Where is the Best Fashion Industry Event or Trade Show This Year?
If you are a fashion wholesaler or retailer, you know there are at least a dozen fashion industry events just in the United States each year. There are ten such fashion trade shows in New York City and there are a number in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This is without mentioning the international shows in Hong Kong, Paris, London, and Milan.
Whether you are a fashion designer, wholesaler, retailer, house, brand or private label, attending these fashion events and trade shows can make or break your apparel business. The cost is enormous and a huge part of your budget. The air fare, hotels, meals, apparel samples, and shipping expenses can run as high as tens of thousands of dollars per show. When the show is over, the back and forth transactions with multiple apparel vendors and buyers is so time consuming you wonder if the samples are going to be out of season by the time the seller ships them or the buyer receives them. Keeping track of all the fashion buyers and sellers is tough at best. You have pen notes on napkins, hundreds of business cards, emails, boxes of samples, and stacks of Fed Ex or express mail to sort through just to make a coherent list of sources. This doesn’t even get into the complexity of the actual buying or selling of the fashion merchandise, such as making sure inventories, shipments, quality, colors, sizes, and cost of freight are all in order.
Why is buying and selling apparel so expensive, complex, and time consuming?
Said another way, in the fashion business why are we doing things the hard way when we are in the age of digital commerce, the Internet, the hologram, and space travel to the moon? Look at what’s happening outside our realm of apparel wholesaler to retailer transactions. Everything is on the Internet, at least when you are considering retailer to consumer transactions. Every major fashion retailer is selling its apparel online (to the consumer), and many smaller retailers are only selling their apparel online. Some of these fashion companies have no physical locations other than temporary warehouses. Everything is outsourced, even the brand or private label design and all the manufacturing and sewing happens overseas. In essence, some completely vertical fashion retailers are making a living by brokering every transaction in the supply chain and they have one virtual store, a web site that takes credit card orders.
I’ll give you the answer, and I know it well. We are old-school in the fashion business. I’ve been in it for decades and am one of the worst when it comes to keeping up with technology. I’m not casting stones. It was just yesterday I learned how to use a fax machine and a VCR, and the best albums were on 8-Track tapes. Especially in our business, we are creatures of habit and emotion. A lot of us are doing what we are doing because we started out as designers and artists. By nature we are sensory people and to see and touch is to believe. There is no “digital” substitute for actually holding a sample in our hands. There is an art to what we do for a living. The Internet is good for email, or for seeing what our friends are doing on social media, but it is no substitute for the reality of the fashion business. These are our excuses, but to survive we must change with the times. We are only partially correct about the necessity of change. Granted technology has not yet advanced to the point where sampling is no longer needed. Fashion shows are an institution, and we will always have the runway. Nevertheless, apparel wholesaler-to-retailer transactions need to become more technology focused. We need to follow the retailer-to-consumer model.
This is why I founded StyleSelect. I didn’t want to replace the runway or the fashion weeks. I saw a need for helping apparel wholesalers and retailers sell and buy from one another just as the retailers and consumers are doing on just about every retail website out there today. Competition is tougher than ever, and every dollar counts. Even with the larger and mid-sized apparel businesses, inventory cycles and tight margins can cause a lot of cash flow problems. StyleSelect doesn’t entirely replace apparel sampling or fashion trade shows, but it does provide apparel wholesalers a place to show thousands of buyers their styles, lines, brands and private labels. It gives buyers the equivalent of an online fashion event or trade show, a true online catalog of apparel merchandise. It really is a one-stop apparel marketplace that helps you do just about everything you need to do better, be it moving inventory faster, reducing sampling costs, or keeping all your notes, lists, contact information and images in one place, or taking pre-orders, or selling excess inventory at more favorable discount prices than you have in the past.
Whether you are a buyer or seller, StyleSelect gives you a one-stop global apparel marketplace, helping you reduce the costs of air fare, hotels, restaurants, sampling and freight that are involved in attending multiple trade shows and events each year. It also makes doing business easier because you can keep track of all your buyers and sellers in one place, eliminating the need to juggle multiple emails, faxes and Fed Ex and express mailings. The platform is worth its weight in gold just because it provides you a single place to save and upload all of your images. We all know how tedious and difficult emailing high resolution images can be. I’ve been driven mad a time or two when images kept bouncing back because they were too large, or I didn’t have the proper software to view the image. I couldn’t reduce the resolution because the retailer needed to get a good visual on the texture of the garment.
I hope I have made the case that the best fashion show or apparel industry event this year can be found online. We’ll never replace the fashion runway or the trade show, but we can use technology to get more organized, to save time, and to add to the bottom line by making it easier for buyers to make better buying decisions. As business-to-business fashion buyers and sellers we can benefit from using technology to our advantage. We simply have to follow in the footsteps of the online retailers who are ahead of the curve because more and more their customers are insisting on making their purchasing decisions from their computers, without first every trying on a single garment.
StyleSelect is an all in one supplier marketing platform and mass merchant buyer marketplace that people of any skill level can use. It’s a self-service supplier-marketing platform that streamlines, measures and optimizes supplier tasks that increase efficiency and grow revenue. StyleSelect’s breakthrough platform lets professional buyers and their colleagues connect with each other to share linesheets, request samples and create aggregated assortment plans; and it helps suppliers market and deliver curated linesheets and personalized interactions to retailers and their professional buyers. Headquartered in Denver, CO with offices in LA and NYC, StyleSelect serves as a strategic platform to mass merchant buyers and their suppliers. For more information about StyleSelect visit www.styleselect.com
Content provided courtesy of Simparel