Showing a children’s wear line

Today we have a guest entry from Bethany reporting on her experience of showing her children’s wear line at Bubble NY. She claims she can’t write but I didn’t have to edit a word. Bethany will also be at Magic if you want to meet her. Thanks Bethany!
Hi everyone, my name is Bethany and I am the President of Georgie World Inc, a surf and skate inspired line of boy’s clothing. K noticed I have been to a few trade shows and asked me to write about my experience. So here it goes:

As a children’s wear designer I have known about ENK Children’s Club and Bubble NY for a while because they are the major east coast trade shows for kids clothing. So this past July I decided to attend Bubble as an exhibitor and I snuck into Children’s Club so I could compare shows.

Bubble is a really cool small show that is about a 5 minute walk from Children’s Club. Every exhibitor tends to be a small to medium manufacturer with a higher selling price point. I decided to show at Bubble because I knew Children’s Club was a huge show and I thought I would get lost.

Turns out I was right. The Children’s Club venue is a huge cavernous space with hundreds of booths and no organization. There were cheesy christening gowns next to pajamas next to sock booths. It was ugly, confusing and overwhelming. I was shocked by the lack of structure. How hard would it be to have a section of pajamas, a section of christening gowns, a section of fancy clothing, a section for accessories, and a section for higher end boutique clothing? I asked the buyers who came to Bubble how they felt about both shows and they said ENK was a necessary evil and they much preferred Bubble.

Bubble is the antithesis of Children’s Club. It is small, bright, and relaxing. The buyers come looking for novelty and quality design. I had a blast showing my collections and meeting the store owners. I came to the show with questions in mind to ask the buyers I met about what they were looking for in regards to quality and fit, and they were thrilled to tell me what they thought. I also noticed that the booth in my section that wrote the most paper was the organic line of baby and toddler clothing. I thought the whole organic clothing trend was a myth perpetuated by the trade magazines, but I guess it is selling because that booth had more buyers then any other on my row. But I digress.

The best thing about exhibiting at Bubble is every trade magazine comes to the show and stops by every booth. My goal was to get the business card of every ‘zine, blog and newspaper that stopped by. By the time the show was over I had over 15 cards that I can use for publicity, and quite a few took photos and interviews.

As far as I can tell, there is one reason for a new brand to show at a trade show and one reason only- publicity. It costs about $1500 to run a quarter page ad in a trade magazine for one month. It cost just under 2 grand to show my line at Bubble- except at Bubble I knew everyone who stopped by my booth was interested in what I had to offer. An ad only gets to those buyers who have the time to flip through the magazine while eating their sandwich during lunch break. Plus, I got to actually talk to the people I was selling to and they wrote orders, so I ended up breaking even.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the next Children’s Club in October because it is at the exact same time as the fabric show in Los Angeles, and there is no way I am missing that show. But I will be back in March and will let you know how it goes.

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