“What’s Hot, What’s Not, What’s Next”

Posted by pbc_admin
on January 13, 2016

Agenda Long Beach, January 2016 – More Partying Than Purchasing?

Last Thursday and Friday saw Agenda Long Beach open the US apparel trade show circuit IMG_20160107_111959for 2016 at the concrete cavern that is the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.

Agenda Long Beach has been on a steady surge in size, popularity, diversity and activity since it’s inception in 2012. The show has expanded from a skate, surf and streetwear focus to include contemporary men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, outdoor, swim and lifestyle collections and industry services. I raved about the show in my review of the July 2015 show.

Last week’s show seemed off the boil to me when it came to foot traffic and overall energy. I didn’t feel the same buzz that usually runs through the rows of booths and on the open center concourse.

That said, there are some mitigating arguments for what I thought was a slower show.

By all accounts, the holiday season was slow for the majority of retailers. Many stores may not have had the buying dollars available for immediate goods to warrant attending the show.

It rained in Southern California last week. While most of the country would welcome our last week’s weather this time of year, locals could have taken the precipitation as a sign of the apocalyse, and thought that there wouldn’t be a season to buy for.

Agenda LB may be getting too diverse. The Long Beach show is by far the largest and broadest Agenda iteration. For instance, the Agenda Las Vegas is truer to the original core constituency with distilled street, skate and surf brand offerings. Long Beach attempts to be many things to many people. With contemporary apparel and swim trade shows spread solidly on the calendar in the first quarter, Agenda may have overreached by expanding to so many categories.

I had one industry veteran (who asked to remain nameless) opine that Agenda LB is becoming too much like the now defunct Action Sports Retailer (ASR) trade shows that had a 30 year run in San Diego until 2010. Why did ASR fail? Many reasons. One is thought to be declining clarity as to just what the show’s market was. As ASR diversified, did it cause confusion as to just what the show was about and who should attend? My contact thought that this could be happening to Agenda LB.

He also said that the show feels more like a party that a trade event. He noted how much drinking was going on in the booths. He also pointed to the skateboard ramp that made it’s debut at last week’s show, and said “it feels like just what happened at ASR”. By the way, I was nearly taken out by a skater flying off the ramp.

I don’t know about the drinking and partying bit. Agenda has always had a loose and fun atmosphere. I have seen many a 11AM beer being downed as buyers have been shown around the racks. Also I don’t know about the comparison to ASR because I never attended.

I didn’t see much that caught my eye. I did notice that some long time participants weren’t in attendance such as JanSport. The Australian women’s contemporary labels, Tiger Mist and Rise of Dawn also gave it a miss.

The contemporary men’s and women’s apparel and the accessories booths seemed quiet on both days.

There was one new brand that was fascinating. Cooperative of Photography (aka COOPH) from Austria has created it’s own category – Photography Wear or Photog Wear or Snap Wear or whatever someone cleverer than I can come up with.


COOPH from Austria at Agenda LB

They design and produce excellent quality and very stylish gloves, headwear, hoodies, jackets, shirts and t-shirts with clever, innovative extras for photographers. For example, the underside of the bucket hat brim and the cap brim are grey cards, the shirts have a lens cleaning cloth sewn into the inside of the bottom hem, the hoodies have a lens cleaning cloth in hidden, zippable pocket and buttons for folding the jacket into a camera wrap or pillow.

So that was Agenda Long Beach for January 2016. A bit quieter than usual. Not a lot that was outstanding. I am going to reserve judgement on whether the show has grown too diverse until after the July edition.

Up next is LA Fashion Market Week next week. See you there.

Paul Brindley
Principal Adviser

Posted by Paul Brindley
on January 12, 2016

2015 In Review: The Year in Trade Shows

Here’s a useful primer on the US apparel trade show landscape as at the end of 2015 from Apparel News.

Apparel News logo




2015 In Review: The Year in Trade Shows

This was a big year of change for apparel and textile trade shows as new players entered the market, new partnerships were formed and new categories opened.

The ink was still drying on the late-2014 acquisition of Advanstar—owners of the MAGIC, Project and ENK trade shows—by London-based events producer UBM PLC when the now-renamed UBM Advanstar struck its first new deal. In February, the trade-show giant announced it had reached a deal with Eurovet, organizers of the Curvexpo lingerie and swimwear trade show, to launch a jointly owned event called CurveNV @ MAGIC in August during the Las Vegas trade shows.

But that wasn’t the only change in store for the Las Vegas trade-show lineup. In August, Urban Expositions, which organizes gift trade shows, acquired WomensWear in Nevada from Specialty Trade Shows. Shortly after, British company Clarion Events acquired a majority share in Urban Expositions, and Urban Expositions announced a new name for the California Gift Show. Going forward it will be called LAMKT.

Meanwhile, in Southern California, 2-year-old streetwear trade show Venue moved to a new, larger location at The Reef (formerly called the LA Mart) in downtown Los Angeles in May, then partnered with Los Angeles Fashion Week show organizerStyle Fashion Week for its October run, also held at The Reef.

Southern California swimwear trade show Swim Collective expanded into the athletic and athleisure market with the launch of a new show called Active Collective. Initially held alongside the January Swim Collective Show in Huntington Beach, by June Active Collective was held as a standalone show. And in July, Swim Collective launched a premium beachwear show called Beach Collective alongside the Swim Collective show. Swim Collective Executive Show Director Shannon Leggett announced plans to launch a swim and active week featuring the three shows in 2016.

It was a busy summer for Southern California’s swim market. After two years in Miami Beach, contemporary swim show Cabana launched a West Coast show in Newport Beach, Calif., running concurrently with Swim Collective in Newport Beach, Calif.

There were several other new shows launched in 2015, including Shape, a new athletic apparel and athleisure trade show launched by the California Market Center in Los Angeles. New sourcing trade show Factory Direct held its first two shows at The New Mart in March and September.

The New Mart was also the site of the first Moda 360 show in Los Angeles, where apparel and accessories showed in a gallery-like setting alongside fashion films and runway shows. In September, the building also hosted a new fashion and technology event called MélangeLive.

American Events Inc., organizers of the NW Materials Show in Portland, Ore., and the NE Materials Show in Boston, brought its footwear sourcing exhibition to Southern California with the launch of the SoCal Materials Show, held in January and July in Los Angeles.

Miami men’s and women’s contemporary trade show Coast added a Nashville show in October and announced plans to move its July 2016 Miami date to coincide with Miami Swim Week.

After hosting its textile show for 10 years in Milan, Italian fabric show Milano Unica expanded to include a New York show in July at the Javits Center. The textile show joined an existing lineup of trade shows that includes Texworld USA, Première Vision Preview, Kingpins, DG Expo and Spin Expo.

Several New York textile and apparel trade show organizers—including Texworld USA, Kingpins and MRket— joined forces to launch NYC Textile Week, a collaborative marketing effort designed to make the trade-show trips more convenient, productive and fun for buyers and exhibitors.

Shortly after the official launch of NYC Textile Week, however, denim-sourcing trade show Kingpins announced plans to shift the schedule for its New York show from January and July to November and May starting in November 2015. Kingpins founder Andrew Olah said the shift came at the request of attendees who asked for an earlier schedule. The show also moved its location in New York from Skylight Clarkson Square to Basketball City at Pier 36.

There were several other venue changes in 2015.

CALA San Francisco held its last show at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco in January before moving to a new open-booth venue at the Fort Mason Center in March, where attendance more than doubled from March’s turnout of 569 buyers, organizers said.

For its fourth edition, Los Angeles Mens Market moved to the CMC’s penthouse from its previous location on the building’s fourth floor. In the new location it switched from a showroom event to an open-booth format.

In August, bridal trade show Couture Los Angeles Bridal Market returned to Los Angeles for a second annual run, moving from Siren Studios in Hollywood to The Reef in downtown Los Angeles.

Upscale accessories and lifestyle show Coeur tried out a new location at the Alexandria Ballrooms in downtown Los Angeles after four years at the Cooper Design Space. In December, Coeur announced plans to relocate to the CMC in 2016.

Business Journals Inc. shifted the dates for its Fall/Winter womenwear and accessories shows in New York from May to April in a move that allowed retailers to be in their stores in the days leading up to Mother’s Day, a holiday “second only to Christmas,” according to Britton Jones, BJI president and chief executive officer. The shows—ModaAccessories the Show and Fame—co-located at the Javits Center with ENK’s Intermezzo and Accessories Circuit.

This year also saw a new name for swimwear show Salon Allure. Now celebrating its fifth year in Miami Beach, the trade show rebranded itself as Hammock in July. But that wasn’t the only change for Miami Swim Week. This year, IMG, producers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami, took a break from hosting runway shows during the July swim trade shows, which included the Miami SwimShow, Hammock and Cabana. Other event organizers—including Funkshion, Hammock and LDJ Productions—stepped up to fill the void with runway shows of their own.

New York’s fashion week landscape also saw a shift with the launch of New York Fashion Week: Mens in July. After years of hosting menswear shows as an adjunct to the women’s runway shows of New York Fashion Week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America decided to launch the first standalone for menswear.

In Los Angeles, the fashion-week scene saw a few organizers drop out in October, including LA Fashion Council and Concept Fashion Week, while new players, including LA Fashion Week and Fashion Week Los Angeles, joined a lineup that included Style Fashion Week and Art Hearts Fashion.

Posted by Paul Brindley
on October 27, 2015

Nonprofits: On the Go with Heads in the Cloud

Following is the unedited version of my article for the October 13-26 edition of the Long Beach Business Journal.

A PDF of the published article is included underneath.

Nonprofits: On the Go with Heads in the Cloud 

Most nonprofits are constantly striving to do more with the same level of resources – if they are lucky. Studies show that in many cases they are having to do more with less.

New technologies and the rise of social media have provided low-cost tools for nonprofits to outreach, spread their message and cultivate stakeholders and supporters. The latest in cost saving innovations are mobile technology and cloud computing.

In April of this year, the Pew Research Center reported that … 64% of Americans adults own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011.



The worldwide usage of mobile devices outstripped desktop and laptop computer usage during 2014. All the statistics reveal that mobile search, shopping, customer engagement and communication continue to trend past static device usage.

We have been told for a while now that the future is mobile. Welcome to the future.

So there you have it, the vast majority of your customers, clients, partners, funding sources, influencers, mavens, and the public at large are walking around and using their tiny computers as they go about their day, and keeping them close when they are not. The portal to the whole spectrum of your audience is open and accessible whenever and wherever. Your audience is mobile so should you be.

What are some strategies for “going mobile”?

