Making the Most of Your Trade Show Visit—Before, During and After

The challenge for all trade show attendees is to find what they’re looking for—even if they’re not quite sure what that is. Faced with limited time, sometimes sprawling layouts, and a sea of booths decked out to capture attention and entice buyers to stop, look and shop, the trade show experience can be daunting.

Trade show organizers know that—and they have created tools for buyers and other show attendees to prepare their trip, navigate the show floor and find exactly the right item—either from a trusted source or from an unexpected new resource. California Apparel News Executive Editor Alison A. Nieder caught up with several trade show producers and executives to get their advice for buyers looking to get the most out of their trade show travels.

Allison Lombardo, Vice President, Retail Marketing

Advanstar Fashion Group, producers of MAGIC Men’s, WWDMAGIC, Project, Pooltradeshow, FN Platform, Sourcing at MAGIC, The Tents, Project MVMNT, WSA@MAGIC and ENK Vegas

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

For nearly 80 years, MAGIC Market Week has been offering a one-stop shop and solution to the buyer for all of their apparel, footwear, accessory and sourcing needs—at every price point, category and lifestyle. While we are the most complete global fashion resource in the market, we understand the critical need to refine and tailor the shopping experience for our buyers based on how and what they buy.

To that end, we’ve established 10 shows and destination environments within the total market week that offer distinct points of view and highly curated buying environments for our retailers. Whether they are sourcing or shopping high-end, accessibly priced or factory-direct, or whether they are in the market for footwear, swimwear, youth culture, juniors, contemporary, advanced contemporary, denim, or designer collections for men, women and children—we are building tailored shopping experiences to meet retailers’ needs in advance of the show. Onsite, we offer tools and guides to make sure that the discovery and shopping path are easy to navigate.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead? How should they follow up after the show?

Yes. We launched Shop The Floor back in February of this year to help buyers extend their MAGIC Market Week experience before, during and after the physical event. Shop The Floor allows buyers to discover, connect with and shop brands when the time is right for them in their buying cycle. As a pre-planning tool, buyers are using Shop The Floor’s map functionality to identify new brands by trade show or product category, see where brands are located on the show floor, and schedule appointments to better plan their time at MAGIC Market Week.

The Advanstar Fashion Group’s Retail Marketing Group is a year-long resource dedicated to helping buyers improve their general business and MAGIC Market Week experience. From a show perspective, we help with hotel accommodations, advance registration, brand discovery, business connections and matchmaking—in other words, the team offers a dedicated concierge-level service to elevate the experience for its retail attendees.

John Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer Messe Frankfurt USA Inc., producers of Texworld, Texprocess and TechTextil

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

This varies based on what they are trying to accomplish during their time there. Depending on what they are looking to find, they can search by country, product category or end use. [For] first-time visitors, we encourage them to visit the Texworld USA trend forum, designed by the art directors of our Texworld Paris event. This allows them the opportunity to see and feel the fabrics offered at the show. They can then follow up with the exhibitors directly on the show floor.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

The lists of exhibitors and seminar series are available on our website. They are consistently updated as exhibitors sign up and new seminars are added or updated. They can research each exhibitor before the show, as we link the company to the company’s website complimentary to help with pre-show research. Based on which seminars an attendee wishes to attend, they can plan out which day(s) to visit the event. The expo and seminars are complimentary, and we try to maximize the value of the time spent at the show for everyone, so the show remains open to the trade only.

How should they follow up after the show?

As an attendee works a show, they make contacts. Between the contacts made on the show floor and during the seminar series, partnered with the abundance of information they receive in the Visitor’s Guide, they are fully equipped to research and make buying decisions after the show until the next event.

David Lapidos, Executive Vice President, OFFPRICE

How do you advise buyers shop your show? Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead? How should they follow up after the show?

Buyers should do their homework before they leave their native city. Know what their open-to-buy is. Know what sells. Know what to look for and when they’re going to need it, and know what price points make sense. They’ve got to understand their customers’ needs. They can’t come to the show and just walk around—it won’t be optimizing their time.

