Whew! Looking back at my summer, I realize just how much time I spent towards getting prepared for my recent first foray into wholesale trade shows, POOL. POOL Tradeshow is a part of the giant MAGIC fashion trade show extravaganza that happens twice a year in Las Vegas. All the big names in fashion are somehow available at a MAGIC show.Here are some initial thoughts on my experiences:
1) POOL Tradeshow is the smallest of the tradeshow at MAGIC. After walking some of the shows in my brief breaks (thanks, Cherish, for being my right hand woman at the show!), POOL seemed to also be the busiest. There were definitely lots of people milling about the other shows (and they were gigantic so maybe it just seemed like less people), but the energy level was much lower elsewhere. POOL was just brimming with crazy ass people like the guy who roller skated around in a brigh red sequined jacket and all of the lovely Goth and Steampunk ladies and gents. The music was definitely best at POOL, too.
2) People were at these trade shows to BUY. I had the most sales I have ever had at any kind of in-person show. Many stores bought enough to have an account while others bought samples to think about for later.
3)Being in the Cash & Carry section at POOL was advantageous since people could impulsively buy items right then and there rather than place purchase orders. This meant I was selling to individuals at wholesale prices as well as to boutique buyers (some Cash & Carry folks opted to sell at retails unless someone met certain minimums. I just made the decision to offer at all wholesale to attract all sorts of customers).
4) Being in the Cash & Carry section also had its downside. It meant that some people did not buy because they did not want to add anything to their luggage to go home. Most buyers are used to placing purchase orders that would be filled later.
5) Big retailers were not hanging out at POOL. Maybe they were there, but they did not show me they were there.
6) It was super cool to walk around and check out some of the behind the scenes sales stuff for American Apparel and other large designers, or manufacturers. Some of the booths were actually mini-stores! I also saw a trend with denim and men’s casual shirts in particular where items were displayed in crumpled piles on the floor. Kind of a weird display decision, but it actually seemed to work!
Have you ever attended a trade show, or retail show where you learned about a whole new part of your business? Leave a comment with your experiences (or questions about POOL) below.