It’s not often we literally go this far behind the scenes of the fashion industry on the podcast. But when the Outdoor Retailer trade show landed in my backyard (Denver), I knew I had to show up with my recorder to capture impromptu podcast interviews.
Now, if I’m honest, doing this made me pretty anxious…
You see, schmoozing in real life makes me uncomfortable. In fact, it’s one of those things I often dread for weeks beforehand. I’ve gotten so used to working from home and doing conference calls that my “in person networking muscle” is atrophied.
And walking up to complete strangers on their turf (their trade show booth) gives my nerves a good shake.
But you know what happened? It was a blast and I’m thrilled I did it. People were excited to tell their story, share their fashion industry insights, and talk about how the OR trade show was going.
In this Successful Fashion Designer podcast episode, I compiled these trade show floor interviews into one “mixed tape” episode. You’ll meet some amazing people who share their stories and insights on:
- How brands are dealing with retail vs wholesale as the industry shifts and product distribution leans towards direct to consumer
- The importance of respecting your retail partners to create a better landscape for everyone
- Hard lessons learned after decades in the industry
- Why finding or creating the right partnerships can make or break your success
- Using apparel as a canvas to support urban artists and charitable causes like lymphoma and leukemia
- How technology is being used to break down workplace gender barriers
Here are the 7 wonderful people you’ll meet in this episode:
- [04:37] Lanny Goldwasser of Phunkshun Wear started the brand in a small mountain condo with just a sewing machine. His company now sells over 2400 ski masks a week. Lanny’s story is inspiring and refreshing as he focuses on building a brand he believes in instead of just caring about the dollars.
- [20:08] Neal Caplowe and his textile company, Sport Science was on the cutting edge of the athleisure trend in 2005. He’s one of those awesome guys who’s been in fashion for decades, and right away you know he’s full of fun stories and great advice. Neal shares lessons learned on finding the right partners and what he would have done differently during the 12 years he ran Sport Science.
- [30:50] Aleida Junda works for Soybu, another brand who started designing athleisure before it was huge trend. Now competing in an overly saturated market, Aleida shares how they’re standing out in a crowded marketplace and focusing on partnerships to create more success for everyone.
- [43:54] Bob Heimann started All City Artwear to give urban artists another canvas for their art: apparel. With his production knowledge and their artistic eye, the partnership is a perfect match and collaboration to create unique product. Bob shares insights from his decades of working in fashion and the importance of enjoying the journey, not just focusing on the destination.
- [56:38] Ashley Schendel launched POP Fit Clothing with no fashion industry experience. The brand went viral on Instagram by offering a free pair of leggings to new customers and 2017 alone, her team of 16 distributed over 350,000 pairs of leggings. Ashley shares how she built her business from zero and broke into a crowded marketplace.
- [1:04:39] Cameron Ferrara is executive director of the non-profit Carve 4 Cancer. Their team (all volunteers, including Cameron) works hard to “shred blood cancer” through action sports events. They raise money by selling basic screen printed shirts and hoodies, and they’re working on taking it to the next level with customized product. Cameron shares the product development challenges they’re facing and how they’re overcoming them.
- [01:13:13] Peter Jackson is the CEO of Bluescape, a collaborative digital workspace designed to help people produce great work. It’s hard to explain in writing how cool their “infinite workspace” is, but the thing I loved most about chatting with Peter was learning about the unexpected results their customers are seeing: gender and personality barriers being broken down to create more creative and collaborative workplaces.
These interviews were SO fun to conduct and even more fun to edit together into one amazing segment. I hope you enjoy meeting these awesome people and getting a behind the scenes peak into different brands from the Outdoor Retailer trade show. Watch for another “trade show floor” episode coming on 2/26, I’ve got two more interviews from OR to share with you 🙂
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