FashionGo goes against the norm.
The Los Angeles-based B2B online marketplace has teamed up with trade show veteran Tom Nastos to create its first physical trade show.
No more WWD
The inaugural women-centric event will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif., May 3-5.
FashionGo was founded in 2002 and today hosts some 1,800 brands and over 2 million stock items on its site across a number of categories including women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, accessories, footwear and beauty. There are about 1 million registered shoppers who work with the company to discover and connect with brands through the site, said Paul Lee, CEO of NHN Global, a subsidiary of technology company NHN Corp. in South Korea, and parent company of ModeGo.
Lee said that although FashionGo has been in business for 20 years, the site has seen a significant increase in traffic and volume since the start of the pandemic and physical shows have been forced to be postponed.
But even if that situation eases and some operators once again host in-person shows, Lee felt it was a good time to jump into the fray.
And his partner has the right resume.
Nastos has had a long career in trade shows and served as President and CEO of UBM Fashion, which owns MAGIC, Project, Coterie and ENK International. More recently, he founded BluEnsign, a strategic consultancy for consumer brands and event planning, with Scott Chowan of FG Events.
“We have assembled an experienced and empowered team of innovative designers and connectors who are passionate about supporting the wholesale fashion and lifestyle communities,” Nastos said. “Together, we are focused on building a leading specialist event portfolio, providing new opportunities and solutions that are a perfect fit for all of our clients.”
He said when researching the various online platforms, such as NuOrder and Joor, which have worked with various trade show operators to bring their events to a digital audience, he believed they were different from FashionGo. .
“FashionGo is a marketplace,” Nastos said, “while the others are ordering platforms. They literally offer brand-initiated digital order forms. But with over 2 million products, FashionGo offers the ability to shop and buy. It’s like a shopping experience for the consumer. Once you are verified, you can search for a product by category and you have the option of paying securely.
So why would FashionGo want to enter the physical space?
“We view FashionGo Palm Springs as an extension of our services,” Lee said. “Even with the pandemic, we realize that touch and feel is the best way to make informed purchasing decisions.”
At the show, FashionGo will offer a true omnichannel experience, he explained. Attendees can use the on-site platform app to search for the categories and brands they want to visit, avoiding the “tedious” task of walking from booth to booth, Lee said. They can make purchases on the app or directly from vendors at the show or move products to their digital shopping carts to return to later when their seasonal plans are complete and they’re ready to buy.
Other tools that will be offered include StyleMatch+, which immediately identifies similar styles and prices, as well as other data-driven solutions such as real-time updates on bestsellers, trends and new products that have been added.
“At FashionGo, we are focused on creating market access for our customers to discover, connect and transact with confidence,” said Lee. “We continue to strive to deliver exceptional value, service and solutions that not only help move businesses forward, but also move this industry forward.”
Nastos said the May dates were chosen to align with “a regional calendar”. The first FashionGo Palm Springs show is expected to feature 300 brands of women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear.
Going forward, the plan is to hold a second show in Palm Springs from July 26-28 as well as one at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City from November 5-7 before increasing the frequency to four in Palm Springs and two in New York in 2023. The second salon in Palm Beach is expected to host 450 salespeople, Nastos said.