Vicki Bernstein began her career with the hopes of becoming an assistant tennis pro but things ended up a little differently than she expected… Join us as we go behind the scenes to learn how she ended up serving up merchandising tips and trends and see what her top picks were from the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience show floor.
PGA Show Insider: Can you give a brief overview of your career?
Vicki Bernstein: In a good way… nothing goes as planned.
Back in the early 80’s I applied to be the assistant tennis pro at Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Land, Texas, but was offered the buyers position for the golf, tennis and gift shop when they noticed my degree in Fashion Merchandising. Sweetwater opened as the new home of the LPGA in the 80’s and hosted the LPGA Mazda Hall of Fame Championship.
Through several turns in ownership, including Cobblestone Golf Management, I oversaw up to 36 properties as Director of Retail. After 15 years, I accepted the position as the National Sales Manager to launch Ping Apparel where I learned a tremendous amount about the other side of the table as well as retail operations around the country.
In 1999 Redstone Golf Management based in Houston formed and I was fortunate to become the Vice President of Retail overseeing the development and operation of eleven properties in Texas and Tennessee including 16 years managing retail for the Shell Houston Open PGA Tour event, host of the US Women’s Mid-Am at Shadow Hawk in Richmond, Texas as well as the LPGA Tour Championship at the Houstonian Golf & CC.
Simultaneously during these years, the Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM) was very important to me, having served in every position including President from 2002 – 2006 where I continue to serve on the Education Committee. In 2006, Bernstein Retail Productions was formed offering comprehensive merchandising expertise to multiple golf management groups and independent operators committed to implementing proven retail strategies and resources garnered from my 30+ years of experience.
PGA Show Insider: Describe your day in 3 numbers
Vicki Bernstein: 140+ emails, 9 hours of work and finishing the day with 1 horseback ride at 8pm.
PGA Show Insider: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Vicki Bernstein: My soft spot is helping others be successful in retail, whether you are a buyer, operator or sales rep. I love figuring out how to turn a property around while helping my clients see the process and involve all parties.
PGA Show Insider: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about your career?
Vicki Bernstein: Know the cause and effect of your numbers, not just sales but turnover, gross margin return on investment, stock to sales ratios, and aged inventory. If you understand your numbers you can effectively manage your business.
PGA Show Insider: What do you look for when bringing new brands/lines to the shops you’re buying for?
Vicki Bernstein: Beyond the standard fabrication, price point and design, I look at the underlying story of the brand that will transcend to conversations on the sales floor. Give us something to talk about! There should be a reason and function behind the products to make it stand out from all the others – that makes it exciting for me, our customers and staff.
PGA Show Insider: What’s the best-selling trend you’ve seen in the last year?
Vicki Bernstein: Without a doubt, performance fabrics whether in golf or lifestyle garments. This trend will not be going away. The consumer loves the easy care, comfort, performance and colors this fabric provides.
PGA Show Insider: What are your predictions for top sellers in 2018?
Vicki Bernstein: State pride combined with club logos is edging its way into product development for many of our properties from Colorado to Texas.
The Texas State Flag putter cover from AM & E combines the flag with Texas state outline complete with a pin flag showing the location and club logo.
Ahead created a special ballmarker with the Colorado logo and Pine Creek GC logo. We apply it to headwear, wallets, key fobs and divot tools.
Anytime you can provide the consumer with a dual reason to buy goods you’ll have a hit! Even though the product is similar in many ways, I appreciate the ‘Made in the USA’ product offered by Fairway & Greene – we also added the Texas flag as an emblem to the back of the neck combining the ‘story’ theme with the state pride idea.
Response to all the above has been solid and added incremental sales to commodity items.
PGA Show Insider: We love to highlight up-and-coming brands and new products—has there been a brand or product that’s caught your eye lately?
Vicki Bernstein: I was particularly drawn to the elevated menswear collections offered by Brad Franklin with Bradley Allan, and Will Brunner with Devereux. Both offered very sophisticated edited versions of their goods. The fabrications felt sumptuous on the hand coupled with refined production details and a modern fit – very exciting.
PGA Show Insider: What were your top picks for new finds in Las Vegas?
Vicki Bernstein: These brands stood out as they were unique and different.