Metro Detroit’s HIP HOP / Urbanware Powerhouse
More than 24 years ago Zaina Clark had a flash of creative intuition directing her to follow popular music in the form of music videos and Music TV. Not so much for the music, but more for the clothing styles the performers were wearing. Instinctively, she thought what the stars were wearing in the videos would soon be popular on main street.
Zaina began following the industry. Soon she was purchasing leading edge Hip Hop styles from Las Vegas to New York, anticipating that there would be a big demand for styles of clothing that the popular music stars were wearing in the videos. Clothinng was and is a big part of the Hip Hop / Urban movement.
Soon Designer Wearhouse became a player in the Urban movement in the Detroit Metro area.
“We started to follow music videos and the music business,” Zaina said, “because the majority of our customers were interested in the music industry and were looking to spend their money on this type of clothing line. Our first Urban line was Phat Pharm by Russell Simmons. We went through a lot of crazy lines in the early ‘90s, like Get Used and Major Damage and Cross Colours — changing labels based on customer demands; bringing in lines and taking them out; then sometimes bringing them back when the lines make a resurgence.”
“Today, we cater to what has become known as the Urban Hip Hop movement. Styles are constantly changing, with new styles appearing first on the east coast and moving throughout the nation.”
Customer service is clearly the main reason for the Designer Wearhouse business success. Another is offering a wide selection of the hottest fashions and constantly staying in touch with customer demands or requests.That's what separates the Designer Wearhouse from the others.
“We have really concentrated on customer service,” Zaina said. “Everyone is greeted and welcomed as part of our Designer Wearhouse family when they come through the door. We get to know them, their kids, moms and dads."
"I've seen a couple of generations come through here now. For instance, I've seen customers, who came in with their parents some 20 years ago, who are now coming in with their own children. We also do special orders for anyone, for any item or size we may not have on the foor. We will make every attempt to get it for them.”
“Wayne has been a great city to do business in. This cross street, Wayne and Michigan, is very busy. At one time it was the busiest in Michigan. Cars have to stop here for a minute or so and we get great window exposure because of our location on the corner. Actually, our windows are our main advertisement. We change them each week, putting in new clothing displays. As a result, over the past years, we have established a tendency to get one to three new customers per week. I have yet to find any advertising that works that well."
If you study Designer Wearhouse customers' addresses, you will find that many of their customers come from outside tbe Wayne and Westland areas. They attract customers from Ann Arbor, Belleville, Detroit, Farmington, Flint, Inkster, Lansing, Monroe, Romulus, Southfield and Ypsilanti — a very wide area.
“I attribute our wide customer draw to our unbeatable clothing selection, our style of customer service and the fact that Ford employees are from all over the Metro Detroit area," Zaina said. "Our window exposure gives the people driving through the City of Wayne, whether going to the Airport or somewhere else, a great view of our clothing selection. Since the traffic must stop at the intersection, at some point, something catches their eye and one day they decide to stop. I can't tell you how many people will come in and say, 'You know what, I’ve passed this store so many times and I finally decided to stop in today.'”
Secret of Success: Customers Treated with Respect
“We all want to stay young, be fashionable and connected to something exciting. One aspect of the Urban lines is that when you are wearing the clothing you feel a sense of contributing to the Hip Hop movement. It’s all about mindset and a way of living the Hip Hop movement that translates into your clothing.”
“We do whatever it takes to get to know our customers so that we can make them feel comfortable and valued and provide them with the styles they are looking for. That’s Designer Wearhouse.”
“Designer Wearhouse is all about the customers and providing them with what they are looking for in fashion, in a friendly environment. I want to give credit to our customers for our success. Without them and their loyalty, Designer Wearhouse would not have survived 20 plus years. In these trying times everyone makes a difference in surviving economic hardships."
“I've gotten to know many customers on a personal note. I respect and appreciate each and every customer that walks through the door whether they are coming in to browse, make a sale or just chat. That’s what drives me.”
“I also have to recognize the contributions of, and give a lot of credit to, my family and employees. A large majority of the success I have realized in this business is a result of their hard work and sense of customer service, as well as, our mutual belief in respect for others,” Zaina said. "Without my customers there would be no Designer Wearhouse."
35028 Michigan Ave.
Wayne, MI 48184
Mon - Sat: 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday: Noon-5 pm during November and December
Normally Closed on Sunday