimorders for quick delivery. The mill is also accustomed to handling the rush of the busy season,June-December and they have a long list of customers that are nationally and globally know, sothey come with a great reputation. UPS will be delivering our Blue Crush denim from Texas toour store and we also use UPS to handle online deliveries. I have done business with UPS foryears in the retail industry and theyve repeatedly been efficient and effective with theirservices and handling their goods being delivered. Being on time is crucial when deliveringinventory, especially when we wont be carrying much of it and UPS has proven that it canperform well under time constraints and guarantees that the product will get there when it isexpected. As the buyer for Blue Crush I will be going to trade fairs and markets in New York City inorder to find the best prices for the denim brands and establish relationships with my vendors.The distribution type that my vendors and I have agreed upon is an extensive type which meansthat my suppliers have made agreements with Blue Crush and a few other retailers thatdesignate the latter as the few stores in a specific geographic region to carry certain brands orproducts. This way I can ensure that when potential competitors open up in my geographic areathat they will not be carrying the same exact selection of brands that I am carrying. I will begoing to market to order new inventory once every season or quarter and also to check outnew innovations in the denim industry. The recent textile improvement methods to increaseKaryn Mariano 74/15/10
  8. 8. Blue Crushsustainability have been on the radar at recent market visits and consumers are increasinglymore aware of what type of fabric theyre buying and how it will affect their carbon footprint."The challenge facing the textile industry to reduce its carbon footprint is significant. Globalproduction of all fibers consumes 1 trillion gallons of water, 33 trillion gallons of oil and 20billion pounds of chemicals annually, " said Len Farias a representative of Cotton Incorporated,(Tran, 2009). Blue Crush has made a commitment to keep our carbon footprint to a minimumand because retailers have a big role in enforcing their suppliers to make changes that willbenefit the environment. For example, our Blue Crush private label denim has an organiccotton label because just by improving the label we help to save the environment. "Five millionwoven labels adds up to 6,175 pounds of polyester yarn, or 211, 550 plastic bottles," said BarryVan Dyk, a director at Avery Dennison which offers labels in recycled polyester, organic cottonand other environmentally friendly fabrics (Tran, 2009). Supplies will be ordered on the first Monday of every month or according to their need,for instance it is a mangers responsibility to notify me if there is a shortage of any supplies andthey must add it into our computer system as to what needs to be ordered and I will take careof the amounts. The POS system that I will be using is a two station retail POS system orderedthrough the website The POS Geeks ( for a total of $4,372. I have alsoordered the Microsoft Retail Management System software for the POS systems, for $498,which come with automated inventory and purchasing management. I can track itemmovement and supplier histories and quickly generate purchase orders and add items. Also Ican export purchase orders to Microsoft office Excel and Microsoft office Word for easycustomization and viewing as well as keep my own copies on file and have a way for managersto easily view and update supplies needed. I have also order through the same website thereceipt printer paper, which comes in a case of 50 rolls per case at $71.99 each. As far as otheressential supplies go I have been ordering through the website Store Supply Warehouse( These supplies are as follows: blue paper shopping bags in two sizes-16" x 6" x 12" and 16" x 6" x 19", tagging guns, tagging needles, regular fasteners, unstrunglarge price tags, tissue paper, gift boxes, denim size stickers, . Fixtures that I have boughtthrough Store Supply Warehouse are 14" natural wood pant/skirt hangers which come in a caseof 100 at $79.50, two 60"H x 60"L single garment racks, as well as at officesupplyuniverse.comwhere I bought the office desk, chair, two fitting room chairs, break room chair, microwave etc.Cleaning supplies and items for upkeep such as a vacuum, duster, broom, dustpan, Windex,paper towels and etc will be purchased by me through Target and BJs Wholesale stores where Ican buy in bulk for cheap and not have to pay shipping and handling charges. The daily operations for Blue Crush start as soon as you walk in the door. The manageron duty, after re-locking the door upon entry, must immediately head to the back room to shutoff the alarm by punching in there personalized 4 digit alarm code. Each of the three managersKaryn Mariano 84/15/10
  9. 9. Blue Crushwill have their own, separate alarm codes, so therefore if there are any problems ordisturbances I will know according to the alarm code that is responsible. Once inside themanager will lock the outside door and proceed inside where they will immediately head to theback room where the employee break room, office and stock room are located and enter theiralarm code to disable the alarm, because upon entering the store you have a short period oftime before the alarm sounds. After disabling the alarm the manager will start the two registersand have their opening associate begin to dust and vacuum the store. The manager will headback to the office and punch in their combination to open the safe where the two registerdrawers are located. Next the manager will head back to the registers and follow the promptsof the lead register that ask questions such as "is this the correct date of today?, what is theweather and temperature," and etc. The manager will then manually check and adjust thehours of employees for the previous day after looking through the schedule book and makingsure everyone clocked in and out when they were supposed to, such as for half an hour andhour breaks. You cant clock in until these prompts have been completed so managers alsowrite into the schedule book what time they arrived if their clock in time was not correct.Manager sick time and vacation time is also included in the schedule book that needs to bemanually added into the time clock on the registers as well. Now the manager and associate areable to clock in with their employee number and password. The manager can now open theregister draw and begin to count each draw to make sure that they both have days startingamount $300. Once the manager has counted the drawers they will print out the reports forthe previous day such as the stores scorecard which tells them what their conversion was, ifthey made target, what percentage of each brand they sold compared to their goal, percentageof gift cards sold, the number of exchanges/returns made and any other information thatimpacts the stores business. The manager will then check the voicemail to see if I have left them any messages forthe days activities that vary from the norm. Finally the manager will do a sensor sweep of theentire store to make sure that there were no sensors found, ultimately meaning there was atheft that occurred, so that later if a sensor is found the on duty manager will know when andwhere it occurred and is not wondering if had been there from the day before. Whenever asensor is found the manager must immediately report it in an incident report that can beprinted from the back office computer which contains any human resources needs, trainingguides, product knowledge and operations. Managers and associates that are on schedule toopen must arrive at the store at 9am in order to complete all the necessary opening dutiesbefore we unlock our doors at 10am. At this point the associate should have their cleaningcompleted, including Windex the front windows and fitting room mirrors. The manager willnow go through the store with the associate to see what needs replenishment. The managermust also go through the list of supplies on the POS system and make sure there are noadditions that need to be made to our list of supplies to get ordered which occurs on the firstKaryn Mariano 94/15/10
