If you are looking at options to expose your brand and catch the eyes of multiple retail buyers in a span of 3-4 days, trade shows or fashion fairs are an obvious choice. Fashion fairs organize themselves to attract both brand exhibitors and retail buyers alike – organizing the space, inviting the buyers, approving the exhibitors and providing the resources and location for showing your brand.
There are regional shows/fairs, national and international ones. Fairs are often specialized such as for swimwear, outdoor, childrenswear, footwear, menswear – a fair for every fashion segment. All fairs are not created equal, each one is a different vibe or experience. Here are 5 ways to maximize your brand opportunity at fashion fairs.
Table of Contents
5 ways to maximize your brand exposure
- Research Fashion Fairs
- Prepare to tell your brand’s story
- Highlight your brand at the Fashion Fair
- Reach out prior to the Fashion fair
- Take stock and follow up
1. Research Fashion Fairs
Setting up your brand at a fair is not a light investment. Be sure to take the time to research which fairs would be the most suitable and fit the requirements of your business goals. You may prepare a list of questions for the organizers or ask prospective customers if they attend the fair and their opinions on it. You should consider the costs of the space itself, the logistics of getting your samples, fixtures, lighting, electrical provisions, signage to the fair.
Ask who are the typical retailers who attend the fair, what are the busiest days, what resources will be provided and how are booths assigned. If you still are not sure a fair is the right choice for your brand, you might ask the organizers if you may attend as a visitor to truly experience it.
2. Prepare to tell your brand story
The booth is assigned to you but it’s up to you to create a space that best tells your brand story. Whether is designing a space resembling your showroom or recreating the concept of your latest collection front and center. Planning the space for visual appeal is often a huge difference maker. By telling your brand story through visual merchandising, it draws in buyers to hear your story.
Questions to consider when planning your booth
Do you want signage of just your brand logo or does your brand require more than that? Do you have top of the line digital assets that you want to share on a screen? Is there something you want to demonstrate in your booth? Do you want to ensure that every buyer that crosses into your booth leave their contact information?
3. Highlight your brand at the Fashion Fair
In telling your story, prepare the main points you and your team want to cover when buyers approach you. This could be what sets you apart from other brands, the origin story of your brand, conveying the inspiration of the current collection or echoing the words of the designer, interesting features or ideas social or sustainability commitments.
Making a connection of the brand to the buyer is important, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ensure you are getting those important points across that might not be apparent from a glance at the merchandise. Have look books or digital assets ready at the outset to share as well be prepared with pricing in different currencies if the show attracts retailers from abroad.
4. Reach out prior to the Fashion Fairs
When you sign in to a fashion fair, the organizers will be able to share the past attendees and who they invite. Often retailers will pre-register to show their intentions of attending. It is always a good idea to reach out to retailers and let them know what the latest and greatest of your brand is and what booth number is. Research the key retailers you want to target and have a working familiarity with their business and other brands they sell.
Promote your brand
Sending a digital invite to your booth stylized with your key look is a good head start. Beautiful look books, novelty key drives with the collection photographs, and PR videos ahead of the fair pique interest. One brand sent a tiny pair of pants to show their tailoring prowess. Calling by phone is often hit or miss for the larger retailers but can be effective for smaller ones.
5. Take stock and follow up
The fair is a great place to make connections and network. Hear how the market is faring and exchange information with other brands. Hopefully, the fair met your expectations. You signed up interested retailers, maybe wrote some orders and now have a pile of retailer contacts.
Your business has the potential to grow and you need to stretch your team to more markets in order to follow up and turn those retail contacts into customers. There may be a lot of questions that you need to follow up with. This is a good time to take stock and plan the next steps.