  • Make sure you have a mobile responsive website. When a website is responsive, the layout and content responds or adapts based on the size of the screen it’s presented on. A responsive website automatically changes to fit the device you’re reading it on.
  • Provide a way for your clients to sign up for courses and events or to donate through their mobile devices via a mobile optimized online form or third party service like Eventbrite.
  • Design your emails and marketing collateral with the mobile viewer in mind. Will people be reading it on the phone, or is it something to be sent via email as a mobile download? Don’t try and do too much. Keep fonts large, sentences short, use single columns and get the recipient to click to your website for more information.
  • Try a text message fundraising drive. An article on the Nonprofit Hub website states that the Human Rights Campaign found that text message subscribers are 2.5 times more likely to donate than a non-text message subscriber. The Humane Society of the United States found that members who received a text message reminding them to donate were more likely to give online by 77 percent. I have no experience with SMS fundraising campaigns so do your due diligence on infrastructure, security and practices.
  • In managing your nonprofit, mobile technology is allowing team members to remain connected wherever they are. This results in more time servicing with clients and networking with donors and less time stuck behind a desk. Depending on the sensitivity of the organization’s information, put in place policies and practices for mobile communication by voice, text or email.
  • Ensuring that your communications, systems and practices are mobile friendly sends the message (excuse the pun) to your stakeholders and supporters that your nonprofit is a professional organization that is responsive and sensitive to current trends.

What is cloud computing? What does it mean that “something is in the cloud’?

Cloud computing means that instead of housing software, applications and files on your computer or your own server, they are hosted by someone else online or “in the cloud”. You gain access from anywhere using the internet. Gmail is a good example. Office 365 is another program that offered as a cloud based subscription. You don’t need your own servers or storage.

So what are the advantages?

  • Portability and convenience – you can access your files and programs from anywhere using an internet connection. Team members can access files from home, on the road or in the office. Work flow is increased by easy file sharing. Team communication is sped up with secure messaging programs.
  • Cost savings – this is a big selling point for the nonprofit world. There is little IT cost when using the cloud. There is no server. Installs, upgrades, back-ups and other maintenance are done for you. You are not paying to power your own network infrastructure.
  • Security – all your files and programs are saved off site. If there is a system crash at the office or one of your computers fails, everything is safely stored and ready to be downloaded.
  • Environmentally friendly – with cloud computing, you only use the server space you need which decreases your carbon footprint and can result in at least 30% less energy consumption and carbon emissions than using on-site servers.
  • Low cost options – there are many low cost, no-cost solutions like OneDrive, Dropbox, Hightail, Gmail, Office 365 subscription service, VaultPress.

How about the disadvantages:

  • No internet connection, no access – this is a problem. Make sure you have a proven and reliable internet provider.
  • Security and privacy – many people are frightened that their information is not secure. Cloud services providers have made security their top priority. Make sure you have strong password protection.
  • Incompatibility of some programs – some applications that don’t run well in the cloud or need significant conversion to migrate. For example, certain systems might rely on local file storage. Fortunately, many cloud providers assist with migration.

If you are a little jumpy about this new amorphous cloud universe, don’t go all in. Pick and choose which cloud based solutions you are comfortable with. That’s what I have done. The more I have used cloud services, the more comfortable I have become with giving up important emails and documents that I used to hold tight on my laptop.

Cloud computing solutions are maturing and improving all the time. As the technology continues to evolve, costs will continue to fall and reliability and security standards will improve. I am certain that in the future, operating in the cloud will be as routine as all the other technological advances that used to bamboozle many of us.

There is an old Latin saying, Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis, which translates to “Times change, and we change with them”. We have changed a lot with the technological advances of the past 20 years.

The portability, flexibility and cost savings of mobile technology and cloud computing will ensure they are two of the most profound and lasting changes so far. They have the potential to relieve nonprofits of the time, energy and costs that can be redirected towards their irreplaceable missions that assist so many in need in our communities.

Paul Brindley
paul brindley consults

PDF: Nonprofits: On the Go with Heads in the Cloud – NonprofitPageOct13

Posted by Paul Brindley
on October 22, 2015

Los Angeles Market Week Spring16 – Some Like It Hot

Barry O at Venue Tradeshow at The REEF

The relentless tropical heat beat down on LA for last week’s Spring 2016 Los Angeles Fashion Market, which set up shop in the downtown Los Angeles Fashion District from October 12–15.

The hot weather must have kept some buyers away because there was a distinct drop in the usual activity and energy this time of year. Business was as sluggish as sales of Fall merchandise must be at present. I can’t imagine buyers have much spare cash to be throwing down for their Spring orders. Apparel News reported that “… some buyers had less money available for Spring orders and others were scrambling to fill inventories with warm-weather apparel.”

It doesn’t help local sales agents that the LA Spring Market is at the tail end of the Spring selling season. Vegas was 2 months ago. The NY shows were last month. With any semblance of Fall yet to materialize, buying budgets must be drying up like a Californian river.

The show must go on and it did in the showrooms of the California Market Center, The New Mart, the Cooper Design Space, the Gerry Building and the Lady Liberty building — as well as at temporary trade shows Designers and Agents (New Mart), Coeur (at a new location at the Alexandria Ballrooms at 5th & Spring), Brand Assembly (Cooper), L.A. Men’s Market, Shape and Select (all at the CMC).

Designers and Agents was a bit light on exhibitors. They usually completely fill the 3rd Floor event space. Friend and generous bestower of complimentary hats, Ben De Luca of Brooklyn Hat Co. thought Monday was solid but the Tuesday I was there was significantly slower. He wasn’t holding out hope for much better on Wednesday.

The classy Brand Assembly filled the bright, white 11th floor event space of the Cooper. Brand Assembly has swelled to 112 brands. The contemporary women’s showcase has doubled in size over the past 12 months.

The SYDNY Showroom showing their all Australian roster at Brand Assembly

The SYDNY Showroom showing their all Australian roster at Brand Assembly

The LA Men’s Market show at the 10th floor event space in the CMC has grown into a mini Agenda. This is a show to keep an eye on. It was the only space of the entire week that had some real consistent buzz going.


The new Shape show for contemporary active and lifestyle brands had some good quality labels like NUX and Bhujang Style but very little foot traffic. There is definitely scope for a showcase like Shape but they need to get it off the 13th floor of the CMC and put it somewhere that buyers will actually visit.

I did spot a gem at Select on the ground floor of the CMC. LA’s own Lesebi was showing waterproof handmade nylon ankle bracelets produced by women in Mayan communities in Cancun, Mexico. Lesebi has partnered with Mayan Ook (ook is the Maya word for ‘foot’) which commissions and sells hand woven and embroidered garments made by local women from the state of Quintana Roo’s Mayan Zone. The Mayan Zone is formed by small rural communities located in the municipalities of Felipe Carrillo Puerto and José María Morelos near the Tulum region.

Lesebi ankle bracelets

Lesebi ankle bracelets – $12 wholesale, minimum order of 5

On Thursday and Friday of last week, Venue Tradeshow tried to eke out the last of the buyers’ seasonal budgets at The REEF space in the LA Mart on Broadway and Washington.

Venue Tradeshow

Venue is a showcase for emerging young contemporary, street and lifestyle labels. I like the concept. I like the artwork that decorates the space. But the space is too cavernous for the thin spreading of brands. Miles Canares, the owner/producer is a young and enthusiastic impressario who is genuinely supportive of his exhibitors. I would recommend he find a tighter spce closer to the heart of the fashion district to concentrate the energy of the show and maximize the opportunities of attracting buyers.

more Venue artwork

more Venue artwork


Paul Brindley
Principal Adviser
paul brindley consults

Posted by Paul Brindley
on October 15, 2015

Melange Live: Where Fashion Meets Technology


Melange Live co-founders, Tom Keefer & Steve Brown open the two day event

Melange Live co-founders, Tom Keefer & Steve Brown open the two day event

Last month I attended the inaugural Melange Live forum in the New Mart building in the downtown Los Angeles fashion district.

Melange was a two day event that created a space for innovators, technologists and fashion visionaries to come together and kibbitz about the rapidly expanding nexus between fashion and technology.

There was a steady flow of panel discussions and presentations by entrepreneurs, punctuated by small group side sessions, general networking and interactions with companies showing their wares in booths.

Hadar Paz, CEO of Powerfront Inc. presenting on the 'Evolution of Chat, The Next Big Thing'.

Hadar Paz, CEO of Powerfront Inc. presenting on the ‘Evolution of Chat, The Next Big Thing’.

Hadar Paz, CEO of the Australian owned e-commmerce provider, Powerfront Inc. presented on the ‘Evolution of Chat, The Next Big Thing’. Hadar was highlighting his real-time customer engagement program, .

Darren Goble, Inside’s Customer Success Manager (and fellow Antipodean), explained Inside as “allowing brands and retailers the ability to ‘see’ current online visitors and view their history and behavior in real-time. Inside features an expanding suite of functions that are based on Big Data collected for each individual visitor. A visually impressive back end graphic interface gives customer service and sales staff an engaging 3D live view of website traffic and the customers they are serving right now; and features functionality that can track customer behavior, identify opportunities and proactively engage with potential customers at the right time and in the right context to help increase sales conversion.”

Hadar said of the Melange Live experience, “Very excited to share our technology and we were really encouraged with the response the platform received. We know Inside is a perfect fit with fashion. For the first time, online businesses can now apply long established bricks-and-mortar sales and customer service methodologies into an online environment and dramatically help bridge the disparity gap between online and offline sales conversion percentages.”

I had an interesting conversation with Brian Dainis, Founder & President of Philadelphia based web design and app development company, Curotec. Brian told of Philly’s push to become a technology hub. The  burgeoning tech corridor is centered around North 3rd Street, now pithily renamed, N3RD Street. At this rate, the entire country will be a tech hub. Not a bad thought actually.

Tom's Shoes panel: Sarah Tabbush, Dir. Social Media, Tom's; Liz Heller, Co-Founder, Screenspaces; Ann Lawrence, co-Founder, Pink51.com

Tom’s Shoes panel: Sarah Tabbush, Dir. Social Media, Tom’s; Liz Heller, Co-Founder, Screenspaces; Ann Lawrence, co-Founder, Pink51.com

I particularly enjoyed the Tom’s Shoes panel that focused on consciousness consumerism. I got into the apparel world in 2000 working for Wildlife Works, one of the pioneers of consumer driven conservation. Wildlife Works’ production of organic fabric clothing has saved untold human and animal lives, and protected vast swathes of the globe over the past 20 years.

Day 1 ended with networking drinks and nibbles.

Jim Palmer, the owner of Malibu Vineyards, was pouring the best wine I have tasted this side of Santa Maria.

JoJo Bowen of Bowen’s Whiskey was literally keeping everyone’s spirits up with her excellent small batch American whiskey from the wilds of Bakersfield. Who knew?