  10. 10. Blue CrushMonday of every month or as needed depending on the season and traffic that the store hasbeen having. The Manager must also make sure that all displays are up to date and representthe stores image- stylish and classy. Also managers and associates must see that we have a fullsize run of all items on the selling floor. Mannequins should be dusted as needed which wouldbe another responsibility of the associate. Finally the manager and associate will turn on themusic system that is located in the back room of the store and at this point it should be aboutopening time. The closing procedures are not as in depth as the opening procedures. A manager willlock the door at 8pm Monday-Friday and 6pm on Sundays and will proceed to the registers tolook at the final numbers for the day in the POS system and make sure they are recorded andsaved and then they send them to my office email for me to view in the morning. The managerwill then close out the two register drawers and will put the money out for the nightly deposit.While the manager is counting the drawers the associate will take out the trash bin behind thecash wrap, back room and bathroom and leave them by the back door. The associate will alsotake all hangers and sensors from the cash wrap to the back room to be put away. Finally theassociate will make sure that the fitting rooms are free of merchandise and that the entire storeis sized correctly and all brands are assorted together neatly and in perfect presentation for thenext day. Then the manager will watch as the associate double counts the deposit from bothregisters and the manger and associate will sign and date the deposit bag and closing envelope.The closing envelope contains the days receipts and the nightly deposit bag contains thedeposit as well as any checks received and a deposit slip for Bank of America. There will also bea section of the schedule binder for manager communication that will contain each daysdeposit amount, date, signature and if either draw was over or short. The deposit will then beput in the safe by the manager along with the two register drawers. Every morning I will be theone to bring the previous nights deposit to the local bank of America and will receive a receiptwhich will be filed in my office accordingly. The manager and associate will then take out thetrash through the back door where there will be a dumpster for our store only and then themanager will lock the back door. Finally, at about 9pm, the manager will check the bag andbelongs of the associate and the associate will check the managers bag, manager sets thealarm code and they both proceed out the front door and then the manager will lock the doorbehind them and check to make sure the door is locked while the associate is present. When customers enter Blue Crush they will be greeted by the manager who is zoned inthe front of the store. There will always be at least one manager on duty as well as myself andtwo associates that will be tending the store. One associate will be in charge of the cash wrapstation and the other associate will be zoned in the rear of the store and in the fitting rooms. Iwill be rotating with the on duty manager around the store as needed, such as assistingcustomers and associates or helping with ringing or fitting room needs. Upon enteringKaryn Mariano 104/15/10
  11. 11. Blue Crushcustomers will be asked what brought them in today and we will try to ask them open-endedquestions to see what type of denim, style, or look theyre looking for, we really dont want toget an answer like "Im just looking," so everyone is trained to attempt to build a conversationand relationship with every customer so we can better help them. With our trained staff ofstylists that are our associates we can also try steering the customers towards brands and cutsthat would suit their body type best, allowing them to feel more appreciated and comfortableshopping at Blue Crush. Associates start fitting rooms for customers immediately and onceinside the associate is constantly checking up with them and finding out what worked and whatdidnt and why. At Blue Crush we never want our customers leaving disappointed and emptyhanded to were constantly trying to find the best fit for you and inquiring into why certainbrands or styles arent popular so we dont make the same mistakes in purchasing these itemsor similar ones. The fitting room associate will also make sure to address any fitting concernsand will inform our customers about our in house tailor who can customize their denimespecially for them. If tailoring service is required the associate can recommend leaving the denim there, if itis between the hours of 10am-2pm, and the customer can have their jeans ready by the end ofthe day, otherwise the customer can have the denim altered by noon the following businessday. Finally once the customer is ready to make their purchase we have an associate waiting forthem at the cash wrap so the customer doesnt need to wait long and we again re-enforce thesale by telling them how great the jeans looked or fit and how many ways theyll be able towear them with what is in their wardrobe. Also the cash wrap associate asks the customer ifthey are a member of our Blue Crush loyalty program. If the customer says no then theassociate is instructed to say "oh well it comes with your purchase today! It is a completely freerewards card, where every dollar you spend here or online you earn a point and every 200points you get $10 put on your loyalty card." Then the associate will proceed to get thecustomers information: name, zip code, email address, and day and month of their birthdaywhen they can receive double points all month. The associate can continue to talk about thebenefits of the loyalty card as they finish up the transaction. Associates also are encouraged topush our gift cards and to let the customer know that our return/exchange policy is printed ontheir receipt as well as on a sign at the cash wrap. All forms of payment are accepted at BlueCrush besides travelers checks and Discover card. Personal checks and credit cards will only beaccepted with a valid I.D. Our POS software also allows us to use multiple tenders for onetransaction to make it more convenient for the customers. Customers are allowed to makereturns/exchanges for up to 30 days after the date of their purchase and will receive a refund inthe same way they made their payment. Customers must have their receipt in order to receivea full refund, otherwise the customer may exchange the item or receive store credit forwhatever price the item comes up as on our POS system. Any sale merchandise is exchange orstore credit only. Finally the associate will wrap the purchase in tissue paper along with theirKaryn Mariano 114/15/10
  12. 12. Blue Crushreceipt if the customer likes it in their bag and will then walk the shopping bag around the cashwrap, thank them, and hand it to the customer for a nice, more upscale presentation. On thecustomers way out they will be thanked again by the manager in the front zone along with"have a great day/night" or so forth. Any denim that has been left to be tailored is put on a rackin the tailoring section of the back room. Each pair of denim has a tag on it that lets the tailorknow the customers full name, contact number, time of drop off and anticipated pick up andtheir alteration needs. The tailor is available to help measure customers for alterations whiletheyre trying them on but our entire staff will be trained on how to properly measure andmake markings for hemming and so forth as well. Therefore if our tailor or there are minoralterations to be made, our staff will be able to get the process started so that the tailor cancontinue with their work. Tailoring will be done in the order in which it was received unlessthere are special rush orders that can be done ahead of those who have no preference as towhen they would like to pick up their alterations. When customers come back to the store topick up their alterations they are again greeted and escorted to the cash wrap where they willwait for the associate to bring out their denim from the rack out back of finished alterations.We will suggest that the customer tries on their denim to make sure the alterations were doneto their complete satisfaction and then we will charge them for the tailoring. Customers arealso notified that after alterations have been made and approved that their denim is a finalsale. I have laid out a schedule for the startup operations that must happen before BlueCrush can have its grand opening this summer. Three months opening I must have the storelayout completed and up to my standards. Once the layout is complete I will have the painterscome in and paint the store a light, robins egg blue color that is consistent with our storesimage, and ties into the product we sell- blue jeans. There will be a white trim to complimentthe blue paint and give the store a clean, classic look. The color blue represents efficiency,productivity, cleanliness and relaxation and that is exactly what I want Blue Crush to project toour customers. At this stage, after painting had been competed signage will be put up outside,above the front entrance as well as on the developments signage at street level view. I willhave hardwood floors in Blue Crush which will need to be professionally stained a natural colorto go with the hangers Ive ordered in a natural wood color and then I will have a royal bluelarge throw rug under the furniture in the fitting room area. Two months before we open I will have the plumber come in for the bathroom in theback room and will have an electrician come in to install special lighting for the wall displays,front window display, and cash wrap. Additional lighting will be put in the tailoring section aswell as the other areas of the back room. The electrician will also set up the security systemssuch as the sensor detector that will be at the front entrance to alert a potential theft. I will alsohave the alarm company come in to install the alarm system and train me in adjusting codes forKaryn Mariano 124/15/10
