Fashion accessories retail chain Suzy Shier now has over 150 stores across Canada, spanning from Vancouver to the Maritimes. Head accessory buyer Monica Czerniak explains how their marketing tactics have spelled success -- and also tells us what’s trending right now.
Suzy Shier has provided fashion-forward Canadian women with on-trend accessories since 1966. Monica Czerniak, Suzy Shier’s Montreal-based head accessory buyer, spoke with ASD Insider about the ins and outs of spotting trends, being a first-time buyer at ASD Market Week, and her plan to acquire new customers.
ASD Insider: You’ve been with Suzy Shier since 2008. What are your current responsibilities within the company?
MONICA CZERNIAK: My role here is Head National Buyer for the accessories department. I purchase accessories for our collection that includes everything from hats, scarves, headbands, watches and belts to handbags, giftware, and hair accessories. I’ll come up with what I think are the latest trends for the individual stores and we’ll just get them into stores at the price that best reflects our market.
Suzy Shier retail chain has over 150 stores across Canada, spanning from Vancouver to the Maritimes. Suzy Shier is now owned by YM Inc., which also owns Bluenotes, Urban Planet, and Annie Sez, to name a few. I also buy accessories for Annie Sez, which has chain stores in the U.S.
AI: Where do you source accessories and spot new trends?
MC: Trade shows are a key source. This year was also the first time I attended ASD.
ASD was great because I was able to find all of the types of accessories that I normally purchase, all under one roof. I was really curious about being exposed to different vendors that I hadn’t seen at other trade shows. I do a lot of my sourcing with New York vendors, and ASD actively hosts different types of vendors that are strategically located across North America.
I found that each supplier that I met had something new to offer. When it comes to accessories, the trends are constantly changing. The field is dynamic, which makes it so exciting. After hearing about ASD and researching it online, I thought it could be a great venue to make some new contacts and to get some new products and flair into the stores.
AI: What’s popular now in terms of Canadian accessories?
MC: If we’re narrowing it down into specific categories, I would say, in jewelry, what’s really exciting this year is the minimalist trend and the multi-layered look. For example, when I say “minimalist,” you can think about stacking different rings of geometric shapes, taking gold, silver, and even rose gold into a new level by intertwining different, delicate features.
“In jewelry, what’s really exciting this year is the minimalist trend and the multi-layered look,” Monica Czerniak, head accessory buyer, Suzy Shier.
Ear jackets, for example, are also a good example of minimalist jewelry layering. The front/back juxtaposition of ear jackets and traditional earrings are so much fun and stylish. The boho trend is probably something you’ve seen from fashion blogs and at festivals.
“Boho” has been a huge trend and continues to be a big trend with tassels on necklaces and earrings with organic stones. If we’re talking boho, another huge trend has been the use of ponchos and rihannas to throw on in the fall, even when you’re wearing a coat. This will be a huge look this season.
More on the Festival Trend: Must-Have Coachella Fashion Accessories for Your Shop
Monica’s Minimalist-Meets-Boho-Chic Accessories Trends Snapshot:
- Stacked rings, geometric shapes
- Combining gold, silver, rose gold
- Quirky ear jackets (front-to-back earrings that cover earlobes)
- Earrings with organic stones
- Necklaces with tassels
- Ponchos, ponchos, ponchos
AI: What do you see on the horizon for next season’s fashion trends?
MC: I think we’re going to go forward with the boho trend and also shift into elements that are more feminine, like the whole delicate trend in minimalism. I think it’s going to be a cross between very feminine, delicate, and edgy attire and accessories. I think women now are taking more risks with their accessories and they’re mixing it up. It’s so much fun to see women wearing different types of pieces and making them their own.
AI: What are the Suzy Shier stores like?
MC: We’re a retail chain store. What sets us apart is our competitive prices. The woman who comes to see us is looking for trends, and to get these trends at a really sharp price. I think that’s really what we deliver at Suzy. If you see something you like in, say, a celebrity magazine like In Touch, you’ll most likely be able to find it here at Suzy. If you want fashion trends at a great price, you’ll come to see us here.
Suzy Shier stores aren’t like a department store. We aren’t as big as a Macy’s. If you’re going to compare it to a scale of another store in the U.S., you could compare it to the size of an Express.
“If you see something you like in, say, a celebrity magazine like In Touch, you’ll most likely be able to find it here at Suzy. If you want fashion trends at a great price, you’ll come to see us here,” Monica Czerniak, Suzy Shier
AI: Do you host in-store events and/or classes to attract customers?
MC: We do host in-store events. The events that happen are always posted on Facebook.
AI: What is the primary demographic of your customer base?
MC: They’re between 18-35 years old. Most are just starting off in their careers, but a range of women come to us because we have great prices. The Suzy Shier woman wants to be fashionable at a low price. Like an H&M or a Forever 21, you’ll find a mixture of women at Suzy Shier because they’re looking for trends, and these stores cover a variety of age groups.
AI: How does Suzy Shier acquire customers?
MC: We’re really building our social media presence, so that’s a way of getting more girls into our store. There are an assortment of advertising campaigns that happen across Canada, depending on the province where we’re situated. Then of course, there’s word of mouth. We also have mailing lists. If you sign up on our site, you’ll receive information about Suzy Shier’s latest trends and also about our latest promotions that are happening in-store and online.
Step inside ASD Market Week, with commentary from Suzy Shier’s Monica Czerniak.