Are you ready to promote your fashion collection to buyers from top retail stores? One of the best ways to get in front of buyers is by displaying your collection at a trade show. FashionMingle.net sat down with Karen Bennett, the founder of Coast Shows, a global fashion trade exhibition, and asked her to share best practices for creating a successful trade show.
Coast trade shows are held in Chicago, Miami, and New York throughout the year. Known for their intimate, stress-free setting, Coast hosts buying opportunities for boutiques, designers, department stores, and high end fashion labels such as Mara Hoffman, J Brand, Robert Rodriquez, Hudson, Jessica Elliot Jewelry, and Serafina.
7 tips for creating a successful trade show experience:
- Pricing – Designers and brand owners “need to know what their pricing is going to be,” says Bennett, “If you go into a trade show and don’t have the pricing right, and production isn’t ready, you have just lost a foot in the door.”
- Budget – Trade show costs are based on how many exhibitors will be conducting business and its location. Coast Trade Shows offer package deals for exhibitors, where one price includes furnishings and lighting with no hidden fees.
- Prospecting – Bennett suggests making client appoints about four to three weeks before the show to avoid having your email get lost in the clutter filling up the buyer’s inbox as the date of the trade show closes in.
- Fashion Merchandising – Ensure that buyers and clients feel your passion through merchandising. “The product should be merchandised properly within the space,” says Bennett. Keep your booth clutter free, keep media devices out of sight when engaging in client relations, and make eye contact when talking with potential buyers.
- Networking – Establishing relationships with buyers is the key to trade show success. Socializing with your vendor booth neighbors is beneficial as well. Bennett also recommends bringing an assistant or trusted friend with you to the trade show to help run your booth.
- Making Sales – Buyers want to know where the product is being produced, retail price points, and shipping costs. “You need to get their business cards and make contact with them and tell them you will keep in touch if they are interested.”
- Persistence– Unfortunately, not every designer makes a sale. “Even people that have been around for awhile sometimes get passed over,” says Bennett, “It is very important to get the buyer’s contact information and stay in touch with them.”
Visit the Coast Show website to see where they will be next. Expect luxury, ready-to-wear, accessories, and designer meetand-greets. For more tips on working with buyers, check out our interview with Mary Vallarta, owner of FAB Counsel.
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Gerilyn is a professional writer who edits and writes news stories for Fashion Mingle. Having studied fashion and consumer sciences at Texas State University, she seeks to educate readers about this evolutionary art form's historical and cultural impact. When she is not helping local businesses expand their social media presence and marketing efforts, Gerilyn spends time collecting Milan Kundera hardcovers and creating original artwork.