Before you could say “2017?”, Agenda Long Beach got the apparel trade show year off to a cracking start last Thursday at the conveniently close Long Beach Convention Center.
I will not rehash the whys and wherefores of Agenda. I have covered the development and expansion of the show in my twice yearly reviews since 2011. You can read the previous reviews here.
The rain (yes, rain in Southern California) did not stop the first day being well attended and energetic. There was nothing new in the general layout of the show. The Berrics (skate), Enclave (street and men’s contemporary) and Footwear sections to the left. The Point (surf), The Woods (contemporary and lifestyle apparel and accessories), Pin & Patch (personalized accessories), The Essentials (grooming and personal goods), WMNS (women’s contemporary apparel and accessories), Resource (industry providers) to the right.
The one marked difference from previous shows was the very noticeable drop-off in foot traffic and activity on Day 2. For consistency of comparison, I prefer to walk the show at about the same time both days, usually during the busiest times of late morning to early-mid afternoon. Being only a two day show, both days are usually bustling. The weather was no worse on Friday, in fact a little better. It may have been an anomaly.
The brands and booths that caught my eye were:
I first met Sevag Kazanci, the co-founder of Parks Project when he spoke on a panel at one of the Molina Entrepreneurship Series events last year. Parks Project holds the license to produce apparel for the US National Park Service. They are currently servicing gift stores in 28 national parks with a 10 year goals of supplying 100 parks.
These are not your typical gift store tees, caps, sweats and beanies. The graphics, fabrics and styling compare very favorably to anything you can buy in a contemporary boutique. They are selling in boutiques in Japan. I will be investigating the Australian market for them.
By the way, the top 3 selling parks’ apparel? #1 – Joshua Tree, #2 – Yosemite, #3 – Muir Woods.
Over the past few years, I have been tracking the expansion of the range of JanSport backpacks, bags and accessories. JanSport has been an old fav of mine for years. Growing up, they were the first brand of backpacks I was aware of (that is after the army surplus backpacks that were hip in the late 70’s).
JanSport has been around since 1967 with functional, outdoor gear that is well priced and durable. Over recent seasons, they have been stepping up their design, styling and fabrics into the lifestyle and contemporary segments. The Wayward Collection has done very well. They have just introduced the resort-inspired Diamond Collection and camouflage influenced Ranger Collection. Neither are as yet available on their website.
Noral Collections specializes in high quality crystal and gemstone bracelets, rings, necklaces and key rings, all handmade in LA. The workmanship is first rate. The price points are very reasonable.
I caught up with Yvette Collis, the livewire Brand Manager of Melbourne’s own, Tiger Mist.
I first met Yvette and the owners of the label, Stevie and Alana Pallister at PoolTradeShow in 2013. Yvette has continued to successfully sell the range directly to US retailers without using a US distributor or agent by targeting the right trade shows in the US and working directly with buyers. The brand is doing very well for Nasty Gals, Revolve, Dolls Kill and is Forever 21’s #1 selling branded label.
Online sales have continued to grow strongly on the back of a successful social media campaign focused on Instagram and Snapchat.
Joken Style Showroom had a very solid Day 1 meeting with TJ Maxx, Quiksilver and small local boutiques, including Topaz Sun from Manhattan Beach, New Jack City in Huntington Beach and Long Beach’s Prism Boutique.
paul brindley consults recently brokered a national sales representation deal between Joken Style and the popular Australian bag collection, The Redletter Club. RLC will be launching in the US in the Joken Style showroom at next week’s Los Angeles Market Week.
As usual at Agenda, I stopped by Kennington. Not many brands can say that they have been in business for 60 years. Kennington is one of those rare few. I was very impressed with the look of the prints and colors.
I will be working with Kennington to secure an Australian distribution deal for the coming Spring/Summer 2017 season.
Where to from here?
Next week is Los Angeles Market Week. Next month are the Las Vegas trade shows for Fall/Winter 2017. Between now and Vegas, we will have a new president and a new administration with a Republican majority in Congress.
I think we can all remember the consequences of the last Republican political straight flush. We very nearly lost the economy completely.
Over the coming weeks, it will be very interesting to see and hear how the industry reacts to our new circumstances. The second half of 2016 was very encouraging. Lets see if the rhetoric of the campaign starts to become reality. I have a feeling it might trump whatever gains we have made.
Founder & Principal Adviser
paul brindley consults