(Filed Under wholesale Costume News). BODY publisher Nick Monjo interviewed Specialty Trade Shows president Jeff Yunis about his upcoming Las Vegas Halloween Show and Las Vegas International Lingerie Show both running March 31 through April 2, 2014.
MONJO: Things seem to be looking up for the Halloween market. Halloween 2013 was a pretty good one for many retailers across the U.S. (contrasted with the storms and flooding in recent years that spoiled sales). Lots of stores sold out of old inventory. And in 2014 the holiday falls on a Friday. What do you think all this will mean in terms of the number of RETAILERS and RETAILER SHOPPING at your upcoming shows?
YUNIS: We will be promoting the Friday angle to our retailers. There will be more parties on Friday and Saturday nights than when Halloween falls on a midweek day. Smart retailers will plan well ahead, both with inventory and advertising. Most of our attendees are independent retailers and MUST differentiate themselves from mass merchants. We think buyers at our show see more unusual costumes for adults than they can see anywhere else.
MONJO: What do you think all these factors will mean in terms of business prospects for EXHIBITORS?
YUNIS: Here, too, smart exhibitors will push the Friday, Saturday angle and offer special items for grown-ups. Store inventories are low and the buyers will be looking to buy, but they will be looking for something new..... something that won’t be seen in Walmart.
MONJO: Do you think there will be MORE or NEW Halloween brands than before? If so, who?
YUNIS: I am not sure who the new players will be but every show we see more of our lingerie exhibitors offering costumes. Halloween has become more important than Christmas, in some cases more important than Valentines Day and certainly more important than Mother’s Day.
MONJO: Any other changes in the Halloween sector of your show?
YUNIS: The only change will be bigger selections as more companies add costumes and established companies come to us realizing the growth of the adult costume business.
MONJO: A good Halloween 2013 was also good for the lingerie business because many retailers sell both costumes and lingerie. What are your predictions in terms of lingerie shopping trends at the April show?
YUNIS: We already have a larger than normal pre-registration for the show. Considering the show is March 31st, many buyers are already committing. That bodes very well for our exhibitors. We have been encouraging buyers to make hotel reservations because there is a huge national convention going on in Las Vegas over our dates and last minute hotel rooms will be hard (or impossible) to get at a reasonable price.
MONJO: Do you think there will be MORE or NEW lingerie brands than before? If so, who?
YUNIS: We do have new lines, as we always do. Some are better lines and others will compete with lines usually at the show. I prefer to hold off naming those lines until we make an announcement to our buyers first.
MONJO: What is going to be NEW at your April show in terms of new programs, layout, booth layout, etc.?
YUNIS: NOTHING! We are not going to mess with success. We will be in a sold out or very near sold out position as we are every Spring.
MONJO: Where does the April show fit in terms of the timing of Halloween shopping and lingerie shopping?
YUNIS: For lingerie, we are told by buyers and exhibitors alike that our dates are right. We know we are late for Halloween but since most of our stores buy smaller quantities (vs. the mass merchants who must order nine or ten months in advance) our dates work well. Some exhibitors might have had to pull an item or two but since we have so many exhibitors offering so many items, it has not been a problem. We have had no complaints. In fact, most of our buyers find January too early for September/October deliveries.
MONJO: Do you have a comment about your show pricing (are prices going up)? And do you have a comment about your show prices and other show prices (and what you get for your money)?
YUNIS: We know that we have the lowest price show for what we have to offer compared to any competing show. Frankly I cannot understand how some shows have the nerve to charge what they do. We include hotel rooms, food, electric, tables, chairs, etc. all at a price that some shows charge for space alone. And at that we make a fair profit.
MONJO: You have developed a strong component of European and other foreign intimate apparel exhibitors. They return every show. Often we see foreign companies coming to shows once and never coming back. Why have you been successful with this group? What kinds of inroads have they been able to make in the U.S. due to your show?
YUNIS: At our last few shows we have had buyers from Europe, Asia, Australia and even Pakistan. They come back because our buyers want diversity and love the idea of having something other stores or websites do not have. Many now have U.S. distribution points so while the goods are from a foreign country, there is no hassle with customs and freight charges are low.
MONJO: Some brands shy away from your show because they say it is too sexy. And sex toys ARE a significant and permanent part of the show. But now you have several brands that are not “sexy” brands, like Felina/Jezebel and Julie France who do well at your show. What do you have to say to “straight” intimate apparel brands out there who might consider your show?
YUNIS: This is the GREATEST MYSTERY to me. Lingerie is supposed to be sexy, by definition. We segregate the “adult” so that those lines that do not want to see it or even be near it, can be accommodated. In the past I have offered some lines that I knew would do well a free booth at a show to show them what they are missing. Even with that they put their noses in the air and said we were TOO sexy. Their loss. Our buyers were ready and spent their dollars elsewhere.
MONJO: Not that you keep it a secret, but many people out there do not realize your company, Specialty Trade, also produces a highly successful (and very straight) apparel show, the WWIN Show. Any comment about how your experience with that show might work to benefit a more conservative lingerie maker thinking of attending the ILS?
YUNIS: We also produce a childrenswear show; The KIDShow held twice a year at Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas. We just included electric to our exhibitors after our WWIN Show exhibitors found that it was a money saver and hassle saver. We offer all of our exhibitors free advertising material for each show and I must say that the WWIN And KIDShow exhibitors take full advantage of it. I wish I could say the same for Lingerie. Getting buyers to a show is a two prong fork. We do our part but buyers know we are show promoters.
When notices come from exhibitors it means a lot more. ALSO..... if exhibitors do not call to make appointments, they are hurting themselves far more than they realize. You cannot come to a trade show and expect to do great business from walk by traffic. It just doesn’t happen.
MONJO: Anything else about your show philosophy in general and the April show in particular.
YUNIS: It’s very simple. Even though the exhibitors pay us, we do everything possible to make the buyers feel important and to make their experience enjoyable and profitable. We try to make the experience pleasant for exhibitors, too, but without buyers that’s impossible.
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