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Fashion Startup Trade Shows: Are You Ready?

SFD082 Fashion Startup Trade Shows: Are You Ready (and what’s the cost)?

February 18, 2019

When it comes to trade shows, there are SO many questions. How much is this going to cost? How does this all work? How do I make sure it’ll be a success? Am I ready? In my interview with Danielle Licata and Kelly Helfman, we talk about these exact questions and more.

Danielle and Kelly are brand directors for the Magic Trade Show in Vegas, the Coterie Trade Show in New York, and so many other specialty shows for specific categories. Magic and Coterie are some of the largest fashion trade show events in North America, and these ladies know their STUFF! They’re so knowledgeable and so generous with sharing it here on the podcast–you’re going to love it.

We go through what these trade shows are doing to support new and emerging designers (like you!), how to decide if you’re ready, the details of the exact numbers of how much things are going to cost, and they’ve really set you up for success. We talk about how to prepare before, during, and after your trade show experience. I’m so excited about this episode–I know you’re going to love it!

In the interview (which you’ll love) we will cover:

  • DTC vs retail
  • What brands are doing to break in, get started, and stand out at trade shows (and how to know you’re ready)
  • Ways to connect with buyers to make sure you show up at the show in the right orders
  • Step-by-step advice to figure out if this is the right path for you
  • What kinds of brands Kelly and Danielle see coming to their trade shows, and what they’ve seen brands do to have a successful launch the first time around
  • The timeline to be expected
  • The foundation brands start with when jumping into a trade show
  • How seriously buyers take your Instagram following (!), and how clear you need to be on your brand story
  • How much of a foundation to build before getting results at a wholesale trade show
  • How much money to set aside to do trade shows!
  • What Danielle and Kelly think the future of trade shows will look like–they’re changing!
  • What collateral you need to go in prepared as a brand
  • The key to your success at a trade show: knowing who you are as a brand, and knowing where you should be positioned
  • How brands kickoff the successful trade show experience
  • Opportunities for startup and emerging designers
  • What Kelly and Danielle wish people would ask them about working in the fashion industry
  • And so much more!

Press the orange play button below to listen here, or listen on Apple Podcasts:



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Image from World Redeye

DANIELLE LICATA

From being a Sales and Operations Manager at Stella McCartney and Vice President at Belstaff, Danielle Licata has earned her role as the President of East Coast Womens, Informa, overseeing Coterie, Fame, Moda, and AccessoriesTheShow. With over 10 years of experience in the luxury fashion category, Danielle is both a macro-thinker and micro-executer, allowing her lead and successfully builds her team.  Danielle has had many hats; from opening flagship stores to increasing multi-million dollar revenues to curating trade shows from the ground up. Since her start at UBM Fashion (now Informa) Danielle has pioneered the launch of Beauty at Coterie and will be unveiling the company’s first stand-alone retail pop-up in Miami this July 2018.

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KELLY HELFMAN

Kelly is the President of West Coast Womens, Informa, overseeing WWDMAGIC, Project Womens, and Pooltradeshow. Kelly leads the MAGIC Women’s events while balancing motherhood and advocating for work/life balance. With 15+ years of experience in fashion sales, marketing, and design, her career highlights include starting her own celeb-favorite, vintage-inspired clothing brand, launching Children’s Club Las Vegas, and FWD New York (now merged with FAME).

LET’S TALK TRADE SHOWS

Kelly and Danielle are here to help you maximize your trade show experience and decide when and if it’s right for you. Through Magic and Coterie trade show, they provide a platform for brands to sell directly to buyers, holding your hand (if you need it!) to do what’s best for your business. They have about seven shows a year, so if you’re interested, there’s always time to get prepared for the next one–you don’t have to wait long!

Danielle and Kelly and their team help you decide if you’re 100% ready for a trade show, and in this episode, they talk about how to know if you’re there or not. You could be brand new to trade shows, but if you have a on-trend product at just the right moment in time, they’ll help you make it happen. If the market is saturated with your product, and they don’t feel like you’re ready, they’ll be honest with you!

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Image from UBM Fashion

WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?

Depending on which trade show you’re interested in, you could be looking at some different price points. Coterie is focused on Contemporary and Premium brands, and Magic is more for the mass market price points. Magic has a $5500-6500 all-inclusive price–that’s tables, chairs, etc. But it only fits 100 samples, so you have to plot out how many booths you might need. They offer booth sharing for a small extra brand fee that’s much more affordable than reserving a whole extra booth. Coterie has an $8300 price point, but there’s a high ratio of buyers to brands. Then you have to think about travel, branding, and shipping…multiplied by three times (the minimum number of trade shows Danielle and Kelly recommend committing to in order to see a favorable outcome).

Then when you’re setting up your booth, make it special! Are there mimosas? Is there a bouquet bar? Perhaps a wall of flowers? Music? Does it smell good? In this industry, you need to create your brand and create an instagrammable moment that people won’t forget. Don’t sit on your cell phone–engage with people! Get to know your neighbors! You can’t just put a rack up and hope something happens. A buyer is still a buyer, whether they’re wholesale or retail–Kelly and Danielle urge brand to create an experience no matter where they are.

USE YOUR RESOURCES

So you’re at the trade show. You’ve prepared for months, done the research, branded your booth, and created something special. There’s still (free!) opportunities to maximize your trade show experience! You can always ask questions of your representative or trade show consultant. Ask what complimentary opportunities you have at the show where you can market. Perhaps there’s swag bag participation, or a new brand highlight on social. There might be mannequins featured and they could be yours! Don’t just sign up for the booth and show up–always ask for more.

Kelly and Danielle truly are experts and they want to help. Such a dream come true! Trade shows can feel like a huge ordeal and time commitment–because they are. But they really set you up for success with their support and resources. They encourage you to reach out on social–take them up on that! They’re a valuable resource and a wealth of information.

This episode is a great listen whether you’re preparing for your first or umpteenth trade show, and whether you’re going to Coterie, Magic, or another trade show. They’ll set you up for success by telling you how to prepare before, during, and after your trade show experience, and get your brand into the buyer’s hands that want it!

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