I don’t even know where to begin with my trip report which is doomed -poor you- to be a series of entries. I think I’ll start with my notebook, progress to business cards and fill in with the volumes of paper products I brought back. The general overview of the trip is that I went to the sourcing section, attended three seminars (somebody said they attended the branding seminar and that it was really really good. Whoever you are, I hope you’ll write about it for us), and I went to Project, Curve and the Eco Trade show. In between I visited some booths and did a few interviews. I’ll be posting the interviews separately.
Starting with my notebook:
First I visited a software company called CompSolution and spoke with Daniel Lee, heir apparent (family owned firm). This LA based company produces a range of products and services for manufacturers. Select “products” on their site and click on the modules on the right and you can see the different ERP type tracking solutions they’ve got rolled into a relational database. They also provide wholesale hosting solutions as well as web design services. Pretty snazzy. Pricing for the garment manufacturer module (in house nickname is “LAMBS”) is $10K plus $500 per station.
Then I attended Robert Silverstone‘s seminar on How To Retain And Motivate Your Sales Team because I was hoping there’d be some tips you could use to enhance your relationships with sales reps. It ended up being more appropriate for managing retail store employees but there was useful information in sorting out conflicts and active listening. For example, if you have a problem with someone, it is helpful to provide a list of duties for which they are responsible, and rather than you rating their performance, ask them to rate themselves. Once done, you don’t tell them what to do or how to improve, rather, you ask them how they can do it. There are some notes from the show (slides) and hopefully I can get permission to share those with you. While Silverstone is a very dynamic speaker with extensive history in the retail side of the business (he’s agreed to write an article for us here, hopefully on trunk shows), his business has evolved into motivational topics you may find interesting. Robert is very charming and always worth a listen.
Introducing Robert was Frances Harder from the FBI (Fashion Business Incubator). She mentions that the FBI -in addition to the myriad of existing services they offer start ups in California- has recently acquired some grant money for computer training. Specifically, they’ll be offering classes in Photoshop and Illustrator as well as some CAD classes. See their site for more information but that sounds just dandy if you’re in a position to take advantage of it.
Day two, rough notes from the sourcing section of MAGIC
It’s 9:15 AM and I note that many of the booths are unattended. This is very bad form. If I’m not mistaken, show management will fine you for this. They’ll also fine you if you take your booth down before the show is over. I didn’t do a lot of fabric sourcing, there wasn’t a whole lot to pick from unless you sourced in Asia and honestly, there was too much to pick from in that category that I had to bail entirely. I limited fabric sourcing to Central America.
Booth #23910 Riolindo Textiles (Honduras):
I met Karen Facusse Valenzuela (very charming and personable). Riolindo is a family run mill producing woven textiles. Karen mentions there is no duty on imports and that all of their threads are imported from the US. There are no minimums on in stock goods or colors with a 2,000 yd minimum for custom colors and a two week lead time. Their website is in Spanish but they speak exquisite English. According to their brochure, they’ve recently modernized across the board but are very proud of their new water treatment plant which reduces environmental degradation. They can produce different types of goods ranging from polyester, rayon, cotton as well as blends. Products can be bleached, dyed, yarn-dyed, printed and they can weave twill, dobby among others. They can also pre-shrink, sand and add other finishes. You can directly if you like.
Booth #23911 Pro Nicaragua
This is a group funded by the government to encourage development and facilitate investment in Nicaragua. They maintain a sourcing database to assist you in placing contracts or locating goods. No fee.
Booth #23913 Textisur
They’re the source (in Guatemala) for toweling products (not on their website yet) but they seem to be known mostly for their nylons and knits but they also have other goods like twills. They’ll also produce finished goods (vertical contractor) specializing in seamless. Minimums are 50 dozen with 30 dozen per color. They seem to be a good private label resource, assisting with product development. For fabrics, the minimums are 5,000 yards per style with 1,000 yards per color. The contact name I have is Fenando Diaz.
Booth #23815 David Garment Cutting and Fusing (no website)
Unique for this venue was a cutting service out of LA. Other than the obvious (cutting and fusing) they can take hard copy and source it for marking to a service and then make marker copies if you need them. They have 2 128 foot tables and 3 eighty foot tables. They also provide die cutting service (clickers, so the head is small). The neat thing is they can have the dies made for you although for my money, I’d rather work with the die makers directly. They charge 15 cents apiece for die cutting. I asked Mario (David’s son) about the recent marker post and he says one way to avoid a problem like that in the future is if you could separate each style in the marker first. In other words, place the pieces belonging to one style adjacent to each other rather than just where ever they’ll fit in. Live and learn I guess. Contact: 1839 E. 58th Place, Los Angeles CA 90001. Telephone 323-583-9885. . Mario didn’t strike me as being very friendly or personable but then I wasn’t looking to place a contract either and I don’t think he understood what this whole blog thing is or why I was pumping him for information. At least he was there and making an effort. I didn’t see any other US based service providers there.
That’s all for today, I’ll get more up tomorrow.