If you don’t like reading, watch our tradeshow vlog here.
In 2010, I was introduced to the MAGIC show in Las Vegas. When i was first told about it, i thought “why is this person telling me about a magic show when i’m in the clothing industry?” After a bit of Googling, I realized that this was one of the biggest fashion tradeshows in the world and at that moment, I added it to my business bucket list.
Almost 4 years later, this dream became a reality. I’m still on such a high two weeks later and still can’t believe that it actually happened! First of all, Mark and I weren’t even planning on joining just yet… we thought of it as something we would join some day, perhaps in the next few years but certainly not within the first year of quitting our jobs. But… things happened, and a month and a half before the POOL Tradeshow was going to start, we found ourselves scrambling to learn as much as we could about tradeshows and wholesaling. It was overwhelming, to say the least, but we were excited for a new milestone in the business.
The POOL Tradeshow under Magic Market Week is designed specifically for emerging brands.
Since it was our first time, we opted for a co-op booth which was the “cheaper” option. It was a much smaller booth compared to the standard booths but it worked for the size of the line we have right now. Co-op booths are for “product only” so we could not customize our booth at all – no wallpaper, flooring, props, signage,… not even table cloth! It was a blessing in disguise for us though, especially since we only had a month and a half to plan. This restriction saved us money on decorations, shipping costs, and of course time. We were hesitant about joining at first since this is quite a big investment for a small business but we figured that we wouldn’t know if anything would come out of it… until we tried.
The hours at the convention centre are looooong but thankfully, the awesome organizers at MAGIC/POOL know how to work hard and play hard. With our booth fees came many party perks every night. On set-up day, they had a party at XS. After Day 1, they had a party at the Foundation Room at the top floor of Mandalay Bay, and on Wednesday night, a party at Marquee.
The 3 days at the convention centre were long days but it definitely helps to have fun neighbours (Hi May 28th, Acute Designs, and KOLA!). There are times when things are slow and you have nothing to do but pretend to look busy and then there are other times when you are trying to entertain 3 buyers at once. It was all overwhelming and nerve wracking at first but you get the hang of it after a few tries. Since it was our first time we definitely made a few silly mistakes and many times we had to ask our neighbour for help understanding certain things but it’s all part of the process.
One of my favorite moments at POOL was stalking the Rilakkuma girls. They were holding a contest for people who took pictures with them and posted them on Instagram and those who know me, know my deep love for Rilakkuma. I was determined to win and thankfully… I DID!
What did we get out of POOL? Every single (experienced POOL) person we talked to before joining the show gave us this advice: Come with no expectations and Network, network, network. Mark and I were in agreement that if we left the show with lots of new contacts and experience/lessons to take home, we would have accomplished our goal. In 3 days, we made many new friends, we learned and discovered so many new things about the industry, and most exciting of all, we made new connections with buyers from all over the world. We haven’t closed any deals yet but the mad following up has begun. It’s not over until you get a solid “NO” after all!
We concluded our first out of town business trip with a buffet at Bacchanal inside Caesar’s Palace. If there’s one place you need to visit in Vegas, it’s this place. Forget the clubs and the shows, this. is. the. place. to. be.
If you’re planning to join the tradeshow and you have some questions, please feel free to email us using the form in our Contact page. We had a ton of questions before joining and it definitely helped to talk to people who have experienced the show before.
Here is our 6 days in Vegas summarized into 8 minutes: