5 Tips for Fashion Trade Show Success

This blog post is sponsored by our partner FRESH @ WWIN. The content is inspired by the fashion trade show experience they have created for emerging fashion designers. While this is a sponsored post, I would never share anything with you that I don’t believe to be a truly helpful resource. Promise. 

Getting more wholesale accounts for your fashion business is difficult. Buyers don’t seem to respond, trade shows are often really expensive and focused on established brands, and it’s easy to feel like giving up. But trade shows can be a really powerful option for growing your business, so by dismissing the idea, you’re missing out on the the possibility of new accounts and more exposure. 

Until recently I didn’t think there were many (if any) affordable options for emerging brands. Our new partnership with FRESH @ WWIN, is changing that.

FRESH was launched by The WWIN Show in Las Vegas, and offers rising stars in the womens apparel and accessories industry the opportunity to showcase their designs at a reduced cost. Sweet!

But success at a trade show takes more than just showing up with your samples, line sheets, and lookbooks. There’s work that goes into it. And considering what an exciting opportunity FRESH is offering, I wanted to share my tips for fashion trade show success so that you can make the absolute most of it.

Create a Branded Environment

When you’re planning your booth for a trade show, it’s important to create a unique, memorable branded environment within your space. Find places to show your process with behind-the-scenes photography. Display your inspiration boards around the space to communicate the vibe and match the aesthetic of your brand and collection. Treat it like a mini store that you get to welcome buyers, press, and industry folks into for a few days– give it that same level of love and attention. 

Be Engaging

Don’t be timid, talk to everyone that walks into your booth.  It’s your job to engage people who enter your space, introducing yourself, welcoming them, and most importantly, asking them questions. People love to talk about themselves and the more you’re able to engage them in that way, the more they’re likely to stay and look around. 

Get Involved

Something that is often forgotten, is the idea of asking about opportunities for extra promotion. Whether paid or unpaid, it’s worth considering gift bag opportunities, show guide and web ads to gain more exposure, signing up for buyer matching programs,  and attending networking happy hour and other auxiliary events to make the most of your experience and create stronger connections.  

Network Before the Show

Make sure you are putting in the time before the show to connect via social media. Follow the @tradeshow social media accounts, like/regram/tweet their posts. They will likely return the favor. Use the #showhashtag, interact with other participants, and identify more leads. Essentially join the conversation. 

Create Your Follow Up Plan

A lot of sales happen after the show so timely follow up is really important. If you plan your follow-up before the show, you’ll be ready to quickly and easily implement the plan right after the show. If you wait until you return, follow up becomes an afterthought or doesn’t happen at all. Write your email script and give yourself a timeline for the 2nd and 3rd follow up, if you don’t hear back.  

Bonus Tip

Remember that trade show success comes in more forms than just the sales. Of course you want sales, that’s a given. But market research, competitive analysis, press mentions, and product feedback are all great goals to have in place as well.

Thinking you’re ready to participate in a fashion trade show to grow your business? Here’s more about FRESH. 

To start, I want you to know that we have partnered with FRESH because I believe that they are offering something that other shows don’t: a rare opportunity for you, as a rising emerging brand, to connect with buyers and land new wholesale accounts during a trade show at a price point that is actually affordable.

The WWIN Show is a long-running womenswear show that takes place in Las Vegas in August and February. Until now they’ve focused on established womenswear and accessories brands. The launch of FRESH @WWIN is making trade show participation a possibility for newer brands. 

The inaugural FRESH @ WWIN stage is expected to feature 16 designers, each reviewed and selected by a jury based upon design philosophy, price points, collection style, craftsmanship and more.

If you want to be one of them, complete the FRESH @ WWIN application found on the show website here. 

Here’s what I love about what they’re doing to serve you, the next generation of fashion designers.

  • Affordable Booth Package– They’ve created a great package for participation that includes booth space, a table and 2 chairs, a company ID sign, a display rack, breakfast and lunch, waste basket, 500 watts of power all for $1,950!
  • Educational Seminars for Participants– they offer educational seminars to help with your business for participants only (yours truly will be there giving on of the seminars! say hello if you are there!)
  • Their buyers asked for this- this is huge. Part of the reason WWIN has launched FRESH is because their buyers were asking them for connection to new, emerging talent (that’s you). So they are coming, ready to meet you and hopefully place that order!
  • FRESH stage located in largest ballroom-  we all know the famous trade shows that launch their “emerging” section, only to place that section in another room or hidden spot that buyers don’t even realize exist. That’s not the case. The FRESH stage is located in the largest ballroom, a highly trafficked area. Buyers that have been attending for years know this room. So they will see you.
  • During  trade show season– This is not a show that’s happening off season or at a weird time. FRESH @WWIN takes place during trade show week in Vegas, when buyers are flying in in droves.
  • Match! Appointment setting program– this is a cool add-on that they offer where brands have the opportunity to have pre-arranged, confirmed, one-2-one meetings with buyers. And since they know budget is a concern, they offer this a la carte– allowing you to decide how many meeting you can afford to arrange. 

SPECIAL OFFER

FRESH is offering an additional discount to StartUp FASHION members!  If you are a member, click here to go to your dashboard and snag that offer. 

Nicole Giordano
Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

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