I thought attendance on both days was a little thin. However, it was the first of a proposed bi-annual series of Melange events. It was well worth attending. The organizers have given themselves every chance of pulling more of a crowd by wisely situating the forum in the center of the fashion district rather than some trendy domicile. The substance over form approach is refreshing. With so much scope of technology in the apparel industry, I expect the event to grow as the word gets out.

For additional information, I have reposted the California Apparel News review below.

Paul Brindley
paul brindley consults


 Apparel News logo


Fashion Meet Tech at Melange Live Event at The New Mart


OMNI-CHANNEL PANEL: Lauren Croke, director of Web and e-commerce for Eileen Fisher; Suzanne Hader, chief marketing officer for Halston; Alex Golshan, vice president of e-commerce/omnichannel at BCBGMaxAzria group; and moderator George Shaw, head of R&D for RetailNext

The worlds of fashion and technology merged at the launch of Melange Live, a conference that explored new developments in e-commerce, mobile/digital payments, brand building using social media and new innovations in wearable technology.

“It has become a mobile-first world,” said Tom Keefer, who cofounded and organized the Sept. 16–17 event at The New Mart in downtown Los Angeles. Tom Keefer is a Los Angeles–based youth-marketing specialist who has worked with Newsweek Intl., LA Gear, K-Swiss,Mattel and the BBC Worldwide Global Licensing Team.

In recent years, the term “omni-channel” has become the buzzword for retailers looking to merge their bricks-and-mortar, online and mobile platforms. But as consumers become more comfortable navigating and shopping on these platforms, the distinction between them has become blurred.

Omni-channel, George Shaw, head of R&D for RetailNext, said, is “really the latest name for shopping.”

Shaw moderated a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of omni-channel retailing, featuring panelists Lauren Croke, director of Web and e-commerce for Eileen Fisher; Suzanne Hader, chief marketing officer for Halston; and Alex Golshan, vice president of e-commerce/omni-channel at BCBGMaxAzria group.

“When we look at how things have changed over the last 10 to 15 years and where things are in terms of instant gratification, the younger generation, that’s all they know,” Golshan said.

The challenge is getting different departments with different procedures, or legacy systems, in place to cooperate.

“The customer doesn’t care about your legacy systems,” Golshan said. “At the end of the day, you don’t want to get gridlocked on who gets the sale credit for which channel. If you have a customer who wants something, you should be able to pull from your wholesale bucket. You need an executive team that is focused on doing the right thing for the customer.”

For many customers, the biggest challenge is finding the right product in the correct size. Manufacturers and retailers need access to real-time inventory in order to meet that demand.

“With Eileen Fisher the bottom line hasn’t always been our driver,” Croke said. “Eileen has always been about solving customers’ problems. We need to break down the hurdles between visibility and inventory.”

What’s needed is a cultural change within organizations and within the inventory, Golshan said.

“You never want to have a situation where you’re sold out in one channel and not allowed to tap into other channels,” he said.

The panel also discussed the challenge of price discrepancy across retail channels.

“There are specific times of year [for example, Black Friday] when you know you’re going to be outpriced by some of your retailers,” Hader said.

“Our approach to omni-channel is really content-based,” she said, explaining that mobile information can be “a ride-along” to a consumer’s in-store shopping experience. Hader said Halston strives to provide customers with “a compelling second-screen presentation” by giving them news about celebrities wearing Halston or offering wardrobe advice and brand information.

“For us, a big focus is blurring the line between digital and physical,” Croke said. “When I started it was how to take the best elements of the store and bring it online. Now it’s the inversion. The store is still the place where we can drive customers. If somehow we were exposing inventory online and on time, we would understand the customer coming into the stores and we could curate the local environment.”

Golshan agreed, noting that there is a lot of online data that brands do not have access to.

“If we had access to that rich data in the store, it would help us understand customers across channels.”

Retail innovations

From Apple Pay to location-based marketing, there are several upcoming technological developments for retailers to provide better customer service and a more-engaging shopping experience.

Retailers are now challenged to keep up with the new technology. One of the worst experiences with technology is if it doesn’t work, said Marie Driscoll, CFA director for the Fung Business Intelligence Unit at Li & Fung.

Driscoll said GPS-enabled apps allow retailers to engage customers while they’re shopping in their competitors’ stores and discussed the impact of “Uber-fication,” or the sharing economy of websites such as Rent the Runway on the traditional business model.

The H.E.N.R.Y. consumer—described as “high-earners but not rich yet”—might not be able to afford to buy a designer handbag but could afford to rent one.

“They can live the lifestyle they can’t afford in an Uber economy,” Driscoll said.

Test-tube textiles and other developments

Kristine Upesleja, chief executive officer of Madisons-Innovative Textiles and an instructor at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, gave attendees an overview on wearable tech and new developments in what she calls “fashion engineering.”

The popularity of “wrist tech,” such as fitness trackers, is expected to drive interest in technology-enabled clothing such as activewear that measures your breathing and heart rate.

Upesleja highlighted new developments such as the Jins Meme smart glasses, which lets users navigate their cell-phone home screen using their eyes. Sensors in the glasses read the wearer’s blinks and eye movements. Bragi’s “Dash” wireless earbuds act as noise-canceling headphones and can track athletic performance. There is a new incarnation of the mood ring that measures if the wearer is angry or stressed and then sends meditation advice to a cell-phone app. The tech company Cute Circuit is integrating washable conductive ribbons into garments that enable the clothing to be connected to the Internet and be functional.

Upesleja also discussed new textile developments from 3-D printing to bioprocesses that “grow” nonwoven textiles from cellulose-based bacteria and bio-fabricated leather generated from animals’ skin cells.

“Fashion hasn’t changed much; you still need to dye, cut, sew and finish,” Upesleja said. “The fundamentals remained the same for centuries. Today is a brand-new day.”

Posted by Paul Brindley
on August 26, 2015

Las Vegas Apparel Trade Shows Spring16: August 16-19, 2015

“It was fantastic. Our best show ever.”IMG_20150818_130024

“It was OK. Just like usual”.

“It was quiet. Foot traffic was down.”

I got the same old three responses from sales agents to the same old question on the last day of the 3-day bi-annual behemoth round of Las Vegas apparel trade shows last week.

The same old question? “How was the show?”

Most agents answered with the middle of the three responses. I usually concur. I generally find it difficult to divine the success of the massive Vegas trade shows. Who is walking the aisles? Buyers? Agents? Industry types? Exhibitors? There might be lots of bodies about but how much business is being written. However this time, I thought it was a better than average week across all shows. I have reposted a California Apparel News review below.

There are reviews of the individual shows at the Apparel News Trade Shows page.

I did have one industry veteran at Project Women’s whose opinion I respect tell me that buyer traffic was down significantly, and that it has been steadily declining over recent years. Her comment was, “Women’s apparel is struggling. Retail is struggling. We used to be so much busier at this show.”

The last few show weeks have had staggered starts. The Modern Assembly shows – Liberty, Agenda, Capsule, MRKET, Accessories The Show and Stitch at the Venetian Hotel Convention Center and the Sands Expo started on the Monday with all the MAGIC shows at the Mandalay Bay Hotel Convention Center and Las Vegas Convention commencing on the Tuesday. This time was an all Monday kick-off.

Kids Love Gate shoes from Japan at Liberty

Kids Love Gate shoes from Japan at Liberty

Last week’s jailbreak start created a smoothing out of the foot traffic over the Monday and Tuesday, which are the busiest days of the week. With the previous staggered starts, the Modern Assembly shows were very busy on the Monday. The buyer, media and industry hoards invaded the MAGIC shows on the Tuesday. The usual frenetic Monday morning at Liberty was clearly calmer this time. The first day energy was dissipated at all the venues.

You can scroll through my favorite picks of the week at my Instagram page.

I use Instagram to record and share the brands and collections that pop because they are different or interesting or adventurous or have potential or generally catch my eye. The shoes from Kids Love Gate on the right are an example.

The New York round of Spring16 trade shows are in the middle of September. I expect the momentum to continue. As my industry friend commented retail is struggling, but it seems the apparel industry has decided that there are better days coming soon. I hope they are right.

Paul Brindley
Principal Adviser
paul brindley consults


Apparel News logo




Buyers Navigate Changed Format at Las Vegas Trade Shows


Sourcing at MAGIC featured fabric and trim resources, domestic and international sourcing, resources, and technology suppliers.


Saint James at Stitch



Johnny O at MRket


Show producers Sam Ben-Avraham and Sharifa Murdock at Liberty


The White Crow booth at Project Women’s


The Skies Are Blue booth at WWDMAGIC


Rob Jungmann of the Jungmaven brand, pictured left at the Jungmaven booth at Capsule


Marlies Dekkers at CurveNV@MAGIC


Teresa Gipson, Evelyn Toles and Barbara Hawthorne show off the hats from Scruples Originals, which had a booth at the WWIN show.


Agave at The Tents at Project


Silk screening tote bags at Pooltradeshow


Karl Kani at Agenda


Johnnie Loves June at Accessories The Show

LAS VEGAS—The landscape of the Las Vegas trade shows changed again as the giant UBM Advanstar, owner of the MAGIC Marketplace and Project, re-merchandised the layout of its shows.

For the shows’ Aug. 17–19 run, ENKVegas was renamed Project Women’s, MAGIC Men’s was renamed The Collective, and the Pooltradeshow moved from a lower-level space in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center back to a space adjacent to Project on the main level.

At the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sourcing at MAGIC moved from the South Hall to the North Hall, and MAGIC’s newest partner show, CurveNV@MAGIC, bowed in a dedicated space at the back of the Central Hall next to WWDMAGICPlayground was in the North Hall, and the convention center’s South Hall featured footwear brands and sourcing resources showing at FN Platform and WSA@MAGIC.

In addition to the trade shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, buyers also shopped the Modern Assembly shows at the Sands Expo & Convention Center and The Venetian, including Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs, Agenda,Capsule, MRket, Stitch and Accessories The Show as well as the Offprice show, also held at the Sands. Buyers also visited the WWIN (Womenswear in Nevada) show at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and Kidshow at Planet Hollywood.

With so much ground to cover, some retailers had to ration the time spent at each show. That was the case for Don Zuidema, co-owner of the West Hollywood, Calif.–based menswear boutique LASC, who said he thought the many trade shows running concurrently in Las Vegas impacted attendance.

“I don’t see as many people [at the shows],” he said.

At the Velvet Heart booth at WWDMAGIC, owner Moshe Tsabag said traffic came in waves.

“We get a few people and then the booth is full. It’s been like this all day since we opened,” he said on opening day.

Tsabag said he was seeing a good response to the contemporary line Velvet Heart and the company’s new young contemporary brand, Free Heart. Buyers from Nasty Gal, ModCloth and Bloomingdale’s stopped by the booth.

