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INDUSTRY (212) TAKES CUSTOMER SERVICE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

From: ASAP

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Industry (212) pulled out all the stops for exhibitors and retailers at the show held at the Jacob Javits Center on September 29th through October 1st. Providing exemplary customer service is no small feat considering Industry (212) is the largest tradeshow for the high growth segments of the fashion marketplace: Accessories, Junior, Streetwear, Casual Lifestyle, Better, Young Contemporary/Contemporary. On the buying side, there were decision makers from all retail channels, including major department stores, specialty chains and independents from 50 states, Europe, Canada, South America, the Caribbean and Japan.

“We made a concerted effort to help our customers—both the exhibitors and the retailers—to feel important and be successful,” says Marilyn Harrington, General Manager of Advanstar Communications’ East Coast Fashion Group. “We listened to our customers and implemented many of their ideas.”

Barry Kramer, Vice President, Sales, Inge Christopher/Whiting Davis, a handbag manufacturer based in New York City and repeat Industry (212) exhibitor reported that this was their best show in two years. Their average order was much higher than usual and there was more diversity in the orders; major orders were placed by several specialty stores in Puerto Rico and two leading department stores Japan. “Our adage is ‘market the show correctly; bring the people to the building, then it’s up to us to create an exciting retail event.’ It’s a partnership,” said Kramer. “Show management listened, changed and delivered, which was evident in the advertising, the preview guide, postcards, meter boards and passport stations.”

New on the show circuit, Ahlström Designs, a boutique fashion jewelry design firm from Alexandria, Virginia, had an equally positive experience with the show. “The show exceeded our expectations for several reasons: we thought the New York market would be slightly soft coming off fashion week and also because September is not traditionally a busy buying season, but the opposite proved to be true,” said Susan Ahlström, COO of the company. “We had buyers from all over the United States who were eager to make purchases from our line. More than one buyer was thrilled to see new designs—and not another pair of chandelier earrings!” Often manning the booth by herself, Ahlström appreciated the food carts that roved the aisles and that show staff stopped by the booth several times each day to check on their progress. “We felt very pampered and well-taken care of by the entire Industry (212) family,” added Ahlström.

“We had an absolutely incredible show,” related Sari Ratsula, president, Seychelles, the Los Angeles-based footwear company. “The show itself pulls a nice selection of independent retailers that do great with our shoes. It also makes sense for us to be at a show that has a ready-to-wear presence. It’s easier to sell fashion shoes that are right on trend with the apparel shown in nearby booths. It’s a good match.”

Wanda Webb, owner and designer, Wanda Webb Jewelry, Jasper, TN, said, “This show exceeded all expectations. We opened lots of new accounts, as well as worked with existing customers.” It helped that the show was conducive to shopping. Webb added, “The atmosphere was delightful and the added perks for the vendors were a blessing.” Another return exhibitor, Zazou, a maker of scarves and handbags based in Berkeley, CA, also met their sales objectives. Kelly Sperbeck, Assistant Sales Manager, said, “We appreciated the time and effort show management has taken on updating and improving Industry (212).”

Other exhibitors found the on-site public relations and press support noteworthy. First-time exhibitor, Robert Arnone for Yolie Boutique in an e-mail wrote: “I wanted to take this opportunity to express how much I appreciated the great contacts you introduced me to at the show. As a new company one of my primary objectives is to build awareness among retailers and consumers of Yolie Boutique and our fun line of young contemporary/junior apparel and accessories. What better way to build this awareness than through meeting with editors from such nationally renowned publications.” Diva De Loayza, the designer for Bimbo, a young contemporary clothing line with a sense of humor, said, “I got a lot of new accounts, strong orders from old accounts and a lot of press came by—Jane, Teen People, Cosmopolitan, VH-1, were all very interested in my line.”

The theme of the feedback from the retailers who attended Industry (212) was that this show continues to be the show to discover new resources. Boris Chenkis, owner of After Five in Vancouver said, “The show staff walked the floor with me, helped me find new resources and things that fit my needs. It really helped save time.” He added, “I liked the quality of the seminars. Cathy McNeal, [Executive Vice President, GMM Merchandising] of Caché was very informative [What’s Hot What’s Not: How to Choose Product For Your Store To Keep You Ahead Of The Competition] and Mercedes Gonzalez, [Director, Global Purchasing Group] was right on, in terms of perspective [How to Run A Successful Retail Store].” Diane Merrick, owner of her eponymous store in West Hollywood, CA, offered, “What a pleasure to experience the new and improved Industry (212). Excellent merchandise and well placed in great categories. I’m glad I flew out a day early to attend the show.” Bett Barnett, owner of Betts in Highland Park, IL, said, “The great strength of this show is that they bring in new designers. It’s a great niche for the show.” She enthusiastically added, “I love this show. It’s easy to shop the show; the lighting is good, the aisles are wide. And the show organizers are responsive. They ask for your feedback and they really listen to the retailers.”

The next Industry (212) will take place at the Jacob Javits Center, January 11-13, 2004. For more information and additional show highlights, please visit www.industry212.com.

Industry (212) is produced by Advanstar Communications, Inc., a worldwide business information company serving specialized markets with high quality information resources and integrated marketing solutions. Advanstar has 105 business magazines and directories, 80 trade shows and conferences, numerous Web sites, and a wide range of direct marketing, database and reference products and services. Advanstar serves targeted market sectors in such industries as art, automotive, beauty, collaboration/e-learning, CRM/call center, digital media, entertainment/marketing, fashion & apparel, healthcare, manufacturing and processing, pharmaceutical, powersports, science, telecommunications and travel/hospitality. The Company has nearly 1,300 employees and currently operates from multiple offices in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.advanstar.com.

Industry (212) is an affiliate of MAGIC International, a subsidiary of Advanstar Communications. MAGIC International is the world’s largest and most widely recognized organizer of trade shows in the apparel industry. MAGIC International produces the MAGIC Marketplace in Las Vegas featuring MAGIC, WWDMAGIC, MAGIC kids and The Edge. For more information on Industry (212), please visit www.industry212.com.

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