Scared Wedding Show Producers are Very Sensitive to Market Conditions and the Truth

 

By Paul Pannone

Show producers are keeping a low profile these days as a very soft market wakes up exhibitors that are just about ready to make tough decisions involving where they are putting their resources. eWedNewz continues our investigation into the growing supply of wedding dresses in a shrinking market and what to expect next season.

In New York this week lower expectations pleasantly surprised exhibitors that said traffic was as good as last season at the Pier’s show.  The Piers was called the stronger of the major shows but failed to meet the expectations of its premier in 2010 when exhibitors looked to 2011 and said the show would continue to grow.

Jane Heflin is a wonderful, well-respected wedding industry veteran. Her name sounds regal and from a bygone time and Hollywood greatness. But the Intercontinental show is also felt to be from another era and could be on its last legs, according to a growing consensus. Numerous attempts to get her side of the story remain ignored. Jane, give us a call and tell us what’s happening in your world. 

 

 

The Intercontinental show continued to diminish, according to sources that walked both shows. Other events and shows in the New York area also came up light on traffic.    

“As you know, many people consider Maggie the top resource in the market.  You couldn’t prove that by the show attendance.Only about one-third of the seats at the show were filled with buyers.  I’m not sure if this reflects diminishing interest in the line or if it reflects the fact that attendance at the Intercontinental isn’t as strong as attendance at the Piers.  When I traveled to the Piers only an hour later, there seemed to be a lot of buyers mulling about. 

I wasn’t impressed with the show — but I’m a tough critic.  There wasn’t enough diversity in the gown styling to suit my taste.  Virtually all of the gowns were strapless, had dropped waistlines, and big ball gown skirts.  About 95% of them had sequined belts.  The show was significantly paired down from the number of dresses  I saw in Chicago.  Therefore, I can only assume that the NY show included only the gowns that Maggie considers best sellers.  I’m not a retailer so I can’t speak with real authority.  However, I don’t understand why everyone gets so excited about this line,” reported Jim Duhe.

Duhe made the statement before he was taken to a local hospital after traipsing around town to cover the shows he felt were important. After covering markets for decades, Duhe feels there are too many shows and too much redundancy.

eWedNewz coverage resulted in a crush of comments to people mentioned in the story that gave their account of traffic and what is happening in the market.

“I don’t know what they’re so upset about; the story was dead on and actually very positive,” according to Phillip Cornier.

Cornier covered the Piers, the Intercontinental and smaller shows and agrees something has to change.

Powerhouse exhibitors told eWedNewz our continued coverage and reporting remains fair, accurate and truthful, also saying they’re going to revisit how and where company resources will be doled out from now on.

Steve Lang told eWedNewz,”I am pulling out of everything and consolidating into the Piers show; in consideration for my customers. It will also be helpful to the people in my company, all being together in one place. It just makes better sense,” according to Lang.

Sources hearing the news say it makes better sense for all the reasons stated. They also feel lang is among the most respected in the business and others will follow his lead.

Repeated attempts to contact the people at both shows remain ignored. Sources near the story say they fear eWedNewz and our ability to reach the wedding industry with the truth.

Attempts to reach show producers are ongoing.

 

 

eWedNewz

All Rights Reserved

2011

New York Bridal Show Reports say Traffic is Better than Expected

By Paul Pannone

Reports from both the Piers and the smaller intercontinental Couture show in New York say traffic was surprisingly good this weekend, considering the timing and number of shows throughout the season. Critics of both shows said they’re impressed at the support, given the declining state of the wedding industry and increasing competition in all categories, especially bridal.

Fearing a dumbing down exodus away from true bridal salons, manufacturers are suddenly more supportive of the their industry and customers. Some told eWedNewz they’re strengthening relationships with their account base, knowing that product is easy to find everywhere.

 “We invest in our customers because their health and success is directly ties into what we do,” says Steve lang of Mon Cheri.

Lang and Mon Cheri walked away with three DEBI awards in Chicago and reports good traffic in New York. Lang says his company has written a good amount of orders in all bridal shows this season and business is up for the year. Lang told eWNz Chicago was the best show for him.

 

Philip Cornier attended all bridal markets this season and is watching how all the shows position themselves.

 

Other reports say the Pier’s show is as busy as it was last year in its first show but not showing the significant growth expected at the end of the 2010 event. Also contrary to parting statements last season is the surprising support for the Couture show at the Intercontinental hotel. Sources told eWedNewz the “Knot” show was not long for this world and would eventually fold.

Philip Cornier told eWedNewz traffic was good in New York and was also surprised at how well all the markets did.

“We’re the new kid on the block so we’re doing well. I think that all the people who have built solid relationships over the years are doing better than most,” according to Cornier.

Consistent reports from veteran sources in the bridal business say they’ve adjusted their business to coincide with the timing of the shows as best they can. 

