NEW YORK — Aiming to be a "seamless extension of the textile and sourcing trade show experience," a new app called Le Souk Connect launches Tuesday in time for Première Vision New York.Benita Singh, founder and chief executive officer of Le Souk, said the beta launch is through five suppliers at the Première Vision New York fabric and sourcing show taking place at Pier 94, and two at leather goods fair Lineapelle New York at the Metropolitan Pavilion. She noted that there is no direct connection to the show other than sharing these clients.“Le Souk is exclusively for mills and tanneries to connect with new buyers and with their existing buyers,” Singh said. “It’s an upgrade of the trade show experience.”While there are other online marketplaces for textile and sourcing, Singh, who calls herself a fashion technology entrepreneur, said they are more like databases and lack the mobile capabilities.Le Souk offers a platform to search and sample quality materials direct from the source — providing much-needed transparency and year-round access in an industry traditionally reliant on the trade show calendar, she noted.Through various tools of the app, exhibitors and suppliers can catalogue the buyers they meet, take photos of their business cards, import them into their list of contacts, sync them with an online dashboard and then suggest swatches or full collections by e-mail through the app.“It sets our suppliers apart from traditional phone call follow-ups,” she said. “It’s like a digital version of your booth in your pocket.”A larger launch is planned at the PV shows in Paris in September and the Lineapelle show in Milan. Hopes are then to expand into suppliers and buyers at premiere denim fairs in the next year.
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