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Hi All,

Great site with lots of good information! I'm fairly new to the business (about a year) and just showed my line for the first time at the Pool Show in Las Vegas. I look forward to visiting this forum often...

I finally have the first draft of my website up...it can be seen at.......

www.jayallen.biz

Best,
Jay
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Welcome, Jay.

So you went to Pool, huh? If you can, could you share that experience? What was it like? You get any orders? Do you think it was worth with?

Glad to have you!
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Welcome to the T-Shirt Forums, Jay.

You may be our first Pool veteran (that's actually shown their stuff).

It would be great if you could post your experiences/tips/comments on the show in its own thread in the General T-Shirt Selling forum.

(maybe once we get more tradeshow veterans, I'll need to create a t-shirt tradeshow category for this forum)
 

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I did well at the show getting placement with several upscale retailers including Fred Segal. My shirts retail for $49-$69 each so the market for who would carry them is pretty well defined. Since getting back I've also placed my stuff in 13 Japanese stores...some of those came as a result of showing at Pool.

I went to the show as part of a collective which helped keep the costs down. I probably spent $3,000 doing the show, including travel and hotel. It was a good experience generally. There were some significant issues with show management that hopefully aren't the norm.


Pool management seemed to be completely over whelmed by issues they couldn't solve. The assignment of booth numbers didn't happen until less than two weeks before the show. Anyone that was doing a promotional piece that included the booth number was really in a jam getting it printed and shipped to Vegas in time. I was able to do that....but then they changed our booth number without any warning....or notification. This obviously caused a big problem. Their response was that it was our fault for not calling them to "make sure" we had the correct booth number. We HAD called them....and were calling almost daily to get the booth number so we could go to print on our piece.

The booth number fiasco happened a week before the show. They ultimately put us back in our original booth but not until they told us several stories about why they couldn't. These included:

1. The booth didn't exist.
2. There was a big post in the middle of that space.
3. They gave the booth to a vendor that need a double space. (that one made the most sense)
4. They never assigned us the booth in the first place.

Even though we eventually got our correct booth back the show guide had us listed in a different booth. We were told that there would be an insert for the guide with corrections.....it didn't happen. We were told that they would put up a re-direct sign at the booth that was listed in the guide. That didn't happen until I finally lost my cool a little bit. There was a lounge area at the show. I was dropping our marketing piece on the tables in the hope that someone might pick it up and see our correct booth number when one of the Pool "Life Guards" told me that I would probably get fined for doing that. At that point...on day three of the show...with them having done nothing they said they were going to do.....I snapped. The fact that I was 6'2", 230lbs, and obviously VERY pissed may have had something to do with getting their attention. The pretty boy Life Guard had a change of attitude....went and got the show director (not that he had a choice)....and she finally, with 6 hours left in the show, put up a re-direct sign for us. BTW....I didn't get fined.

The funniest thing that happened was that the wireless access that was promised didn't work on day one. This obviously caused problems for those doing credit card transactions, etc. When we asked what the problem was we were told.....and I'm not making this up......they couldn't provide the access because of NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS. Can you freakin' believe it? Amazinging enough....by day two they had resolved this issue.

The other issue was that they didn't have vendor badges until closing time on day 1. They had to issue special business cards to the vendors in lieu of the official pass. Of course they didn't go to the trouble of bringing the badges to each booth when the finally arrived. Never told anyone they arrived. You only found out if you left the show and tried to get back in. You where then directed to get back in line at registration to get the badge.

Anyway....I'll quit venting. My impression was that this was the first show Pool had ever done.....rather than the 10th. It is one thing to make a mistake (we all do that) but it is completely unacceptable to flat out lie about it, make up insane excuses (National Security Issue), etc. All that said, I did prety well at the show. Set up was a breeze...no union issues....a little hectic, but that is to be expected.

Would I do it again.....I'm not sure. I wrote almost $9,000 in orders, which is a lot better than breaking even, and I think I'll be writting more from the contacts I made there. I'm looking at the Project Show as a possibility. It is more expensive ($7,200 for a small booth), and the Bread and Butter Show in Europe. At this point I think I need to process the orders I got and see where it leads me. If I'm lucky I won't need to do anymore shows.
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Jay, just wanted to say I like your website and t-shirts colors and designs. Susan H. in California who is entering this crazy imprint world to compliment other bizs. :) WOW, that's great you got into Fred Segal! Sorry about your unprofessional trade show experience (and I imagine stress). I don't think I've ever experienced that even in more mom & pop trade shows I've worked.
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

lawaughn said:
At the Pool Show are you allowed to retail items there and if so how did that work out?
Retail isn't allowed at any of the major trade shows. They do let the vendors sell to each other at the end of the show. You wouldn't find many people wanting to buy from you at a show like that anyway. The vast majority of the people there are buyers and they are much more interested in FREE samples.
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Hey Jay,

Just a simple congrats!