  13. 13. Blue Crushthe managers and other responsibilities. At two months the cash wrap will be installed, whenyou walk in the front door of Blue Crush it will be located to your right, against the wall facingout towards the middle-rear of the store. The furniture for the fitting rooms will be installedsuch as seating for those waiting, mirrors for each room as well as benches in each room. Thefitting rooms are located at the rear of the store on the left hand side if youre walking throughthe entrance. The back room includes the managers office, stock room, employee break area,employee restroom and tailoring quarters. The back room entrance is located on the right backwall of the store if youre facing it from the front entrance. The furniture will be brought in forthe back room such as a break table for employees and a folding chair as well as a wall of 8lockers for their personal belongings. The back room will also include a mini refrigerator and amicrowave for employee use. The desk and chair for the back office will be brought in as well asthe computer system for the office as well as the two POS systems which will be installed so wecan work out any glitches ahead of time and employees can begin their training on the systems.Two shelving units will be brought in for the stock room to hold additional inventory as well assupplies. There will also be a fold up rolling rack that will be put in the stock room for useduring high traffic seasons for additional inventory. The tailors room will be equipped with awork station desk and chair as well as a sewing machine, all other supplies necessary that theywill need we require upon hiring that they provide them self. For the selling floor, threeshelving units will be installed that go along most of the wall on the left hand side of the storewhen you walk into Blue Crush, and will be equipped with three shelves on each unit, with atotal of 9 shelves altogether. The shelving unit will be where all of our designer denim will bedisplayed and label according to their brand, smallest sizes on top, largest sizes on the bottomunits. Finally, two round, three tiered tables will be brought in for the center of the store andwill display the Blue Crush private label denim. I will also have another fold up rolling rack forthe back room that will be used when we have sales and will be placed next to the entrance forthe fitting rooms at the rear of the store. At two months I will also have the two mannequinsbrought in so that I can start to design a window presentation. One month before the store opens I will have the bathroom professionally cleaned andthe supplies ordered and delivered for the bathroom, cleaning, cash wrap, and the rest of thestores necessities for its daily operations. The inventory will be brought in at the one monthmark as well and we will begin to set it up on the selling floor 3 weeks before we open so wecan how to use our selling floor space most effectively and efficiently. Two weeks before weopen I will stock the supplies at the cash wrap such as tissue paper, bags, receipt paper, giftcards, merchandise credit cards etc. At two weeks I will also have orientation for all of the staffwhere we will go over the company image, goals, mission statement, and atmosphere.Employees will begin a week long training process at this point as well where they will come infor mock work days and practice different situations that could happen on the selling floor andhow to best work through them. Employees will be trained on the POS systems as well as lossKaryn Mariano 134/15/10
  14. 14. Blue Crushprevention and product knowledge. Employees will also receive Blue Crush code of conduct inwhich they must take home, read and sign. Finally the first week before Blue Crush opens thestaff will be making final adjustments on merchandise on the floor and they will each beallowed a first purchase of 50% so that everyone can wear a brand of denim that we carry forour grand opening week, otherwise employees receive 35% off. Employees will help put upgrand opening banners and signage in the front window and will follow up with otherpromotions that theyve done in the past few weeks leading up to the grand opening, such asbooking appointments with customers, and handing out brochures/ business cards. Music willbe selected a week before opening and I will be hand picking the music, most likely I will have acollection of mixed cds that I will have made that will be relaxing yet up beat so that ourcustomers and employees feel comfortable and entertained while in Blue Crush. The musicsystem will consist of a stereo that can play cds, radio or has an IPod jack so that I could alsoput on playlists from my IPod or a radio station depending on the season or if we have a specialevent. Three speakers will be set up throughout the store that will be attached to the stereofrom the back room. The electrician will be installing a type of surround sound so that the wireswill be internally hidden in the wall for a cleaner appearance. A speaker will be in the fittingrooms, near the cash wrap and in the top, front, right hand corner of the store where the majortraffic will be. The electrician will take care of the installation when he comes in two monthsbefore opening. Quality control will be of great importance at Blue Crush because one of our companygoals is to ensure customer satisfaction and provide great value and you cant accomplish eitherwithout quality control. To ensure quality control I will be in constant contact with my vendorsand form close relationships with them so that I receive the best service possible. Also, becauseI will be offering some of the top names in premium denim I can guarantee that theyre productthat I am selling will be of the highest quality and will be training my employees on each brandsuch as how theyre made and where and of what materials and how to care for them. For theBlue Crush private label denim I will ensure quality control through constant monitoring of themanufacturing process through a web cam that will be set up at the manufacturing plant inTexas. Also through WebEx I can have monthly meetings, in which we can talk and view thesame documents, with the head of manufacturing to ensure that the product with my name onit is being made with the finest, most sustainable textiles in the industry at a price mycustomers can afford. Before deciding upon Plains Cotton Cooperative in Lubbock, Texas for themanufacturing of our private label I made sure to research the plant and also heard about theiroutstanding reputation through other retailers that have their products manufactured theresuch as Lee, Gap, Old Navy, Levi Strauss, Penneys, Kohls, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. The quality of our in-house tailoring is controlled through my intense hiring process. Ihad my tailors bring in some of their work and had them perform sample alterations as part ofKaryn Mariano 144/15/10
