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Happy New Year! I though I'd start off with this comment re: trade shows since we're getting into the tradeshow season next month. It might be of reassurance to designers who are trying to get out there but cannot afford the astronomical fees for the shows.

Hi Karen ... I'm going to less and less shows/markets. They're also expensive, time consuming, wasteful, etc. for buyers as well. I'm relying more and more on great images from lines/designers I know & trust. For new lines/designers, I try them out but just order really small so I don't get stuck if it's not that great. I realize I'm an online shop so I'm very comfortable with the virtual. I've had designers contact me and I love it. It takes no time just to glance at their online look books, or pdfs and I can tell very quickly if it's something I want to look deeper into or it's a no-way.
From Angelina at www.beklina.com
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Style said...

*delurking* :)

Hi Ms ClothesPin. I recently started a home-based business that sells custom-made handbags, sourced handbags such as Melie Bianco and jewlery. My initial wish was to sell more indie designer items, both handbags and jewelry. I found some, but they did not sell well, leading me to pick a few name brands (to also help brand and grow my small business). I sourced shows, such as Magic and Stylemax, and the designers I found that were really in my niche, unaffordable at the time. I could not afford the price points for the type of quality and workmanship that I wanted to provide to my customers. Now that I can afford a a higher pricer point, I find that it's harder to find the connections at the shows. Also, as you stated, the larger shows that are marketed to buyers really are cost prohibitive to the smaller designers. I have really started to focus on the web for finding my contacts. This can be difficult also because you can't 'see the product' before you get it. But I would also like to know, are there smaller venues that buyer's can go to find the more unique items that smaller designers usually carry? Is there a 'indie designers' book or webiste that lists the more popular trade shows for smaller designers?

I have been asked to provide some of my stock for fashion shows, and in this manner I have been able to make connections with store owners who like to buy from me on consignment, which is great for the designer as it gets that designers name out more.

Clothes-Pin said...

I would look into the following shows...they are both more accessible to small and independent designers. They genarally list the designers on the website if you prefer to contact them outside of a show as well.

Pool (www.pooltradeshow.com)
DNA (www.designersandagents.com)

I would also check art/indie showcases like trunkt (www.trunky.org) and stars and infinite darkness (www.starsandinfinitedarkness.com)

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