“People are building inventory because they feel confident in business,” Tsabag said.

Peter Burke, chief executive of PJ Salvage, was equally upbeat about current market conditions. (The Irvine, Calif.–based sleepwear and loungewear company was recently acquired by Tel Aviv–based Delta Galil Industries Inc.)

Burke, who was also showing at WWDMAGIC, said retailers have told him that business is growing. “I think we’ll have a good holiday,” he said.

The first part of the year was challenging for many Midwest retailers, who saw business affected by bad weather, said Greg Garrett, co-owner of Irvine-based Z Supply, which produces the White Crow and Black Swan collections. But many of those retailers saw business pick up following the Fourth of July holiday, Garrett added. “We’re getting an early read on fall right now,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of reorders.”

At the Pooltradeshow, exhibitors were pleased that the show was adjacent to Project this season.

“I’m really happy it’s connected to Project,” said Freddie Rojas, designer of the Los Angeles–based Rojas line. “We get a lot of walk-through traffic.”

Rojas said buyers are starting to feel more confident. “They are looking for new things no one else has to be more competitive and to stand out.”

Bryn Thomas, head of sales for Los Angeles–based Lip Service, said he thought traffic would have been stronger if the trade-show schedules had been staggered. A few years ago, when the shows at the Mandalay Bay opened a day earlier than the shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Thomas said, the company had one of its best shows ever and opened several new stores.

“Sales were up at least 20 percent for all brands,” he said.

Pierre-Nicholas Hurstel, ‎chief executive office of CURVExpo Inc., which organized the CurveNV@MAGIC show, described the event—the first in partnership with MAGIC—as a “very successful relaunch.”

The show featured a mix of lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear, loungewear and hosiery resources.

For many of the swimwear exhibitors, CurveNV@MAGIC came at the end of a season of swim shows, but several said the Las Vegas show gave them a chance to meet with boutique and resort buyers who may not have attended the earlier shows.

“This is a great platform for new business and resort buyers,” said Debby Martin, national sales manager/retail marketing for Irvine, Calif.–based swim brand L*Space by Monica Wise, which is a longtime exhibitor at CurveNV.

Nathan Chera, who represents the Anne Cole SignatureCole of California and Anne Cole Locker brands, also said he saw a lot of resort and boutique brands. Chera said his company previously showed with other swim brands at MAGIC.

“This year is definitely better than last year,” he said.

Sands Expo and The Venetian

Now in its third year, the Liberty Fairs trade show has been tweaking its product mix since it first launched in August 2013.

“We finally got the flow of the show perfect,” said show founder Sam Ben-Avraham. “We have 20 percent of brands every season revolving [out of the show]. When it’s not the right mix, it interferes with the show. This season we had the ultimate brand selection.”

For Jim Kremer of Australian brand Shoreditch London, traffic at Liberty seemed a bit slow, but overall the show was successful.

“All of the people we wanted to see came to the booth,” he said.

Robert Myers, designer of SLVDR, said he thought traffic was on par with last year, but he expected sales to increase 25 percent over last year’s show.

Chris Josol, with the Los Angeles–based Flagshipshowroom, said he saw buyers from Amazon.com,Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters and Need Supply Co.

“People come to Vegas to finalize their orders,” he said.

At Capsule, George Vause, USA sales and operations manager for the New Zealand–based brand I Love Ugly, said the show’s timing helps wrap up the season.

“It’s the finale,” he said. “It’s when you close orders and lock down accounts and pick up the money.”

That said, Vause added, “You always get a buyer who waits for Vegas to do all of their ordering.”

Vause said he typically sees more of the brand’s West Coast buyers as well as Japanese retailers at the Las Vegas show.

“This is our best show,” said Brian Chan, founder of the Whittier, Calif.–based men’s brand Wolf & Man.

By the second day of the show, Wolf & Man had picked up orders from 20 stores.

This season, streetwear veteran Karl Kani was introducing his newly relaunched Karl Kani collection at Agenda. This was the first time in a decade that his brand exhibited at a trade show.

“People had been hearing the buzz that Karl Kani is back,” he said. “We wanted to establish that the brand is really out.”

Traffic was so busy at the show that Kani said he did not have time to leave the booth all day.

Stitch, MRket and Accessories The Show, the three shows organized by Business Journals Inc., were held in an adjoining space at the Sands.

Stitch, which consists primarily of contemporary womenswear, was brisk with business. This was the first time that Lori Marchand, owner of the Impulse Moda showroom at the Gerry Building in Los Angeles, was exhibiting her lines. She said she was doing particularly well with velvet burnout tops by Hariri.

Kristy Kurtmen was showing her family’s Kurtmen line of colorful leather cowboy boots, purses and leather bands at Accessories The Show. Her family designs and manufactures the boots and purses in Martindale, Texas, outside of Austin. They have been attending the show for five years and finding a following in the South, Midwest and West for their boots, which wholesale for $289 to $439. “The show has really, really been great,” she said.

At MRket, which showcases more-traditional menswear, exhibitors who made appointments were doing well. Tim Tobin, the regional salesperson for Robert Graham Clothing, was exhibiting dress shirts, tailored clothing and neckwear made by licenseeShirt Avenue in New York.

Shirt Avenue recently got the license for tailored clothing and neckwear and was eager to show the line. “It has been good,” Tobin said, noting that there was a cocktail party on the night of Aug. 17, the first day of the show, at the Mandalay Bay to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Robert Graham Clothing.

The Offprice show, held in the ground floor of the Sands, saw a 5 percent increase in exhibitors, according to Stephen Krogulski, chief executive officer of the show. The recent show featured 500 vendors exhibiting at 1,300 booths.

Offprice’s attendance has expanded from its base of traditional off-price retailers to include everything from individual Ebay sellers to independent grocery stores looking to add new products such as clothing basics and licensed goods such as sports team apparel.

Womenswear in Nevada

At the WWIN show at the Rio All-Suite Hotel, specialty-store buyers were in abundance. The show lasted for four days—from Aug. 17 to Aug. 20—while most of the other apparel trade shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Mandalay Bay Convention Center held court for three days. The WWIN show’s traffic on the first day was helped by the fact that it was open until 8 p.m. and serving cocktails.

Becky Paulson, owner of two A Corner Cottage stores in Greenwood, Tenn., attends WWIN because the merchandise she finds there appeals to two different generations. She was looking for reasonable prices and trendy styles, such as tunics, that can be worn by both a mother and her grown daughter.

Tina Dyba, owner of Diamond Diva in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, said she was searching for feminine Western wear and trying to keep her retail prices to under $100. “It’s hard to sell to shoppers right now,” she said. “It is all about price and not about quality.”

Sourcing at MAGIC

In addition to the apparel and accessories trade shows in Las Vegas, retailers and brands looking for sourcing resources shopped factories and resources from around the world in the packed North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This season, the focus of the Sourcing at MAGIC show was wearable technology. Companies such as DuPont were showing off their stretchable inks for wearable electronics.

Jon Lou, a Staten Island, N.Y.–based startup, talked about its development of a fashionable handbag that can charge your phone or tablet and light up inside when opened.

While the emphasis might have been on new technologies, there were a lot of old-technology clothing manufacturers from around the world at the show. Governments and trade-promotion agencies sent companies from countries including Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Guatemala, Peru and Colombia.

There was a contingent of 65 companies sponsored by the Indian government. One of those was Aman Sadh of Aman Fashion, who has one factory with 150 workers outside of New Delhi. This was his first Sourcing show in Las Vegas.

But he wasn’t writing that many orders because his minimums are 10,000 to 20,000 pieces. “People are coming by and asking for 500 to 1,000 pieces,” he complained. He said he can’t keep his wholesale prices down if he does small minimums. His shorts wholesale for $1.50, and dresses range in price from $5 to $8.

But he will be back because he wants to expand his U.S. business. “We have to participate for two to four years for it to click,” he said.

Posted by Paul Brindley
on August 07, 2015

I Don’t Want To Say I Told You So – Mid-Year Economic Forecast: Signs of Strength Tempered With Notes of Caution

.. but I told you so.economy_blogimage

In my article, Full Steam Ahead for US Economy in 2015? – Just Hold Your Horses There from February, I rebutted an assersion in the California Apparel News article, Full Steam Ahead for 2015 as Economy Accelerates and Gas Prices Drop from January that “just about everyone agrees that 2015 is shaping up to be a good year for the U.S. economy”.

I won’t restate my case. You can read the article yourself.

In short, 2015 has been a very choppy economic year on many levels. The stock market has been swinging wildly, the job market is still soft, wage growth is non-existent, retailers are struggling badly, the negative effects of international events have been a drag and the bizarre inverse relationship between the health of the economy and the effects of the prospect of a Reserve Bank interest rate rise is ever more evident. I mean how is it that the Reserve Bank thinks the economy is strong enough to consider an interest rate rise but even the consideration of a rise is forcing the stock market down?

The phenomenon is explained by Robert R. Johnson, President and CEO of The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, PN, and author of “Invest with the Fed.” He said the following about the effects of a rate hike on the markets in an interview with Forbes:

The market will likely react very negatively in the short-term and continue to perform poorly over the long-term. Some pundits are claiming that the market may view a rate hike as positive for the stock market because it signals that the Fed believes the economy is sound.  I disagree.

The research presented in Invest With The Fed shows that long-term stock market performance has been dramatically better in expansive monetary policy environments than in restrictive monetary policy environments.  Expansive monetary environments are defined as those periods during which the Fed is lowering rates.  Alternatively, restrictive monetary environments are when the Fed is raising rates.

Over a 48-year period from 1966 through 2013, the S&P 500 (SPY) returned 15.18% during expansive periods and only 5.89% during restrictive periods.  The Fed was expansive and restrictive about the same amount of time.  One of the most interesting findings of our research is that stock market returns are not as correlated with the level of interest rates (whether rates are high or low) as they are with the direction of interest rates (whether rates are trending up or down).

With all that said, the uneven economic performance of the first half of 2015 has validated the measured approach to the year that I was advocating in February. Such prudence seems to have been internalized by many in the financial media and the business community.

Following is a repost of an article from an early July edition of California Apparel News with which I mainly agree. There is no burying the lead here. It’s all in the title – Mid-Year Economic Forecast: Signs of Strength Tempered With Notes of Caution.

The only point I would argue with is with the prospects for retail in California. I think we are going to play out a weak retail year. My discussions with independent retailers in the greater Los Angeles area reveal an unhappy retail environment. There have been too many very slow days this year. With lack of quality jobs out there and virtually no wage growth for those with jobs, it is impossible for there to be a significant uptick in retail activity unless we go back to the very bad old days of shopping on plastic.

2015 may turn out to be the best economic year since The Great Recession (a.k.a The Great Financial Crisis or GFC in other parts of the world) but I think it is going to continue to splutter all the same.

