Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Domestic Trade Shows issue 12/01/2009

Fashion Industry Gallery is getting more aggressive with marketing as well as considering improvements to the facility in 2010.

This story first appeared in the December 1, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The October show was the biggest of 2009 in terms of buyer attendance and the number of resources exhibiting, giving FIG a sense of optimism for the first half, said Bekah McKee, marketing coordinator. The five-year-old venue hosted 140 lines in its temporary Shop show plus hundreds of resources in 40 permanent showrooms.

Specializing in forward fashions and accessories for women and men, the downtown mart will dispatch an e-mail marketing campaign to promote new styles and showrooms to buyers before each market. It’s also working to increase its swimwear selection.

One focus is on driving traffic to the back hallway of the building that sits beneath Ross Avenue, noted John Sughrue, chief executive of Brook Partners, which operates the venue. The hall has had some vacant showrooms this year. We want to improve the space and make it more attractive,” Sughrue said. “That area was the last to lease and the first to be given back when times got tough. We have to be more aggressive.”

The mart installed speakers for music in the area for the October show, and management is considering adding other amenities, from food service to freebies. The company is confident the few available spaces in that area will be leased. “FIG is in negotiations with multiple showrooms that are interested in showing permanently for 2010 and beyond,” McKee noted. “These will be announced before January market.”

The venue polished its e-mail marketing with two stylized messages that launched in October and will be deployed again before each of the five markets in 2010.

The “Designer Preview” presents a juried series of photos of fashions on tap for the next show. October’s preview promoted Black Halo, Habitual, Calypso and others. The second missive, called “Showroom Spotlight,” highlights the lines in a single showroom.

The marketing staff continues to target stores in the Southwest and farther afield.

“We are striving to cover all new stores and get information out about FIG to every store in our region,” McKee said. “We believe that Dallas is affordable, convenient and carries most lines that any buyer would be seeking, as well as new and fresh designers and lines. We will also be branching out in our marketing efforts to surrounding states [whose retailers] can easily travel to Dallas, and can see the benefit of attending market in this area. During October market alone, we saw many new stores from Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio, Florida and Kansas.”

The venue would like to host more launch parties similar to the Kandy Wrappers cocktail with bikini modeling during the October show, she noted. FIG also wants to continue to link with charities. The October show highlighted breast cancer awareness, and FIG plans to support Susan G. Komen again next October. It will host ancillary events as well, including the biannual FIG Finale clearance sale, the second annual Dallas Art Fair of top modern and contemporary art dealers and the second annual D-Art Slam highlighting local artists. A Beauty and Wellness Fair is under consideration.

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