Surf Expo felt busier on Friday and we saw lots of East Coast retailers meeting with a wide range of brands.
Some retailers we saw expressed frustration that the larger apparel brands did not attend the show, however. Many of the same brands that aren’t at Surf Expo also were not at Agenda.
“The show has been really good, we’ve found some great new things,” said Ron Jon President Debbie Harvey. “But it’s very disappointing some of the big brands didn’t show up so we could talk about how to make our business better going forward as well as take a look back on the past year, good things, bad things, things we can improve on.
“I think that it’s short sighted and I believe that for a lot of stores this is one of their few opportunities to see what the brand is about and get some time with brand management,” she said.
I mentioned to Debbie that some brands had told me because Surf Expo was later in January this year, order deadlines have passed so they didn’t think the show made sense. Plus, the industry has been challenging and budgets are tight.
Debbie said she understands the cost issue but wishes the brands would have come so those important conversations can take place - even if it meant using smaller, less expensive booths
“I’d rather that they come to the East Coast, and talk about how business is on the East Coast rather than just deciding that they’ve got the paper and there’s no reason to come,” she said.
Some of the smaller brands we talked to were quite happy to take advantage of the absence of the big guys, who usually dominate retailers' time at the shows.
We have photos of some people and brands we saw on Friday at Surf Expo in our slide show above.
See photos from the first day of the show here.