The significance of Fashion Coterie is not lost on specialty store owner Krista Kaur Meyers, who was about 36 weeks pregnant with her second child when she traveled from the Windy City to New York in February 2006.
"I was pushing it a little," Meyers said of her decision to fly at that stage in her pregnancy, "but I went to the doctor the day before and it's only a one-and-a-half-hour flight. I didn't want to farm it out.
"It's the biggest market for my brands," said the owner of Krista K and Krista K Maternity + Baby, on Southport Avenue in Chicago's LakeView neighborhood. "I feel like I have to go."
Meyers, who completes the bulk of her fall and spring buy at the biannual Coterie show, makes the most of her trip. "I can see a ton of lines and visit a ton of showrooms in one fell swoop," said Meyers, who books appointments each hour from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all three days of the market. "For me, it's about efficiency. I have full days every day."
In particular, Meyers plans to check out Anlo and William Rast denim lines as well as Vince, A Common Thread and Tibi.
Her eye for fashion has proved profitable for the now mother of two, who opened her first store, Krista K boutique, with feminine lines such as Rebecca Taylor and Catherine Malandrino, more than five years ago. As the store posted yearly double-digit increases, Meyers decided to almost double her selling space, expanding to 2,000 square feet, and one year ago launched a 1,400-square-foot spin-off store, Krista K Maternity + Baby, just down the street.
In turn, she also shops for potential maternitywear at Coterie, often ordering items from Splendid, Ella Moss, James Perse and Susana Monaco.
"It's an opportunity to add different things that you don't see at other maternity stores," said Meyers, who plans to introduce an e-commerce site this fall. "We found [that] customers get really excited about buying nonmaternity clothes. There's the perception that they'll get more use out of it."
Overall, Meyers enjoys Coterie but prefers the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to its traditional site, the Show Piers. Coterie has been held at both spots for the past few seasons because of construction at the piers. Buyers and vendors alike applauded the new, more spacious location, Meyers said. "In talking to reps, we all said, 'Why can't it always be here?'"
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