With trade shows returning to in-person, what additional amenities are you offering to exhibitors and attendees, and what developments over the last two years are you maintaining?
Over the past two years, a novel phrase entered the language: “the new normal.” And while it typically describes things that are subpar compared to bad times, there’s no reason “the new normal” can’t mean “better than ever.”
Since 2020, the apparel industry’s many trade shows have had to radically rethink the way they do things and are revved up and ready for the return to in-person shows.
From streamlined processes and greater amenities, apps and web solutions that make shopping shows even easier, to an emphasis on after-hours social events that bring people together, apparel-industry trade shows are ready to prove that you really can have it all—and in a safe, fun, efficient and stylish experience.
To find out just what they have in store, California Apparel News contacted the industry’s notable shows and posed the following question: With trade shows returning to in-person, what additional amenities are you offering to exhibitors and attendees, and what developments over the last two years are you maintaining?
Vice President, Fashion and Apparel Shows
Texworld New York City
Apparel Sourcing New York City
After several attempts to return to an in-person event, we are happy to announce our return to the Javits Center July 19–21. The show is set to include a new segment for footwear-material components, invigorated specialty sections and a robust offering of networking opportunities as we welcome back suppliers from around the globe.
As a key element and attendee favorite, Textile Talks and the Lenzing Seminar Series will also return live on the show floor with an impressive speaker lineup and tailored industry topics. In addition to live education, attendees can also discover the trends for F/W ’23–24 in the Texworld Trend Showcase, curated by TOBE/The Doneger Group.
Due to the pandemic, we were forced to accelerate the digital components within the show. The AI matchmaking feature within our virtual platform has proven to be a valuable tool and will be a mainstay within the show as we continue to connect global manufacturers and suppliers to the U.S. market. Digital technology has been great, but it does not fully serve our industry in the way it needs to. To bridge this gap, we introduced the Sourcing Showroom. The program allows countries still impacted by the pandemic an opportunity to not lose their foothold in the market and allows buyers a place to touch and feel the products without exhibitors being physically present. Each sample within the Sourcing Showroom has a unique QR code that links to the virtual platform, so you are able to see detailed product information as well as chat directly with the exhibitor all from the show app conveniently housed on your phone. The Sourcing Showroom will return to the show floor this July and is set to include over 4,000 products from our Asian suppliers as the pandemic is still heavily affecting this region.
OFFPRICE Las Vegas
Trade shows have evolved since pre-pandemic days and are offering the attendee a wide array of new amenities to simplify and heighten their experience.
Traditionally the fashion space has always relied on tactile senses—what a fabric feels like, how it hangs—and there wasn’t really a need for cutting-edge technology, but the pandemic has led our industry to start using new forms of technology. Our attendees are now expecting digital fluidity throughout the show. Our focus on digital features makes the experience more touchless and eco-friendly. Digital is a huge complement to our show, but we will always need to meet in-person.
Our show app has enhanced functionality with a lesser need for printed materials. Our lead retrieval and registration are touchless and an efficient way to gather information for exhibitors and get buyers on the show floor. Digital signage guides them to their vendors, and online access to exhibitor offerings allows for straightforward preplanning.
Because attendees and exhibitors see the digital components as part of the omni-channel approach to sourcing, we are consistently introducing new technologies. That said, there is no replacement for the face-to-face element. We are now starting to be more strategic about putting resources into social activations that are truly valuable to attendees and benefit their business. We know retailers are there to do business, and the opportunity to build meaningful relationships is something we see as a positive by-product of such interactions.
Research shows that attendees are being more selective in what shows they go to. We strive to offer a comprehensive wholesale marketplace with a seamless, effective experience that meets and surpasses their expectations of what a sourcing trade show can offer.
Vice President of Operations
The COVID pandemic put a full stop to in-person trade shows, but luckily we had started our marketplace project way earlier so we were ready to go to a full-digital trade-show solution rapidly. We managed to maintain a continuous relationship with our community of exhibitors and visitors throughout the various lockdowns. Since last July we managed to hold all our trade shows physically while keeping the digital version as a natural extension of the in-person show.
There are still travel restrictions in some countries, especially in Asia, but we can see that as soon as people can travel they come back to our shows since nothing can replace face-to-face conversation and the ability to touch and feel products.
We are getting ready for a busy summer. We will host PV Paris on the new dates, July 5–7, instead of the usual September dates. Then we will be in the U.S. July 19–20 for our PV New York appointment before moving to Portland, Ore., for the relaunch of our PV Sport event together with the Materials Show.