On our website, they can get an idea [of what product will be available], but it’s not like being at a show and seeing what the samples are.

At the show, we have a staff that will show people where certain vendors are located. We have seminars for buyers, and we have a tour [explaining] how to buy. [The tour is for new buyers], but we have people who take it more than once. Because to go through 1,300 booths without a plan would be difficult.

If they see something they like, then they buy and there’s paper. It’s an order-writing show—that’s the beauty of it. You’re mostly dealing with principals of companies. They make the decisions, and they encourage offers. That’s the way it has always been—offer and acceptance. If the buyer isn’t sure or if they want to consider their open-to-buy for that item, they have to take notes.

You don’t want to walk by if the vendor doesn’t have someone in the booth. You want to take that time to open up a dialogue and establish some sort of preliminary relationship. Take advantage of the time that you’re there. And wear good shoes—it’s a lot of walking.

Aaron Levant, President, Agenda

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

The Agenda show is merchandised by neighborhoods and curated by like-minded brands. Our goal is to make the trade show experience easy to navigate, yet inspiring for both retailers and media. The show floor is segmented to represent each facet of California lifestyle with streetwear, action sports, sneakers, the Berrics Agenda, a curated-skate section, surf, and, now, expanding the women’s voice. With over 600 brands represented, we group brands by styling and merchandise story, making for a conducive and cohesive shopping experience.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

Yes, we have our website and targeted initiatives via our social-media channels. We’re highlighting exciting buzz-worthy news, promoting collection launches and highlighting emerging brands through our monthly targeted newsletters. Engaging with our retailers and brands is extremely important. Our Instagram has been a key channel for us to visually engage with our community and broadcast new updates.

How should they follow up after the show?

Agenda provides a platform for authentic, face-to-face, meaningful connections with retailers, brands and media. After the initial meet and greet, it’s up to both the brands and retailers to carry on the relationship to fruition.

Olivia Reyes and Oscar Ben Rodriguez, Trade Show Division, managers of the Select and of Transit shows, California Market Center

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

We advise that all buyers plan ahead before shopping our trade shows each season. Before each edition, all participating brands are listed on each show’s webpage, along with booth numbers, product images and contact information. The best way to shop the show is to review all brands online ahead of time and make appointments in advance to ensure you will be able to meet with the brands you want. We also offer directories to all buyers upon entering the shows that include product images, the floor plan, booth numbers and contact information to assist buyers in locating specific lines or products. It is also highly recommended to take notes on all brands of interest in the directory to stay organized, and do not forget to bring business cards.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

Our marketing team posts brands to the show website as they are confirmed with direct links to the company website. We also send out e-blasts, publish blog posts and utilize various social-media sites, creating a constant stream of brand images, contact information, announcements of special events and much more. Furthermore, we typically spotlight new exhibitors on all of the previously mentioned mediums, so buyers can learn about new vendors and their products in advance. Lastly, the show manager is always available by phone, email and on the show floor to answer any questions from buyers in regards to exhibiting brands and navigating the show.

How should they follow up after the show?

Buyers should collect line sheets and business cards, and keep the show directory to be able to follow up with the representative(s) they meet at the show. If they did not receive the representative’s business card during the show, they can also use the printed directory that we provide, which contains each brand’s contact info.

Ed Mandelbaum, Co-owner, Designers and Agents

How do you advise buyers shop your show? Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead? How should they follow up after the show?

The website exhibitor listing can serve as a preview to the upcoming show, and we suggest that retailers check back often as we are continuously updating the show roster. Undoubtedly, we believe retailers should allow ample time to “walk the show” to meet with both existing and new resources. We know countless retailers who have discovered amazing new designers at the show simply by walking past their booth.

In our business, you have to see collections first hand—touch them, ask questions—to have a proper understanding of the brand. This is achieved by allocating enough time at the show.

All of us at D&A work effortlessly and pride ourselves on creating a welcoming environment—from the ambiance to the food, music and flowers. People love spending time at D&A because it’s such a pleasant working atmosphere.

