The Agenda Long Beach tradeshow that filled the Long Beach Convention Center last week on July 8 and 9 with over 750 action sports, lifestyle, sportswear, accessories and industry services brands stayed on its recent steady progression of attracting a broader diversity of exhibitors and attendees.
Long gone are the days of the overwhelmingly skater and surfer crowd. With Agenda WMNS, The Woods and now, Resource adding to the mix, the beer still flows early but its not all young male tee-shirt and cap wearing shredders doing the drinking anymore.
Agenda Long Beach is the most fun of all the trade shows that I attend. There is a party atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, the brands are their to do business but if you can do that business with a beer in your hand at 11AM on the first morning, go for it.
That is exacly what was happening at the The Mad Hueys booth when I was introduced to one of the Australian owners of the brand by my good mate and top notch photographer, Adrian Wlodarczyk of Shapeshift Photography. The Mad Hueys hails from the Gold Coast in Queensland where a good amount of Aussie cheeky irrevence has influenced the logo tees and caps.
The Mad Hueys have secured a US licensing deal and should be spicing up a surf store near you soon.
The action sports and streetwear section, The Berrics was crowded and boisterous as usual. The aisles between the large, built out booths clog with vendors, buyers and media getting a look at the latest from the major action brands.
I have more than enough shoes but still like to admire the offerings in the footwear section. My personal fav this time was the Gola booth. Gola was one of THE brands of my teenage years. It is good to see that they are looking better than ever.
In Agenda WMNS, I caught up with the Australian sister brands, Tiger Mist and Rise of Dawn. The owner, Stevie Pallister and the Brand Manager, Yvette Collis are back in town from Melbourne to show the latest offerings from both lines and their latest addition, Rise.
The very attractive fashion fashion price points ($99 max. retail) of the print driven Tiger Mist and Rise of Dawn collections have a strong following with Revolve, Nasty Gal, Asos and Forever 21.
Yvette told me that The Nasty Gal buyer was at the show. Other exhibitors mentioned Finish Line, Modcloth and Urban Outfitters attending. Apparel News reported so were buyers from Nordstrom, Pacific Sunwear, Zumiez, Tilly’s, Zappos, Jack’s Surf, Need Supply Co., Pilgrim, Black Market, Bodega and Convert Man.
Rise is a basics collection with sleek fashion styling in block colors and black and whites utilizing assemetry and mesh among other signature fabrications and styles, all at the same price points as the sister labels.
Yvette said that they were very happy with the activity at the show. The other booths at WMNS didn’t seem to be doing much business.
It was then off to The Woods section which reminds me of mini Capsule with a sophiscation of design and use of premium materials to produce contemporary and progressive active and sports wear.
The Woods is a mix of legacy brands like Kennington, Volley (they still sell the same styles I wore playing tennis at school) and Goorin Bros along side emerging labels such as Alite Designs, Native and the Australian dual gender label, Handsome Me.
Joe Dikdan, Business Development Manager at the apparel specialist Ramp Logistics, was happy with the activity in Resource.
He said it will be difficult to quantify the effectiveness of the show until all the follow up is done and subsequent business starts to flow.
Joe saw bricks and mortar retailers looking for ecommerce solutions and fulfilment services, and brands needing his full service logistics.
Businesses were leaving cards and requesting follow up, and taking his flyers which Joe thought was very positive proactive engagement that he wouldn’t have experienced by just walking the show and networking.
“I’m glad we did it” is always good to hear.
Although not a Spring season trade show, the July edition of Agenda Long Beach feels like the kick off of the Spring trade show circus that will continue through to LA Market Week in mid-October. We are now coming out of the doldrums of Summer for wholesalers.
Next stop, the massive Las Vegas round of Spring16 trade shows from August 17-19. This is the biggest contemporary apparel wholesaling week of the year.
Despite the continuing weak retail conditions (Apparel News reported that sales measured by an index of independent surf and skate shops, kept by ActionWatch, a market-research group, declined 2.4 percent for the period of January to May 2015 compared with the same time in the previous year), there was optimism and buying activity at Agenda LB.
The financial press is predicting a modest upswing in the economy for the second half of 2015. Let’s hope that translates into the retail sector. If it does, there will not be enough time for the improvement to be felt by the time of the Las Vegas shows in mid-August. I’ll be interested to see if retailers have got wind of better times by then. Will let you know.
paul brindley consults