- Sara Ehlers |
Las Vegas - Twice a year, various wholesalers, retailers, and buyers come together in the flashy city of Las Vegas for one uniting cause: fashion. The business of fashion strikes off in the months of February and once again in August where exhibitors showcase off their newest styles, with buyers perusing for the newest trends.
At MAGIC, there are various shows including FN Platform, WSA at Magic, WWDMAGIC, Project, Project Women's, Project Men's, The Collective, Pooltradeshow, Curve, Sourcing at Magic and more. For the Footwear Sourcing at Magic, a typical day for the exhibitors including various meetings, sales appointments, and networking.
As a participant of the WSA at Magic Show, I worked on the exhibiting side of the trade fair. I work full-time for a footwear wholesaler based in Los Angeles county. On the Footwear Sourcing at Magic floor, here is a behind-the-scenes look at a 'Day in the Life' of an exhibitor at Magic.
A typical day at the Las Vegas show includes waking up around this time in order to get to the booth on time. With so many clubs close by the convention (XS, Omnia, and Hakkasan to name a few), it's not uncommon for exhibitors and buyers alike to have a bit of a Vegas hangover. Many clubs offer Magic attendees exclusive entry to events, that can last well into the night. As the show is open to buyers and attendees at 9:00 AM, depending on how far you are from the convention (or how hungover), it may take extra time to get there and prepare your booth.
At the booth, exhibitors are all preparing their products and footwear to look their best. All of the shelves and interior are placed in perfect showroom fashion in order to showcase the styles to interested existing and new customers.
The madness for the show begins with customers perusing new collections, pending collections, and upcoming developments. Sales people in each booth are helping out new buyers as well as assisting customers with orders. In the midst of placing orders, the booth requires constant maintenance in order to keep everything looking pristine and neat for customers.
This goes on for the entire show, with various appointments for prospective buyers. Also, there are appointments with online shopping destination ShopTheFloor, and various others from the fashion industry to discuss new trends in upcoming fashion. Other exhibitors and sourcing attendees come by to pursue other booths, but are typically not interactive with other exhibitors.
Throughout the bustle of the day, it's hard to fit in a lunch. But whenever there was a slow wave, exhibitors would make a run to the nearest food spot for either a sandwich or pizza slice. Most exhibitors also offered snacks and refreshments at the booth for customers as well.
For the rest of the day, exhibitors are highlighting their products in detail of the material, style, and finish of the shoes. Every possible step is taken to answer any questions or concerns customers may have. Various booths also had foot models that would try on the shoes in order to show customers how the products would look on a potential consumer.
Details about pricing, purchase orders, and incoming dates are discussed. Customers often asked which styles were "hot," or "high-selling" in order to make their choices. Various upcoming color trends as well as footwear styles were also discussed. For this year's show, exhibitors all agreed traffic was slower overall for Footwear Sourcing at Magic from its previous February show. However, booths seem to stay consistent with buyers flowing in and out throughout the day.
Around this time everyday, UBM Fashion put on a "Happy Hour" VIP event for attendees at the show. Anyone with a badge was able to go to this area and receive a free gift bag (complete with goodies and a small complimentary notebook) as well as receive two drinks. The libations event allowed for various buyers and attendees to walk around the show with their drinks, causing for a more relaxed, networking environment. Around this time, it wasn't uncommon to see buyers and exhibitors alike walking through the isles complete with beer or wine in hand (after all, it is Vegas).
Around this time, the exhibitor crew is in clean up mode, prepping the booth for the next day. Any customers that are in the booth are typically wrapping up their sales orders as the shows close at 6:00 PM.
Exhibitors clean the booth and wipe down tables, restocking their products on the shelves. Any sales orders are typically organized together by each sales person. The exhibitors close up the booth and prep for prospective dinner and other potential outings with customers or various buyers from the show.
Exhibitors and buyers alike are then invited to events for exclusive Magic attendees only. These events included fashion shows, lounges, and more. While the events were free for members, the cost would include sacrificing a good night's rest before another long day of work.
Magic in Las Vegas shows less foot traffic than previous shows
The show this year took place from August 14-16 spanning over three days. At the Las Vegas Convention Center, the featured various key players in the fashion industry. Overall, this year's show was said to be less busy in attendance in comparison to previous years. This trend shows the possibility that attending actual trade shows m ay be less valuable in the sense of business. While most clients can make their orders through direct contact or online methods, it seems that the appeal of the trade show may be fading out. While this is the first show to display less traffic, it'll be interesting to see how the next February show fares in terms of business.