Open letter to POOL Tradeshow

Posted by Miracle Wanzo on Aug 30, 2007 at 1:53 pm / Rants, Trade Shows / Trackback

First, please consider locating Pool closer to the core shows. Preferably at the Venetian or the Sands Expo Center where Project, and 6 other shows were. Although I loved the shuttle service, I found it cumbersome to get to and from Pool and the other shows.

Secondly, S(eco)nd didn’t stand out. When I walked the show, it was easy to miss that I was in an actual section. Honestly, I didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out. I talked to other buyers and they missed the concept (they just didn’t get it), they didn’t notice the S(eco)nd section. A lot of buyers also did not make it to Pool because of the transportation issue.

Lastly, I can’t believe that a show with an eco focus didn’t have recycling bins to drop those horrendously large show guides. Since I’m complaining giving constructive criticism, I also found it odd that the show guide would have far more pages than necessary, for a show that promotes eco friendliness.

12 Responses to “Open letter to POOL Tradeshow”

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Natasha
August 30th, 2007
2:21 PM

Sounds like a recycling company my husband deals with where the owner can’t understand why anyone would buy a Prius.

christine
August 30th, 2007
6:25 PM

to be fair, there were recycling bins all over the tent. i exhibited there and used them every day. at each door around the tent there was 2 trash cans and one recycling can.
i had a lot of issues with the show, but this was not one of them.

Crasur
September 1st, 2007
1:04 PM

I exhibited at Pool and have a lot of issues with the way it was this year.

Skylar
September 1st, 2007
1:30 PM

I exhibited at Pool last week and have a few concerns that I hope are fixed before going in Feb.

First, I would like to say that the staff was great to work with. As a newbie I appreciated the attention that we received from staff who walked the floor constantly. They followed up before the end of the show to see if we had any suggestions for the next one, and we fund to work with.

Now, for criticism.

POOL tradeshow was not marketed at all at other shows owned by Advanstar when it came to the bags. While I saw 100′s of bags walk by branded with the MAGIC logo or PROJECT logo, I did not see one that said POOL. For the price we paid to be part of something to help emerging talent, I was upset to see that we were not promoted during the show. There were nice canvas bags given out by Alternative Apparel, but it was to promote the S(eco)ond part of the tradeshow, and not POOL. I feel like this eco-friendly part of the tradeshow was actually a “second” tradeshow that seriously took away from the attention to the rest of the exhibitors. Even to floors were nicer than the rest of the show. When buyers waled through “SECOND” they were treated to wood flooring, and bright lights, then once they were through it they saw the less known companies on the outskirts, and of course spent less time buying.

The layout was could have been planned better. The further out the spaces got, the less traffic they received, and that went for well known brands also.

Being that the show was in a tent in a parking lot, the booths on the inside of the walls got soaked on the first day of the show. The rain poured in under the tent walls and soaked the carpet of the outer booth spaces.

Once it quite raining, the Freeman were vacuming the water out of the carpet for about 2 hours as buyers walked through. It was upsetting.

There were also performers who seemed like Parisian clowns from a Mad Max movie that bothered a lot of the buyers, and there was a lot of shall we say “street perfume” as the performers made it through the day and the heat.

There was a Sneaker Pimp section sponsored by Adidas that was fenced off and separated the eco friendly part of the show from the other part of the show. That long section of negative space really affected traffic as most people just walked by it fast or stopped thinking nothing was beyond it and turned around. I guess it was meant to string together the sections of the show but it really did more harm for those who were on the other side of the hall.

So that’s about it. I enjoyed working with the staff, and think they did a good job during the show, but the set up could have been a lot better.

Traffic turnout was really low and POOL was not promoted on the bags like MAGIC and PROJECT. I would have also liked to have seen more mixing of new and established lines throughout the show that would have interested buyers more. The show was traditionally about featuring emerging talent, but I think emerging talent got lost in the desire to promote (Second).

rene
September 2nd, 2007
10:47 PM

I walked Pool and liked it.. but I won’t exhibit there in Feb. I did exhibit in Magic and really enjoyed it (it was my first time, and I will write about it just after this..). Pool.. well, there didn’t seem to be many buyers. It was cool (I’m 30, and it was ‘my crowd’ so to speak) and I enjoyed the atmosphere, but when I spoke to many of the booths they weren’t seeing business, even in the Eco show. My company is also Eco Friendly, yada yada.. and we did just fine for being in Magic and not in the Pool Second show.. so thats where we’ll most likely stay (if not go to Project).

Miracle
September 3rd, 2007
7:48 PM

Skylar,

The Project bags were made by RTR packaging, which exhibits at most shows (and had a huge booth at Project). They really stood out and everyone wanted one. I got the feeling that even people who weren’t at the show wanted a bag because I kept getting stopped and asking “what’s project” “what’s a project” or “where’s project”. And, for the record, I’m a bit bitter that I don’t have the “VIP” Project messenger style bag (I mean, what’s a girl gotta do to be a VIP? :).

I have the alternative apparel bag as well, and yeah, you can’t even read it from a distance, regardless of *what* it promotes. You’re right, it wasn’t as marketable as the Project bags or the MAGIC Junk Food or American Apparel bags.