Can tell from your story that you’re real!

Often others think… what if? Well… welcome to the world of non-thinkers! It’s all about taking action!

Your work will pay off in the months to come! Mark my words!
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Hi Jay, thanks for posting the feedback on the Pool tradeshow!

Sorry to hear about your experience...hopefully it was the exception and not the norm for their shows.

When you say you needed to process CC transactions, does that mean you processed the wholesale orders right there on the spot? That's pretty cool if that's the case.

With the right shirts and the right buyer, you could get a return on your tradeshow investment before the show was done :)
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

CoolHandLuke said:
Hey Jay,

Just a simple congrats!

Can tell from your story that you’re real!

Often others think… what if? Well… welcome to the world of non-thinkers! It’s all about taking action!

Your work will pay off in the months to come! Mark my words!
Thanks for the encouraging words! I'm a long way from it 'Paying Off" in hard cash....but this process has been gratifying on many levels. Hopefully the financial reward follows.

I've never forgotten this cheesy quote - "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life". I'm not sure the quote is 100% accurate.....there have been days that have FELT like work.....but for the most part, I really love what I do.
 

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Rodney said:
Hi Jay, thanks for posting the feedback on the Pool tradeshow!

Sorry to hear about your experience...hopefully it was the exception and not the norm for their shows.

When you say you needed to process CC transactions, does that mean you processed the wholesale orders right there on the spot? That's pretty cool if that's the case.

With the right shirts and the right buyer, you could get a return on your tradeshow investment before the show was done :)
We had the ability, through PayPal, to take CC payment for small orders. It is difficult , especially when dealing with name retailers, to get payment upfront. All of my orders were with net 30 day terms. You just don't tell buyers from Fred Segal to dig out their CC. My Japanese stockist are all run though a US based distributor.....so I get paid before the product leaves the country.

As you get to be a bigger brand.....and the very small boutiques want to carry your stuff.....it isn't uncommon to ask for payment up front. Many boutiques will pay that way rather than going through a credit check or dealing with C.O.D.
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Jay, good stuff!

I've got a couple of questions, if you don't mind.

How big was your booth? Did you have your booth custom made, rent from Pool?

How did you man your booth? Did you have help? Work in shifts?

What kind of promo things did you have? Brochures, catalog? Give anything away?

I sell urban wear clothing. Were there retailers that that sell urban wear, or would I be wasting my time taking urban wear to Pool?

I'm thinking of going to the August show, so anything you think might be helpful I would greatly appreciate! (hope I didn't ask to many questions):eek:
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Comin'OutSwingin said:
Jay, good stuff!

I've got a couple of questions, if you don't mind.

How big was your booth? Did you have your booth custom made, rent from Pool?

How did you man your booth? Did you have help? Work in shifts?

What kind of promo things did you have? Brochures, catalog? Give anything away?

I sell urban wear clothing. Were there retailers that that sell urban wear, or would I be wasting my time taking urban wear to Pool?

I'm thinking of going to the August show, so anything you think might be helpful I would greatly appreciate! (hope I didn't ask to many questions):eek:
The booth was 8 x 12 (standard size).

Pool is a "Rack Show" meaning you don't need a "booth". The idea behind the show is to feature the product without emphasis on a tricked out booth. This is helpful to emerging designers that don't have a lot of money to spend. Most of the booths there were pretty basic. People would have a backdrop with their brand name on it, and maybe a few other things to dress up the booth, but in general nothing too fancy. The racks are supplied by Pool....if you want to rent more than they supply with the booth.....it costs a fortune.

I went as part of a collective so there were 4 people available to work the booth. We took turns, never having more than 2 people in the booth. If you do the show by yourself I would suggest bringing at least one person with you to share booth time. Unless you are a known brand, and set up lots of appointments ahead of time, there is alot of standing around. Believe me....it can get BORING.

You need a line sheet, business cards, and something that looks like a marketing package. I put together a 4 page hand out that had 1. Cover Page 2. Line Sheet. 3. Bio 4. Order Sheet. I didn't give anything away although some people were doing that. I didn't see anyone giving away t-shirts...one brand was giving away hats. It can get very expensive to give away actual garments....

There were approx. 700 booths at the show....probably half of them were Urban Wear related. You would not be out of place at all. That said...if you do the show as an unknown brand.....have realistic expectaions. I heard stories about people who showed at Pool 3 times before writing their first order. That isn't to say they didn't get business after the shows from contacts made there.....but don't expect to be writing orders all day. The Urban Wear market is a tough one....it is hard to stand out at a show like Pool. Just have your **** together....with realistic expectations, and you'll be fine. Nothing ventured.....nothing gained!
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Jay, thanks again!:D

This is some really helpful info. I think I will definitely be going now.

I know the show was just last month, but have you had any problems with doing the net 30 deals?

What kind of bumps in the road can I look forward to with that?

P.S.

I just filled out the registration for the August show and received an email about what I needed to submit in order to be approved as an exhibitor.

