When I first entered the retail world, I found the buying trade shows a bit overwhelming. You are never sure which ones to attend, what exactly they offer and you certainly don't know the little tips about where to stay or how to get around. So, to those of you in that position, here's a small sampling of some of the shows I've attended and what they offer. I hope this information can make your transition a bit easier.
I was at this show for the first time two years ago. It's held in February in Las Vegas. One reason I enjoyed this show was definitely the location. Vegas offers so much to do at night that it's an easy transition from a long day of work to play (or at least a great dinner at a Top Chef restaurant!).
Magic appeals to retailers looking for men's, women's and kids apparel, accessories, footwear, and sourcing resources. Beware, it's a HUGE show. I spent about two days there and felt like I could have used at least another day. Great finds, and easy access from the hotels (most have shuttle buses that transport you back and forth from the convention).
If you are looking for quirky, hip and cutting edge up-and-coming designers you need look no further than the POOL Trade Show. This is the place to go for art and design fashion and emerging brands. This trade show (along with Magic) is hosted in Vegas two times a year (February and August). This year it will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the same dates as the Magic show, making it convenient to attend both.
Slightly more high-end accessories show that is based out of New York. There is also an earlier show in Vegas that highlights Spring/Summer trends. If you are looking for scarves, jewelry, hats, purses or other fashion items you will find it here. Accessories The Show is housed inside the Venetian, which is usually where I stay when I attend. You can also get a discount hotel rate when you say you are attending the show.
One of the most convenient shows I've been to given it's proximity to Minneapolis and because they really take care of the retailers attending. All parking is comped, you receive lunch vouchers for every day of the show (lunches are usually quality and healthy), there is free Smart Water on every floor, etc. When you are working hard, it's often the little things that make the show more enjoyable.
In regards to the offerings...Stylemax offers a mix of trendy apparel lines and women's lines, accessories, jewelry and some shoes. The show seems to have gotten smaller in the last couple of years (in terms of the variety of wholesale lines and attendance), perhaps because of economy. It's still a good show if you don't want to travel far, but still want lines you can't find at your local shows.
I haven't spent as much time at Moda as the other Vegas trade shows, but in the past it did run in conjunction with Magic and Pool. At Moda Las Vegas, you can find well-edited apparel from upcoming designers, nationally recognized brands, and key international collections in the following categories: Better, Bridge and Designer Collections, Active wear, Blouses, Bottoms, Bridal, Contemporary Lifestyles, Daywear/Sleepwear, Denim, Dresses, Fur/Leather/Suede, Intimate Apparel, Knitwear, Loungewear, Novelty, Occasion/Evening, Outerwear/Coats, Pants, Related Separates.
One the largest gift shows in the country. I recently attended this in January. It's an enormous, almost overwhelming show. I spent 5 days there and could have used another two. The show consists of multiple buildings of both temporary and permanent show rooms. Offerings range from artwork, accessories, bath and body, clothing, home decor, and garden.
One complaint is that the show is downtown Atlanta where there is nothing great to do. One recommendation is to stay out in Buckhead and take the train in daily. Otherwise there are shuttle buses that will transfer you to and from the hotel and the convention center. Warning: Cab lines are extremely long at the end of the day and it is a great idea to know exactly where you can catch your shuttle bus so that you can avoid these lines.