Our team is always ready to assist. If a retailer is searching for a specific type of product and/or category, we direct them the best we can.

We suggest retailers make appointments. This aids not only the retailers but designers as well. Having a scheduled appointment allows designers to properly prepare and keeps retailers’ work flow moving.

D&A has always been known for being a “writing show.” It is a case-by-case scenario. Many place orders at the show and some after they have reviewed their notes.

Eva Walsh, Vice President of Retail Relations, Dallas Market Center

How do you advise buyers to shop your shows?

We’ve put together the following list to guarantee buying success while at Dallas Market Center:

Download. First things first, download the Dallas Market App before you arrive at Market to access the most complete and up-to-date market information available:

Get familiar. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including FashionCenterDallas. But don’t worry—our facility is organized by product categories into easy-to-shop neighborhoods. In general, permanent women’s apparel showrooms are located on the World Trade Center 14 and 15; Fashion Accessories, Scene and Strut—Dallas Shoes are on WTC 13; Temporaries are on WTC 12; Children’s Apparel on WTC 8; and Men’s Apparel are on WTC 7 & 15.

Make appointments. Make appointments in advance with key vendors to ensure you accomplish everything you need to at market, and leave time to check out new lines.

Take notes. Take notes throughout the year on what sells and what customers are asking for so you are prepared to look for these needs at the show. Tweet or post on Facebook lines and products that you are considering buying, and monitor customer reactions. Listen to your customers!

Bring backup. When possible, bring a business partner or sales associate to help cover the entire market and make evaluations.

Come for inspiration and learning. Trend seminars and line tours can be invaluable; so can networking opportunities with other retailers during social events hosted by the Dallas Market Center. Take photos of visual-merchandising ideas that can be executed in the store. Product photos can also be posted on Pinterest back home to alert customers on what trends will be coming soon.

Come early and stay late. To allow for additional time to buy, we offer a Preview Day, when exhibitors take appointments, and, on Fridays of Market, a shop-late night with many permanent showrooms open until at least 7 p.m. to help you get business done.

Wear cute shoes! It is all about fashion, after all!

Additional tips:

Make sure you explore new lines, visit at least one showroom you haven’t worked with before, and scour the temporaries for new products at every Market.

Be sure to have your credentials (credit information, business cards with ship-to- and bill-to addresses, and copy of state retail-tax license) readily available.

Don’t be afraid to leave orders at market—you can always ask your sales rep questions later. And don’t feel like you can’t discuss different terms on orders for lines you are trying out.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

The best way to work market is to plan ahead and download the Dallas Market Mobile App. The App will help you organize each day for maximum efficiency.

In addition to the Dallas Market Mobile App, buyers should “like” Dallas Market on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter ( as well as check out our Pinterest ( Exhibitors post new lines or products on these social sites leading up to Market, which is a great resource for buyers. Also, Dallas Market Center’s “Know It All” blog offers information on better business practices and much more.

How should they follow up after the show?

After Market, follow up on any orders you have questions about and share your inspiring market experience with your staff, including the photos you took at the show. Get everyone excited about the new lines that will be available in your store. It’s always smart to organize images of the collections that will arrive soon to use via social media to entice your customers to come check out the new offerings. And book your next trip to Dallas Market through our in-house travel team, which offers great discounts on air and hotel. Contact Market Travel® at (214) 744-7444 or

Suzanne De Groot, Executive Director, Fashion Market Northern California

How do you advise buyers shop your show?

We have an open-booth show and switch vendors around the show floor—within their categories—so they are in different locations for each show. We intend this change of placement to encourage buyers to walk the entire show, giving them the opportunity to see new resources and vendors they do not always work with—yet still find their current vendors.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

We have pre-registration on our website ( to shorten the registration time—especially for new buyers—publish a show directory with all vendors listed, a floor plan and places to make notes for appointments, etc., and they can link up with vendors on the website to set up appointments via email. We also list hotel information, driving directions and nearby restaurants, and other helpful information on the website and in the showbook.

How should they follow up after the show?

