This week our Menswear Dialogue Series takes us to the largest textile tradeshow in North America.  You've probably heard of the apparel shows where boutiques and department stores buy the lovely things in the window you can't afford, but you may not have heard of the tradeshow that provides the fabric that created that Summer weight double-breasted blazer you've been coveting.  Today, we speak to one of the leaders in the textile market for her insight and recommendations on how to play the fabric game.

Image Granted -What is your name and title/job/craft?  Tell us what inspires you about your work and what gets you out of bed in the morning.  Why have you chosen to make a career in the textile industry?

Whitney West - My name is Whitney West, Marketing Manager at Texworld USA.   Marketing for textile shows every six months keeps you moving!  We have fantastic partners and exhibitors, and their support keeps you motivated. The changing of the seasons and trends is also very inspiring.  We always look forward to what our trend partners will deliver with each show.  The industry itself is also full of energy!  People that have a passion for fashion are serious about their passion.   I am fortunate that the industry chose me.  I have been in tradeshow work for a number of years doing sales.  It was the transition into marketing for textile tradeshows that afforded me the opportunity to become a part of this industry.

IG -Explain Texworld in generic terms.  What is it?  How does it compare to other trade shows of its kind? Why should a business or buyer attend? What can a business expect from their first show as a guest or an exhibitor? 

WW -Texworld USA is the largest apparel fabrics sourcing show in North America.  It is held twice a year, January and July, in NYC.  Texworld was birthed in Paris where the parent event is held every February and September.  Texworld USA is a preview of what you will see in Paris.  It has seen continued growth and success.  Texworld USA has become a household name in NYC.  Buyers, designers, R&D and merchandisers make a point to come to the show every six months to see what is the latest in fabrics and trends.

There are other shows that offer similar opportunities.  However Texworld USA has done a great job of keeping the expo, and complimentary seminar program, focused on the needs of the industry.  The size of the show offers an attendee the opportunity to see, touch and feel everything they need to see, while not overwhelming them with so much that they will not be able to accomplish their business goals while visiting the expo.    The show is complimentary, and focused on the needs of the buyer.   Guests can expect a fantastic offering of fabrics from all over the world, a superb seminar program and tantalizing trend display that does wonders for the senses.  Exhibitors can expect the opportunity to reach targeted buyers, ranging from boutique to couture fashion houses, over a three day period.

IG -Walk us through the process of the show as a buyer.  What are the steps to sourcing and buying for the first time buyer?  What are some of the pitfalls new businesses should avoid at their first show?

WW -It would be best for a buyer to answer this question.  However, from the conversations I have had with some of the attendees I can tell you that we encourage them to start in the trend forum.  It is divided into color stories and themes.  Depending on what they are designing at the time, this will give them an idea of where to begin.  They can spend as much time as needed with the fabric samples, and then stop by the individual exhibitor booths for pricing and delivery timetables.  First time buyers should avoid spreading themselves too thin and/or doing all their business with one manufacturer.  There is so much available.  The buyer is in the driver’s seat, and they have the opportunity to see what each manufacturer has the ability to deliver based on their meetings. They can then develop these relationships, and hopefully build on them for future orders.

IG -What are the top three considerations a business should consider when attending Texworld looking for their first buying opportunity?  Why are these so important for establishing a healthy buying relationship? 

WW -1 – the show is focused on fabric; not finished lines or brands.  2 – do their research.  We publish the exhibitor list online.  If they are looking for one specific fabric or trim, look before you come so you are not disappointed if you do not find what you are looking for your first visit.  3 – there is quite a bit to do and see, so prioritize your time.  Plan around the seminars you want to attend, and make time to go to the trend forum.  A buyer wants to leave feeling confident in the time spent away from the office, on their own dime, at a new event.  Once they feel confident in that relationship, they will see the ROI on their time and money spent visiting Texworld USA.

IG -How is the largest textile trade show in North America staying relevant in the marketplace? 

WW - Through the support of our partners, exhibitors and attendees.  We receive tremendous feedback, and without this the show would not be successful.  We review everything that comes to us, from suggestions for improvement, to praise of what is working well.  It is this feedback that keeps us on target for our industry.