By  on March 1, 2010

NEW YORK — The third edition this year of AccessoriesTheShow was an opportunity for buyers to circle back to fill immediate orders for spring and summer and make additional fall purchases.

They shopped the three-day trade fair, which ended Feb. 23 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here, for well-priced statement accessories, such as colorful handbags, chunky jewelry and trend-driven legwear, specifically layering pieces and heavy knits. Most brands had seen their key accounts once in New York and during the February show in Las Vegas.

“These markets have been so close together this year and so compact, and so many retailers did so much buying in January and in [Las] Vegas, that people are assessing what they bought and what their needs still are,” said Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of Business Journals Inc., which produces AccessoriesTheShow.

Tiffany White, co-owner of JPK Paris handbags in Miami, was optimistic about finding new apparel accounts, since the show was sandwiched between Coterie and Moda Manhattan.

“Buyers here are coming to buy fall ready-to-wear,” White said. “So we’re here to try to broaden our base and target those boutiques that are looking beyond rtw for some accessories to supplement their offerings.”

White said her customers “are conservatively confident. Buyers are starting to feel good again, but they are picking and choosing which shows to travel to and how to spend their time and money wisely.”

Some exhibitors said the packed show schedule sapped energy from the latest expo, with buyers spread too thin because of a calendar that saw multiple shows held simultaneously in New York.

“We came to the January show and some of us are coming directly from Las Vegas, so a lot of our people have already written orders by this time,” said Chanel Anderson, a representative for High Fashion handbags, based in North York, Ontario. “Also, this show feels very local. We’re seeing stores from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”

Anderson said many of the specialty retailers she met gravitated toward the lower-priced elements of the better handbag line, which wholesales for $18 to $135.

Carmella D. Jackson, owner of Virtuous Woman in Newark, Del., said she was slowly recovering from the challenges of 2009 with statement accessories that cost $42 to $400 at retail.

“I’m looking for items that offer more for less,” Jackson said. “But my customers are starting to buy what they like again. The fear is gone and now they’re looking for low-ticket items like jewelry sets and colorful handbags. They’re ready to buy now, but there needs to be the wow factor.”

At Levante USA, vice president of sales John Flynn reported having a stellar showing in Las Vegas, where his buyers clamored for leggings and opaques in a variety of colors.

“Last year’s February show was busy and January in New York was hot, but maybe there’s too much competition in the city,” Flynn said.

First-time exhibitor Marcella Echavarría, founder of New York-based SURevolution, specializes in socially responsible accessories produced by international artisans, and previously met with buyers from labels including Urban Zen and Takashimaya, at a showroom in SoHo. “We’ve found that people are interested in our story and want to know how everything is made,” she said. “There’s a high level of sophistication and awareness from the buyers.”

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