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OFF THE CUFF : Being in Clothes Quarters : Fitting Rooms Enable Customers to Try On--and Experiment With--Outfits in Store

October 06, 1994

A fitting room is more than just a place to try something on for size, says Laurie Trejo, district manager for 11 Clothestime stores in south Orange County. It's an opportunity to experiment. "Maybe a customer sees a full outfit we have on display and wants to see if it works for her. It's a chance to try something completely different."

Trejo confesses that she's been a fashion nut ever since childhood. "My grandmother was a terrific seamstress who made clothes for me and my dolls. I learned to appreciate clothes at an early age," says the 35-year-old.

Trejo was a part-time saleswoman in a clothing store when she started college. When she graduated with a degree in art, Trejo decided to keep selling, because "I love clothes first. I love the atmosphere and interacting with customers."

This is another in a series of first-person columns that allows people connected to the fashion industry to talk about their encounters.

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A fitting room should be aesthetically nice and have a cozy feeling.

It's not as well-lighted as the rest of the store because people are undressing and feeling vulnerable, and bright lights may intimidate them. We want them to feel comfortable.

We don't have any security or monitors in our fitting rooms. We don't believe in that. Instead we believe in customer service. If you're an honest customer, we will be there to help you, and if you're dishonest, we'll be there too.

My personal experience is that the No. 1 way to deter loss is having an alert sales associate, and honest customers benefit from the attention.

Our goal is to provide service for the customer once she's in the fitting room. We ask her how everything's fitting and what she doesn't like.

We also give her information on the item, such as if it will shrink, if the fit and length are right, and if it flatters her. About half of what a customer tries on she keeps.

The average number of items brought into the fitting room is five or six. On a typical Saturday at one of our high-volume stores, we have about 300 people come into the store and about 150 try things on, so there are about 750 to 900 pieces of apparel brought into the fitting rooms.

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