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Brands launch 'pop-up' trade show alternative

A group of womenswear brands have banded together to offer independent buyers an alternative to the traditional trade show format.

Samantha Holmes

Samantha Holmes

The brainchild of six labels including fake fur brand Helen Moore and cashmere brand Owen Barry, Brands Collective offers buyers a “pop-up road show” that displays its members’ collections in various UK venues.

Following a successful trial event in Manchester in September 2017, its next edition is on 11-13 February at the Hilton London Olympia. Further shows are planned for Bury St Edmunds, Glasgow and Clevedon, Somerset, later this year. 

Helen Moore, owner of the eponymous label, told Drapers the event allows the brands to meet new and existing customers while keeping costs down: “By ing our customers and asking them to come along, we meet one another’s stockists and get a healthy mix.”

“Trade shows are very expensive. While we wouldn’t want to knock or compete with them – we wouldn’t have a customer base if it weren’t for trade shows – by doing it this way we’re cutting costs and effectively going [directly] to our customers.”

Tim Groves, sales and marketing manager at cashmere brand Glen Prince, which is also part of the collective, said the group may add Wales and the north-east to its itinerary if there is demand from buyers.

“The aim isn’t to become the next Pure or [homeware and gift show] Spring Fair, but next time we might see a few additional brands join us organically. It’s not rigid like a trade show – it’s more relaxed and people can take their time. We’ve had lots of positive feedback and interest from both customers and other brands.”

The other labels in the group are jeweller Azuni,  footwear brand Chanii B, and alpaca wool brand Samantha Holmes.

Samantha Holmes, the eponymous brand’s owner, said the show’s first hurdle would be establishing itself in the industry: “The challenge is – until we get better known – reaching people who didn’t know us before. Big things have to start small and might need to give it time to get footfall. I’m certainly optimistic.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • But this only works because there are visitors for the show (i.e. Pure) itself. They are cutting their costs, but we visitors are still coughing up to be in the vicinity - from closing for the day, or paying extra wages, hotel costs, rail travel etc etc. I do visit the shows, but more and more I have reps come to see me! Make them do the legwork!

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  • darren hoggett

    I remember the days when reps were not chained to the showroom and went out to visit - some we saw once a month. Times have changed and the showroom experience is better, but reps still need to see where their product is landing and how their brand partners are (or are not) evolving.

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  • In reply to Helen's comment, we could not agree more that the Brands themselves have to do the legwork. As well as running our events alongside the well established trade shows, we have added and will be adding more dates across the UK to cover as many areas as possible. The feedback we have received for this has been positive from the customers we have seen at our events so far.

    Thank you for your comments, it is always good to get feedback from other industry professionals.

    For more information on Brands Collective then please visit: www.brandscollective.co.uk

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