Some see a strong second half: Kiplinger’s Economic Outlooks

Bloomberg agrees: Signals Flashing Green for U.S. Economy as 2015 Road Clears

Some think we are headed for catastrophy: Doom and gloom: 2015 global recession warning from financial seers of the century

Who knows? After so many lean years and so many false dawns of better days, I think its best to do to what so many of us have done since 2008: stay in the present, keep your resources close, carefully manage your spending and cash flow, and be very much the more financially wiser for the experience whether you are running a business or a household or your own finances.

Paul Brindley
Principal Adviser


Apparel News


Mid-Year Economic Forecast: Signs of Strength Tempered With Notes of Caution

California’s economic outlook for the remainder of the year is good, but it’s not exactly time to pop the champagne cork because the forecast is served with a helping of caution.

A recent economic report by the UCLA Anderson School of Management showed strong job recovery across the U.S. and in California and forecast increased growth in construction, business investment and consumer demand.

“I think things are on solid footing,” said Esmael Adibi, the director of the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University.

The year got off to a slow start, due to several factors, including the work slowdown and chassis shortage during contract negotiations at West Coast ports, which left holiday merchandise stranded on cargo ships. But Adibi said in recent years, the first quarter has been typically been slow.

“Our first quarter for the last 10 years has been lower than what should have been,” he said. “Barring any unexpected events, we think the remainder of [this] year is going to show strong growth in terms of real GDP.”

Events such as the Greek financial crisis threaten to affect the U.S. economy for the remainder of the year, but with no such impediments, Adibi said, the country and the state could see job growth continue.

“That suggests that job creation, which has been relatively strong for the U.S. and California, is going to continue to be strong,” he said. “Job creation is the most important factor affecting California’s economy and consumer spending, retail and manufacturing.”

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (LAEDC) pegged the employment forecast as flat for nondurable goods in its recent “Los Angeles: People Industry and Jobs 2014–2019” report.

But Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association (CFA), said the LAEDC’s employment numbers don’t paint the full picture of the apparel industry’s economic health.

“You really can’t talk about the industry as a monolith,” she said.

The state’s employment numbers for apparel manufacturing are down, but the value of imported goods is significantly improved.

“In terms of apparel and textile sales [and the] value of shipments in the LA region, we are above 2010 and 2011 levels—and 2011 was our biggest year,” Metchek said. “It’s not made here, [but] it is part of the industry [and] it is not reflected in the employment numbers.”

Retail rebound?

Traditionally, summer in California has been strong for the state’s retailers, who typically benefit from tourism spending, Chapman’s Adibi said.

“It all goes back to the broader economy,” he said. As the job picture improves, people will have more discretionary income to spend on travel and tourism activities.

“Tourism should be very strong this year,” he said. “The only negative is foreign tourism is not going to be as strong because the dollar is strong. We’re not expecting as many foreign tourists. They will still come—but not as many as you would hope for.”

Still, more discretionary income overall points to good prospects for California retail.

“When it comes to the retail sector, there is some good news,” Adibi said. In addition to a better job market, consumers have also reduced their debt load, and there’s the “positive wealth effect” of a strong stock market and higher home prices, Adibi said.

“People feel good when they’re a little bit wealthier,” he said.

Plus, the ongoing low gas prices promise to also have a favorable effect on retail spending.

“We have not fully seen the benefit of lower gas prices in terms of shopping,” Adibi said. “I think that’s going to kick in as people realize gas prices are not going to spike back up.”

The only negative Adibi noted was the “anemic wage growth.”

“Even those people who have had jobs haven’t seen a significant raise,” he said, but added, “I think the positives are going to offset this negative, and consumer spending should be relatively strong for the remainder of the year, which should help the retail sector.”

A recent report by real estate investment commercial real estate brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap found that commercial real estate developers are accelerating the timeline on several projects in response to “heightened demand” and pre-leasing commitments are “above 80 percent, indicative of pent-up demand from retailers seeking premium space.”

But according to CFA’s Metchek, some of that demand is coming from non-traditional and start-up retailers. Online retailers are looking for go “clicks to bricks” to drum up additional sales, she said.

“You have the malls opening up their leasing space to start-up companies—not just legacy brands—because they need people to fill the space,” she said.

The retail sector is very fractured, Metchek said, adding that the bricks-and-mortar retailers who are faring the best are those with a “significant online following that brings [shoppers] back into the store.”

New retailers—such as H&M’s minimalist sister brand, COS, which opened its second U.S. store late last year in Beverly Hills—see strong business because they’re the “new kid on the block,” she said.

But Metchek says she sees such success stories as “Peter to pay Paul.”

“That business is coming from somewhere else,” she said. “The business in Eagle Rock or Echo Park or Silver Lake is coming from Robertson. If somebody’s hot, somebody else is cold.”

What’s needed is a significant fashion shift to drive consumers to the store.

“There is nothing you need to buy now to make yourself feel current—even for a fashionista,” Metchek said. “When the contemporary consumer —these people who are fashion leaders—think of a new look, then you’ll see business turn around.”

Posted by Paul Brindley
on August 05, 2015

Social Media Marketing: The Essential Tool for Shaping Your Message

Here is an article I wrote for The Nonprofit Page of the August 4-17, 2015 edition of the Long Beach Business Journal.

The page is curated by the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership.

Social Media Marketing: The Essential Tool for Shaping Your Message

What they do and the way they get to the bottom line may be different, but there are many similarities to operating a forprofit business and a not-forprofit business.

To survive and be effective, nonprofits strive to exceed the objectives and needs of their various stakeholders in a timely fashion as small businesses do with their customers and clients.

The vast majority of nonprofits and small businesses must carefully manage limited funds in order to meet goals within budget.

The importance of effective and efficient human resource management is just as important in the nonprofit sector as in private enterprise.

I could go on but it is clear that the time, money and team management challenges are the common denominators of most businesses regardless of their stripe.

If there are common challenges, then it follows that there should be common solutions. One of the common solutions is the relatively new and sometimes perplexing universe of social media.

Relatively new? You may ask. Isn’t it old hat? Absolutely not. Social media marketing is less than 10 years old, and many business people are still coming to grips with integrating the right platform options and practices into their operations. Hasn’t social media marketing proved ineffective? Definitely not. Sure, social media hasn’t turned out to be the low or no cost panacea to product marketing and brand messaging that many envisaged when the social marketing first overturned traditional promotion methods. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have a choice.

A business, for profit or nonprofit, must have a social media presence. Just as 10 years ago when you didn’t exist as a business if you didn’t have a website, a lack of social media presence tells the world that you aren’t really there, or worse, don’t really care. Above all, the social media universe has personalized and democratized the ability to get your message out to the world. This is the most exciting aspect. Frame your own message, tell your own story, present your business in your own way. The opportunity is to be embraced and celebrated.

Most nonprofits have one key element of successful social media market inherent in their being – differentiation of message. Most nonprofits exist to support a cause. Cause marketing is one of the most powerful tools in branding and messaging. Nonprofits can point directly to their mission and say “we only exist for this”.

It is immediately identifiable, direct, demonstrable and often local. The social media revolution has conditioned customers and clients to want to know who they are dealing with these days. People are now given the opportunity to know you and what you do like never before. And you have the opportunity to present yourself and your team and your business to your target audience like never before. Nonprofits are perfectly placed to use social media to relate their passion and commitment to their causes while inviting engagement from the public.

So how do you implement a social media strategy with the omnipresent time, money and resources constraints?

Here are my top five easy things that you can do.

  1. Pick a channel, the right channel – research which social media platform most readily reaches your target customer and concentrate your efforts. If you are in the tech world, it’s probably LinkedIn. In fashion, design and textiles it’s Instagram. Use the linking capabilities on the different sites and spread one post across many. For example, when I post to Instagram, I can opt to post the photo on Facebook and Tumblr. Then Tumblr auto posts to Twitter. Savvy use of the technology saves time. There is no need to pay for any of these services.
  2. Always include a Google touch – Google is the most powerful search engine there is. Make sure you feed the beast. YouTube is an excellent option. It is a Google product and very Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendly. YouTube has resources and special offers just for nonprofits at youtube.com/nonprofits. Consumers love the video option for messaging and branding. Make sure you also post everything on to Google+. It might be a user desert but it is very searchable.
  3. Allocate who and how long – choose your most social media savvy team member and give them an allocation of time every day (15-30 minutes is plenty) to be creative on your social media platforms. Let them have their head and play. Keep restrictions to a minimum. Creativity and spontaneity and regularity of posts are the key.
  4. Make sure all your online presence is up to date all of the time – if you commit to having a website, social media platforms and an email strategy, please make sure that the information on all the outlets is consistent and current. Out of date or stale content reflects badly on your business.
  5. Track your progress – most social media platforms have free activity tracking services. Make sure to review the statistics weekly to ascertain which sites and types of posts are most active. Link your website up to the free Google Analytics service.

Nonprofits are in a unique position to benefit from the unfiltered access that social media provides to their communities. Nonprofits are overwhelmingly staffed by passionate and committed people determined to create a better world for all of us. They have stories to tell that move and inspire. The world needs to hear their voice. There are infinite voices seeking to be heard. Social media can be their bullhorn. (pbc helps designers launch, position and accelerate in the U.S. apparel market.)

Paul Brindley

Posted by Paul Brindley
on July 15, 2015

REVIEW: Agenda Long Beach, July 2015 – Agenda LB continues evolving and diversifying

The Agenda Long Beach tradeshow that filled the Long Beach Convention Center last week on July 8 and 9 with over 750 action sports, lifestyle, sportswear, accessories and industry services brands stayed on its recent steady progression of attracting a broader diversity of exhibitors and attendees.IMG_20150709_134735

Long gone are the days of the overwhelmingly skater and surfer crowd. With Agenda WMNS, The Woods and now, Resource adding to the mix, the beer still flows early but its not all young male tee-shirt and cap wearing shredders doing the drinking anymore.

Agenda Long Beach is the most fun of all the trade shows that I attend. There is a party atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, the brands are their to do business but if you can do that business with a beer in your hand at 11AM on the first morning, go for it.

A heart starter at The Mad Hueys booth on Day 1

A heart starter at The Mad Hueys booth on Day 1

That is exacly what was happening at the The Mad Hueys booth when I was introduced to one of the Australian owners of the brand by my good mate and top notch photographer, Adrian Wlodarczyk of Shapeshift Photography. The Mad Hueys hails from the Gold Coast in Queensland where a good amount of Aussie cheeky irrevence has influenced the logo tees and caps.

The Mad Hueys have secured a US licensing deal and should be spicing up a surf store near you soon.

The action sports and streetwear section, The Berrics was crowded and boisterous as usual. The aisles between the large, built out booths clog with vendors, buyers and media getting a look at the latest from the major action brands.

