Stitch Experiences Vary at Show

At Stitch, held Feb. 12–14, the atmosphere was a mixture of zealous vendors, optimistic retailers and a few disappointed exhibitors.

For first-time exhibitor Marigold by Marilyne Baril, banding together with fellow Montreal-based brands to the left and right of her booth afforded a sense of camaraderie. Though she was off to a slow start on the first day, by day two, Baril was taking orders and enjoying her newly established partnerships with retailers.

“Every time we tell our mini story—we are four designers, new in the area and representing Montreal—they [retailers] open up and are happy,” she said.

The optimistic newcomer outlook was also found among retailers who were attending the show Feb. 12–14 at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the first time, excited about finding products that will help grow their businesses. For Raeshawn Bumphers, owner of the Pink Poodle Dress Lounge, an online business based in Detroit, the show was an opportunity to discover additional lines that she would like to offer in her bricks-and-mortar store, which will launch this spring. “When I planned the trip, I wanted to find new vendors,” she explained.

For Bumphers, the benefits of attending the show were found not only through establishing relationships with exhibitors but also the educational tools provided. “I attended six seminars. Very helpful. I am learning a lot here,” she said. “This is my first rodeo. It’s a great experience. I learned a lot and will come back, for sure.”

At O Marché, showroom manager Lizanne Lawless said that she saw a variety of different types of buyers whose distinctive buying styles required a personalized approach.

“Some people will be very receptive to seeing the whole collection and looking at each piece and understanding it. Other people will be like, ‘I just want to see the best pieces and I need to get out of here,’” she noted.

At Stitch, the exhibitor experience was also dependent on booth location, which determined accessibility to retailers as they passed through the aisles. Serena Johnson, Caribbean representative of the surf-lifestyle line Jams World, voiced her own frustration and shared the sentiments of her neighbors who were located at the far end, in the back of the convention center.

“It’s one of the slowest shows I’ve ever been to, and we were here in August. I think the location of it here in the back has not been good for any of us,” she said. “When we were on the other side, it seemed better.”