With more than a thousand exhibitors coming physically to the show from more than 45 countries, PV Paris remains the place to be for creative and sustainable fashion.
Première Vision has started to work on the subject of sustainability for many years already, with a dedicated section called Smart Creations and many other initiatives to inform, educate and help everyone to develop products in a more sustainable way.
But it is now time for the whole industry to make a change, and PV wants to be a driver in that evolution. The market has rebounded, and people are eager to see the latest developments, so we are very confident that our upcoming events will be a great success.
Facilitating our exhibitors and attendees to come to Curve is our main focus. Our first “come back” trade shows were in August 2021 in New York and L.A. We needed to offer a VIP concierge service to our community and make sure that traveling to New York or L.A. and attending our events would be as easy as possible. We kept that high level of service similar to what one can find in the hospitality industry. In addition, we developed a matchmaking program that our audience can either use online before the shows or offline during the show. This hybrid component to our show is now fully integrated with our offer. Ensuring that our exhibitors and attendees can meet and accomplish business all year long and that we enable those encounters is key to us.
Associate Show Director
The relaunch of our Swim Collective and Active Collective events in 2022 introduced our attendees and brands to a fully reimagined, retreat-style oceanfront marketplace at the Paséa Hotel and Spa in Huntington Beach, Calif. The two-day event is a refreshingly immersive experience for the industry to connect, celebrate, and see the newest brands and looks.
Combining the top brands in a luxurious setting with the Pacific Ocean and beautiful Paséa grounds as a backdrop has proved to be a winning combination, along with complimentary upscale bites and beverages, receptions and entertainment. Buyers have responded well to the upscale experience and ease of exploring all the brands in our streamlined booth packages, which allow products to take the forefront.
Our upcoming Swim Collective market June 14–15 will feature a preshow welcome reception on June 13 and a day-one reception with DJ Lindsay Luv on June 14. Both receptions will include bites, beer, wine and our signature cocktail. Registration is free for qualified retailers and media.
CEO and Co-founder
Brand Assembly has always been about experiences for brands, buyers and retailers, and we want everyone to have fun while doing business. Part of that means good food and great beverages, providing nutrition, caffeine, happy hour and everything in between on a complimentary basis.
The other part of that means ensuring that the energy at the show is positive, fostering a sense of community and belonging among everyone on the floor. Everything from the atmosphere and music to activations and programming is crafted to transfer or enhance that energy.
We were thrilled to be met with eagerness and anticipation upon our return to in-person shows, and we’re excited to go into our June and October shows with greater intentionality and innovation.
The Preface Fall/Winter 2023 event will be held in Los Angeles July 27–28. This will be our third in-person event since the start of COVID. Our schedule of events includes everything from our pre-pandemic shows, and customers now have the option to purchase the trend, color palette and fabric collections for a remote “show in a box” experience.
The energy for brands to return to live events has been increasing, and we feel lots of creativity and desire for newness, particularly here in Los Angeles. Our goal is to provide the most engaging experience possible for our attendees in a space full of innovative product, interesting ideas and inspiring trends.
Cooper Design Space
We are extremely excited to have trade shows returning to an in-person basis. The importance of having a one-on-one connection with not only our showrooms but also our exhibitors and attendees of the whole L.A. market is vital and key to a productive event. Historically we have been successful at building precisely these types of relationships and are looking forward to continuing that momentum this year.
June market will allow attendees to receive a more curated concierge experience. We will be offering exhibitors and attendees our signature Buyers’ Lounge, which will allow them to conduct business direct from the comfort of the Cooper Building, where they will not only have access to Wi-Fi but also refreshments and a cash bar, making it a perfect place to visit with clients while perusing our lobby’s art exhibition. This year we will also be teaming up with a mobile mani/pedi/foot massage vendor for when you can sit back and relax for a few minutes.
The last two years have also helped us put in place expanded cleaning measures for the health and safety of all our attendees. There will be hand sanitizers, and all our common areas are sanitized every day to ensure our space is ready for all to enjoy. Masks are strongly recommended but are of course optional. Here is to yet another successful market for the Cooper Design Space and the Los Angeles Fashion District.
Executive Vice President of Fashion Events
Over the last two years it has become abundantly clear that WWIN show buyers want an in-person destination to experience and source high-quality products, styles and trends from leading brands and private labels in women’s apparel and accessories. They want an experience that is enjoyable and inspiring yet also highly conducive to writing orders and getting business done.