  15. 15. Blue Crushtheir hiring. I also made sure that I hired tailors with at least 15 years experience and previouswork with denim tailoring. I give my tailors quarterly performance reviews to ensure that theirwork continues to be outstanding. I also ask my customers to fill out anonymous surveys aboutour staff, product, service and tailoring that comes with their receipt and this will give me goodfeedback as to how to better control the quality of all aspects of our business. Customers havean incentive to fill out these surveys because they can receive 10% off one pair of denim attheir next visit to Blue Crush when they return with the completed survey. C. Industry Research In order to successfully open a premium denim boutique such as Blue Crush I have hadto spend a lot of time researching into the premium denim industry. Womens Wear Daily orWWD was a great source for a lot of the statistics and up to the minute information on thebusiness trends of retailers selling premium denim. "In a recession that has rattled thefoundations of apparel and retail industries, the case for denim has never been stronger,"(Tucker & Ressmeyer, 2009). Despite the economic downturn my research has shown thatconsumers are still spending on denim because denim can be worn in a variety of ways. "Datafrom market research firm The NPD Group shows that the womens denim industry acheivedwhat few other apparel segments could over the last year it grew. U.S. womens jeans sales inthe channels tracked by NPD totaled $8.03 billion for the 12 months through March 31, a 4.6%increase over the $7.68 billion reported in the same period a year ago," (Tucker & Ressmeyer,2009). "I think what were beginning to see is that denim has a life of its own," said MarshalCohen, NPDs chief industry analyst, " I dont want to say recession proof, but it was able tomaintain whatever growth it had," (Tucker & Ressmeyer, 2009). However there were noticableshifts in how much consumers were willing to spend and where they shopped. According toNPD, the average price women paid for denim declined 1.6% from $23.44 to $23.83 last year.The largest price segment was represented at $20 to $29.99, where sales rose 6.9% to 2.34billion from $2.06 billion. Specialty stores remain the channel of choice among consumers by awide margin. However consumers were on the hunt for bargains. Outlet sales vaulted nearly50% to $101.3 million from $69 million, (Tucker & Ressmeyer, 2009). Making progress in thisenvironment will require brands to exceed customers expectations on price and perceivedvalue. Theyll also have to adjust their own measures as to what qualifies as success. AndrewOlah, chief executive officer of Olah Inc., a U.S. agent for foreign contract manufacturers andtextile and hardware vendors targeting denim designers, believes that brands and retailersmust provide customers with a reason to buy, more so than ever before. "Theres a lot ofopportunity because theres a lot of jeans being sold," said Olah. "The issue is why wouldsomeone buy them from you." (Tucker & Ressmeyer, 2009). Lawrence Scott, owner ofKaryn Mariano 154/15/10
  16. 16. Blue CrushPittsburgh Jeans Co. said great sale days were considered normal a year ago. Hes found hisdenim business has settled solidly in the $160-$198 range. Anything with a retail price pointapproaching $300 he wont even consider anymore, (Tucker & Ressmeyer, 2009). The denim industry market is saturated at cheaper price points and at $125 and above.Tracey Mullin, president and chief executive officer of the NFR says, "As people focus primarilyon price, strong promotions and deep discounts will likely win over back to school shoppers thisyear," (Tucker & Samperton, Jeans Primed To Go To The Head Of The Class, 2009). An NFRsurvey found college freshman may present the best opportunity. The NFR survey foundfreshmen will spend $820.77 an average on getting ready for school. Almost $180 will be spenton apparel and shoes. While the overall outlook may be weak for retailers, the denim categoryproven itself, and brands and retailers are counting on it to get them through the fall. Denimbrands and retailers are looking to capitalize on a style shift towards distressed, vintageinspired denim. Given True Religions initial success as a destroyed denim pioneer, this trendshould bode well for the brand. Several major retailers are also looking at fall denim collectionsas a way to reassert themselves as denim retailers. Guess is employing a strategy where thisspring it said it would look to turn consumers attention back to Guess denim heritage. As partof that effort, management hopes to take advantage of shifting consumer spending habits bytailoring its denim assortment to those shoppers looking for greater value from premiumdenim, (Tucker & Samperton, Jeans Primed To Go To The Head Of The Class, 2009). Levi Strauss& Co. president and CEO John Anderson said the company was seeing consumers gravitatetowards two distinct styles. The consumer, depending on the wearing occasion, is eitherwearing a clean, more polished finish or going to the extreme opposite," (Tucker & Samperton,Jeans Primed To Go To The Head Of The Class, 2009). Consumers are starting to move down market for jeans. People who were premiumjeans shoppers have turned to mainstream department stores for their denim, while middle-income customers who earlier shopped at department and specialty stores have moved tomass merchants and national chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, J.C. Penney and Kohls. (Ramey,2009). Diversified apparel giant VF Corp. reported that U.S. consumers trading down to lowerprices were responsible for half of the 6% decline in jeans sales it experienced during the firstquarter of 2008, a period when overall company revenue rose 10.3% to $1.85 billion, buoyed byinternational sales, (Ramey, 2009). "Mass denim and premium jeans markets arent immune tothe current economic environment," said Ellen Basilico, a consumer consultant for DeloitteTouche. "You are going to see some decline in these markets along with the rest of retail,"(Ramey, 2009). However Americas love with denim is far from over, according to a Cotton Inc.survey of consumer attitudes towards shopping. For the first quarter of 2008, of 500 peoplebetween the ages of 13 and 70 surveyed by Cotton Inc., 31% said they planned to buy severaldenim items in the next three months, 43% said they would buy one or two items and 26% hadKaryn Mariano 164/15/10
  17. 17. Blue Crushno future denim purchases in mind, (Ramey, 2009). Emphasizing the mass sector are jeanspriced under $40, representing the largest segment of the U.S. jeans market, based on units, or87% according to 2007 figures. Of the higher tier, only 1.3% were jeans priced $100 and above.Retailers must plan very conservatively right now, keeping their inventories very low andturning them over more often. However one of the more interesting things about the lastseveral years is "how the premium jean segment has acted as a showcase for all consumers andhow good jeans can look", said International Textile Group president Tom McKenna. "Its reallycreated pressures at every price point from the mid tier to mass channels for brands to improvethe look and performance of their product. (Ramey, 2009) D. Marketing As a niche retailer Blue Crush will be identifying specific customer segments anddeploying unique strategies to address the desires of those segments rather than a massmarket. The target customer for Blue Crush is female, between the ages of early 20s to mid-40sand has a moderate level of discretionary income. Our target customer is a fashionable womanwho values style, quality and fit and will spend good money to ensure she gets it. Ideally ourcustomer has an annual income of at least $50,000 and lives on the south shore. The Blue Crushwoman likes to look polished and classy but also likes to be fashionable and take risks. BlueCrush provides denim for our target customer for professional wear, casual wear, and denim towear when going out and for more social occasions. Typically our customer would travel intoBoston and shop at department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue or boutiques such as 344 tofind premium denim brands. Blue Crush’s price points range from moderate to high dependingon the brand of denim. Our private label denim and the Miss Me brand are more moderatelypriced, averaging at about $89.00. On the higher end of the price spectrum are brands such asTrue Religion and Rock & Republic which we carry at a maximum price of $295. After taking the VALS survey, a survey that describes your primary motivators, I foundthat I am primarily an experiencer and secondary an innovator. The ideal consumer for BlueCrush is both an experiencer and an innovator. According to VALS; Experiencers are motivatedby self-expression. Young, enthusiastic, and impulsive consumers, experiencers quickly becomeenthusiastic about new possibilities but are equally quick to cool. They are also avid consumersand spend a comparatively high proportion of their income on fashion, entertainment, andsocializing. Their purchases reflect the emphasis that they place on looking good and having"cool" stuff. Experiencers are psychologically described as sophisticated, in charge and curious.Innovators are successful, sophisticated, take-charge people with high self-esteem. Becausethey have such abundant resources, they exhibit all three primary motivations in varyingdegrees. They are change leaders and are the most receptive to new ideas and technologies.Innovators are very active consumers, and their purchases reflect cultivated tastes for upscale,Karyn Mariano 174/15/10
