B$Z: Inaugural LAUNCH LA Trade Show Receives Rave Reviews
Inaugural LAUNCH LA Trade Show Receives Rave Reviews
Intimate atmosphere and curated brand mix solidifies show’s success.
More than 1,000 retail buyers and media attended the inaugural LAUNCH LA trade event on July 25-26 at the historic Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Comprised of the latest garments, accessories, footwear, and swimwear, LAUNCH is a carefully curated collection of brands, designers, artists, and visionaries at the vanguard of design and West Coast culture.
"LAUNCH was never meant to be just another trade show, and I think that with our first event we've proven our concept," says LAUNCH LA Head of Sales And Marketing Joshua Hunter. "Now it's clear that LAUNCH is different than anything else out there, and a needed alternative for an exciting segment of the market that was previously underserved."
Because the show offered a collective of like-minded brands, buyers and media were able to connect with exhibitors in an intimate, relaxed environment. "LAUNCH was a blast," says Julie Ellis of Rais Case. "I am blown away by how many like minded people I met. It was fantastic to get my brand in front of so many amazing new contacts. It was a pivotal experience in my growth in terms of what I am doing and where I want to go with Rais Case.”
WAAR Founder Mike Quinones echoes Ellis’ excitement. “LAUNCH was an epic show and we're really stoked to have been a part of it¯and even more stoked for the future!”
Exhibitors were smiling after the first day of the show, and many said LAUNCH was a pivotal platform for growing their business. "Having gotten to know the people behind these brands over the course of the year, I can't tell you how rewarding it is to hear about their success," says Hunter. "Their success and the success of LAUNCH are one in the same, and I'd thank everyone who supported us this year and shared our vision."
Among the crowd were buyers from Kitson, Fred Segal, Nasty Gal, Revolver, Need Supply Co., Blackbird, Aloha Sunday, Blvd, Wicked+, Icons Of Surf, Hobie Surf Shop, Swell, Active Rideshop, Tilly's, PacSun, Zumiez, The Standard, LASC, Revolve Clothing, Surf Diva, Sun Diego, Conveyor, BlackMarket, United Arrows (Japan), Oshman's (Japan), and Thalia Surfshop.
"Launch LA was a refreshing show," says Catherine Yearwood of Hallelu in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. "The vibe was relaxed and laid back. I appreciated the well edited selection of brands. I wrote orders with several new brands that I might have missed at bigger shows."
"Launch was very refreshing and relaxed," says Marco D'Emilia of Coast 2 Coast in White Plains, New York. "The vendors were pleased to be there and weren't pushy at all. I was able to find some lines that I will be bringing into the shop."
"The show was really, really good," says Rick Moe of Blackbird in Ballard, Washington. "Some good new brands I hadn't heard of before as well as a few familiar faces."
"Launch was valuable, easy and fun," says Robbie Roberts of Pure Board Shop in Annapolis, Maryland. "I have always prided my stores for being state of the art and the current state of the market finds us lost in a sea of commonality. Honestly I hadn't heard of most of the brands launching at Launch and that excites me. I wrote paper there and will write more when I get back. Can't wait to do it all again."
Slotted in the early portion of the Spring 2013 sell cycle, LAUNCH LA also drew a host of large and influential media to the show, including the Los Angeles Times, Stylesight, WWD, California Apparel News, TransWorld Media, Empire Ave, Foam, Malibu Magazine, and others.
"New trade show Launch LA, which opened its doors at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hangar, delivered on its promise to serve up a smartly curated mix of apparel, footwear and accessories that spoke to the Southern California lifestyle." ¯Los Angeles Times.
"Launch has the makings of an ongoing destination for emerging, inventive,and stylish West Coast brands and we wish them much success." ¯Cultivated.
"For its inaugural show, Launch LA was a total success. A smaller, more boutique vibe insured that buyers and brands were able to connect on a very personal level." ¯Stylesight.
"Launch LA was small, cool, intimate, and relaxed and we were pleasantly surprised." ¯Boardistan
"In its first edition, the Launch LA trade show made good on its promise to showcase young and new brands chosen with a curated eye." ¯California Apparel News.
According to Mike Lewis, Editor In Chief Of TransWorld Business, "The biggest highlight of Launch was seeing such a solid group of emerging brands in one setting and getting a preview of what's next in a variety of categories. It was also a great opportunity to connect with some of the best retailers in the business and hear their excitement about so many undiscovered brands."
The historic Barker Hanger also won rave reviews from media, exhibitors, and buyers. Having once held DC-10s in the 1930s, and Howard Hughes' personal fleet of aircraft in the 1970s, the Hangar set the perfect tone for LAUNCH's select group of exhibitors.
"Having LAUNCH at the Barker Hangar was a huge plus," says Hunter. "We think keeping the show select, intimate and here at the Barker Hangar will be a key part of what LAUNCH is all about in 2013. Of course, its finite space will make choosing the right brand assortment even more important next year—especially given the interest and positive reviews this year's event has generated."
Special thanks go out to Stylesight, Art & Council, and Blind Barber for their partnership and insight.
Also a special thanks to the LAUNCH advisory jury, which includes Michael Tomson, Jeff Yokoyama, Sophia Amoruso, and Josh Rosen, Morgan Collett, and Colin Turnstall from Saturdays.
Look for more news on LAUNCH LA on launchshow.com