Trade Shows

Focus on American Brands Showing at Playtime Paris – July 2012

July 12, 2012

About ten American brands were showing at Playtime Paris this season. I’ve asked them some comments on the show, the visitors that came to their booths and the economic climate in the US. Here there are, in alpha order…

Anais and I 
For the second time at Playtime Paris.
Owner of the brand, Jane d’Haeane, thinks it’s a very good show, but a difficult one for American brands. “People don’t know me here like they do in the US, so I really need to work hard to develop the brand here, I need to understand the market; I also probably need to find an agent and a press agency”.
Jeanne said she saw mainly British, French and Japanese clients. “I was happy to add Smallable to my list. They did a very good selection within the collection”.
In the US, people are more cautious at the moment. But it’s OK for us, we have kept a good business level overall. Our best clients include Sweet William, Kisan, Barneys NY, Poppy (LA/San Francisco)”.
Jane noticed that Europeans prefer neutral and softer colours than Americans, and they are also less into print.

Atsuyo et Akiko
At Playtime Paris for the fourth time.
“It’s been very good”, say Atsuyo Yang and Akiko Mukae with one voice. “We have seen clients from Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Brazil, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia. And for the first time Morocco, – a new concept store will be opening in Casablanca. That’s exciting”.
Atsuyo et Akiko sell their beautiful jewellery, tee-shirts, tutus and accessories to 300 stores around the world, half of which in the US. Their clients include ABC Home, Sweet William, Smallable, Couverture (London), Claude Hontoir (Brussels).

Built by Wendy
Wendy Mullin launched her women’s line 20 years ago. This is her first kid’s line, shown for the first time at a trade show. It was very brave of Wendy to cross the pond and participate in Playtime Paris, but she recognises that should probably have launched in New York first, as she had a huge following and great brand recognition. Built by Wendy is designed in New York and produced in Shanghai (the NY factory that Wendy has worked with since the 90’s has moved there). Built by Wendy will be sold at Sweet William next season, and at the show Wendy has received interest from mainly French and Belgian buyers.
About the economy in her country, Wendy says it seems stable, but what really changed in the last few years if that people are constantly waiting for bargains, sales, discounts. “Very few people buy clothes at full price”.

Coral and Tusk
This beautiful home decor line started four years ago. Best clients include John Derian (NY), Nest (SF), Sweet William (NY).  This is the first international show for the brand who exhibits in New York at Playtime and at the Gift Fair. Stephanie Housley, a textile designer and founder of the brand comments : “We are very happy to be here, it’s a great show with nice brand assortment. We have seen lots of  Japanese and Scandinavian visitors. They say they really appreciate our products for the technique we use (embroidery) and the sincerity in the design”.
According to Stephanie, the US economic climate is stable and the elections will have a large impact on the direction of future economic stability.

Esp n.1 
Fifth time at Playtime for this brand which launched in 2008, that sells to about 120 stores worldwide. Clients include Smallable, Barneys NYCouverture and Liberty in London. Co-owner of the company, Andrew Hogge reports visitors who came to his booth were mainly from Spain, Denmark, UK,  Japan, Australia. The Hogge moved from New York to LA to be closer to the factory they own, and that produces Esp n.1, an adult line as well as products for other brands (private label). The brand is growing slowly but steadily. 

Jess Brown 
The brand had incredible success at the January show, which was the first time at Playtime Paris. It was a bit slower this time, which can be due to the fact that the product is not very seasonal (decor). Clients include Bergdorf Goodman, Poppy, Nest, Sweet William, Clic Gallery, Marc Jacobs in the US, Aime, Couverture, Elias&Grace in the UK. Visitors who showed interest at the show were from Korea, France, UK. 

Lucky Fish
Showing her kids collection for the first time at Playtime Paris, Jann Chiefitz is very happy with the number of orders she has taken, somewhere between 20 and 30. Clients came from Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Germany, UK (Elias and Grace and Petit Aime), Switzerland, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong. Very few French. Jann is pleasantly surprised with the great response and enthusiasm for her line. “They really got it” she comments. “People here love neon and bright colours. The difference with the American buyers is that they are not at all into the metallic prints”.  

Makie
I could not speak with anyone at Makie, but when I stopped by, Paola and Dario Pizzetti from the brand Pepe (Italy) were placing an order for their Paris store (in parallel to the shoes, they always have a small selection of gorgeous fashion pieces).

Wovenplay
This is the 6th time at Playtime Paris for the brand, whose clients include Little Fashion GalleryThumbeline.com, Lost and Found (LA), Storytime (HK), Nobodinoz (Spain), Couverture (UK). 
Agent for the brand, Celine Chouard  says she mainly saw French and Japanese visitors. New clients include Banania in Sao Paolo. People really fancy the little accessories like the headbands as well as the striped swimsuits, so iconic of the brand.

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