I have more than enough shoes but still like to admire the offerings in the footwear section. My personal fav this time was the Gola booth. Gola was one of THE brands of my teenage years. It is good to see that they are looking better than ever.

In Agenda WMNS, I caught up with the Australian sister brands, Tiger Mist and Rise of Dawn. The owner, Stevie Pallister and the Brand Manager, Yvette Collis are back in town from Melbourne to show the latest offerings from both lines and their latest addition, Rise.

Yvette Collis, Brand Manager of Tiger Mist at Agenda LB

Yvette Collis, Brand Manager of Tiger Mist at Agenda LB

The very attractive fashion fashion price points ($99 max. retail) of the print driven Tiger Mist and Rise of Dawn collections have a strong following with Revolve, Nasty Gal, Asos and Forever 21.

Yvette told me that The Nasty Gal buyer was at the show. Other exhibitors mentioned Finish Line, Modcloth and Urban Outfitters attending. Apparel News reported so were buyers from Nordstrom, Pacific Sunwear, Zumiez, Tilly’s, Zappos, Jack’s Surf, Need Supply Co., Pilgrim, Black Market, Bodega and Convert Man.

Rise is a basics collection with sleek fashion styling in block colors and black and whites utilizing assemetry and mesh among other signature fabrications and styles, all at the same price points as the sister labels.

Yvette said that they were very happy with the activity at the show. The other booths at WMNS didn’t seem to be doing much business.

It was then off to The Woods section which reminds me of mini Capsule with a sophiscation of design and use of premium materials to produce contemporary and progressive active and sports wear.

The Woods is a mix of legacy brands like Kennington, Volley  (they still sell the same styles I wore playing tennis at school) and  Goorin Bros along side emerging labels such as Alite Designs, Native and the Australian dual gender label, Handsome Me.

Joe Dikdan, BDM of Ramp Logistics inthe new Agenda Resource

Joe Dikdan, BDM of Ramp Logistics in the new Agenda Resource

I liked the addition of the Resources section which showcased manufacturing, technology, and logistics providers in the apparel industry including NuORDER, Paypal, Shopify and Lightspeed POS.

Joe Dikdan, Business Development Manager at the apparel specialist Ramp Logistics, was happy with the activity in Resource.

He said it will be difficult to quantify the effectiveness of the show until all the follow up is done and subsequent business starts to flow.

Joe saw bricks and mortar retailers looking for ecommerce solutions and fulfilment services, and brands needing his full service logistics.

Businesses were leaving cards and requesting follow up, and taking his flyers which Joe thought was very positive proactive engagement that he wouldn’t have experienced by just walking the show and networking.

“I’m glad we did it” is always good to hear.

Although not a Spring season trade show, the July edition of Agenda Long Beach feels like the kick off of the Spring trade show circus that will continue through to LA Market Week in mid-October. We are now coming out of the doldrums of Summer for wholesalers.

Next stop, the massive Las Vegas round of Spring16 trade shows from August 17-19. This is the biggest contemporary apparel wholesaling week of the year.

Despite the continuing weak retail conditions (Apparel News reported that sales measured by an index of independent surf and skate shops, kept by ActionWatch, a market-research group, declined 2.4 percent for the period of January to May 2015 compared with the same time in the previous year), there was optimism and buying activity at Agenda LB.

The financial press is predicting a modest upswing in the economy for the second half of 2015. Let’s hope that translates into the retail sector. If it does, there will not be enough time for the improvement to be felt by the time of the Las Vegas shows in mid-August. I’ll be interested to see if retailers have got wind of better times by then. Will let you know.

Paul Brindley
Principal Adviser
paul brindley consults

Posted by Paul Brindley
on July 07, 2015

Rules of Attraction: Tips and Advice for Getting Attendees to Visit Your Trade Show Booth

With the Spring16 round of fashion trade shows almost upon us, I thought this a useful time to repost an article from California Apparel News in May that includes insights from an outstanding group of trade show producers on the preparation and execution of exhibiting at their shows.

Liberty Las Vegas Fall15

Liberty Las Vegas Fall15

While much of the information is straightforward and obvious, it does provide a refresher for those experienced hands heading into another season of shows, and may provide some new insights to those new to the US fashion trade show circuit.

The article also puts faces and names to the producers of some of the most well-known and successful showcases around the country.

The crux of the advice is:

  1. Prepare – use all avenues both direct and indirect to advertise your participation to prospective buyers. Pre-show calls, and email and social media outreach are vital. As much as possible, ensure your booth look and feel matches your brand aesthetic. Plan in detail the merchandising of your booth.
  2. Be proactive – be open, available, organized and knowledgeable during the show to maximize your opportunities with buyers. Ensure the booth is clean and uncluttered, your cell phone is charged, you have a system to record prospects and foot traffic enquiries, and line sheets and marketing collateral are easily accessible. Step out and engage prospects.
  3. Follow up – you have spent valuable resources to attend the show. Make sure that all prospects not matter how warm are followed up. Make sure your team asks prospects how and when they would like to receive follow up. Make sure the instructions are noted and followed accordingly.

Good luck. I hope the coming season is a success for everyone involved.

I will be reporting from Agenda Long Beach that starts tomorrow at the Long Beach Convention Center. Let the shows begin!

Paul Brindley
paul brindleyconsults.com


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Rules of Attraction: Tips and Advice for Getting Attendees to Visit Your Trade Show Booth

Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way to expose your brand or services to a wide range of potential buyers, but there’s more to it than simply showing up and waiting for attendees to stop by. Although there’s no substitute for pre-show planning, there are still ways to attract buyers once the show has begun. From well-merchandised displays and dedicated greeters to snacks and giveaways, exhibitors have a number of ways to draw attendees to their booth or showroom.

California Apparel News recently caught up with several trade-show organizers to ask for tips and advice for exhibitors looking to generate excitement and attract more buyers at the trade show.


Aaron Levant, Founder, Agenda


Agenda is different from many shows in that we actually discourage brands from creating a lot of excitement at their booths. We have stringent rules in place to prevent brands from having any type of amplified sound, promotional models or giveaways in front of their booths. We also have guidelines for the displays, such as how tall a booth can be, and restrict the amount of additional fixtures or signage outside of what we provide. The look of our booths is tightly curated to encourage a focus on product rather than the aesthetics of the booth.

We encourage our brands to show special or exclusive items that are only available if a buyer orders at the show to promote transactions on site. We try to encourage our brands to use the show as a vehicle to engage in meetings with existing and prospective customers, and we encourage them to set appointments and management meetings at the show.



Britton Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, BJI Fashion Group

MRket, AccessoriesTheShow, Stitch




MRket, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch are highly juried trade shows, and, by providing the right atmosphere for our attendees, the show floors are easy to navigate and naturally create a sense of community. We are adding new engagement areas this season to support discovery and add a new energy and buzz to the overall experience for both our retailers and designers. It’s about enjoying time at the shows and elevating the show experience. Our activations aid in creating conversation and generating great content for the designer’s social-media channels, which in turn creates an instant awareness from the buyers while in Las Vegas for market week. Some of these new engagement areas include a Style & Shoot section where designers will have the opportunity to participate in a live photo shoot with a fashion photographer, stylist and models. After each shoot, we post the images to BJI’s social-media accounts and share them with our designers as well. Posting the Style & Shoot images during the shows helps to garner further exposure from our collective audiences.

It is so important for designers to “tell their story” to the retailers, get their message out and create a buzz around their collection before a market week. We are passionate about helping our designers fuel this buzz by staying closely connected to the retail community through a myriad of channels. We can’t stress enough how beneficial it is for exhibitors to participate in all the marketing opportunities MRket, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch have to offer. Our diverse mix of communication is designed to serve the needs of every one of our retailers. This includes pre-show, on-site and post-show marketing materials, our My Market mobile app, extensive personal outreach programs and our show websites, which present a complete story by providing look books, show guides, exhibitor profiles, article and brand buzz sections as well as almost daily email blasts. Also, by engaging in our show conversation on social media, exhibitors are aligning themselves with all things show-related. This creates a real-time awareness and makes it possible to be seen even when busy working with customers at the show.



Brittany Carr, Director of Events and Trade Shows, California Market Center


Pre-show outreach is imperative for a successful show, and I strongly urge our exhibitor base to be proactive in reaching out to potential buyers weeks prior to market. Whether it is doing store visits, sending teaser pictures of their new lines or cross promotions via social media, building a relationship prior to coming to market is key. If these relationships are cultivated correctly, buyers will make the extra effort to come to see a rep based on their relationship.

That being said, there are certainly specific things an exhibitor can do to appeal to walk-in traffic once a show begins: 1) Present your brand in an attractive and organized space with displays that showcase your product well; 2) Smile and acknowledge buyers passing by without seeming overly aggressive. Make them feel comfortable enough to walk inside and browse your goods at their leisure; 3) Good candy, complimentary water bottles and other treats are nice ice breakers. Exhibitor takeaways such as branded tote bags and branded water bottles are traveling advertisements and are noticed by other buyers walking the market; 4) Take advantage of advertising, display and sponsorship opportunities offered by show producers to help direct attention to specific exhibitors during showtime. Basically, exhibitors need to be proactive participants of a show, maximizing every opportunity that helps their product stand out within a show environment. Once they’ve done what they can to capture a buyer’s attention with presentation and self-promotion, it’s ultimately the product that will hook the buyer in.



Caron Stover, Vice President of Apparel Tradeshow Sales, Atlanta Apparel


Engage with our Atlanta Apparel social-media community. Using and following our hashtags—#AtlantaApparel and#ATLApparelFav—is an excellent tool for researching and reaching buyers who are in the building. We have an outpouring of positive feedback from exhibitors who have taken the time to make connections online.

Take advantage of the Digital Showroomsatwww.americasmart.com. Buyers can locate product info, view look-book photos, and connect with the brand’s website and social-media communities on these complimentary online listings.

Demand the buyers’ attention with on-site advertising and sponsorships. From a sponsored Daily Strut fashion show on our atrium runway to a spread in our Buyer’s Guide to a Video Wall loop, advertising is a great way to break through the noise and market distraction. A great ad campaign is a key component in building brand recognition.

Be approachable, free of distractions and attentive to your customers’ needs! Once they enter a booth or showroom, it is up to the exhibitor to build and grow a strong relationship with the client. This is definitely the most important way to bring in buyers.



Vanessa Chiu, Show Director, AXIS


Axis takes aesthetics and culture into account at every turn. We curate both on-site activations and off-site events, paying close attention to providing a conducive platform to promote retail, media, authentic tastemaker face-to-face time.

Our exhibiting collections exhibit in a gallery-like setting with white walls, natural wood and modern fixtures that mimic an architectural facade that plays up the brand’s story and focuses on the product.

