I just returned from Las Vegas where I attended both KIDShow and MAGIC. Two dramatically different tradeshows that showcase established and emerging apparel, accessory brands and sourcing manufacturers. I’m considering showing Petit Couture through shows like KIDShow and ENK (MAGICKids ironically is too small) in the fall timeframe (spring/summer buying season). KIDShow in particular has a great reputation for being a solid West Coast show where many brands have showcased their products (more on that below) but I was struck by the energy of the show itself.
1.) I’m the founder and primary funding source for an emerging brand. I love what I do, but I want it to make money;
2.) This is fashion people, I expect art and fantasy;
3.) I have had the luxury of attending and hosting events in the past where bells, whistles and then some were standard…..the energy left me re-charged and re-focused and connected to my business purpose;
4.) Tradeshows are expensive to attend as an exhibitor (on average for childrens’ all-in $6k), I want to feel like the experience is a memorable one where people walk away having a good time, making money, making connections and feeling good about the time away from family and friends.
I had anticipated a room that was more ‘creative’ in style that evoked the fantasy of ‘shopping’. I was expecting bells and whistles. MAGIC delivered that, but due to the fact that booths were largely enclosed it was incredibly difficult to see who was where (at least at the Platform show). There was a coolness to MAGIC, but no vibrancy. KIDShow had amazing lines and GREAT people working the show (reps, designers, founders and the event staff), but left me confounded. Do I? Don’t I? Is it the right fit? Did anyone at that show book the type of business they needed to? Did they have fun?!??? Did the lines there make back what they paid to be there?
I want to know what has happened and was the invigoration ever present? Is it because it’s a down economy and shows are struggling? Is it just the ‘culture’ of apparel shows? Is it because it is ‘fashion’ and it’s uncool to be excited? (Seriously, even in 3″ wedges I would still jump for joy and hug someone if they booked an order – cool or not).
Hudson’s “Maze” Display – Super Cute!
Don’t get me wrong, I saw some great, established brands like 3 Pommes (I love this line!), Tea Collection, Cach Cach, Kate Quinn Organics and Diesel. And, some amazing emerging brands like Cutie & Patutus (a mama-preneur like me based in South Carolina), Tiny Pants (a great new brand out of LA from a former stylist – and maker of my favorite piece seen at the show – a raincoat that is fabulous. Seen in the above pic.) and Tiny Whales (super cute urban-inspired line out of Orange County – and their owner/designers love owls!).
This all said, I will book shows for Petit Couture in the future. But, I am still hunting for the right one. It is part of the process, but fit is critical as are the sheer volume of buyers walking the show. I’m super happy that I invested the time PRIOR to investing significant money in a show that might not be the right fit for the brand or product line. I’m going to investigate ENK next (in New York and I’m told it is a great show). And, there are regional shows that Petit Couture will be at – NW Market Association March 20 – 22 – and I’m considering gift shows and possibly NW Kids in Seattle.
Rita Polidori-O’Brien of Earnshaws and Me
I would be remiss if I neglected to write about having the pleasure of spending quality time with Rita (pic of the two of us here), Erwin and Angela from Earnshaws. They are fabulous individuals and tremendously insightful members of their industry. I’m fortunate for the time spent and look forward to future meetings and discussions about technology, strappy shoes, battery life for our beloved iPhones, kids, politics and more….
Any recommendations for the right show for me?