Ten Things I Learned at Textiles Market

Ten Things I Learned at Textiles MarketIt’s all over but the order-writing – hopefully – and the crying – yes, there’s crying in textiles, plenty. So it seems appropriate to break for a moment and take stock of what actually happened two weeks ago in New York City.
…Or at least what happened to me.

1. Business is OK… Really. Maybe it’s not insanely great, and it probably never was for most companies in the business. But you just didn’t hear the whining and kvetching that usually indicates textiles times are tough. They are not.

2. Retailers Rule…and Write the Rules, too. There’s a specific market week, but don’t tell that to some of the stores that shopped market when they wanted to – and not a moment before or a moment after. Costco came in early (all right, they had a big corporate meeting the week of market), Walmart came in late (because they can) and Sears/Kmart left early (because…well because they are Sears/Kmart and they just do things differently).

3. New Showrooms are Good. They wake people up and get them out of their routines, and nobody did that better than Revman with its spectacular Empire State Building 70th-floor atelier. It’s the kind of investment you wish more suppliers would make.

4. Well-known Names are Known Well. Celebrities like Kathy Ireland, Chris Madden, Jessica Simpson and others get people’s attention. They don’t necessarily guarantee sales, but they serve to give programs a hook for suppliers, retailers and consumers alike. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

5. Kate, Trina, et al. I wouldn’t even begin to tell you who had it first, but this whole color-and-white, often-geometric, sometimes-floral and always sophisticated look was everywhere at market. Let’s see if there’s enough consumer demand to absorb all that supply.

6. The Millennials Have Arrived…Finally. It took a while, but the industry jumped on the Gen Y demographic big time. The Kate and Trina show was part of it, but you didn’t have to go very far to find the look.

7. New York Needs Another Market Building. As 7West winds down its operations – it was a terrific and well-run building, by the way – the textiles industry finds itself short of viable showroom space. Other key buildings are booked solid and nobody’s coming along with anything new. It’s a problem this market never thought it would have. Never.

8. The Average Online Purchase is Larger than the Average In-Store Purchase. That came out of the HTT Context session from new NPD research. You should have been there; you would have learned something.

9. This Online Thing, BTW, is Probably Going to be Around for Awhile. It seemed that every third or fourth retailer I met was from an online retail operation. If you wonder the reason you still have a showroom in the first place, this is it.

10. The New York Home Fashions Market Isn’t Going Anywhere.

Duh.

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