We encourage our brands to work together with us and use us as a resource, define/outline their retailer distribution goals pre-show and further streamline their brand’s story through our digital campaigns to our networks. It’s incredibly important to be consistent with your pre-show outreach and brand messaging, communicating to your network of prospective and current retailers, media, industry peers and influencers.

An authentic way to spread the word is through word-of-mouth through these networks. We highly encourage setting appointments for retailers and media. A few other on-site incentives include offering in-booth targeted gifting, showing only exclusive product.



Hillary France, Co-founder, Brand Assembly


Of course there is no substitute for pre-market prospecting, but there definitely are some simple yet important ways to catch the eye of buyers during the actual show. At Brand Assembly, our setup is a blank canvas with no intricate booth build-outs; this is because we are huge advocates of having the product speak for itself.

With the product as the main feature, it is important to have the booth merchandised smartly by being clean and organized and not to overcrowd or underutilize a brand’s racks or shelves. The brand should have their “show” pieces strategically placed throughout to keep a buyer’s attention while browsing a collection. The product should be wrinkle-free and not falling off the hangers, and the product should be reset after each appointment worked.

Another important suggestion is for the sales rep to be engaged, warm, inviting and prepared. The sales rep should make eye contact with buyers as they pass by or get up to greet buyers that come in. The rep should have a clean work space and look the part. Wearing the clothes of the season is one of the best selling tools! The rep should also have exceptional knowledge of the product and pricing and be prepared with key selling tools such as legible line sheets and look books. It all sounds like common sense but is truly one of the most important aspects to initiate any contact with a potential buyer.

Every season at Brand Assembly there are many new and emerging brands showing their collection for the very first time, so we are especially sensitive to providing them guidance on how to stand out and attract buyers that are not necessarily there to seek them out. Our simple advice for them is “focus on the basics.”



Henri Myers, Co-founder, Creative Director, Coeur Tradeshow


At Coeur, we know that having the right brands featured in a well-curated manner helps attract the best buyers overall each season. But when it comes to the exhibitors, they can do several things to create excitement and bring more buyers to the show. Brands can prepare ahead of time by having a strong campaign image that resonates with their brand but also adds spark to what they plan to feature at the show. This can be in the form of daily images sent or posted through their social-media outlets or promo videos of the new collection and its inspiration. Brands can also showcase special behind-the-scenes footage that also works for press, bloggers and those key buyers or real potential accounts they are looking to attract. Participating brands can do a string of teasers to send all stores presenting information on the show as well. By doing this, brands can make moves to connect with stores that are a match and even gain appointments this way as noted last season with a few top stores seeing great images during the Coeur show in Los Angeles on Instagram or Twitter that caught buyers’ attention, which got them to pop by to see and write the line.

We also encourage all brands to properly research the stores they feel could be potentials. This is an integral part for each brand to spearhead and be responsible for. Contacting these stores before the show to set up appointments is also a way to ensure a stronger showcase at Coeur. There’s always walk-by traffic, of course, but we know that brands cannot solely count on this to obtain orders. It’s about each brand being proactive and not reactive.

Another aspect at Coeur is that due to the overall vibe and setting of Coeur and what we provide, brands can and often do create strong collaborations with other key brands for future projects. Depending on the collaboration, this too manifests great opportunities and buzz that buyers also notice and get excited about.



Hisham Muhareb, Co-founder, SoCal Materials Show


Create a buzz by utilizing social media before, during and after the show. Let your social-media audience know where you’ll be. You can also create a buzz during the event by offering promotional items. T-shirts, water bottles, snacks with the company logo always attract potential customers to your booth.



Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, Chief Executive Officer, CurvExpo & Interfilière



One of a kind experience: Why would a buyer visit your booth and not another one? Why would a customer buy online or decide to visit your store instead of another one? Because of the unique experience you create. A great look and feel is nothing without offering a great experience. A combination of this carries the most weight when attracting buyers on the show site. The brand’s presentation makes the space inviting and an easy-to-share quality with buyers. Providing buyers with supporting digital and printed material of their brand(s) is also a great way to ease business on site and encourage word of mouth. Furthermore, brands need to be creative and bold when looking to attract buyers. This can be done through various incentives such as get-togethers, serving food, beverages, handing out flyers, showing videos, giving goodie bags, holding events within your booth and so on.

Last, through encouraging your team to work together and maintain enthusiasm throughout the show, buyers are more likely to want to come into your booth. An exciting and motivating attitude will enhance a brand’s productivity and experience.

Social media: Another way to encourage attracting buyers and creating a great experience on the show site is through making the most of the social-media platforms available. Brands should constantly tweet, post on Instagram, Facebook, etc., throughout the duration of the show. By using official hashtags and letting people know where a brand is and what it is doing is a very easy way to gain extra, free exposure and encourage buyers to visit the booth.

Spend time in and out of your booth: It is very easy for a brand to get sucked into manning their booth all day during a trade show. However, team members should try to share duties in order to network during conferences, social events and walk the show floor. By doing this, it is a great way to help gain industry knowledge, tips and new tools. It is also an ideal place to meet new people, which helps give a good return on investment outside of the sales aspect of the trade show.


Meryl Mandelbaum, Managing Director, Designers and Agents


Designers and Agents’ recommendation to its exhibitors is to keep it simple. Obviously, there is no substitution for great product. A well-merchandised and focused presentation is key to attract buyers’ attention. Giveaways, snacks, greeters, etc., can be “gimmicky” and are more of a distraction than anything else. We realize that this may not be the consensus, but in regard to the aesthetic and culture of our show, this is what works.



Eva Walsh, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Dallas Market Center


At Dallas Market Center, providing resources to guarantee exhibitor success while at market is a top priority and one of the best ways we can serve our new and loyal customers. We’re thrilled for what’s in store for our marketplace in the second half of the year, on all fronts. With consumer confidence in Texas 26 points higher than the national average, we’re seeing growth, increases in attendance from key buyers and new manufacturers at each market across all industries.

One of the ways we encourage exhibitors to generate excitement and draw buyers to their showrooms is through the power of social media. With our following of nearly 50,000 buyers, manufacturers, reps, bloggers and industry friends—more than any other apparel marketplace in the country—we encourage exhibitors to connect with our pages during market. We see that exhibitors who utilize our#dallasmarket hashtag, post visually appealing and trendsetting product photos, purchase information or location garner more attention from buyers. The on-staff social-media team hosts seminars on the fundamentals of customer engagement through social media, which can directly translate into sales. Our staff is always available on and off market to aid our exhibitors in social-media success.

Additionally, we provide several opportunities for our exhibitors to have product featured in areas throughout market such as during our runway trend fashion shows, sponsoring a buyer’s lounge and our inspirational displays located throughout the building. Our incredible visual team professionally designs these displays from exhibitor product and highlights specific niche categories of merchandise and trends, and our runway shows draw hundreds of buyers looking for the latest trends of the upcoming season. With these opportunities, buyers are able to see the products come to life on a model or on a mannequin, which helps them envision how their customer will see the product. These elements are also positioned in central buyer locations and allow exhibitors to get in front of their audience and present their product. When showrooms participate, buyers notice it.

We also encourage and promote exhibitors who host events during market as well as special guest appearances such as designers, authors, celebrities and more. Inviting buyers to come be inspired by a guest speaker or celebrity always excites the crowd. Whenever exhibitors decide to host an event, we feature these events with a promotional listing in our Showtimer guide, which is distributed across campus. Above all, an exhibitor’s product is always at the forefront of generating buyer interest. Our marketplace is full of exhibitors with unique and one-of-a-kind product, and we invite our industry friends to experience the inspiration, growth and commerce in Dallas.



David Dea, Founder, Factory Direct


To maximize exposure while at a trade show, Factory Direct recommends:

•Providing sought-after giveaways.

•A small takeaway that describes the DNA of your company at a glance—perhaps with a special offer for coming to the show or consultation.

•Aesthetically pleasing graphics.

•Working your social media—talking about giveaways and special offers for visiting.

•Social media—actively pre-show, during the show and post show.

Most importantly, for all parties in the booth to bring the positive energy, because it’s contagious.



Suzanne De Groot, Executive Director, Fashion Market Northern California


Fashion Market Northern California—FMNC—has a great reputation for being a very friendly show to attend and shop. It starts at the front desk. From the moment buyers register and get their badge to walking down the aisle in our open-booth environment, attendees tell us FMNC is a relaxing and fun place to do their buying.

Smiling and a positive attitude always is a great attraction!

This translates to our exhibitors as well. Exhibitors with a friendly attitude that look and wear their brands and/or designers make a statement to a buyer walking by. Buyers appreciate how the designs, whether apparel or accessories, look on the body.

The most successful exhibitors create an environment that is visually attractive. They have the experience and past successes to know that if they offer displays with new designs and collections right up front, it will attract new buyers.

Limited displays curated by color and style create a visual landscape for the buyer to imagine how the merchandise will translate in their shops.

Most of the time, less is more. … The exhibitors that offer a unique limited taste of a designer up front know that it will attract the interest of the buyer to want to know more of a designer’s story.

Lifestyle posters, company logos, and signage professionally printed and mounted present a polished statement. Additional lighting will highlight displays on the wall. Mirrors need to be in reach of a buyer trying on apparel and/or accessories.

Offering a comfortable place to sit, water and snacks will encourage a buyer to stay in the booth, ask more questions and write orders.

Successful exhibitors have extra staff that are knowledgeable to help in the booth. You do not want to miss a buyer that is ready to buy.

We as a show also strive to create buyer satisfaction by offering free parking, lunch coupons, afternoon snacks and a late night with wine and beer for extended shopping, and we recently have added Starbucks coffee and food trucks in addition to the salads and other items available from the San Mateo Event Center catering service.

We provide special rates at the Marriott, which includes parking and a shuttle to and from the hotel each day of the show. We also offer a free room at the Marriott to any new buyer attending the show.



Andrew Olah, Founder, Kingpins


We recommend that our exhibitors edit their offerings down to their best/newest items—and show their fabrics in full garments with the best possible wash. A lot of times, the instinct for exhibitors is to pack as much of their collections into their booths as possible, but often the result is a cluttered, unfocused booth that looks more like a yard sale than a beautiful collection. It is hard for even the most gorgeous of fabrics to stand out in a packed rack. We all eat with our eyes first, and a well-edited booth allows designers to more clearly see a mill’s point of view.

Giveaways are also a good way to get attention—but only if they tell a mill’s story and are, for lack of a better word, cool. Everyone seems to be more conscious of waste and what gets sent to landfills. So, pens and traditional giveaways such as calculators or lanyards no longer cut it. Giveaways have to be something that recipients will actually use and keep. Some of our exhibitors give away items like teddy bears made from knit denim, beautiful pouches made from selvage denim, indigo-dyed woven scarves, denim bow ties and pens carved from wood—all things that tell their brand story and are novel and memorable and functional.