Thanks for speaking up about the rain. When I noticed it, I wondered what effect it would have. A lot of people didn’t even know it rained that morning because they were inside.

Vivien
September 6th, 2007
1:20 PM

As a retailer/mfgr. i disliked pool because the merchandise there appeared to be 2x the price as magic with hald the value. As a retailer, i could see myself having a hard time selling some of those things, let alone at the price that they were requesting. There were nice things, but, again, the majority of customers don’t always value that.

Amy
September 11th, 2007
11:59 AM

I’m so glad to find some different perspectives on the Vegas shows. I showed at Project with two lines, one my Handbag line of 4 years, and a new (since June) line of jewelry. The jewelry line had a respectable show and wrote for Kitson, which we are obviously happy about. The bag line which is much more established quite honestly tanked. I feel like there are a couple reasons for this. Both lines were shown within my showrooms’ multli line booth and the bags simply did not have enough space to make an impact. I also got the feeling that buyers are really looking for absolute sure fire sellers, everyone wanted things as immediate as possible (i’m shipping this week from that show) and the bags just don’t have that kind of turn around, nor do pricier bags fly off shelves like fun jewelry pieces. I will definitely do Project again, but not the same layout as this time. I think I would probably just split a normal size booth between my two lines.

There was quite a lot of traffic at Project, no doubt about it. I know that established lines write huge, it think it’s a little trickier if you are small. It’s also a numbers game, you often need to establish yourself in a show more than one time. By the way, I thought those pleather Project bags where ugly this year, but people where sure lined up to get them. (I had my own silk screened on just cotton and they were cuter and perfect grocery store bags)

As far as Pool goes, I actually did it twice awhile back; once was great, once was so so (at the Mandaley, same shuttle/ traffic problems) I feel like Pool is maybe having an identity crisis, is it Streetware? T-shirts? Eco? Womens Contemporary? What is the profile of it’s buyers? I’don’t think they know anymore. I was not able to get over there this time, but back in Feb I walked all the shows before deciding on Project, and the Pool merchandise seemed all over the place. On a positive note, it was small and you could easily walk the whole show and see everything. I will say this, the first time I set up at Pool it kinda felt like making camp at Burningman, very chaotic and randomly arsty, which is maybe not the ideal vibe for a professional tradeshow.

I was wondering about the girl who showed her Eco line at Magic, was it just at the main Magic show or was it Howard Gabes Eco show. Just curious.

Thank you for all the opinions, very interesting.

DesignerJunkie
September 21st, 2007
11:57 AM

Wow! Once again as a designer that does the Pool Trade Show I am amazed to read some of the negative comments about the show.
I think the Pool Trade Show is one of the best places to show your line and grow as a designer.
The staff is amazing and I am happy to see that ‘Crasur’ at least saw that much.
First let me say that Trade Shows are the middle men, you fellow designers need to get out there and hustle. I have been around awhile and this was my 8th show with Pool and I haven’t always had great shows with Pool and those times that I didn’t have a great show with Pool I knew it was me and not them.
I think young designers look to blame someone when they have a bad show and they always first look to the coordinators of the Trade Show.
I feel that Pool does a lot to promote the designers, they did for me. But you have to bring your ideas to them. They can’t do everything for you and I think a lot of designers think that they should.
And as far as Skylar goes I was in the S(eco)nd area and I did more in sales in my first day then I did at the last Pool show. I think the S(eco)nd area was beautiful and so if you didn’t have a great show maybe you need to look at your product and maybe you just aren’t designing what is hot right now.
And lastly onto the rain issue I would just like to remind everyone that Pool didn’t create the rain. It was totally out of their control and my friend’s line was one of the brands that had water in their booth and they were hustling that morning to get it all cleaned up.
The staff responded to that emergency with lightening speed and did a great job.
I just wish my fellow designers would stop blaming Pool for their own short comings and I don’t mean to sound harsh. I once had a show where I wrote zero dollars but it was my error not theirs.
I will be back at the next Pool because they created a beautiful space for me to do my business and I can’t say that of the other big nasty Trade Shows in Vegas.

MW
September 21st, 2007
2:48 PM

I just wish my fellow designers would stop blaming Pool for their own short comings and I don’t mean to sound harsh. I once had a show where I wrote zero dollars but it was my error not theirs.

Actually, somtimes a poor showing is not the brand’s fault but rather poor selection of venue. I find the comments useful because deisgners have a lot to consider when trying to find the appropriate trade show venue. I have known lines to do poorly at pool just because it wasn’t the right crowd and move to another show and perform much better. So a poor showing at one trade show doesn’t indicate that somebody’s line needs retooling.

I was wondering about the girl who showed her Eco line at Magic, was it just at the main Magic show or was it Howard Gabes Eco show.

Howard Gabe’s eco show was actually a part of the ASAP Global Sourcing show (unless he had two shows). He’s a great guy, but the show, both because of venue and the exhibitors showing, wasn’t really a fasion-fashion eco show, like S(eco)nd. They did have great resources in eco textiles.

