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Daily Inspiration: Meet Shana Regenhardt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shana Regenhardt.

Hi Shana, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I have had an interest and passion for the fashion industry from a very young age. My sister and I loved playing dress-up with our mother’s discarded cocktail dresses every chance we got.

Each year that went by, I found a new way to fuel my desire for the new fashions I would see. I loved every fashion magazine I could get my hands on. My mother likes to tell a story about me at about age 9 or 10, asking to be left alone in the clothing department at Macy’s to pick out my back-to-school wardrobe.

I carefully outfitted myself, while my mother shopped in another department. Once I finished with my wardrobe, I put on a fashion show for her, to show her how all my items were merchandised back and forth.

This was to help sell her on how I needed every single piece I had chosen or my outfits wouldn’t be complete. I think that is where my interest in merchandising began. Being able to outfit others and having a sense of fashion has always come easy to me. It really started by outfitting myself and my friends from elementary school forward. I started my wholesale career in San Francisco, CA in 1989. I worked at a high pace showroom, that carried all the best contemporary brands. My ambitions were to be a business partner and then eventually own my own showroom.

I did all that in the first 7 years of my career. I spent a lot of time in my car driving up and down the west coast to build out a strong specialty and chain store business. When you spend that many hours by yourself, you get very comfortable being in your own head. I dreamt big and worked hard for many years to continue visualizing and building my showroom brand. As I continued to build year by year, I realized if I wanted to achieve all my goals, I would need to make a change.

To have any real significance in the fashion industry, I would need to make my home base either Los Angeles or New York. I moved my showroom to Los Angeles in 2007. I added a Dallas showroom in 2019 when I saw a shift occurring again. I decided I needed to take on the South West and South East as well. I have built a solid reputation for introducing unknown brands to the US and building them into something. I have helped to sell, merchandise, and design along with many talented people.

I feel very fortunate for all the exciting things I have been able to do. Traveling to Barcelona for Bread and butter to meet all the other agents from around the world, was very exciting for me in the mid-2000s. Over the past 34 years, I specialized in and built a women’s contemporary wholesale business. My stores trust me, as I stand behind my vendors and retailers alike. Surviving earthquakes, the mortgage crisis of 2008, and most recently the COVID-19 shut downs and devastation, helps me to realize how fortunate, resilient and resolute I am to have survived all this and still have a viable business.

Our amazing retail partners make my job enjoyable. To this day, when I get a call telling me how the groups I put together, sold out in days, or at times, within hours, it puts a huge smile on my face. Being customer-centric is still what I pride myself on. Even with the challenges all employers face in these times, of not being able to find enough help, I stay hopeful.

As a sales agency my team and I travel to more shows, work more virtual appointments, as well as all the massive road work we endure monthly. Being successful requires hard work.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The changing retail landscape has been tricky. Learning New b2b platforms, and competing with online sellers such as amazon, and fast fashion vendors knocking off our products have all been challenging.

The mortgage crisis of 2008 that closed hundreds of stores around Los Angeles alone was very challenging to build back from. But by far, the ramifications of the shutdowns from Covid-19 have been the most challenging. Our retailers closing for months at a time hurt the entire Industry. Vendors were afraid to overproduce and get stuck with the merchandise. The supply chain issues and backed up ports.

The lists go on and on. A shift has occurred again, and it has become impossible to find employees. Inflation is out of control, yet It seems no one really wants to work any longer. I hear from every business owner I know how impossible it is to find help.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I pride myself on seeing the potential in something.

If a clothing line approaches me to represent them, I don’t only look at the current assortment but what the vision is for the next 5 years. I enjoy helping to develop and hone the image and vision. I like seeing a vendor built into a brand.

Merchandising fabrications, and colors and helping with new designs still excites me. I have been told many times that I have a very different point of view on how I look at a fabric or garment. It seems very obvious to me, how something will retail well. I love to tweak an idea and or carve it out to make it our own.

Playing with fabric, style, and design is addictive.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
There isn’t a way to be successful without hard work.

As a woman in a mostly male-owned industry, I had to prove myself over and over again. I needed to work harder, smarter, and stand my ground when pushed.

As an employer, you can be kind and treat your team how you would have liked to have been treated while coming up in the Industry. Lead by example and be the mentor they can respect and want to emulate.

Pricing:

  • MSRP $78-$200

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