Larry Warshaw of Justin Alexander told eWedNewz, ” The Wedding Channel Couture show people could not have been more accommodating and the hotel staff has been fabulous. We are in a Hotel room with no walk by traffic, but we scheduled appointments and the customers are coming and buying.”

 Warshaw reiterated the late timing of the shows and how it impacts deliveries to customers. According to a previous statement by Warshaw, buyers that placed orders earlier in the year are done buying. But in an updated statement he told eWNz,

“Orders from these shows tend to be shipped in February and March and miss the season. Brides get their Rings and start shopping in December/January, so it’s always nice to have product in the stores when the brides are visiting the shops. I am surprised there are people in New York who are happy to get the later deliveries.”

Warshaw wished the exhibiting manufacturers well at the bigger Piers show.

Some sad news, Jim Duhe had to be transported to a nearby hospital from one of the fashion shows on Sunday Night. Duhe told eWNz he was better and expects to be out of the hospital shortly. 

 

 

eWedNewz

All Rights Reserved

2011

Winners and Whiners at Chicago Bridal Market

By Paul Pannone

The Chicago Bridal Market 2011 is called the most attended and exciting in years by some of the most successful bridal manufacturers of the business. As expected, AllureCasa Blanca, Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero and other well-established companies creating designs that favor platinum budgets saw brisk activity at their booths.

According to some buyers, the higher-end of wedding gown pricing hasn’t suffered proportionately as much as the middle, where the most congestion and competition exists. Although some of the higher-priced suppliers have added collections that take into account the current economic challenges, there are some that will argue the point by saying the luxury level has suffered just as much.

Buyers at the show told eWedNewz they’re placing their orders more carefully than ever before, considering the reliability of the company, marketing and advertising budgets and support of the products. With a sea of products available– and more reported to be launching– the daunting task of knowing what to buy from whom seems nearly impossible.

“If you add all the name brands together — there are about 1,000 different brands to know and review! These numbers aren’t exact, but this is my best guess: Bridal Gowns — 300 Maids — 130 Headpieces — 75 Accessories — 80 Mothers — 80 Prom — 95 Shoes — 40 Quinceanera– 30 Special Occasion — 105 Jewelry — 65.

That means that if a retail buyer wanted to see all 1,000, they would have to see 200 brand names a day at the Chicago market — or about one brand name every 2 and a half minutes for eight hours a day with no breaks,” according to Jim Duhe.

According to Duhe and others, attendance at the show was better than expected. Earlier this year the Las Vegas  Bridal Market was canceled due to lack of interest. Retailers and manufacturers cited the weak economy and the over-saturation of shows, along with growing competition from places like Costco in a shrinking market. Moderate traffic in Dallas, despite aggressive measures taken to fly in buyers and put them up in hotels, showed the weakness of the market earlier this year.

Buyers told eWedNewz they wanted to hold on to orders and see what the season was going to be like. Though many say sales have been “good”, no on is jumping for joy.

“This is an exciting show for us; as you know we unveiled David Tutera and boy, has it really caught on,” according to Steve Lang.

In the way of buzz and promotion, Lang led the pack and was rewarded by winning three DEBI awards for which Mon Cheri was nominated.

“Steve really does a great job with everything he does and deserves everything the company works so hard for,” said Philip Cornier. Cornier was at the show representing Magnolia Bridals in Brooklyn, New York, that recently expanded into bridal gowns after years of making bridal veils. “These days you have to do it all to be successful; there just isn’t enough business for the growing competition, so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he told eWNz.

Philip Cornier helped to launch gowns for a veil company this season, handling everything from design, photo shoots,  web presence, publicity and sales. Gown by Magnolia tuxedo courtesy of FLOW.

 

Cornier and others said traffic at the show started off a bit slow but grew as the weekend progressed. Some wondered about how New York market will be.

“The problem with these shows is the timing. We’re already in production because we started selling way back in May,” according to Larry Warshaw of Justin Alexander.

Warshaw told eWedNewz he was a bit disappointed with the traffic in Chicago but very pleased with his business, overall. Warshaw told eWedNewz he flies selected accounts to exotic locations and shows, including Barcelona, Spain, with no obligation to buy.

Sara Morris, owner of the Something Blue shop in Alabama, says she was flown to spectacular places with zero pressure to buy. She gives Larry Warshaw and the Justin Alexander team a great review and cautioned about some of the other companies that aren’t as conducive to the success of smaller operators.

 

Larry Warshaw joins other manufacturers that weren’t happy with attendance agreeing the majority of buying is all but over by September. Sources from both the manufacturing and retail side of the wedding dress business, as well as adjunct businesses including tuxedos, say they don’t know what is going to happen to trade shows in general.

Several companies have contacted eWedNewz wanting to know more about internet marketing and direct sales to consumers. None would give their permission to be quoted but admitted traditional methods are fast becoming a thing of the past.

 

eWedNewz

All Rights Reserved

2011