  18. 18. Blue Crushniche products and services. Image is important to Innovators, not as evidence of status orpower but as an expression of their taste, independence, and personality. Their possessionsand recreation reflect a cultivated taste for the finer things in life. Innovators arepsychologically described as trend seeking, impulsive and variety seeking. According todemographic and behavior shapshots that highlight the vibrancy of using VALS in the UnitedStates, the percentage of innovators in the U.S. is about 10% and the median age is 45, 65% aremarried, 72% work full time, 98% used the internet in the past 30 days, and the media channelpreference are the internet and print. Experiencers make up about 13% of the U.S. and themedian age is 24, 25% are married, 55% work full time, 85% used the internet in the past 30days, and media channel preference are magazines and internet. Experiencers and Innovatorsperfectly describe the range of consumer that Blue Crush is looking to market to. Our targetcustomer is between the ages of 20s-40s so the experiencers make up the younger segment ofour target market, theyre impulse buyers who love to look good and are avid spenders. Whilethe innovators make up the older segment of our target market, theyre sophisticated, image isimportant to them and theyre very active consumers. Our more classic, dark wash denim frombrands such as J Brand and Citizens of Humanity would be a great selling point for our innovatorsegment. Innovators would come to Blue Crush to buy black or dark blue denim with no fadingor distressing, probably in a boot cut style so that they could wear them for business casualattire or out to dinner. Experiencers would shop at Blue Crush for the latest trends in premiumdenim such as colored denim, acid washed, embellishment and would prefer skinny leg and thedenim leggings that they can wear to look fashionable and express themselves. Once I decided that I wanted to go into my own business, I had to do some research onwhat type of denim product should make up most of my inventory and where I should locatemy business. I constructed a customer survey for research using Google Documents. The surveywas comprised of ten questions. The first question asked "how often you purchase a new pairof denim pants," and the responses varied from every other month, every season, and 1-3times a year. Therefore I saw that the signs were good that consumers were still making denima staple of their wardrobe even during hard economic times. However when I asked thequestion, "how much do you typically spend on a new pair of denim?," the highest responsewas less than $100, with the second highest being between $100-$150. After looking at mysurvey and conducting my own industry research Ive seen that the majority of my businessright now will be done with brands that are lower priced, such as Miss Me, J Brand and BlueCrush private label and have therefore ordered more units of inventory for these brands andhave explored brands that offer a selection of lower priced denim. This question was probablyone of the most effective in giving me an idea of what price points my prospective customersare willing to spend right now and in this region. Another question in my survey listed some ofthe brands that Blue Crush would be offering and prospective customers were asked whichbrand they prefer the most, Miss Me was the highest choice from all brands which was anotherKaryn Mariano 184/15/10
  19. 19. Blue Crushreason why I ordered the most inventory from Miss Me and in a variety of styles, cuts, washesand lengths. The next question was regarding fit and if it impacted your purchasing decision andeveryone responded that fit is the most important factor when purchasing denim which wasone of the deciding factors in why Ive based my companys strategy and goal around findingthe perfect fit for my customers. When I asked customers about what types of denim are hardto find in local shopping areas, petite and curvy fits had the highest responses. Also after doingindustry research I found that petite styles are selling the most at other similar boutiques in theBoston area but werent available from retailers on the south shore. This aspect will give me agreat competitive advantage over local retailers. I final question that was very telling foropening my boutique was when I asked, " would you be more likely to shop in a denimboutique where the staff is knowledgeable about all the brands they carry and how they fitcertain body types," and the highest response was, "yes I appreciate a staff that can help mefind the best denim brand and fit for me." This response again reiterated the fact that I wanteda staff that was experienced and constantly trained in order to give my customers the ultimateshopping experience that they would want to return to again and again, another competitiveadvantage. The premium denim brands that Blue Crush carries are nationally and globallyrecognized. These brands are sold in such department stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and NeimanMarcus as well as exclusively through their own brand stores.These premium denim brandsinclude Rock & Republic, True Religion, Citizens of Humanity, Hudson, J Brand, Seven for AllMankind, and Miss Me. Along with these well known brands, Blue Crush will also carry our ownprivate label line of denim that will be premium but at a lower price point than compared tomost of the other brands we carry. The Blue Crush denim line will feature basic five pocketstyles as well as denim leggings and specially colored denim such as red, turquoise, plum,yellow, tie-dye, and acid wash. Types of denim that I will be carrying are pants, capris andshorts. Skinny, boot cut, straight leg, boyfriend and flare will be offered for denim styles. I willbe carrying petite sizes in the Blue Crush private line, as well as J Brand, True Religion andCitizens of Humanity. J Brand carries denim for curvy women which Blue Crush will haveavailable. Short and long lengths are available for the Blue Crush line and Rock & Republicbrand is a very long running brand which would be ideal for our taller customers. For customersthat need extra fitting requirements we have our in house tailor who can make any furtheralterations. Our tailor is on hand Monday through Saturday 12-8pm so that our customers canconveniently pick up or wait for their tailoring. The Blue Crush line ranges from $89-$130depending on the wash and embellishments of the denim. The Rock & Republic that Ive chosento carry ranges from $185-$298, True Religion will range from $172- $262, Citizens of Humanitywill range from $185-$202, Hudson will range from $135-$195, J Brand will range from $165-$209, Seven for All Mankind will range from $185-$245 and Miss Me will range from $88-$98.For my pricing strategy I had a very wide selection of denim to choose from with most of theseKaryn Mariano 194/15/10
  20. 20. Blue Crushpremium brands so after conducting local research as well as industry research I have beenordering denim that is at a lower end of the brands pricing range. I make sure that all denimsold in Blue Crush is under $300 so that my customers can find the best quality and fit for theright price and value. Almost of all the Miss Me denim was between $88-$98 so that is anotherreason why I have a large selection of Miss Me denim at Blue Crush, that and its popularitywhen I was conducting my primary research. As part of the Blue Crush promotional plan I have signed up for Google Ad words. It isvery easy to sign up for since I already had a Google account and then you can customize yourbudget. I decided to choose the budget option that focuses on impressions, meaning that I onlypay .50 cents per every thousand clicks on my advertisements. With the "Focus on clicks"option, you can set bids at the ad group level, or for individual keywords and placements. Forexample, if I find that certain keywords or placements are more profitable, I can allocate moreof my advertising budget to those keywords or placements. The keywords that I have chosenfor my Ad words are: Blue Crush, premium denim boutique, and south shore denim retailers. Acombination of any of these ad words and internet users will be able to view my advertisementand click on it to get to the Blue Crush website. As a new store I chose "focus on clicks" becauseI am more concerned with exposure and spreading the word about our store than I do withwebsite traffic at the time being. Another form of online advertising that I will be doing isthrough Facebook. Facebook advertising allows you to create and customize your ad withimages, your URL link, allows you to target your exact audience through psycho anddemographic filters; such