Sourcing at Magic 2/08: David Sorg

David Sorg (Montana Ride) provides the first of our guest entry trip reports of Magic 2008. While David’s line is new, the proper context of his entry is to know his wife has worked continuously in the industry for a reputable firm for over twenty years. Thanks David!
Although we’re a new company with our first production run of men’s underwear, my wife and I wanted to visit MAGIC, and possibly the Curves show at the Venetian because we’re already planning for additional products to debut in the coming months. We’ve attended a few of these shows in the past, so we already had our sourcing badges in hand when we flew in on Thursday for the day.

We started the morning on a high note, meeting Kathleen, who also happened to be in the Sourcing section of the show at the time, as well as her charming husband Eric (incognito; you had to be there). I could gush here a bit about Herself, but this is s’posed to be a brief report on our take of the show…

Alas, the day went downhill from there. We use high tech knits and had an interest in seeing any new developments. We’re also open to additional contractors. The majority of exhibitors in the sourcing section were from China and none of them stood out for what we were looking for. Perhaps a denim buyer could find a difference in the many booths that looked the same to us. I’m always surprised at how little thought apparently goes into these booths. Surely it costs thousands to rent the space, fly the people over, feed and house them, etc. only to have no one that can speak passable English. If you can’t rent a translator in ‘Vegas, they should fly one in from California or wherever. Any displays are usually in Chinese characters and if there’s an English translation, it makes no sense, e.g. “Happy to hand in your hand together up the hill”. The colors of the posters are wrong for the U.S.; they look like they were placed in a south exposure window and left for the fugitive inks to fugit whilst the rest fade away. In the non-denim and non-fur booths, the sample clothing hanging around is also apparently colored and/or printed for foreign markets, too.

There was also an aisle for Peru, which was better, and for Africa, which was mixed. There, most spoke reasonable English and one South African woman was just delightful to listen to her accent. But nothing stood out for us. There were very limited displays and choices in fabrics.

We were disappointed that with the exception of the short Peru aisle, there was almost nothing from the Americas. Last year the U.S. put a little “pavilion” together, but gave up on it this year, which is too bad I think. Maybe they go somewhere else, though we tried Material World New York and they weren’t there either. We’re going to try the L.A. Textile show and see if there’s any chance at that one before we stay home and let our fingers do the walking. We didn’t get to ASAP, though based on past experience, we wouldn’t have missed much.

The crowds throughout the halls were very light this show; we didn’t know if they’d already come and gone on earlier days. We briefly walked much of the rest of the show and felt sorry for exhibitors in the POOL area as there was obnoxiously loud music playing from a DJ while some booths kept their own boom box going. Some music and some noise may be conducive to business by making you feel you’re in a hip and happening scene, but this discouraged conversation.

We also attended one of the Sourcing seminars, this one on producing in the U.S.A. which interests us very much. Based on past experience, we had said that we would forswear any more F.B.I. sponsored seminars and we should have stuck to our guns. We did leave early as this one quickly skidded out of anyone’s control, turning into an audience Q&A which is the least efficient way possible to convey information to a group -and invited smart-ass responses from one of the panel members.

Our last stop was going to be to the Curves Nevada show at the Venetian which had men’s underwear, but they saw our Sourcing badge and wanted $200 apiece to get in. We didn’t think it would be as much fun as that, and will save the money for another day. We were able to get an earlier flight back out, so it wasn’t a horribly long day, but not a very useful one for us, either.

Lest you think I’m only negative about the show, there was great people watching. There were many more benches and chairs upon which you could rest than in the past, the staff was very friendly and you could stock up on tote bags to eliminate the “paper or plastic?” question at the grocery store.

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  1. SarahM says:

    Thanks for the report. Sounds like the exhibitors did not have it together. The planners should recommend translators or English speaking trade show staff. I wonder how they did…

    (A suggestion for your website: Add a “Where to buy” page! The t-shirts sound perfect for my tall husband.)

  2. David says:

    …yes, my wife sometimes asks which husband I am planning to be for an occasion.

    Sarah, we are just using our website as a brochure while we attempt to wade through management software that will include online ordering for both wholesale and retail. We’ve heard so many times to do it (the software) right, and do it right from the start, so it’s a big time consumer at the moment. Our favorite so far is one called AS/AP, but so far it is also the most expensive.

  3. Helen says:

    After clicking through the Montana Ride site I’m about ready to place a wholesale order for the store I don’t have. Nice copy, and I love the brand name. It’s so…suggestive.

  4. Christina&John says:

    I know there is a “Match Making” service at Magic Sourcing. (you give them your criteria, they set up potential sources) I am curious if anyone has used it/knows someone who has. We are considering checking it out in August and want to see if it would be worth our time.

  5. David says:

    Thanks Helen. The name was one of those “light bulb” kind of things that we knew was right at it’s moment of conception. After that things sometimes get hazy…

    Christina and John, we did the matchmaking one time at MAGIC and it was a total joke. The young woman took out the same brochure you already have and circled names that were already in their respective categories, then pointed out the huge aisle banners that you might use for navigation. In theory, they would also make appointments for you and have the vendors come to your little folding table and tell you…stuff(?)if you preferred to do it that way.

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