By reviewing their orders placed and filling in from notes taken but not placed—contacting vendors for any further information they might need to complete their OTB for any given season. Also, noting line names and rep or company information to be able to reorder easily. Finally, make a plan to attend the next Fashion Market Northern California show, June 23–25. Every market the shows continue to grow, and we strive to make it an easily accessible, buyer-friendly venue.

Lucía de Sander, Executive Director, Apparel Sourcing Show in Guatemala

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

As the show will showcase the whole supply chain for the apparel and textile industry, it would be important to bring all their specifications, technical packages and samples—if they have them—to begin their sourcing immediately with the show exhibitors.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

Yes, the APSS 2013 has the “matchmaking meeting.” This activity is perfect for buyers and factories. The show compiles the information from the factories and textile mills we request prior to arriving to the show that buyers fill out a form with the exact information of products they will be sourcing. With this information we make a match between factory and potential buyers and arrange business meetings for each buyer with factories or textile mills. These meetings take place within the show. If the buyer is interested we also arrange factory visits.

How should they follow up after the show?

After having these meetings and exchanging samples, fabric swatches, etc., each customer and factory should follow up by a phone call or email to maintain communication until they can agree on a price and try test orders or large orders, depending on the customer.

Andrew Olah, President, Olah Inc./Kingpins

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

Our shows are tightly edited, and the show floor is very intimate, but there is still a lot to see. Despite our small size (our biggest shows have yet to reach 50 resources), we find that buyers often spend two days shopping our floor. We think of this more as a testament to the compelling nature of our resources than a need for buyers to streamline their shopping strategies. Our goal is to create an environment for exploration and discovery on our show floors, so that as buyers walk each aisle they are finding resources that cater to their needs and ones that inspire their design process.

Another way that we help buyers shop our show is by offering, in partnership with Stylesight, denim-centric trend seminars that coincide with the seasons our exhibitors are showing.

The effect is that the information either confirms the direction designers are moving in and they feel more confident in their buys at Kingpins or it illuminates a new opportunity for them and gives them time to explore options immediately on the show floor. Either way, our focus is for buyers to linger on our show floor and truly “shop the show”—not just cherry pick from familiar resources.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

Prior to every show we release our exhibitor roster and include information about each vendor’s “specialties” so that buyers with specific needs can easily determine who they want to make appointments with or visit at the show. Also, when we have new initiatives, education opportunities or additions to the show floor, we include that information in our invitations and reminders about the show. For our upcoming show in Los Angeles, for example, we are continuing to put a focus on our Los Angeles–based vendors and letting buyers know that beyond the denim mills, full-package manufacturers and sourcing resources that we are known for, they can also expect to find a growing variety of local contractors at Kingpins.

Kingpins also produces videos of resources and trends that we find on the show floor. Our show director, Erin Barajas, shops the show and highlights some of the best and most interesting items on the show floor. They are a great way to get an overview of the market and the show and help attendees familiarize themselves with our exhibitors and their offerings.

Judy Stein, Executive Director, Swimwear Association of Florida

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

The Miami Beach Convention Center is spacious and allows for all exhibitors to be on one floor. The show is easy to navigate as it is segmented into separate areas that accommodate nearly all exhibitors—juniors, misses, contemporary, designer, men’s and children’s. But we also believe that there are some great brands that have cross-over categories, so we encourage our buyers to walk the entire show at least once throughout the four days that they are with us so that they have the opportunity to discover a new brand that they might not have otherwise seen in their familiar section.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

We make sure to prepare our buyers and give them as many tools and resources at their fingertips as we can. We start by listing all of our exhibitors on our informative website. We follow that up by sending out a gorgeous digital monthly newsletter that highlights a seasonal top trend via select images from our members. We also disseminate press releases on a regular basis that announce any new and exciting exhibitors joining our show. And last but not least, we have an easy-to-read pullout floor plan in the directory and in large display cases throughout the trade show.

How should they follow up after the show?

We believe in making it as easy as possible for the buyer to be able to find the vendor that they want to do business with, so our directory is compiled with every vendor’s contact information, and it is cross-referenced in several different ways, allowing a buyer to be able to find that vendor by member representative, by the brand name and by the booth number.

