Trade show review: Lingerie Americas Magic 8/2008

Today we have the first of the trip reports from our members who attended the most recent MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas. First up is Robin who exhibited at Lingerie Americas (part of Magic) showing her Chic Peeks product line. Thanks Robin!
I signed up for this year’s WWD MAGIC Show as part of Lingerie Americas. To my knowledge it was going to be a large show with at least “2800 buyers and over 100 exhibitors” according to my contacts at Lingerie Americas.

I flew in on the Saturday before and ran around getting everything organized for set up day. On Sunday, the parking was light and the traffic was easy with everyone running around setting up their prospective booths. It took me about 25 minutes to actually find my booth which should have set off my alarm, but I was so excited just to be an exhibitor at such a huge show… When I finally navigated through the maze of unionized show workers setting up the custom booths and delivering large packages, I realized my booth was on a lone hall with 13 other lingerie exhibitors. I ignored that fact, set up my booth and high tailed it to Wal-Mart to get some flowers and other items to finish my booth.

Monday- Day 1
After a late night (dozed off at 1 AM), I woke up at 6 AM to get dressed and boogie down to the Convention Center. I paid $20 for parking and got into my booth by 7 AM (I like to be punctual). I thought, “where the hell is the traffic?” ; the halls remained barren until our first visitors trickled in around 2 PM only to find they were in the wrong part of the show. I was getting more upset by the minute when a man in a black suit with a MAGIC Badge walked past my booth. I stopped him to complain about our placement, the lack of exhibitors and buyers to later find out in the conversation he was the CEO of Advanstar, which owns the MAGIC Show. Within an hour, I had several suits in my booth reassuring me the show would get better. Unfortunately, once the free wine and beer started flowing around 5 PM, that was the end of any hope of buyers coming down our lonely lane.

That evening I had the pleasure of dining with the Executive Fashion Director (and his staff) of Glamour Magazine! I was able to pitch and just have a wonderful time. They treated my staff and I and we made contacts that will last a very long time.

Tuesday- Day 2
“This is not happening” was the theme of the day. I had a few sales from buyers who actually tracked me down from my site. They heard that the Lingerie Americas show was canceled and expected to see me at Curve, but wanted my Chic Peeks so they decided to look for me. While flattering indeed, I was fuming underneath my smile. I thought the lack of traffic was throughout the entire show until I had the chance to walk it. I had tears roll down my cheeks when I hit the adjoining accessories section and noticed it was abuzz with life, noise, and best of all- buyers. Exhibitors were writing orders, laughing, talking to other human life!

I was going to just count my losses and head home and learn from my lessons until I came across a competitor in the accessories section! My level of anger increased a few notches when I realized this lady wasn’t even in production yet. She had hand made samples and a horrible looking booth, yet there she was next to Hollywood Fashion Tape! I walked right up to Hollywood Fashion Tape and spoke with the owner about co-marketing possibilities and she was very impressed. Hopefully we can hatch some details out and this can be my silver lining.

The show seemed impressive throughout. I especially liked the young contemporary and streetwear sections. They were well lit, had lots of traffic and seemed like the environment was upbeat and happening.

Wednesday- Day 3
“Uprising”. By day 3, the exhibitors on “Loser’s Lane” were all quite perturbed with the show. Being the homeschooling mom that I am, I jumped on my neighbor’s computer, drafted a strong letter and sent my assistant to make copies. Show management stopped by once again to hear our complaints, this time our unified voices resonated with disdain and disappointment for the lack of responsibility Lingerie Americas had taken. I was able to get 11 out of the 13 exhibitors to sign the letter including some of the larger exhibitors, Aline Alcantara, Shirley of Hollywood and Ed Hardy Intimates. We spoke with a lawyer and she agreed with the actions we were taking. Hopefully, we can have a simple resolution to this messy show.

Overall, the show was a disaster. I will be exhibiting at Curve next time in the Spring. I am very disappointed that I wasn’t given a choice to exhibit elsewhere when the French companies pulled out of Lingerie Americas two months ago. I thought I did my due diligence in checking out the exhibitors and requesting buyers’ lists, of which I had not been privy to. Every time I phoned my representative, I was reassured that it was going to be a great show…

While I did make some sales and a possible branding deal, they were already in the works long before Lingerie Americas. Here are some lessons learned:

  1. If something is wrong with your show, bring it to attention immediately while on site
  2. Make friends with your neighbors
  3. Walk to rest of the show when you have a chance
  4. Get contact info from sales reps that carry similar lines
  5. Smile- even though you may want to cry
  6. Label EVERYTHING with your booth number
  7. Follow up, follow up, follow up!

At the end of the day, I emailed everyone I had met to keep me fresh in their minds. Think about it, people walking the show see many items- try to stand out with a follow up email.
Kathleen here with an off topic comment.
In trying to locate Robin’s booth on the show floor (it is off on its lonesome), I found that MAGIC has an awesome new feature called Map My Show. You can load a map of any part of the show floor and run your mouse over each booth and exhibitor information loads in a separate window. You can perform any manner of searches. Really neat!

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  1. Stephanie says:

    I attended Magic as Sourcing. One of my friends owns a lingerie boutique and asked if I could swing by Lingerie Americas to see what the offerings were. I was shocked to see how small the Lingerie Americas section was, and even more surprised at how far removed it was from the rest of the show. My assumption was that Curve had snapped everyone up in the way that Magic E-Collection snapped up vendors from the ASAP ECO Show.

    The tactics used here sound spot on. I showed at a tiny trade show at CMC in June that happened concurrently with the Brighte Companies show. Consequently, no one came to our itsy-bitsy show in the penthouse and we had to band together with other vendors to put out refreshments and press materials to publicize our existence. Thankfully most of us made such a fuss that we were told we could get our booths partially covered in the future, though I’m sure we won’t want to sell at that particular show again.

  2. Bethany says:

    I am no expert in Magic having only been once, but frankly, that one time was enough. I went last year to check out the children’s area and to source and I found both to be a dissapointment. I think Magic is WAY too big for it’s own good. If I was a buyer I wouldn’t even bother. I think Magic is now more like having a runway show- a lot of expense without a whole lot of payoff, especially for a DE. There are too many other trade shows with better prices and better buyers to exhibit at then Magic.

  3. Natalie says:

    I also attend Magic for sourcing and just to look around. If anyone has more trade shows for sourcing and trend- please list them. I am finding the same manufacturers over and over at Magic and would love another good domestic show.

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