For the past few months I worked for Children’s Club, the leading tradeshow for children’s fashion in NY and Vegas. I’ve done so in the past and have written a post about what it is like to attend a show and the brands that were there. Read about that here! As part of a new section of my blog I will start writing about what it is like to work in the fashion industry. Today I will be talking about what it is like to prepare for and set up a tradeshow.
Before a tradeshow occurs there are months of preparation for an event that is only three days long. For every tradeshow there is a team behind it who guides every company that wishes to exhibit at the tradeshow. During my time working for Children’s Club my responsibilities include inputting contracts, chasing money and selecting pictures sent to us by the brands. These pictures would be put on social media, a slide show shown during the show and in the brand book that’s given out at the show. I also was in charge of interacting with the brands on Instagram.
The process of brands selecting a booth starts with the contract. Each brand is given a contract which gives them options on what type of booth they want, where they want to be located and who they don’t or do want to be located near. And lastly they have to sign the contract, something believe it or not some brands forget to do. Once this first step is taken a tradeshow manager or I can input the contract into the system which officially puts the brand into the tradeshow. After I’ve put in contracts and helped double-check all of them, it’s time to chase down money from brands who have yet to pay the full price of their booth.
Once we’ve collected all the money owed it’s time to floor plan. Something I helped with occasionally, but that is predominantly done by the rest of the team. Booth size, type of booth and the brands’ wishes are all taken into account, although you can’t please everyone and some brands will complain about their positioning and price. There are also the brands who pull out of the show or try to, without realizing they sign a legally binding contract. There are some sad excuses given when the brand has to explain why they are breaking the contract. Although life happens and family or legal issues has forced brands to legitimately back out.
After months of this detailed preparation the show dates are upon us. It’s time for all the brands and teams from UBM Fashion to make their way to the Jacob Javits Convention Center to set up and attend the show. Set up days can be hectic and they are longggg. They consists of most of the brands coming into the Javits all in one day and setting up the merchandise in their booths. At this point the actual booths are already up, and if the brand is satisfied with their booth they start to put in their merchandise. Operative word is IF, because most of the time set up day consist of all the UBM fashion crew (including me) being pulled in every which way with a million and one questions.
During these days my job predominantly consist of helping salesmen recheck that all of the more than 500 booths have the correct signage. I also help collect samples from all the brands that have the opportunity to showcase their merchandise on mannequins. These are place in the front of the tradeshow entrance. This is basically a free ad for these brands, a great opportunity for them. At the end of each day the mannequins are dressed with the samples I or a salesman collected. I had never changed a mannequin until I worked at UBM! Those things can be uncooperative but look adorable once all dressed and arranged into a group of coordinated outfits.
Finally the opening day of the tradeshow begins and the Javits is full of vendors, wholesale buyers, press, fashion professionals, UBM staff and tradeshow workers. Aside from the actual tradeshows occurring there are also side events. Special speakers like fashion legend Iris Apfel and Accessories magazine editors hosted talks and Q&A’s this year. Children’s Club always hosts a fashion show with Petite Parade. Basically toddlers to teens strutting their miniature stuff on a catwalk. The three-day tradeshows wrap up, with hopefully many orders filled and sales made. Almost immediately preparation begins for the Vegas tradeshows.
In my next post I will talk about what it is like to attend the Women’s tradeshows. I came across some awesome brands and can’t wait to tell you about them. Let me know if you are interested in more of these job post. As I am thinking of making it apart of my blog thanks to my ever-changing career.
Lastly since my post was a bit different this time around here are links to awesome fashion/travel blog posts from my great Instagram blogger group. All super stylish ladies!