Guglielmo Olearo, International Exhibitions Director, Première Vision

How do you advise buyers shop your shows?

After 26 editions already, Première Vision New York has become the major fabrics and accessories show for the North American professional buyers.

The reasons of this success are found not only in the very selective and qualitative offer of products coming from all over the world but also in the additional services that Première Vision has created to accompany and foster the creativity of our visitors.

When a visitor attends our shows, he knows that the first automatic reflection is to visit the Fabric Forum, where he can find the most impressive innovations from our exhibitors. Touching, seeing and even breathing the fabrics are a strong source of inspiration. Furthermore, the creative process is accompanied by the “Trend Seminars,” held by Sabine le Chatelier, Première Vision fashion associate director, which are a very rich synthesis of a long consultation process that has involved designers, trend setters, fashion stylists and Première Vision exhibitors.

The trend seminar shows the fashion guidelines in terms of colors, materials and consistency of the fabrics.

Even during his first visit, a buyer doesn’t feel lost since our catalogue is a reliable and simple source of orientation, allowing very quick contact with the exhibitors, which are classified by products, use and textile universe.

Do you have any resources to help them plan ahead?

Première Vision is not only an exhibition organizer but also a powerful marketing company whose aim is to foster the fashion industry, staying as closest as possible to the market. Our company has 12 representative offices around the world to satisfy any requirement from our exhibitors and visitors.

The Première Vision office in New York covers the North American market, being regularly in contact with the major buyers, providing the most important information and novelties from our exhibitors.

Mr. Thierry Langlais, PV Inc. vice president, [who has] a long experience in the textile and fashion market, helps the buyers to prepare their venues since there many things to discover at Première Vision New York in only two days!

How should they follow up after the show?

Once the contact has been established, the designers/buyers and our exhibitors work together to prepare the collection. They work in a fusional, creative process.

With the aim to improve and better satisfy our customers, Première Vision organizes regular satisfaction surveys on the buyer and exhibitor side, providing a reliable snapshot of the textile market.

Britton Jones, President and CEO, Trade Show Division Business Journals Inc.

Sharon Enright, Vice President

Britton Jones: These are things that are near and dear to our hearts. A big focus of what we have tried to do with our shows—and the fact that we have launched specific shows for specific market segments—is because we want to help retailers prioritize their time and make their time as constructive and productive as we possibly can.

A lot of what we do is to help them shop the show most effectively but also to make retailers aware of the resources on the floor. It helps to attract them to the show in the first place. It helps position the shows as compelling shopping events for them.

Each show has a very specific merchandising strategy. We advise the buyers to spend time with our materials—and we do have a lot of materials that we produce prior to the show—so retailers can come to the show as well-informed as possible as to what’s on the floor.

The materials we produce, provided prior to the show, are designed to facilitate both random discovery and also search. [We produce] newsletters for each show that profile new designers [and] product launches. There are a lot of pictures—again, for discovery—as well as content about exhibitors. It’s an extensive effort to familiarize the retailers with the resources that are on the floor that season.

We do this because we know the retailers are pressed for time. Time is really the most precious resource they have—especially these days as most retailers have flatter and flatter management structures. Everybody in retail is being asked to do more with less time. So we want them to be very well educated as to who’s in the show and how the show can satisfy their shopping needs prior to the season.

The next thing we do are profiles of every single exhibitor on our floor. Those are done both electronically on our website and in the menswear industry and accessories industry with special sections in Accessories magazine and MR magazine. Those include a four-color picture of the product being featured. It includes categories, and it includes contact information—every single exhibitor in the show. Those are searchable databases, so if you are looking for a very specific product, you can put that in as your search category and it will bring up all the exhibitors in the show that have that product.

It gets posted about three weeks prior to the show. The newsletter goes out probably two weeks before that.

We’re working to both facilitate products that retailers have maybe never heard of before, as well as [provide information for] the retailer who knows they’re looking for a certain category of ready-to-wear or a certain type of accessories.

