Being the infovore that I am and know many of you to be, this is the last of my entries on the show except for the trip reports I’m hoping to rake in from others who attended. Below is a smattering of notes and resources I picked up at the Magic show which weren’t filed elsewhere.
I picked up a CD from Alibaba, a huge Asian outsourcing portal although I had already joined as a member (free but subs get premium benefits) before the show. The CD lists their premium sourcing members but you can access all of them from their site. Alibaba also has some forums which aren’t bad but you will find people complaining about having been taken to the cleaners by other Alibaba members. And people wonder why the FI forum is juried. To avoid problems on Alibaba, read and follow this advice. I didn’t write that -honest- so you can see my opinions are shared by others.
You can these everywhere. The full size versions are perfect bound paperback books listing all of the exhibitors of a given show. Pick up one and save it but you may find navigating the floor with the mini versions -cheat sheets or indexes- reduces the load you’re hauling around. Getting the show directories is useful if you’re looking for a sales rep. You can tell the exhibitor is an independent if several lines (from differing manufacturers obviously) are listed in the same booth space. Use the directory to find lines similar to yours (via categories first) and contact the sales rep for those lines via email or by phone (both are listed) if you can’t visit personally. I think it’s better to stop by and watch the sales rep to see how they pitch their lines. There’s also a few ads in the directories which may be useful for sourcing purposes. Sometimes the different marts (not Magic though) will send you a directory from their most recent show upon request.
All of the traditional trade publications have booths with free samples. By trade, I don’t mean Vogue magazine (oddly, Lucky! and Marie Claire were there) but Outerwear Manufacturer, Fairchild (WWD, DNR etc), Earnshaw’s, Intimate Apparel Business, Western Lifestyle Retailer and California Apparel News. If you’re thinking of subscribing to a for-pay publication and can hold off until you attend a trade show, you’ll find they often have show specials with reduced rates. I subbed to Apparel News at half price. You can also find publications representatives, usually book sellers near by. Perusing their stacks will give you an idea of whether you want to spring for those pricey color and trend books. They also have a lot of foreign fashion publications which are also pretty expensive but you can often pick up the shop worn copies for half off on the last day of the show. Eyeing a copy of my favorite –Arpel– I wasn’t so lucky this time. However, there are consumer fashion magazines lying about. If you want to pick up free copies of those (I like Cowboys and Indians), you have to swing by the first day because those go fast. The consumer fashion magazines are free because they want you to advertise in them.
Also, sometimes there is media put out by the pubs specifically for the show or regional shows. These can be daily tabloids, they did this at Bobbin. This time around, California Apparel News had copies of a special edition directory called “New Resources” that they put out for buyers at the LA mart show which had full page listings of new lines (you have to been in business less than two years and have shipped to at least one store). I don’t know what this kind of coverage runs but if you’re showing at the LA mart and want to be included, contact for more information. It is a nice little book and think it could be helpful if you can afford it. Apparel News also puts out a full size trade calender which is incredibly useful. It’s also available on their site but I prefer the trade show listings in a traditional wall calender format.
You can find the book sellers close to the other magazines and publications. The exception was FashionDex which is also a publishing company; they were located in the sourcing section in the south hall. FashionDex puts out a lot of sourcing directories. I met Max who owns it, very charming guy. He says he got the idea for the company after observing that a co-worker was being called repeatedly for numbers in her Rolodex. His first foray was a directory on Rolodex cards which he says was a fiasco but he didn’t give up. He gave me three titles for reviewing purposes, one on contractors, another for fabrics and a last book on Vendor Compliance (which I really like). I’ll be reviewing those later. Alan and Debbie Weinberg of OPR (Overseas Publishers Representatives) were also there, they’re a good company to deal with with offices in NY. Lastly was Trade Publications who only sell at the trade shows. All I can say about that company is I don’t do business with them anymore. When Arnie Diamond ran the show it was a great company. The partner he took on is another story.