Mindy Wiener
September 25th, 2007
8:01 AM

Here’s my second attempt at posting. I wrote a very long winded, detailed response last week &, just before preparing to hit the send button, the whole thing disappeared. I’m sure this has happened to all but, none-the-less, it is still quite frustrating!

Miracle, in response to your open letter to us at Pool (I’m speaking on behalf of our staff as the Director of Operations & the founder of s(eco)nd), let me just point out that Pool cannot relocate to the Sands due to spatial limitations & date restrictions. We most definitely take location into consideration which is why we made the move from Mandalay Bay (end of strip) to LVCC (35′ to skybridge access to MAGIC)last year. Attendance has sky-rocketed since the move; we were up over 37% to last show & doubled attendance from 1 year ago!

I’m curious which form of complimentary transporation that we provided was cumbersome? Was it the direct shuttle service from Sands to Pool or the Limo’s that went direct from Project to Pool? We are always trying to improve here so your comments are appreciated. Also, I’d love to know which buyers you spoke with that said they didn’t make it over because of transportation issues. I’d like to reach out & speak with them directly.

Now, with regards to s(eco)nd, we intentionally used subtle indications such as bamboo flooring, trees, specific furniture, a welcome bar at the front, center aisle to denote this new area. We wanted buyers to focus on the clothes as we had some amazing designers in the area that would have otherwise been overlooked (in my opinion) had they been segregated into an area such as D&A had done (placing them in the back of the house). Our goal this show was to shatter preconceived notions of socially & ecologically concsious brands as not being design driven. I do feel we achieved this rather well based on multitudes of positive comments from Press & exhibiting brands.

Now, there were some people who also shared your opinion that s(eco)nd should have been more clearly defined & called out by large banners, signage, separate location. We are taking all the comments into consideration for the next show cycle.

OK, now my rebut at your constructive criticism; plesae don’t take this the wrong way as I know it’s been pointed out to you by several others, but with regards to the recycle bins of which there were over (50)on the main show floor–Are you Kidding that you didn’t see them???????

I’m also a bit confused on your comments about our Show Guide. How does double sided printing on a single 11×17 sheet of paper (which was also recycled paper) constitute excess? Perhaps you are speaking about our Art Book? This is a keepsake that features Art from a large portion of our exhibitors. As Pool features many art-based brands, it is a way for us to get some of these new talents published. BTW, all of these books were also printed very consciously

The cover and pages 1-96 printed on Cascades’ Rolland Opaque, which contains 30% recycled post-consumer, FSC certified fiber, is EcoLogo certified and manufactured using biogas energy.

Pages 97- 128 are printed on Neenah Paper Environment, which contains 100% recycled, 30% post consumer, FSC certified fibers.

In any case, I hope I ‘ve answered some of your questions. For those of you reading that did not attend, we are posting the video on the home page this week( http://www.pooltradeshow.com) so that you can get a feel for what you missed.

Mindy Wiener
September 25th, 2007
8:35 AM

Now, to address the other posts.

Christine, thanks for pointing out the trash cans. It is our goal to be able to offer (2) recycle bins for each (1) regular trash bin; at that point, we will know we’ve made some progress! As far as other issues you had, feel free to post or e-mail me direct so we can adress these

Crazur- same thing, please feel free to post specifics or e-mail me direct

Skylar- thanks for your comments! We try to pride ourselves on excellent customer service & are able to do so by keeping the show to a managable size. With regards to the bags, we agree & have some pretty fantastics bags planned for next show that will hopefully knock your socks off! The rains, quite honestly, could have been much worse given the sudden downpour. We were extremely pleased with the swiftness that the problems were handled & by everyone’s understanding. Luckily, this happened on the beginning of the first day & wasn’t an issue the remainder of the show. Dually noted are the performers which had mixed reviews. As far as layout, would like your thoughts as to how you think the show could have been better laid out; most people liked the new set-up. Just to point out Adidas was separate from Sneakerpimps. They each had a separate area & yes, we do agree that they did impede the traffic flow to the back & tis is already being addressed. With regards to traffic, our attendance was up 37% so, I’m curious where you were situated that it felt slow.

Renee- Thanks for coming to check out the show. It is a smart exhibitor that investigates what’s out there.

Vivien- Would you be so kind as to tell me the pricepoints you buy? We encompass a large portion of the show with moderate to contemporary px’s so I’m just wondering if you’re buying budget or mass in which case MAGIC or off-price are probably most relevant for you.

Amy- Pool is most definitely not experiencing an identity crisis. Pool is about showing new trends & emerging desingers. We encompass lifestyle and feature relevant brands that fit the ever changing contemporary boutique needs.

Designer Junkie–Thanks! It probably means more coming from you than to me. One things for sure, in tradeshows (& in life), you can’t please everyone..still we try to take peoples comments with all due respect & learn from the ones that are pertinent.

MW- To clarify, s(eco)nd isn’t going after the same type of business that the Global ECO show is. I beleive he is going after the more traditional ECO brands where Pool & s(eco)nd are going after the “new breed”. I beleive in both & hope that we are able to provide outstanding selection to buyers

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