Just Around The Corner is a trade event hosted both in the historic manufacturing hub of Manchester (2-3 August) and in the heart of East London’s historic fashion district (7-9 August). FashionUnited met with Juls Dawson, the founder, before the 7th edition.
Why did you start JUST? What was the inspiration behind the business?
Myself and my wife (Juls and Steph, the “JU” and “ST” in JUST) began the agency 10 years having spent a combined 30 years in sales, product development and design. We started with a small number of relatively unknown, high margin, entry price point brands that we successfully launched into the market, and from there we grew at speed into the agency that we are today.
What do you offer the brands that work with you?
We are a full service agency so we work with our brands on everything from sales, range planning, negotiating retailer terms, advising on pre-retailing requirements, merchandising, market feedback/reports and payments. Our strong connections with the key decision makers at the majority of the UK’s best retailers allows us to work very closely with them and give our brands access that isn’t possible with other agencies.
How many brands are represented by JUST today?
We currently represent twelve brands including Fila, Ichi, Juicy Couture and Remus Uomo with at least three more to be added before the end of the year.
What has been your proudest moment so far since starting your business?
There have been so many but winning ‘Agency of the Year’ at the Drapers awards in 2014 and again in 2019 was definitely a highlight.
How did you come up with the idea for the Just Around the Corner trade show? Tell us about the concept of the event.
As a business we/our brands were spending huge amounts each year participating in trade shows and not getting a decent return. We set up an open showroom event at our London HQ and allowed a few select agency friends and brands to join us, and we were “just around the corner” from one of the larger London shows at the time and the show was born. As we slowly recovered from the pandemic it became clear that there was a real gap for a fresh and innovative approach to the trade show scene so we took the bold step of hiring a 35k sq ft space at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, we sold this out and over 3 days had over 1500 buyers visit the event. We quickly added a women's show, doubled the brand count and then added a second show in Manchester. We offer brands great value, no additional charges, a fun atmosphere as well as free coffee, pastries and lunch to all exhibitors and visitors.
Why did you choose both Manchester and London as locations for the trade show?
Manchester is the centre of the fashion industry in the North of England and many of the key accounts are within a convenient range, it also attracts independent buyers from Ireland, Wales and Scotland and those who don't want to make the long journey down to London and incur the costs associated with the capital. We were not perturbed by the fact there not been a fashion event in the Northern Powerhouse for more than 40 years and actually saw that as an opportunity especially as many brands and agencies don’t have an platform to reach many of these accounts. We have been blown away by the response and sold out the upcoming August event already, with 2 months still to go to the show.
What are your plans for the next JATC trade show?
August will see us go live on our two largest shows to date. In Manchester (2nd - 3rd August) we have 150 brands showing at the iconic Freight Island venue. Manchester SS23 also sees the introduction of various outside networking spaces with bars and seating zones, each with views across the exquisite surrounds of the brand new Mayfield Park, the first park to be built in Manchester for over 100 years. For London (7th - 9th August) we are moving across the road from our previous site, still within the Truman Brewery complex, to their T1 venue which will allow us to showcase over 200 brands under one roof. We are also seeing the introduction in both locations of new zones including The Edit, our new are for elevated women's brands, which will showcase over +50 brands in both locations (see www.justaroundthecorner.co.uk for full listings per location by zone)