John Ruffo, Founder, Lazr Trade Show


Lazr Tradeshow is preparing for another successful event slated for October during LA Market week. Our retail-relations team is hard at work informing both our exhibitors and retailers on key reasons to attend our event.

Lazr’s retail-relations team works hand in hand with exhibitors to pinpoint targeted retailers. Lazr management also visits retail stores and buyers face to face to add a personal touch. Over the last several show cycle, our success is based on building personal relationships and networking. This in turn creates trust and builds rapport.

Our grassroots networking approach along with visiting retailers and buyers, one by one, person by person, one door at a time, assures a positive return on exhibitors’ investment experience.



Sam Ben-Avraham, Founder, Liberty Fairs


There’s definitely no substitute for pre-planning. That’s the best thing you can do for your business at a trade show. Outside of that, the key thing to remember is that you have about 15 seconds to tell your brand’s story when a buyer is walking through the aisle. That story should be told through a combination of branding, personality and, of course, merchandising—less is definitely more. On the personality side, it’s important to be approachable and engaging rather than pushy. Always look alert and attentive when sitting in your booth, not preoccupied. Eye contact and a smile are the best conversation starters.


Leslie Gallin, President, Footwear, UBM Advanstar
(including FN Platform, MAGIC, WSA, Sole Commerce and Project Sole NYC )


Drawing attendees to your booth starts well before MAGIC begins. I see it as a process with five critical components:

Pre-sell. Don’t wait until you are behind the booth to start selling. Start communicating with your target buyers before the show starts. Nowadays, we all receive way too many emails. Buyers respond to visuals, so invest in handwritten notes with look books and invite buyers to visit you at the show. Ensure they’re aware of your offerings and set appointments early. Follow up with phone calls when possible.

Curate. As far as booth presentation goes, less is more. Buyers are drawn to product they can see. Know your buyers and their stores. Highlight which products are your best-sellers and a selection of others that fit into their store specifically. If this is your first time meeting, get to know their needs a bit more and schedule a follow-up conversation. Ask questions and show a genuine interest in their customer demographics. This mindfulness will differentiate you from the masses.

Booth Environment. Create an environment within your booth that not only exudes the heart of your brand but makes you and your team excited to be there. Energy is contagious, and if your sales reps are excited, your buyers will naturally follow suit. Also, add props inside your booth, for example, old suitcases with shoes placed on top. This shows the retailers a clever and inexpensive idea for displaying the product. Retailers need the visual stimulation of how you see your brand sitting on the store shelves. Remember, they too have limited space to bring the shoes to life. Less is more when setting up your booth shelves.

Network. At the end of the day, “People want to do business with who they like.” Don’t leave relationship building behind the booth. Engage with your key buyers and industry colleagues at exclusive dinners and after-hour events. MAGIC offers loads of opportunities for networking.

Social Media. Social media is a way to get your brand in front of the world. Consumers and retailers are using social media to glean an understanding of what trends are important. Leverage the power of social media to let your followers know about your presence and compel them to visit your booth through giveaways, contests, etc. Use tools such as Foursquare to create promotional incentives and generate buzz before, during and post show.


Judy Stein, Executive Director, Swimwear Association of Florida/Miami SwimShow


Nothing really can take the place of pre-show planning, but some other ways to attract buyers include:

Promotions: Friendly and flirty bikini-clad girls are a staple at our show. You see them everywhere, and do they work to get buyers into a booth? You bet they do! As do in-booth fashion shows, celebrity appearances, complimentary snacks and swag bags. Great show promotions not only capture a prospective buyer’s attention, they also garner their contact information to nurture that relationship. I would point out though that while it’s important to have fun and be creative, you should avoid too many promotions and focus on just one or two great ideas. You want to promote as a way to get the right people in the booth, but you don’t want to fill your booth with people who are there just to take advantage of your promos who are not interested in your products.

Networking: Our show offers multiple opportunities to network throughout the four days including our annual Cocktail Party and Fashion Presentation, Spring/Summer 2017 Colors & Trend Seminar, Swim Lounge, Breakfast Bar and High Tea. I suggest taking advantage of these moments to create new and strengthen existing relationships. Talk to everyone, everywhere—simply saying hello could generate a great new contact.

Environment: I suggest a clean, warm, eye-catching and inviting environment. Don’t overpack the space with too much furniture and displays. You want to make sure that there is enough space for you, your team and your buyers. Be the oasis in the maelstrom where they can seek refuge. Another key point to remember is that it should be accessible. The interior set up of the booth is just as important, if not more so, than the exterior. The working area should be designed to comfortably work a line with buyers.

Staff: It’s important to remember that the employees in your booth are your ambassadors. It is important to staff your booth with a team of outgoing and knowledgeable people who will be able to disseminate information about your products while simultaneously engaging people who stop by to find out if they are potential buyers.



Debora Pokallus, Chief Executive Officer

Bel Esprit Showroom—The International Showroom for Ethical Fashion

Showroom International—The International Showroom for Independent Fashion


Bel Esprit and Showroom International work with independent designers, and we know firsthand the difficulties these designers have in attracting the attention of buyers. We created our event, Moda 360, to help. Marketing a fashion line today requires more than a booth at a trade show or a runway during a fashion week; designers need great visuals and branding out in the press and on social media to attract attention, not just of buyers but also the end consumer. Moda 360 challenges designers to creatively present their collections and provides them with necessary marketing materials (photos, videos, press) to get buyers’ attention.

The focus at trade shows is writing orders, so most booths are arranged to provide all the SKUs and options. But retailers also want to know how to sell a collection to their customers, so designers who provide merchandising and presentation ideas to buyers will make it easier for retailers to visualize how the collection will work in their store. Also, the more designers define their brand and have that brand representation out in the market, the more easily retailers will understand the concept, and the right retailers will be attracted to the collection.

The retail market is difficult, with bricks-and-mortar stores competing with e-commerce, and retailers want to be sure that what they see and buy at trade shows will sell through. Designers who engage their end customers and creatively express their brand for press/media and in social media will attract the right stores for their collections, and retailers will have more confidence in buying a brand when they see the consumer engagement, they will know the target market of the collection. Because most independent designers do not have adequate resources to produce these marketing materials, we developed our event to give a different perspective on collections, focusing on the creative presentation of the brand and providing a portfolio of promotional materials for designers to use before and during trade shows so that their brand concept is known and understood, and buyers who are interested in the designer’s concept will seek them out.



Ashleigh Kaspszak, Director, Marketing and Public Relations, The New Mart


Be original in your approach. It’s all about the personal connection. At The New Mart, people come first.

Word-of-mouth marketing during the show is extremely powerful. Friendly interactions with new people can go a long way, so talk to everyone, say hello, get to know the person in the elevator or on the way back from grabbing your morning coffee.

You will stand out by going the extra mile— i.e., host a party, attend events or seminars that are happening during a show—talk to your neighbors, the buyer entourages, whoever. Trade-show events are professional, but they are also social. Put your best foot forward in every way.

Create an enjoyable experience for your returning buyers while utilizing time as best you know how. This way you can encounter the many opportunities available to you. And don’t forget, keep lines of communication open during the show at all times—be available by phone, text, email, fax and social media!



Stephen Krogulski, Chief Executive Officer, Offprice Show


It’s all about the product and its availability and both our exhibitors and retailers know this. Due to the nature of Offprice being a fast-inventory turn, quick decision and a high-energy environment, where one deal can make your quarter numbers or maybe your year, planning is the key.

We provide various tools to assist in the pre-show preparations for both our exhibitors and retailers to ensure they have a meaningful and hopefully a profitable experience with the Offprice Show.

Gilles Lasbordes, General Manager, Première Vision


First, besides the fact they can inform their customers of their presence at the show, we have different ways for exhibitors to increase their visibility.

First, all exhibitors are invited by the Première Vision Fashion team to send their best creative and innovative products for the different fashion forums. Being on these forums is a good way to be noticed by visitors.

They can use the digital tools PV developed and is still developing:

•Filling in the questionnaire to give more information [than] they have in the e-catalog.

•Sending all information about their company, their products, their innovations, their activities and news. This information (they all get an email from the communication department as a reminder every season) would be used in different media: the website, our social networks, our daily paper distributed at the show, our new smartphone application. … The more specificities they give, the more chance they have to be included in those media and to be seen by most of the visitors.

•They can also invest in media advertising to draw attention to their collections before the show.

•They can also organize events linked to the company directly at the show—conferences, presentations, etc. … It’s a good way to get communication before and during the show.



Roy Turner, Senior Vice President, Emerald Expositions Sports Group



On site at the show anything that offers visibility is key, including participation in product showcases, fashion shows, floor stickers and celebrity/athlete autograph signings. Timely A/V, thematic props and overall merchandising can’t be dismissed either. Stay focused and, most of all, engaged with the attendee. If you sit in the back corner, nose deep in your iPad, don’t be surprised when you don’t have a good show or attract orders.

Beyond the physical, don’t forget digital opportunities. Last year we introduced opt-in based “networking” between buyers and exhibitors via our mobile app. The response has been great, and it’s available at no cost. Also, one tool that’s often overlooked at the show is lead-retrieval systems. Data capture is key to sales success and improvements in lead retrieval systems now enable instant access to data and allow staff to capture and respond to leads in more efficient ways.

For exhibitors, a successful trade-show experience really starts with a booth and great product. The entire show floor is competing for buyers’ attention, and exhibitors need to build awareness of their brand before, during and after the show for the greatest success. Surf Expo is known for being a “business-first” show, where buyers come to write orders. Buyers have limited time, and most are booked with appointments from open to close each day, then they spend nights writing orders and meeting/networking with exhibitors. Some allocate a morning or afternoon to walk the show floor to see what’s new. We develop our sponsorship and advertising opportunities with this in mind. From pre-show, product-driven emails and direct mail to product inclusion in our fashion shows and our many showcases (new product, new exhibitor and footwear), there are ample opportunities to help exhibitors stand out.



Jeff Yunis, President, Specialty Trade Shows

WWIN (WomensWear In Nevada)


First and foremost, we encourage exhibitors to let buyers know that they will be at the show and where their booth is located. At the show itself, we have numerous ways of attracting buyers to booths. We offer large photos, signage and banners at near our cost. We offer well-placed mannequins that we professionally dress with appropriate signage and even have a special section for “made in the USA.” We offer showcases for the accessories people, and perhaps the best new way to get buyers to a specific booth is via our show app. By using it, buyers can search by category, booth location, exhibitor name and more. And we have staff throughout the show to help buyers find specific lines or categories.