as location and age, and then I type in my daily budget of how much Iwant to spend. I chose to spend $25.00 per day and to pay per click at a bid of .50 cents perclick for a month. Facebook will continually run my ad until I change the options. I chose to doalot of advertising online because after my target market research, especially with VALS survey,I found that most of my potential customers use the internet on a daily basis and often searchthe internet for new trends and shopping opportunities. My second advertising strategy isthrough print ads. First I chose to advertise through the Hingham Journal which is the localHingham newspaper and has a weekly circulation of about 5,000 people. The newspapersestimated ad rate was $15.00 for a standard column inch of black and white advertising anddepended on the season. I will post a 12 inch ad at $180 for two publications. I want to make itknown to local patrons that we will be opening and what great brands Blue Crush will offer, mymain motivation is to get the word out about the Blue Crush dedication to finding you theperfect fit. The same standard rates applied for the local Cohasset newspaper; The Tiny TownGazette so I will also be running an ad in their newspaper as well which runs twice a month andcirculates to 5,000 homes in the area. I again will spend $180 to run an ad 12 inches big for twopublications. I chose to advertise to two local newspapers because these are the two townswhere the majority of my target customers resides. Based on research I did through PRIZMsegments I found that for Hinghams zip code 02043, the major segments were: The UpperKaryn Mariano 204/15/10
  21. 21. Blue CrushCrust, Movers and Shakers, Country Squires and Gods Country. All of these segments have onething in common, theyre upscale, wealthy and middle aged, many without children. The printadvertisements would be ideal for the Innovators who have an older median age and have ahigher income and expensive taste for the finer things. While the internet advertisements willbe more appropriate for the Experiencers who are young, enthusiastic and all about beingstylish and trying the latest trends. The distribution strategy for Blue Crush is solely through brick and mortar. The BlueCrush website is currently only for promotional use but once business has picked up and we canbegin to analyze business trends and traffic I would like to eventually hire someone to be incharge of overseeing the Blue Crush website because there is definite potential for serious salesgeneration through the internet due to my target markets use of the internet. In this day andage of technology it is almost impossible to not offer your products online so there willeventually be products available for sale through the Blue Crush website. The main distributionof products is done through the sale of denim at our Blue Crush boutique located at the Launchin Hingham Shipyard. I want to get Blue Crush up and running in time for peak denim sellingseason, June-December and therefore decided to stick to simple traditional selling for the timebeing and then as business dictates, expand the website to selling products, especially ourprivate label denim line. Currently the website discusses our brands, hours of operation,directions, our specialization in fit and in house tailoring and our grand opening date andpromotions. I designed the Blue Crush Website through which gives you easy stepsin building your business website. The subscription for your website was only $4.99 a monthafter the first months free trial. The URL for my webpage is E. Competition The primary competitor for Blue Crush is the retail chain 344, located in HinghamsDerby Street shopping plaza. Although 344 chains generally offer the same premium denimbrands as Blue Crush, the recent business strategy of the store has changed and many of theirlocations are not offering these higher priced denim brands. The Hingham store will continue tosell most of the brands including Rock & Republic, True Religion, Citizens of Humanity, J Brand,Seven for All Mankind and Miss Me because this particular location bodes well for premiumdenim. The Miss Me brand at 344 will be our biggest competition because they offer the samestyles and low price range. Derby Street shopping plaza has been established for a few yearsnow and is a very popular shopping area in the south shore. There are consistently highvolumes of traffic going in and out of Derby Street and it is located off of route 53, a mainroadway through the south shore similar to route 3A and is right off the route 3 highway thatconnects you to the expressway to and from Boston. The Launch at Hingham Shipyard is abrand new development and has yet to be established, where as both Derby Street shops andKaryn Mariano 214/15/10
  22. 22. Blue Crush344 are well known to the region. Derby Street also has a selection of other retailers andrestaurants to draw attention and traffic however The Launch has office and residential spaceas well as Patriot Cinemas that can bring constant traffic year round. Derby Street is within a 15minute drive from the Hingham Shipyard and is located on the opposite side of town, so theyrein close proximity to Blue Crush. Also 344 offers a wide variety of clothing and accessories fromother high priced retailers that are nationally and globally recognized which is another hugethreat for Blue Crush. 344 has the same general target market as Blue Crush however they tendto be geared and promoted towards a younger range of customer, about 18-35. The range ofdenim prices tends to vary upwards of $300 for some brands such as Rock & Republic and TrueReligion so Blue Crush will have an advantage over more moderately priced inventory. A greatcompetitive advantage that we have over 344 is our focus on denim and dedication to findingthe perfect fit. We are able to offer in-house and even same day service tailoring where as 344is not. Shopping exclusively for denim at Blue Crush may be more time consuming butultimately you save time by not having to search for a tailor and waiting for alterations. BecauseBlue Crush is a smaller store we also have the advantage of having more flexibility and freedomwith promotional offers and special events for customers. As of right now Blue Crush also offersa customer loyalty program where we track members purchases and recommend new styles weget in based on their buying patterns. We also offer customers a point for every dollar theyspend at Blue Crush and every time they reach $200 they receive $10 on their loyalty card touse for a future purchase, after the return period has ended. 344 offers no such kind of loyaltyprogram or personal shopping preferences and as someone who has shopped at 344 beforethey dont provide the level of help or expertise that Blue Crush does. Usually upon entering a344 I am not greeted nor barely acknowledged and when asked about certain denim styles thesales associates seem to base their preferences on their favorite brands as opposed to my bodytype or personal preference. At Blue Crush we train our staff in proper denim fit and brandsthat tailor styles to specific body types so that we can better assist every customer and makethem feel welcomed and appreciated. The secondary competitor for Blue Crush would be the department stores like Saks FifthAvenue and Neiman Marcus that are both located in Boston at the Prudential and Copley Mall.Both high end department stores are well known globally and have a very loyal client base.These department stores carry a wider variety of the same brands of premium denim, and caneven help you locate a style or size at another store or order for you online if it is not availablein their location. Both department stores also offer loyalty programs as well as credit cards fortheir customers so they get more incentives to shop while using their store credit cards andearn points and get special sales as shopping incentives. These department stores also carry awide variety of all the best name brands in clothing, accessories, cosmetics and etc. and allowfor one stop shopping for their customers. Our target market of wealthy, middle class residentsin the Hingham area would usually be found shopping in one of these department stores, so itKaryn Mariano 224/15/10
