The buyers who shop the Project show in Las Vegas seem to be divided into two camps. On the one end, there are those who prefer to walk the aisles, observing new trends, checking out new designers and jotting down notes to follow up on later. On the other, there are buyers who prefer to set up appointments to see lines, ultimately writing up orders on the spot.
But they agree either approach works, depending on how much time they have and what they are hoping to accomplish.
"I only go for a day and a half, and the fact that it's such a short time means that I need to stay as focused as possible," said Jennifer Althouse, denim buyer for American Rag Cie in Los Angeles. "I don't make appointments, and instead just walk the floor. I want to give a line my full attention, so if I like something, I'll sit down with them in New York or Los Angeles."
Buyers said that Project affords them a great opportunity to make contact with new and emerging brands, and to get a broad sense of what's happening in the market. But given how large the show has become, it's sometimes just not feasible to place orders then and there.
"I never sit, it slows me down," said Jackie Brander, owner of Fred Segal Fun in Los Angeles. "I'm in and out and on to the next while trying to keep my manners and not be rude to anyone. It's a whole lot of familiar faces and they are so nice to me so I try to get in, smile, talk a sec and get going."
Buyers that have more time try to do both.
"I normally spend the first day walking the floor, just to get the lay of the land and see if I can spot some new brands," said Blake Nieman-Davis, owner of Blake, a men's and women's store in Portland, Ore. "I'll spend the last two days sitting in appointments and writing orders." Nieman-Davis added that, with about 55 of the 70 or so brands in his store represented at Project, he's able to complete much of his buying within a few days.
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