Business Stays Consistent at WWIN


Janska from Colorado Springs, Colo., makes comfortable hats and coats manufactured in the United States.

A sea of clothing filled the six ballrooms of the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino for the semiannual WomensWear In Nevada (WWIN) show in Las Vegas.

The wide corridors leading up to the ballrooms were lined with clothing hanging on the walls to advertise some of the more than 800 fashion lines showing at the event, which was held Aug. 17–20.

Normally, WWIN opens on a Sunday, one day before the other shows, and closes four days later on a Wednesday. But this year, the fashion event opened on a Monday, on the same date as the other major apparel trade shows in town, and closed one day later on a Thursday.

Some exhibitors thought this hurt business, but the show stayed open until 8 p.m. on Monday, with wine and cheese served to entice store buyers.

Many exhibitors felt there wasn’t as much buyer traffic as last year. Roland Timney, one of the show’s founders and organizers, agreed. “Traffic throughout the city was off. Buyer attendance was down, but overall we had a good show. Some vendors did extremely well, and others didn’t do so well.”

Jennifer Hutton, whose Jennifer Hutton Sales at the California Market Center in Los Angeles represents the misses lines Impulse and Fantazia, said she was having a little anxiety attack at the beginning of the show because traffic was off from previous shows. But in the end, she managed to write enough paper to make the show worthwhile.

“I felt the traffic was off. Several people commented about that,” she said. “But if you have appointments and are known to always be there, you can pull the dollars off. I am neck and neck with last year.”

This was the first WWIN show for Amanda Blu & Co., based in Olathe, Kan. Normally, the 10-year-old company—which designs and makes fashion accessories, jewelry, sandals and tunics—attends several gift shows around the country. But the company, founded by Michelle Ferrel and her

husband, Mark Ferrel, walked the WWIN show last year and talked to exhibitors, who were upbeat about the event. Retailers said they consistently stopped by the event to find new merchandise.

“We felt it was a little slow, and based off what other people around us said they agreed.” said Michelle, who designs the lines. “We did get some orders, but you always want more.”

But she noticed that clothing-store buyers at the WWIN event weren’t as adamant about stocking cheap merchandise compared with gift-store buyers. “We have two price ranges for our sandals and tunics. When the gift-store buyers come around, they are more interested in the cheaper end. But at this show, the buyers were interested in the more expensive items.”

She said the lower wholesale price range for sandals is $7.50 and the higher end is $15. For tunics, the wholesale prices range from $8.75 to $12.

Many buyers at the WWIN show were complaining that there should be more shuttles connecting all the trade shows spread out among the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the Sands Expo & Convention Center and the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

With the WWIN show recently sold to Urban Expositions, exhibitors are hoping that the new owners can figure out a way to get more shuttles operating.