Trade shows are an efficient way for industry professionals to come together whether they are showing a product or purchasing a product. They are held worldwide in cities and usually hone in on a specific aspect of the industry. For instance, there are accessory trade shows, womenswear trade shows, menswear trade shows, and shoe trade shows just to name a few. Usually held in conference centers or decent size outlets, they are an exceptional way for your product to be seen.
There are multiple exhibitors that rent booths and show their product to perspective buyers. Also there are networking opportunities and sometimes workshops and presentations that are shown at the event. For designers just starting out it can seem difficult to navigate or just seem confusing on how to be able to show your line at a trade show. You have to apply well in advance to exhibit your collection at the show. Or if you want to just walk the show and see what it is about the best approach would be to make an appointment to meet with the person who runs the show to do a walkthrough. Then from there they can assess if you will be a good candidate to attend the show. The ultimate goal of a trade show attendee should be to get orders, publicity, and industry connections. They are a good resource because you will get in front of buyers you might not normally get a chance to see.
There are several past and upcoming trade shows in New York alone.
Some recent shows held in NY were:
Coterie was held September 15-17, 2019 during NYFW at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. This event featured women’s contemporary apparel and accessories from vendors around the globe.
Sole Commerce was held September 15-17, 2019 during NYFW at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. This event featured many women’s and junior’s footwear brands from the Eastern Seaboard.
This event was held at the Jacob Javits center on September 15th-17th in NYC during NYFW. This event featured the hottest trends and in the moment looks.
Many shows are still going on throughout the next few months. Some upcoming shows include:
This event will be held on January 5th-7th, 2020 at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. There will be high end and contemporary accessory collections shown.
This will be held January 5-7th, 2020 at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. This event will showcase both womenswear and denim.
Accessorie Circuit will be held on January 5th-7th, 2020 at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. There will be high end and contemporary accessory collections shown at this event.
These are menswear shows that are going to be held January 19th-21st, 2020 at the Javits Center in NYC. There will be men’s apparel, footwear, and accessories showcased.
Active Collective will be held in NY on January 23rd-24th, 2020. This event will feature over 150 brands from the fashion fitness marketplace in different categories such athleisure, active performance wear, accessories, and footwear.
This will be held February 11th-13th at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC. This event will feature every category of children’s clothing from newborn to tween with various categories such as clothing, accessories, and toys.
Be on the lookout for all of these shows because they are a future opportunity waiting to happen.
Personally I think trade shows are a good resource but only if done the right way. They are costly and just like with anything else you must have good follow through. There are steps you must take to lay the foundational elements down for your business. For one thing you must have continuity by doing several shows, not just one. Additionally, you must have the wherewithal to promote your product whether that is by print or on the web. You should also approach stores after the show to get more orders. Always follow up with stores that you see at the trade shows who haven’t left an order yet because a lot of the times stores place orders after the show itself. Pretty much you must have all your ducks in a row by having clean-cut samples, professional pictures, and always be on time with your orders to show your reliability. Its like any other equation, you must have all the parts in place to have a viable outcome. If you don’t follow through after a trade show chances are your return of investment will be lower and leave potential orders unplaced.
One time I was at the Coterie trade show in Manhattan and I was perusing through the different booths. There were many booths to look through, but one in particular caught my eye. I stopped at the booth and the owner and designer of the company was selling belts. He ended up drawing me in with his USP (unique selling proposition) and his drive. This resulting in the purchase of multiple units of his belts for my store at the time. I found the show beneficial and added inventory to my store. As long as you have the tenacity, drive, and follow through trade shows can lead to a successful path.
Overall trade shows are a good resource if done right. Keep an eye out for trade shows that best resonate with your market of the fashion industry.
Maria Pesin knows fashion, especially the business side of the fashion industry. Do you know how Manolo Blahnik got his start in the industry? How he leveraged a paltry 3 grand into one of the world’s most famous luxury brands? While she doesn’t take credit for Manolo’s success, Maria has walked a similar path on numerous occasions. The world of fashion is not silicon valley, and it has nothing to do with Madison Avenue marketing. In this industry there is ALWAYS room for something new and exciting, but you have to have your ducks in a row. If that’s what you need, believe me, Maria is the General Patton of fashion ducks!
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