Why Attending Fashion Shows Can Make You a Better Boutique Owner
Fashion shows are large, collaborated events where multiple designers, vendors, and wholesalers get together. Fashion shows are what you would traditionally think of with a runway. However, there are also trunk shows and conventions with no runway, similar to an expo in a hotel conference room.
For reference, a trunk show is where vendors will have a small inventory stock available for purchase by those who attend the event. Historically inventory has been brought to the show in an actual trunk – hence the name. At any fashion show, designers will display their latest collections. Attendees will even have the opportunity to see collections that have not reached the market yet. Items brought to shows are typically available for sale at wholesale price.
Fashion shows can also bring non-fashion vendors, such as wine or champagne companies. All the promotion between each attendee provides the opportunity for max participation from all communities involved. In addition, every vendor will post the event on their social media and their company’s social media and share details through word of mouth.
Fashion Show Mall
The Fashion Show Mall is a shopping mall located on the Las Vegas Strip. It was founded in 1981 and is an estimated 3600 feet from Cesar’s Palace. This mall hosts big-name stores such as Anthropologie, Tiffany and Co., and Nieman Marcus.
The mall is unique from others in the country in that it has a retractable runway in its center. In addition, it hosts free fashion shows often. Shows are Friday thru Sunday from noon until 5 PM, displaying various pieces sold at the mall.
Since 2010 (possibly before, given its age and reputation), Fashion Show Mall has had a “first to market” strategy. This simply means it is a place for new brands to debut themselves in Las Vegas. The benefit to this is that Las Vegas has a high population of residents and is always boasting tourism. So you never know who could see your brand or when.
Even better, if you get retail space in this mall, your brand can be featured in the weekly fashion shows. Imagine finally getting that retail dream space, and then boom, your brand is discovered by a person (or people) that can put your name on the maps you wish to be on.
How This Benefits You
So, how do all this fashion show and fashion mall talk pertain to you? Knowing about the different events in the fashion community is good to know for attendance purposes. Or, if you cannot attend but know someone who is, you can send your product with them. Then, work a business deal where they showcase, and you give them X amount of the sales from that show or some free outfits? Just an idea!
I digress. It is often said in various places that community is good. Two are better than one, and three cannot be broken apart. The fashion world is no different from this concept. As the idea mentions above, successful businesses require help from others. We are not meant to do life (or business) alone.
Marketing online has multiple benefits in today’s technology-driven world. Everyone is constantly posting on their social media, scrolling the internet, and they have an email address. Additionally, marketing with people in your industry expands that opportunity even more. Networking with others in the fashion industry should be seen as necessary, not competitive. Think of fashion industry networking as having a mentor in the workplace that guides you as you grow as a business owner.
It may be evident that going to fashion shows provides networking opportunities for you between vendors, other boutiques, wholesale opportunities, and mentorship. In addition, some names in fashion have expanded their businesses through networking at these fashion events.
So, what are the takeaways for you as a boutique owner with all this fashion show talk?
One, network! Immerse yourself into the fashion community around you, be it locally, nationally, or globally. The market has space for us all. It is better if we help each other win, I.E., network, and exchange contact information at fashion events. (E.g., trunk shows, fashion shows, or even the Fashion Mall in Las Vegas!)
Two, try new things. What worked in the past may not work now. Or, what works for some may not work for your boutique. We all have different styles and audiences we intend to reach with our brands. No two things are consistently alike. Take ideas from the fashion community around you and see how you can implement them into your own business.
Lastly, do not say “no” to an opportunity. This ties into trying new things. You never know when an opportunity could be the break you have been hoping for in your business. Big or small, starting or having been established for years, take the options presented to you.
Each opportunity is going to teach you something. It will inevitably lead you to the right places because each option will teach you something new.
For example, Amy Hilton Designs got “the big break” from being found online by a local resort. The designer said “yes” to attending a trunk show without having done one before. From that one “yes,” a risky “yes,” I might add, she has a wholesale account with the resort. She also has high-profile and influential clients that loyally follow her brand.