There’s almost too much to write about after our first tradeshow in Manhattan. The thrill of being invited to exhibit at the Accessorie Circuit at the Javits Center, an honor for a brand less than a year old, was followed by weeks of preparation and planning. But like any new experience it’s hard to “know what you don’t know” and the experience itself was the best teacher. What we came to realize is that, beyond the sales and the experience of selling on a grand stage, being able to connect with like-minded young professionals and forming real relationships with them over a shared pursuit was invaluable. We’re hopeful these will be enduring relationships as we all rise to handbag greatness! In the meantime, here now is our Accessorie Circuit breakdown
My people, My favorite walk home
Back in a New York Groove: Set Up in the Big City
We’re very lucky that New York City feels like a home court for us. Arriving in NoHo on Wednesday we dipped right to our favorite spot, Blue Ribbon Sushi, where Matt was reunited with his favorite people: the waiters and sushi chefs who kept us fed for years. Walking around Soho after dinner it was inspiring to see the established brands dotting one of the greatest fashion districts in the world. If we could make it here we could make it anywhere!
One of our favorite bags at our favorite spot
The show set up was seamless, although don’t tell that to Matt who carried all 100 handbags around the Javitz Center as we made our way to our booth. The hustle and bustle of preparation was a sight to behold: from the installation of booth spotlights to rolling out the pink carpets, flowers and succulents hanging from chandeliers as exhibitors like us tailored our booths to reflect our own unique brand identities. It gave us chills taking part in such a grand fashion stage.
So busy setting up we didn't get a picture without all the stuff!
There isn’t much that can truly prepare you for a trade show experience. Just to be on the safe side my mom took time away from her own business to help us: if anyone could bring energy it was the owner of the best pie shop in the Carolinas. Going in we focused on: sales pitches and paperwork, healthy diet and hydration, 8 hours of sleep on a 6am wake up schedule. While all of that would come in handy nothing could prepare us for the natural ebb and flow that required a constant mental engagement. Around every corner might be the next big sale but there was a cat and mouse game of how best to approach prospects. Come on too strong and they’d run, watch them pass without a word and maybe lose it forever. Ultimately we settled into a watchful groove, something I’m sure we’ll perfect with experience acquired over years.
My Mom= my inspiration
Between sales and attempted sales we were in the trenches with some of the nicest people you could hope to encounter. Being able to talk to them about everything from the process of creating unique fashion articles to the nuts and bolts of running a small business was the real prize we’re taking from our experience at the Accessorie Circuit. It was such a pleasure getting to know them that we can’t help but talk about them here!
Cara Benevenia is another young handbag brand that is launching this fall. Cara’s bags are all made in the USA and are handwoven by her. She uses amazing metallic leathers that give the bags a modern, fashion-forward feel that we were instantly in love with as soon as we saw them. To top it all off, Cara is one of the nicest people you’ll meet and she had her mom at the show too! We’re hopeful that this is the beginning of a long friendship and we were so lucky to meet her.
Sarep + Rose is another handbag line we adore almost as much as the people who make it. Robin has an effervescent personality that is matched with charm and wit. Her line includes handbags, shoes and leather accessories. Her collection is crafted by some of the oldest nomadic African tribes that have worked with leather and textiles for generations. In addition to the rich history they are totally unique in their design and unlike anything we have seen.
In summary: I’ll take one of each of Cara Benevenia and Sarep and Rose’s beautiful designs.