Surf Expo Supports Watersport and Beach-Lifestyle Communities
During its Sept. 9–11 run, event producer Emerald’s Surf Expo show returned to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. For Surf Expo Show Director and Senior Vice President of Emerald Roy Turner, the success the show experienced during this most-recent edition was reflective of the industry, and he expects the momentum to continue into 2022, particularly when the event launches its Digital Market powered by Elastic Suite.
“Our job is often to simply be a mirror of the markets we serve, and this September Surf Expo showed that both buyers and sellers in the board-sports, beach and resort markets were ready to get back to business,” Turner said. “We saw new buyers as well as veterans and saw many companies launch new brands with much success. Returning exhibitors got the opportunity to meet with customers unseen in the last 18 to 24 months. Like the industry we serve, there was business to be done.”
Miami-based independent buyer Shirley Lippincott shopped for Caribbean retailer Red Sail Sports. Shopping for the stores’ major season, which runs December through May, Lippincott placed a lot of orders for goods that wholesale from $23 to $65 and felt the show provided a variety of items across categories. Lippincott reported buying from men’s lines Huck and Henry Costa Coastal in addition to women’s footwear from Shu Shop.
“There were a lot of new vendors that I haven’t seen before, and I’ve been going to this show for a really long time. I bought a lot of product from vendors I had never worked with,” Lippincott said. “Each category had a good selection of vendors, and I don’t think it was missing anything. It was really good and really helpful for us.”
Hülya Swim Chief Executive Officer and founder Hannah Patten noted that buyers were searching for unique pieces with competitive wholesale pricing between $25 and $45. Meeting with buyers from the East Coast, Patten said that her brand’s eco-friendly swimwear resonated with them.
“When I would mention that the suits are made out of recycled materials, that would be the stopping moment for people to come in and check it out,” Patten said. “[I] made a lot of really great connections and met a lot of awesome brands that want to work together and do some collabs and meet some new buyers.”
At the Katin USA booth, the Compton, Calif., company’s senior vice president, Dale Rhodes, saw buyers from Florida and the United States’ Mid-Atlantic region. The 67-year-old brand saw demand for its dusty colors and vintage hues as well as its walk shorts.
“It was a blockbuster. We had a new setup and look and feel. We were busy for three days solid,” Rhodes said. “There were a lot of people who I didn’t expect to show up and they did. People are feeling a little more confident. Everyone wore their masks and everyone was conscientious.”