  23. 23. Blue Crushcould be very hard to entice them away from their favorite department stores and salesassociates. Both department stores also offer a personal shopping experience as does BlueCrush. The main advantage that Blue Crush has over Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus isour location. It would be a lot more convenient for people to stop by Blue Crush on their wayhome from work on quickly while out shopping on the weekend rather than brave the Bostontraffic and hassle of parking and paying to park. The south shore really has no boutique likeBlue Crush that specializes in the selling of premium denim brands while carrying their ownprivate label and making alterations for you in-house. The majority of our older range of targetmarket, those in their mid 30s to early 40s who are likely to shop at these department storesare also full time workers so it would make more sense for them to shop locally than to have toendure traffic and parking costs. G. Human ResourcesI will be the head manager at Blue Crush as the sole owner and plan on spending at least 40hours a week there. Of course during the first year of the start of my business there are timesand seasons where I will be needed there more and I will anticipate this. I am employing a Co-manager and a part time assistant manager. The Co-manager will also be there on a 40 hours aweek, $35,000 annual salary. The part time assistant manager will be making an hourly wage of$13.00 an hour and will be required to work at least 30 hours a week. I will also be hiring 4 salesassociates/stylists who will be working at $9.00 an hour and as many hours as available or asneeded. I will be hiring one tailor to work Monday-Saturday from 12-8pm at $11.00 an hour.There will always be at least one manager on duty, and at least two sales associates as well asthe in house tailor. Generally there will be a manager on duty from 9am-6pm and an associatefrom 9am-2pm. The afternoon shift will be another manager from 12-9pm and anotherassociate from 4-9pm. Openers and closers are scheduled an hour before and after we open tocomplete all opening and closing procedures. When necessary a third associate will be added tothe schedule for a mid-day shift such as 12-5 or 11-4 for Friday, Saturday and/or Sundaydepending on the amount of traffic expected and the season, such as June-December whenthere is back to school and holiday shopping. I will be at the store on Monday from 10-7 for ascheduled office day where I will be conducting business calls with suppliers, checking up onmanufacturing of our private line, re-ordering necessary supplies, checking reports and so forth.The rest of the work week I will be at the store 10am-7pm and probably schedule a day off onWednesday depending on the time of year. Saturday and Sunday I will be scheduled with eitherthe opening or closing manager depending on the traffic and time of year. The co-manager is to oversee and be accountable for the operation of the store,ensuring maximum sales and profitability through excellence in merchandising, inventory andKaryn Mariano 234/15/10
  24. 24. Blue Crushexpense control, human resource management and assisting the owner with managingoperating costs. She/he will be responsible for analyzing business trends, developing andimplementing plans to meet or exceed goals and objectives; ensuring compliance with all storepolicies and procedures by conducting regular staff meetings, store walk-through, andevaluating performance issues and actively assisting owner with recruiting sales forcecandidates; and training of all store personnel. The co-manager must be proficient in ensuringthat each customer receives excellent service by training and leading sales associates in storeprocedures, ensuring appropriate merchandise stock levels are maintained; ensuring sellingfloor is adequately stocked. The ability to handle customer complaints under stress is a primerequirement as well as mediating employee conflicts. At minimum an Associates degree isrequired and a Bachelors degree is a plus. At least 5 years of retail experience is necessary. Theco-manager must be able to process information and merchandise through a POS system andhave the ability to work varied hours/days a week to oversee operations in a must. The part time assistant manager is responsible for helping with various tasks involved inthe overall operation of the store; including: measuring business trends and goals, overseeingaspects of merchandising and inventory control. She/he will also be responsible forcommunicating with all staff, assisting the co-manager with training and development as well asoverseeing associate performance on a regular basis, maintaining merchandising standards,overseeing display presentation, planning and designing daily goals, tasks and assignments forsales associates and assuring proper follow up and completion. The assistant manager must beproficient in ensuring outstanding customer service by providing a relaxing and friendlyenvironment, which includes greeting and acknowledging every customer, maintaining storestandards, providing solid product knowledge, analyzing sales reports and completing officetasks such as inventory. A high school diploma is required, an Associates degree is a plus andmust have at least 3 years of retail experience. The assistant manager must be able to processinformation/merchandise through a POS system, be able to move merchandise throughout thestore, create conversations and relationships with customers and it is imperative that they areavailable to work varied hours/days a week as business dictates. The sales associate is expected to generate sales by providing outstanding customerservice. The sales associate is responsible for all sales activities, and works within the sales teamfor the achievement of customer satisfaction, revenue generation, and long term companyvision and values. Greeting the customer, tending to their needs and building a loyal customerbase are some of the duties of the sales associate. She/he is expected to be aware of anypromotional offers and to be aware of the merchandise available on the floor and in inventory.Sales associate is expected to have product knowledge of the premium denim brands carried atBlue Crush and be aware of changing fashion trends. The sales associate is required to haveprevious experience working in retail, specifically working in a boutique with clientele. A highKaryn Mariano 244/15/10
  25. 25. Blue Crushschool diploma is not required but preferred and an associates or bachelors degree would be aplus. Preferred skills would be styling and personal shopping experience. The sales associatemust be able to process information/merchandise through a POS system, be able to movemerchandise throughout the store, be friendly and outgoing and are available to work varieddays/hours a week as business dictates. Although Blue Crush is a small boutique just starting,we have visions of expansion so there will be the opportunity to grow within the companyand/or create new positions within the company. Blue Crush will not be offering any benefits to its employees, especially now with MassHealth in place, all workers will be encouraged to have benefits but we will not be providingthem. The only benefits that will be available at Blue Crush will be paid time off for personal,vacation or sick days. Employees will have a certain number of each paid time off daydepending on the number of hours they work. The co-manager is on salary and therefore willbe allotted 7 personal days, 10 vacation days and 10 sick days annually. The assistant managerwill be required to work 30 hours a week and therefore will be allotted 5 personal days, 5vacation days and 5 sick days. Sales associates will acquire vacation time depending on theamount of hours they have worked. For every ten hours that an associate works they willacquire 1 hour of vacation time. Vacation, sick, and personal time are scheduled in shifts of 8hours. So when an employee schedules 3 days off for sick time they are being paid for 3 days of8 hours shifts at a total of 24 hours added to their schedule for paid time off. Vacation timemust be given two weeks notice in advance to the store manager. Sick time can be used as theemployees like providing they bring in a doctors note upon returning. Personal time has norequirements as long as employees give notice, for example an employee cannot neglect toshow up for a scheduled shift and claim a personal day. Any unused time at the end of the yearwill not be carried over into the next year, all employees are required to use their paid time offby the end of the fiscal year. I will be posting job descriptions for Blue Crush on two job search websites such, where potential employees can apply online and can also post theirresumes. I will be able to post job descriptions and applications on the sales career website andthen I am able to go back into my account and read sent resumes and review their employmentapplications. If I see potential in an applicant I can call them and set up an interview with themin which I will discuss the environment at Blue Crush, the tasks they will be performing and testtheir knowledge and experience. I will also call references given on the application after I haveconducted the interview and if the applicant fits into the atmosphere at Blue Crush I will hirethem and immediately begin training. To post an unlimited number of jobs for 60 days and viewup to 500 resumes for 28 days on sales careers online it will cost me $169. Another website Iwill be posting job descriptions on will be which is a site dedicated tothe retail industry, both employers and job seekers. I chose the free complimentaryKaryn Mariano 254/15/10
