The live show success of a trio of fashion events in Florida last month showed that the US fashion retail industry is hungry for safe live events.
Tarsus group’s OFFPRICE Orlando Market exhibition joined Fashion Week shows MAGIC Pop Up Orlando from Informa and Clarion’s WWIN Orlando Showcase in the Orange County Convention Center, 9-11 February, as part of a Stronger Together initiative. The co-located events offered the first live event for buyers and vendors in the US fashion industry in the last 10 months.
The three shows were organised with health and safety as a priority, in response to fashion retailers’ and buyers’ demands for an in-person tradeshow to support a return to business.
The format of the appointment-driven show was encouraged buying activity with millions of dollars’ worth of transactions taking place over three days. Exhibitors promoted current trends and classics to buyers from small business owners and boutiques to retailers for large regional chains.
Juan Santiago of Ben Kaufman Sales, exhibitor at OFFPRICE Orlando Market, said: “OFFPRICE is a part of our strategy because it gives us the ability to move product to buyers that otherwise would not have access to. Companies nowadays have a lot of hoops to jump through to get to the decision-makers and shows like OFFPRICE put us face-to-face with the right people.”
The event was organised in partnership with state government and Orlando Health, as well as adhering to the CDC-approved exhibitions-industry All Secure Standard. Exhibitors, attendees, contractors and staff complied with the measures which included mandatory wearing of face masks throughout the event, daily temperature checks prior to entering show floor, continuous sanitisation and deep cleaning measures and following physical distancing requirements both on the show floor and in public spaces.
As an additional layer of safety, show organisers produced the first tradeshow in the US to offer on-site testing, with a negative Covid test result required to enter the show floor. Participants had the option to pre-test prior to arrival or take a free, rapid response test on-site.
Customer satisfaction survey results showing that 97% of respondents expressed the highest level of satisfaction in their on-site testing experience.
Buyer Jack Silvera, travelling to OFFPRICE from Panama, noted: “We liked that we were able to meet various suppliers in Orlando after a whole year. We felt we had to support OFFPRICE because they are essential to our business. The show was well organised and safe. Wish more of you had attended. Looking forward to a larger show in Las Vegas in August.”
Tricia Barglof, executive director of OFFPRICE, said: “Our top priority has always been the health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees and staff members. To bring the community together is critical to the revival of retail. In-person negotiation and relationship building is at the core of OFFPRICE.”
“Although cautiously optimistic heading into the show, we were extremely pleased with the turnout and buying activity on the floor,” Barglof added. “We knew people were eager to get back to some sense of normalcy regarding sourcing and Fashion Week was their first opportunity.”
“In providing a safe and controlled environment, we hope our success will provide reassurance and confidence that live shows can still be an effective way to do business once again.”
The OFFPRICE show will continue to serve the retail community alongside the other Fashion Week shows, MAGIC and WWIN in August 2021. It will return 7-10 August at a new venue, the Las Vegas Convention Center, home of MAGIC, making it convenient for buyers to shop both shows that week.