In WWIN’s Las Vegas locations—February at the Caesars Forum Conference Center and August at the Caesars Palace Hotel—we have reimagined a carefully merchandised show floor and added a new dedicated area for accessories—Adorn—to meet customer needs.
We know our exhibitors and attendees have jam-packed schedules all day, so we are committed to offering complimentary breakfast, lunch and afternoon refreshments to keep everyone recharged. WWIN focuses on creating efficiencies for buyers during Las Vegas Market Week with a discounted hotel block right on the Strip and an expansive hosted-buyer program to deliver the right buyers directly to our exhibiting brands.
WWIN offers highly relevant and interactive educational programming. The WWIN Workshop presenters share the pulse of what’s happening in the areas of trend styling, social media and retail growth through live demos and engaging discussions. Our popular Pop, Fizz, Clink will continue at our next editions for more after-hours orders and fun networking on the show floor. We host a curated, guided trend tour—with mimosas!—to help buyers discover what’s new and meet new brands, and we always plan experiential at-show moments like a live DJ, social-media moments, live artist paintings and more show-floor activations intended to inspire.
WWIN will continue to be the place for our community to connect, foster new relationships, learn what is happening in the market, garner new ideas and do business with a stellar lineup of exhibiting brands.
Informa Markets Fashion
With the return to in-person events, we are excited to incorporate new amenities for our brands and attendees. As a customer-led organization, we are always evolving and listening to the feedback we have gathered to create better experiences. We are now offering the ability to conduct live selling from the show floor to reach retailers who are not at the event and help further expand their B2B order writing as well as offering retail buyers the opportunity to go live from the show.
Known for our diverse panel discussions led by industry leaders, we are adding metaverse education and workshops with resources for both brands and retailers that offer insight into the future of the industry. Our commitment toward a sustainable future will continue to expand through our partnerships with key social-good verification programs and the new sustainable-denim lab with Maurizio Donadi.
We are also committed to maintaining and evolving our digital show planner via our mobile app to help attendees plan their visits more efficiently and give our brands the ability to showcase their offerings to new audiences. All these elements will create a well-rounded experience from online to on-site. We are also continuing to expand on our robust matchmaking program to make meaningful connections in the communities we serve. Through our networking events and hosted parties, our goal continues to be making our in-person events a rewarding experience for everyone.
CALA Men's and Women's
Since trade shows are returning back to being fully in person, and after the success of our last couple shows, we are expanding our event to include both men’s and women’s collections in a space of over 50,000 square feet. In addition, we are enhancing retailer and exhibitor packages to include complimentary Wi-Fi, music, upgraded food and beverage service, as well as Uber codes to use toward transportation to and from the show for buyers that stay at The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach.
A year ago we evolved from a hotel-room show to an open-booth show. This allows brands to work together in unison and creates a far more appealing and convenient show experience for reps and retailers alike.
We are all also hosting a cocktail party open to all retailers and reps on Aug. 28 at Dick Church’s. It will be a relaxed social setting that provides an opportunity for everybody to congregate outside show hours. Being a regional show, we have a unique opportunity to provide a more intimate experience where business connections and relationships can be established between all the wonderful people involved in our industry. This is something we feel is of the utmost importance after the last couple of years and is something that sets us apart from other shows.
President and Chief Visionary Officer
OC Apparel Show
The OC Apparel Show has been having an in-person show format from our inception in May 2021.
We hold our show at the Irvine Embassy Suites in Southern California, and our buyers and reps have supported us from day one. Our reps are set up in the hotel suites, and each room has a large showroom in the front portion, which is about a 10’x20’ space with a large window to showcase their merchandise. These rooms help control the number of people in a room at any given time.
We feel that the way we treat our reps and our buyers is unique in that we have formed a three-way partnership. Our reps are equally as important to our show as our buyers, maybe even more important. So, we make sure that our reps are taken care of with complimentary food and impeccable support from our team. We offer so many amenities, and though we don’t want to give away our “secret sauce” it is clear that our reps appreciate it. We’re told time after time that our show is well run and very professional. This kind of feedback is vital to our goal—to always make our show better than the previous one.
Our buyers are also pampered. The feedback that we get from them is that they love our show—in fact, many say they won’t ever miss it.