I don't have any problem with supplying these things, but I was wondering about the "Current Distribution" and "Industry References".

Did you already have your items in a store(s) before you registered. I am working on a deal with an owner of a chain of stores locally, but he would be my only contact. Do you think they would have a problem with this, or is this something minor since they say they are about promoting new lines and styles?
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Comin'OutSwingin said:
Jay, thanks again!:D

This is some really helpful info. I think I will definitely be going now.

I know the show was just last month, but have you had any problems with doing the net 30 deals?

What kind of bumps in the road can I look forward to with that?

P.S.

I just filled out the registration for the August show and received an email about what I needed to submit in order to be approved as an exhibitor.

I don't have any problem with supplying these things, but I was wondering about the "Current Distribution" and "Industry References".

Did you already have your items in a store(s) before you registered. I am working on a deal with an owner of a chain of stores locally, but he would be my only contact. Do you think they would have a problem with this, or is this something minor since they say they are about promoting new lines and styles?
Net 30 terms suck....but there really isn't much you can do about it. If you want to work with quality retailers they pretty much all demand it.

The only bumps in the road are being able to produce what you sell......before getting paid for it. I would say this.....it would be a GOOD problem to have. If you do the show....and hit a homerun, meaning you sell tons of stuff.....you can always go to a bank with the purchase orders in hand. They will require a business plan and a bunch of other stuff....but if you have $50K in orders, and it's only going to cost you $20K to produce it......someone will loan you the money.

Pool wants you to believe it is a selective show...hard to get into, etc. That isn't the case......if you've got the money to buy a booth...you're in. That said, you will need to submit SOMETHING. I was only in a couple stores before the show, and had no real industry references. It would help if you had a website of some sort. If you look at the Pool exhibitor list they provide a link to each brands website. I think every brand on the list had a site.

I would list the one retailor you are talking with....throw up a website.....put together a line sheet....and have at it. It's going to cost you some money but if you don't go....you won't know.
 

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Re: Just found this Forum......

Nice things to know. Thanks.

I'm currently working on my site, and it should be finished soon. So I'm not worried about that too much.

As for the producing products after having taken orders... If I don't have the products on hand or the money to get them made (like you said, a good problem to have), then I plan to use a factoring company, if need be.
I think it would really come in handy.

Thanks again! Really helpful stuff!
 

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Hi Jay, I wanted to doubly thank you for sharing your experiences with the tradeshow!

It will help more people than you can imagine. I'm thinking I might move this thread into the regular forums and retitle it "t-shirt tradeshow tips" because there's a LOT of good info here.

Like this:

You need a line sheet, business cards, and something that looks like a marketing package. I put together a 4 page hand out that had 1. Cover Page 2. Line Sheet. 3. Bio 4. Order Sheet. I didn't give anything away although some people were doing that. I didn't see anyone giving away t-shirts...one brand was giving away hats. It can get very expensive to give away actual garments....
I always wondered what exactly people brought to a tradeshow. That's really helpful!

Can you go into a bit about how you come up with your wholesale pricing (how/what you set your margins at and how that works with what retailers expect)?

Also, do you have example line sheets/order sheets that you can share (or maybe post where you learned about how to create one)?
 

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Rodney said:
Also, do you have example line sheets/order sheets that you can share (or maybe post where you learned about how to create one)?
I have a great place for this. There is a site called fashion incubator. It is run by a woman that has many years of experience in the apparel industry. I think she started as a patternmaker. She wrote a book a few years ago called "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing". Her name is Kathleen Fasanella. It is an excellent book! Anyway, on the site, she has people write articles about different things related to owning a clothing line. I just recently read an article about line sheets. Take a look at it:

http://www.fashion-incubator.com/mt/archives/what_is_a_line_sheet.html

It goes into detail about what a line sheet is, what is should do, and how to make one. It also includes a sample line sheet.
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
I have a great place for this. There is a site called fashion incubator. It is run by a woman that has many years of experience in the apparel industry. I think she started as a patternmaker. She wrote a book a few years ago called "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing". Her name is Kathleen Fasanella. It is an excellent book! Anyway, on the site, she has people write articles about different things related to owning a clothing line. I just recently read an article about line sheets. Take a look at it:

http://www.fashion-incubator.com/mt/archives/what_is_a_line_sheet.html

It goes into detail about what a line sheet is, what is should do, and how to make one. It also includes a sample line sheet.
OK...lets try something new....I completely agree with you! In fact...it was from this site that I learned how to design a line sheet. She has a great site....with tons of information.
 

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jay allen said:
OK...lets try something new....I completely agree with you! In fact...it was from this site that I learned how to design a line sheet. She has a great site....with tons of information.
Wow! That is new!:D It is a great site. Although, alot of people here would take issue with her views of "WOATS" (Words On A T-shirt") She hates those!

Have you read her book? It's great.
 
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