The next thing that we do in our major shows—in Las Vegas in February and August and in New York in January, May and August—is we have a mobile app. It lists every single exhibitor in the show by show. [For example] Stitch’s exhibitors are listed as Stitch, Accessories are listed as Accessories. But we also have a search category for all of our shows. So it’s searchable by show, by all the shows and by product category. That mobile app also includes things like banner ads and mobile showrooms.

Ours is a pretty robust mobile app in that it enables retailers to research the exhibitors through the app, and it also enables them to create a shortlist of exhibitors they want to see. It enables them to create a route so they can use it to plan out a map of the exhibitors they want to visit in the show.

And then there’s one other thing that we do to facilitate discovery and increase brand awareness and help retailers find new resources on the floor—and that is our in-show network, which is a closed-loop video network about the show and about resources in the show. The viewing points are strategically placed on the floor in the registration area and at the beverage lounges so that when somebody is waiting to register, they can see various product and where they can find it on the floor.

It’s just another way of facilitating that discovery process, which is another part of the whole show experience for retailers. They’re really coming to find new and different resources that can stimulate sales with their customers.

[The in-show network content] gets posted on our website, as well, so retailers can use those as a follow-up mechanism. The apps stay live as we move into follow-up after the show. Those exhibitors’ profiles on the website are active for a couple of months—basically until the next show. That’s the case on the mobile app, as well.

One other very important and highly impactful piece that we just started last year—and they’ve become incredible popular—are our lookbooks. These are four-color pieces [with] presentations about some of the new and notable designers that have joined our shows. We spend a lot of time with layout and design with these pieces because we want them to be a positive reflection of the show and give people a feel for the type of attention to detail that goes into the shows and the merchandising as to who’s juried into our shows.

One [other buyer tool we have] are our show catalogs, which are presented in ways that are meaningful. They’re laid out in alphabetical order by exhibitor name, they’re laid out in booth number, we break the exhibitors out by category. The vast majority of retailers—in fact, 88 percent of our retailers—say they use our catalog on site or after the show as a means of follow-up—or both.

Sharon Enright: The idea is that we’re reaching out to the buying community in a variety of ways to serve their needs the way they want them served. Some retailers prefer looking at a print piece, others prefer looking at it on a digital level either through our mobile apps or the website. So it’s our ability to reach out in various mediums in order to communicate with the retailer in a way that is best suited to them.

We know that the pre-show promotion is working because exhibitors tell us, “I got a call from a buyer. They saw the article you wrote in the newsletter or they saw an image in the magazine.” We know from exhibitor feedback that that pre-show exposure is working for them and working for the retailer. We have statistics that show us that these are very important ways to communicate.

B.J.: One of the things that is most distinctive about our show floor, as opposed to some of the others in the industry—and something we hear time and time again—is that our shows are really order-writing shows. They’re laid out in a way that’s very conducive to writing business. Our aisles are wide enough. This is done purposefully with input from the retailing community. Show producers like narrow aisles because it makes their floor look crowded. Retailers don’t like narrow aisles because it makes it difficult to see product. And if there’s someone sitting in one of the two chairs in front of a booth in a narrow aisle, they’re just getting jostled all the time. Our shows are really laid out to be a place to do business. The value of our show is primarily about the number of orders written at the show, although there’s a healthy amount of orders placed post-show. Most well-seasoned exhibitors know that you shouldn’t really measure the impact of a show until a couple months after a show, but the majority of the activity takes place at the show.

And, as Sharon says, exhibitors will tell us that retailers discovered them through the magazine pieces, through the profiles in the newsletters, through the mobile app, through the lookbook, which has created a big, big stir in the last year.

Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, Chief Executive Officer, CurvExpo

The high-end designer lingerie and swimwear market is a niche where CurvExpo has a leadership position. We are addressing a very segmented and specific demographic of retailers, so we know them very well. Most importantly, we establish personal relationships with them in order to understand how, as a show, we can contribute to their growth. This is how we can understand their buying cycle, their sell-through and their issues in term of inventories, for example. From that we can position our show to give them answers and solutions. Within our trade show portfolio—CurvExpo being a part of the Eurovet shows worldwide—we offer them the very best selection of events to build their assortment and fit with their buying calendar. For example, one of the best American intimate stores based in Denver shops our Paris show in January and July, not coming to any CurveExpo show in February—but coming to CurveNY New York and CurveNV Las Vegas in August. Why? They come to Paris to see the world’s largest lingerie and swimwear offerings and to get inspiration from our amazing fashion shows and trend forums but also because they need to close their Fall/Winter season buying at the end of January. Their schedule is different in August, and they close their buying during the CurvExpo shows.

Our shows are professional, and both brands and retailers are planning them carefully, seriously and in advance. To facilitate the links within the community before the show and prepare them efficiently, we provide our brands with tools that they can use to showcase themselves and that are, for most of them, complimentary. This system acts as an appointment-booking facilitator, managed by the brands directly from the back office of our website. They can be a part of our newsletters that reach 10,000+ contacts via email and on Pinterest (three different newsletters every month—one lingerie, one swimwear, one men’s); interact with the buyers with our daily news on, Facebook and Twitter; work with the editors, thanks to our press room; advise their presence at the show with digital customized invitations, banners on their website and email signature etc … and everything is linked to the appointment-booking tool, generating more than 1,000 appointments per show. For the brands that participate in all four shows each year, this complimentary exposure is offered for all 12 months, and coinciding with their level of participation, they realize a lot of business during and after the shows.

We connect the industry’s community thanks to our digital tools. When the buyers are plugged in to our website and our social media, this is a continuous source of information about how the industry is moving, what the new collections are and who the new brands to watch are. For the brands, it is a yearlong advertising campaign! We are in the process of improving our website to make it more innovative, user-friendly, and, overall, the best industry reference. By the end of this year, we will have a completely new website, which will be the same platform for all of our shows all over the world. It will expand all of the tools with an even better appointment-booking system, linking the show agenda and calendar directly, including more information about each brand with more pictures and a few examples of their product. Retailers will be able to select the brands they would like to see and view an interactive map of the floor plan to organize their appointments.

Planning is important, but we also want our shows to be the place where the retailers will discover new lines and where brands that are not yet established will grow. We constantly want to open buyers’ eyes to new things. This season, we are launching a new incentive on both coasts to focus on the importance of new business. Every retailer who welcomes a new brand to their store by placing an order during the show is eligible to enter a sweepstakes to have a chance to win a trip to Paris to visit our shows, trend and store-management consultations, and some other great gifts that aid buyers. The more new accounts they open, the more chances they have to win! We also promote emerging, directional designers through a dedicated, central area at both shows, featuring smaller, seamless booths, different carpet colors—a much more open and edgy area.

But for me, the most important thing is that each member of the CURVE team is there to welcome the retailers at the entrance of the show. We have a little walk with them. We ask them, “What are you looking for? What is your price point? What do you want to add to your store?” We want to be, in a way, their personal shopper at the show—to push them to discover new brands at the show. Our floor plan and show directory, which we give onsite at the shows, play an important part by detailing the different segments of the show, the new brands and everything a buyer needs to know in detail.

Helping the buyers both in making the best of having an appointment-driven show and opening their eyes to discover new things and to improve their offerings are the strongest priorities for us.

Finally, we understand that the retailers need to limit their expenses, so we have designed our shows to offer the most efficient experience. CurveNV Las Vegas is now a two-day show where breakfast (that we offer at 8:30, just before the opening), lunch and a nighttime party are complimentary for the buyers. We also have a VIP program on both coasts dedicated to our 500 best buyers that offers the most all-inclusive and pleasant visit of our shows.

Our core mission is to grow the business and profitability of the intimate apparel and swimwear retailers. To do that, we have to understand where they come from, what they do and how they want to grow in order to give them the correct tools that will lead to the best offerings in their store and the best practices to make it more successful. But at the end of the day, we also have to make sure that we are not adding too many costs to their PNL. If we succeed in that, the industry as a whole will grow.