With boutiques, men’s stores, country clubs, hotels, casinos, yacht clubs and resorts, we are making our show known as the best “Cali-Coastal” show in the country, and we built our event as the only resort show on the West Coast to help buyers stay local and shop local.
Vice President Partnerships
We are excited to see in-person shows returning consistently and across the board in the U.S. The last two years have introduced new risks and opportunities, and we have been challenged to find new and innovative ways to create value and engage with our community. Year-round engagement has been important to staying relevant, and we certainly intend to maintain and expand on our engagement as we believe it allows us to better understand the needs of all of our stakeholders in a timely and authentic way.
While domestic attendance rates are climbing, 2022 has continued the trend toward lower international attendance from both attendees and exhibitors. While we believe this volume will return in 2023, we have provided flexibility and alternative forms of activation for international members of our community.
General compression of timelines throughout the show cycle has put more pressure on content development, general planning, and event and activation design. While we expect to see lead times expand in 2023, we do believe that a more nimble operations team, flexible event designs and evolving show configurations will be required to support this new trend in the medium term.
During the pandemic, brands generally experienced a wave of growth in direct-to-consumer commerce. We believe this is a new reality, and we plan to maintain solutions and expand offerings to strike the right balance by supporting B2B commerce and providing direct access to consumers for buyers and sellers seeking that experience on our platform.
The New Mart
Over the last two years, The New Mart has doubled down on bringing the latest fashion to the DTLA fashion district. To that end, we invested a great deal of time and dollars to upgrade the third floor to create a 17,500-square-foot Fashion Theatre fully equipped with a runway, a giant Standard Vision Video wall and a sophisticated Bose Surround Sound system.
Within a month of opening in February, we became the future home of Los Angeles Fashion Week by Art Hearts Fashion, which is held twice a year in March and October. We are also testing new business models to explore creating hybrid market and fashion-week events that allow us to host evening fashion shows during some select L.A. Market Weeks.
The first of these will take place next month when we host Los Angeles Swim Week by Art Hearts Fashion June 11–14 on the front side of the upcoming L.A. Market Week June 12–16. This is designed to help bring swimwear and resortwear to life on the runway for buyers and the larger fashion industry.
During the June L.A. Market, buyers are invited to come for a free lunch each day in our second-floor buyers’ lounge, and buyers who want to attend the fashion shows at no cost can come up to the third floor of The New Mart to enjoy some wine and stunning fashion. In addition to the five L.A. Markets The New Mart co-hosts every year, we are open every business day of the year for buyers to visit our 100 showrooms and over 500 world-renowned fashion brands.
Designers and Agents
While Designers and Agents is always reevaluating ways to improve the experience for both retailers and brands, the foundation of our model has remained consistent. The trade-show mission is first and foremost to be an ideal platform for the discovery of new resources for retailers and the opportunity for both emerging and established brands to increase their bandwidth through exposure to the right audience.
Over the past two years, D&A has seen an increase in the number of international brands eager to join the American marketplace. D&A has welcomed a fresh crop of brands to its roster since resuming in-person shows, with an increase in global brands eager to access the best of the American retail audience.
The goal at D&A is to deliver those objectives in the best way possible, and through these efforts D&A has built a tremendous sense of community, which can be experienced in the energy and ambiance of the shows.
We are currently reviewing possible initiatives for the upcoming shows. In the past D&A has highlighted and hosted designers from various locales and has been a pioneer in supporting sustainable design. For D&A, the focus is and will always be on producing the ideal environment for the business of fashion.
International Market Centers
IMC’s hybrid-market format permanent showrooms together with temporary exhibits—enabled Atlanta Apparel to operate continuously through the pandemic. We’ve built on this momentum not only to grow Atlanta Apparel to current record-setting exhibitor and retailer participation but also to expand to the West Coast with our 2021 launch of Las Vegas Apparel, which has had two successful showings during Las Vegas Fashion Week and continues to grow leading up to its third edition this August.
With health and safety protocols necessitating a change in many events and amenities during the pandemic, IMC introduced new digital tools to maintain content and community during industry disruption. As our industry broadly returns to more-normal conditions, we’re delighted to be able to resume so many of the in-person activities—at-market education, live fashion shows, networking opportunities, buyer amenities and more that are hallmarks of the Atlanta Apparel experience.
