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Recap of 5th Annual CIT & CFA Brand Expansion Conference

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  • Panelists for the Brand Expansion Conference included (l to r): Ilse Metchek, president, California Fashion Association; Mitch Cohen, western regional manager, CIT Commercial Services; Josh LeVine, CEO, Frame Denim; Dana Telsey, CEO and chief research officer, Telsey Advisory Group; Mitesh Solanki, principal partner, Creative Intellects; Jessica Blue, vice president, Licensing Expo; Marvin Padilla, managing director, Intrepid Investment Bankers

More than 120 executives from fashion brands, manufacturers and service providers spent the morning engaged in a compelling conversation about consumer trends, brand growth, social strategies, licensing and funding during the 5th Annual CIT & CFA Brand Expansion Conference on Wednesday, October 21.

After a sumptuous networking buffet breakfast, the audience gathered in a ballroom of the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to hear from panelists and moderators from CIT and CFA. Ilse Metchek, the president of the California Fashion Association, welcomed the group and set the tone by ticking through a timeline of the changing retail landscape in just the past few decades.

Then moderator Mitch Cohen, the western regional manager for CIT Commercial Services, posed a series of questions about industry trends in the expertise area of each of the panelists,
who included:
● Jessica Blue, vice president of the Licensing Expo trade show
● Marvin Padilla, managing director at Intrepid Investment Bankers
● Dana Telsey, CEO and chief research officer at Telsey Advisory Group
● Mitesh Solanki, principal partner at Creative Intellects digital media and ad agency
● Josh LeVine, CEO of apparel startup Frame Denim

Their answers had several common themes:
● Authenticity is the cornerstone for building a brand that resonates with consumers especially millennial consumers, and it’s also the best tool for building an effective digital campaign and drawing licensing and investor interest.
● Freshness and refreshening are critical in the current retail climate. Innovative products, digital approaches, even hiring practices are called for.
● Old school benchmarking and goal setting are key for making nimble decisions about product, marketing, investing and hiring. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” Mitch reminded the group.

After a lively discussion, Mitch opened the questions up to the audience, who spent asked about funding, recruiting the next generation of brand leaders, digital budgeting and benchmarking, and more.

Next up from CIT and CFA: their semiannual state of the LA Fashion Industry report. Watch for it early next year.

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