  26. 26. Blue Crushmembership which includes free job postings, free directory listing, free hyperlink to my storewebsite. There was a featured membership for $240 a year which came with an advertisementfor your store and your store listed in bold print in their directory but I will not be recruiting foran entire year so I did not feel that subscription was necessary when I can do the basics for free.This is a great website because people come to it specifically looking for retail jobs and it evenbreaks them down into retail management, sales associate and so forth. The directory listingincreases Blue Crushs web exposure to many potential customers and job seekers while alsoadvertising for free. I will also be in contact with career services at local colleges in the areasuch as Bridgewater State College, Framingham State College, Fisher College, Bay State College,and UMass Boston. I believe in promoting opportunities for recent or soon to be graduates andfeel they are most egger and ready and willing to learn and grow with a new company. At Blue Crush we believe that by continually training our employees we can remaincurrent and innovative and provide our customers with the best possible service while stayingahead of our competition. Although I require that all employees have adequate retailexperience for their selected positions I will begin employment of all applicants with a basicorientation which will go over the policies and procedures of the store including dress code,company attitude and environment, store presentation and appearance and attendance. Thesecond part of orientation will include a tour of the store: the selling floor- layout of denimbrands in order of style, leg cut and style, Blue Crush private label denim and fitting rooms; theback room- employee break room, managers office, bathroom, stock room and tailoringstation as well as location of all entrances and exits. The orientation will entail the companysmission statement and vision. Each employee will introduce themselves and state their role atBlue Crush and will write down a list of personal and professional goals that they wish toachieve in their first year at the company. Next employees will perform role playing in whichone will be a customer and the other will be the employee and I will have a list of likelysituations in which they will have to deal with such as a disgruntled customer, a customer whoenquires about alterations, a customer who is having trouble finding petite fitting denim,greeting customers, proper cash wrap behavior and so forth. The first day of orientation willalso include try-ons, in which all employees will try various denim brands in different cuts andfits to get a better understanding of how sizes run and the way each brand fits depending ontheir body type. At the conclusion of day one of orientation I will hand out a list of phoneemployee phone numbers so that they can get in touch with each other and with management.On day two of orientation there will be training on the POS systems which come with tutorialsand each employee will take turns ringing up transactions, making returns/exchanges, usingmultiple tenders and signing customers up for the loyalty program. Next I will discuss basicselling skills such as adding on in the fitting rooms and suggestive selling. The final phase oforientation will have training on the proper measuring and fitting of customers for alterationsand will have a quick tutorial from our in house tailor about what she/he is expecting to helpKaryn Mariano 264/15/10
  27. 27. Blue Crushwork together at Blue Crush. I will sum up the orientation and then give ample time for aquestion and comment period. After initial orientation and training I will have monthly managers meetings to discussbusiness trends and employees and will have store meetings every other month to discuss newindustry trends and product knowledge, discovering new brands to sell, go over employee goalsand how they relate to the stores overall target and other up to date information so that allemployees are constantly on the same page. During our peak selling season, June-December Iwill conduct monthly store meetings instead of every other month in order to make sure allemployees are fully up to date on new promotions, new product, loyalty performance andaddress any policy/procedure concerns. As a premium denim store that prides itself on fit I willalso be looking into having a special training session quarterly where I will have an expert comein and talk to my selling team about proper fit, denim care, and new fabric innovations. BlueCrush fully encourages employees to grow with the company, and although we are a smallboutique just opening, we hope to expand in the future and will be choosing any employeesthat have the desire and potential to grow at Blue Crush for a leadership seminar in which wegive them the tools to lead a team, and what would be expected of them. Depending on howwell business is in the first year or so there is also the possibility of new positions to open up forthe store and for managing the company website and we would always promote from withinbefore going outside the company. In order to retain my employees and keep them happy I have established a number ofways to recognize their excellence performance and give them incentives to stay at Blue Crush.I will have a wall of recognition where every month an employee will be chosen as theemployee of the month based on performance and/or teamwork. Public recognition is a greatway to encourage my employees to work hard and that it pays to work hard at Blue Crush. Theemployee of the month will also receive two free movies tickets to a movie of their choice atthe Patriot Cinema located in the same development at The Launch. Employees with perfectattendance will receive one paid weekday off of their choice, providing it is not during our peakseason. I will treat my co-manager and assistant manager to dinner once a month to recognizetheir hard work and achievements at Blue Crush and to show appreciation for their hard work.All employees will receive 35% discount on any denim in Blue Crush and an addition 15% offsale merchandise. Whenever there is conflict at Blue Crush between employees I will make sureto sit down the employees who are involved individually to hear everyones side and then as agroup so that we can clear the air and come to a solution together. I want to be able to create afriendly, relaxing and upbeat environment for not only customers but employees too.Whenever Blue Crush makes our target for the month the Co-manager will receive a bonus intheir paycheck of $250. The assistant manager will receive a bonus in their paycheck for makingtarget of $100. The sales associate that has the highest dollar sales for the month Blue CrushKaryn Mariano 274/15/10
  28. 28. Blue Crushmade target will receive a gift card to Blue Crush for $50. By implementing these incentives andrecognition points I hope to keep my employees stimulated and excited about working at BlueCrush. The management style at Blue Crush is encouraging and stimulating. I want ouremployees to be able to come to management with any questions or comments withouthesitation and with the firm belief that their ideas and needs will be heard. Although theatmosphere at Blue Crush is more relaxed, the managers and I will fully implement and regulateall company rules and policies. Blue Crush strongly believes in the continuous training anddevelopment of its employees and will provide the necessary training in order to keep ourcompetitive advantage in customizing the perfect denim fit for our customers. Managementinvests heavily in its employees and implements incentives and growth opportunities in orderto keep them satisfied and stimulated.Karyn Mariano 284/15/10
  29. 29. Blue CrushWorks CitedRamey, J. (2009). Catching Customers On the Downturn. Womens Wear Daily , p. 20B-1NULL.Tran, K. L. (2009). Denim Industry Facing Challenges On Sustainability Efforts. Womens WearDaily , p 10-11.Tucker, R., & Ressmeyer, R. (2009). By the Numbers. Womens Wear Daily , p8B-1NULL. 3charts.Tucker, R., & Samperton, K. (2009). Jeans Primed To Go To The Head Of The Class. WomensWear Daily , p7-1NULL.Karyn Mariano 294/15/10