At the same time, many of the digital tools that offered touchless experience advantages over the last two years—including online registration, virtual navigation of the show floor and interactive exhibitor directories—have become cornerstones of physical sourcing events. Through utilization of technology to conduct business in the new normal, IMC has created new efficiencies, and these virtual tools continue to streamline many of our market-connected operations.
As the Atlanta Apparel team developed new ways to modernize, buyers and suppliers also brought new technology such as social media “go lives” to the physical market. Retailers’ use of this new online tool to interact directly with consumers during market has provided direct, immediate feedback from consumers, which in turn has led to heightened order sizes, created consumer-facing brand equity and informed inventory management.
Functional Fabric Fair
At Functional Fabric Fair here in the U.S. and Performance Days in Germany, the answer to what we created during the pandemic, and what we are continuing with as an additional amenity, is the same answer: The Loop.
The Loop is our digital platform to help material-sourcing professionals search, examine and order swatch or hanger samples directly from the suppliers who partner with us. It was so successful in the absence of physical shows that we decided to continue to enhance this platform in order to work side by side with our physical shows. We are now able to offer content from our shows and broadcast to a global audience.
One of the best features at our face-to-face fairs is the Forum, a seasonal collection highlighting the most interesting and innovative developments from our suppliers. In the past, only exhibitors from the Munich show would be displayed in Munich and only Portland exhibitors would be featured in Portland. Now if one participates in either event their samples are displayed, expanding their exposure to both continents and globally via The Loop.
More than 50,000 sample requests have been received and fulfilled on The Loop, creating thousands of new leads and opportunities for our great group of exhibitors. Since sourcing is still very much a touch-and-feel experience, the addition of The Loop hasn’t affected our in-person attendance. In fact, we have more attendees at the physical events now than ever before.
President and CEO
Dallas Market Center
Dallas has become the largest marketplace in the U.S. for apparel and accessories, which is a bold claim, but our growth has been tremendous.
We have held in-person events exclusively over the past two years, and we’ve learned that there is simply no substitute for the in-person experience—for buyers and for sellers. That’s why we are welcoming a record number of new buyers and more brands participating than in decades. These new buyers are startup bricks-and-mortar and online boutiques but also well-established womenswear stores and men’s stores and Western retailers seeking one show with a mix of new products.
To maintain buyer loyalty and continue to attract new buyers, our formula is simple: offer the best in-person market experience, and that begins with product. Our team has worked hard to ensure buyers can find every type of product they need—from leading-edge apparel and curated accessories to gift, indie beauty brands and artisanal items. We’ve also expanded key categories like footwear because buyers are seeking additional options. And for retailers buying closer to need, we emphasize our Immediate Goods and brands with products available quickly.
Our surveys show buyers value one thing above all else: time. To help maximize their trip to market, our teams offer them incredible support for their journey to Dallas, entry into the marketplace, and time spent among exhibits and events. We know buyers want a very efficient experience so that they can start their day with a Starbucks and a new buyer tour, plan their day with our mobile app, and conclude their day with a glass of wine and a fashion show.
Finally, there is the X factor in Dallas—a combination of values that come from being family owned. We have good energy and great people who care deeply for the customer.
Founding Management of FG Events / Co-founder of BluEnsign
We saw the need to incorporate new technology in order to optimize better ways for B2B to discover, transact and build stronger relationships to generate more opportunities for both brands and retailers. Through FashionGo Week Palm Springs, we were able to merge both the online and in-person trade show, curating an experience that is most relevant and important to the community.
During our first event, we provided attendees the ability to place orders in-person with exhibiting brands and manage as well as track those on-site orders online via the FashionGo app. We also amplified discovery of products and brands that are curated to attending retailers with Style Match+, an image-based search tool in which any image can be searched on FashionGo to find a similar or exact style on the show floor.
Harnessing the power of technology and social media, we incorporated opportunities for content creation that no show has ever seen before, including the Social Livestream Studio dedicated to our retailers. Exhibiting brands also were able to go live instantly to our 1 million registered FashionGo buyers with their bestsellers and new arrivals at our GoLive Studio. The beautiful locations around Palm Springs served as a secondary backdrop for branded content.
We also partnered with the boutique agency Paper & Diamond to curate premier experiences and the GoWell Oasis, a self-care and wellness destination on the show floor with complimentary one-on-one treatments such as reiki, sound healing and massage therapy.
Moving forward, we plan to maintain the capabilities of an omni-channel-marketplace experience coupled with new tools, features and benefits that best align with the needs of our exhibitors and attendees and that will shape the future of wholesale, with our next Palm Springs show coming July 26–28.
Senior Vice President and Show Director
For 40 years Outdoor Retailer has worked to support and strengthen the outdoor community—then, during the pandemic, and now, as the industry meets the demands of increased outdoor participation. As we have returned in person, we’ve launched new services to deliver greater value to both brands and retailers at our events, including Match, a concierge-led matchmaking service that allows exhibitors and qualified attendees to schedule appointments in advance of and during Outdoor Retailer.
On-site we also now have The Resource Center featuring trend and market-research experts, and this summer attendees can book in-person appointments with the NPD Group, WGSN, Talkoot and Outside Looks.
We have multiple platforms to highlight and celebrate our community, including our awards programs and year-round publications. Plus, Outdoor Retailer continues to offer extensive educational programming, networking and community events.
There’s a wealth of resources available through Outdoor Retailer and so many opportunities to build relationships. And in person, we experience the full capacity of those relationships and have meaningful conversations that move our businesses and industry forward.
We are excited to be back for on-site shows as nothing replaces personal relationships. But as everything evolves we are also ready to meet the new normal. Hybrid events are here to stay, and we have a new value-added tool for our exhibitors and visitors. This year we will have a virtual platform, very easy to use, with connectivity across all participants. Technology has grown into our lives quickly these past two years, and being connected is being informed.
Show platforms do not replace in-person contact and should never seek that purpose. Their objective is to create more exposure and connect with businesses and associates around the world who are not yet ready to travel.
We are maintaining the warmth of a personalized show, where everyone knows one and another and is able to do business in a relaxed environment with all the necessary security measures.
Adaptability must be our new motto, embracing digitalization not only in our social environment but as the new way to do business and a key tool for maintaining closeness with suppliers, meeting new ones, and interacting within sectors and across industries. We are certain that this is only the beginning of what trade shows will become, and we are ready to take up the challenge for future generations.
The Fabric Shows
The industry’s future looks good. In collaborating with my team, we all agreed that we must reopen slowly as the industry regains confidence for face-to-face shows while still watching the global health challenges our business is facing.
While our shows were “on hold,” we expanded our market-research efforts and found that phone conversations with buyers and exhibitors helped us better prepare for our shows’ relaunch. Expanding our buyer outreach included more one-on-one conversations with buyers so that we could best provide for the needs of the industry. While the majority were working remotely, more than ever they appreciated the efforts we made to connect with each of them and plan shows to best serve their needs.
In 2020, we rebranded as The Fabric Shows. The company produced its first show in 2012 as DG Expo Fabric & Trim Shows. As the shows grew, each new show took on its own name, but collectively they are now known as The Fabric Shows.
More than ever coming out of the shutdown, The Fabric Shows focused on growing our exhibitor base by adding additional companies based in the Americas and including American agents for European textile producers based on our conversations with buyers. We found that a large amount of our buyers were also interested in seeing European collections added along with our American suppliers.
A large number of our exhibitors reported that they were very profitable during the past two years, but one noted to me at the recent Dallas show that orders written in person were much larger than what she had been getting when she was collaborating with them remotely. Others have also shared that nothing is as good as meeting in person—and being able to look, touch and feel the fabrics!
California Market Center
The CMC started our transition back to in-person events in June of last year when we reintroduced a fully activated LA Market Week and then relaunched our LA Textile and Label Array events in the fall. We found our attendees, exhibitors and showroom tenants eager to reconnect in person. As such, our goal was to facilitate a transition that was welcoming, seamless and celebratory by offering helpful and experiential amenities that we continue to curate as part of our LA Market and trade show events.
Conveniences we tailor for each event include hotel discounts, a free-parking-validation program, streamlined registration and on-site check-in processes as well as custom digital guides and one-on-one assistance with our attendee relations team. Complementing these functional amenities are a range of experiences we design to make an attendee’s trip to our events even more distinct, from complimentary coffee bars, snacks, luncheons and receptions to buyer raffles, swag giveaways, creativity zones, photo-booth portraits, decorative Instagram-worthy moments, free seminars and so much more.
Additionally, in our effort to navigate a hybrid industry over the last two years, CMC explored a number of digital strategies that we continue to maintain. These were developed to create smoother, user-friendly, pre-show engagement with our events while also aligning with CMC’s overarching commitment to sustainability. These include a completely digital shift to our exhibitor-application and customer-service process, an enhanced digital journey for attendees, from pre-registration to show preparation, and the creation of comprehensive visual brand directories for increased online presence for our exhibiting and showroom brands.
This July 16–18, the renowned swimwear trade-show SwimShow renews its commitment to foster and support the growth of the swim community while celebrating face-to-face interactions and a new look and feel with an updated branding. SwimShow is thrilled to celebrate the full return of the in-person buying experience that started in Miami 40 years ago.
The popular show known for its presentation of both emerging and veteran brands has developed new show categories to help both brands and buyers navigate the show floor and further identify product categories. The NewNew will represent emerging brands new to the market while SwimCore is for those brands that have become globally recognized swim staples. Finally, SwimMode is for those innovative and disruptive brands that never fail to set the trends for every new season.
Contrary to other shows out there, we are proud to represent all swim tiers and categories. We have worked with size-inclusive brands for many decades alongside those brands that are setting trends and those early innovators who made sustainability a priority many years ago. The swim industry is a niche market, and our mission is to bring it back together in one place.
We are witnessing a counter trend of online brands looking for offline visibility. Our goal is to bring everybody back, in-person, and do what we do best. These days there is a need for human interaction and to rediscover the tactile experience of trade shows. Even in conceptualizing our new logo icon, we connected the two letters S in an effort to symbolize unity and the swim industry coming together again.
Mary T. Taft
Fashion Market Northern California
FMNC is busy continuing to upgrade and improve all amenities in our new hotel setting. Both exhibitors and buyers are loving the new venue, so we are working hard to think of exciting new additions to each show.
We now offer complimentary valet parking on Sunday and Monday because it’s great to just get dropped off right at the front door. We have a delicious buffet lunch each day for both buyers and exhibitors with endless options. The rate at the hotel affords buyers that live close by to take advantage of staying the night, which adds a fun atmosphere when all gather informally at the end of the day, just like buying used to be.
We will be adding speakers as well as seminars that will offer helpful information to buyers, from social-media posting to overcoming supply-chain issues. These are fun and informal in a casual setting, so it will be so easy to stop by for a quick listen.
Our other exciting development is that we have added a new show, Satellite Style, a contemporary market geared toward brands that have not ever been represented in Northern California. We realize that the new buyers in the business are looking for just this type of product, and our first show will be in August!
Surf Expo returned to in-person shows in 2021, and we are teed up for a fantastic show once again in September. Our community has come to rely heavily on several tools that we provide to enable buyers and sellers to maximize their time at our events and make connecting easier. From our matchmaking tool, which enables brands and buyers to research and connect for conversations and appointments before and during the show; a lead-capture and retrieval app for scanning badges, which is included with each booth; to other key marketing tools like our debut Spring/Summer Buying Guide, which just launched—all are helping our customers explore, discover and connect in new ways.
On-site our attendees can meet with the industry’s top heritage brands as well as the newest, plus enjoy special events, parties, fashion shows and educational opportunities across the show floor, which help make the entire event immersive, valuable, fun and memorable.
After two years of connecting virtually, ILOE Studios has officially begun reconnecting with our community of exhibitors and attendees with two shows already under our belts.
We are focused on highlighting and building back the relational aspects of the trade-show experience. Our team is dedicated to providing an exceptional customer-service experience that puts people first when creating dynamic partnerships with both exhibitors and attendees. For our part in elevating trade-show customer service, an initial step in returning to in-person events has been developing our buyer concierge program, which assists them with every aspect of their market experience.
Additionally, we have moved forward with establishing ourselves as a 365-day-a-year information source. This allows us to offer both buyers and brands ways to advance their business by connecting them with experts who can provide relevant resources such as educational articles, how-tos and webinars.
Our company has invested in new technologies that maintain human-focused elements to connect buyers with exhibitors in order to facilitate discovery as well as establishing and maintaining networks.
We plan on continuing with our mission to consistently focus on personal relationships that benefit our industry as a whole. Technology is important, and we will continue to advance our virtual presence, but it can never be a replacement for the people-orientated business that is fashion.
- Trade-Show Q&A: What shifts or advancements in trade-show production are you most looking forward to over the coming year?
- Trade-Show Q&A: As on-site event restrictions are being lifted, how are you approaching trade-show production, and will you utilize virtual options to extend your reach?
- The Changing Tides of Trade Shows
- As trade-show organizers and producers who have weathered the pandemic as well as ongoing financial challenges, what is the new normal for how you do business?