Above: Parfait at CURVENV.
“This is our third year at CURVE and we like it. It’s new, it’s different. There a few new faces and seems to be a lot of fun – we’re really enjoying it.” Hollis Hall, Love Letters Intimates.
This season, my CURVEXPO experience started on the number 7 train in New York, rolled through the desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and ended at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
It was an intense month of travel and trade shows giving me an expanded view of exhibitors at both Mode Lingerie and Swim CURVENY NEW YORK and CURVENV Hosted by PROJECT WOMENS.
Snapshot of the CURVEXPO Experience: Vegas at top and CURVENY below. Photo by Jan Klier.
Together, both NYC and Las Vegas were great to experience.
The show organizers included all the things that make trade shows special: the chance to see products in person, meet with brands and retailers, connect, learn and experience something new.
Above: Rafaella Intimates. Photo by Jan Klier.
In New York, this translated to an after hours networking event; Trend Presentations by Promostyl and the new Fashion Flash Mob event which showcased new styles on 55 models walking throughout CURVE.
Above: Talluah Love.
The Fashion Flash Mob carried over into the Las Vegas edition and buyers also networked on day one and two of the show in the lounge area in the middle of the venue with food and margaritas.
Above: Curvy Couture’s Everyday Glamour Lace Unlined Bra.
Above: Anita’s new sports bras.
On the show floors, in both cities, SS17 looked lacy, loungey, seductive, supported and very athletic.
Activwear and Athleisure options were everywhere as brands like Curvy Couture and Anita unveiled new sport bra options while LIVE! showcased a lifestyle collection at home in Pilates and yoga studios or out on the town.
Exhibitor & Buyer Reactions
Above: Squeem at CURVENY.
Buyer traffic in New York was strong while Las Vegas seemed slower. Buyers and brands seemed divided on the experience by varying degrees. Despite feelings on buyer attendance, the brands we talked to reported a good results for their business.
Above: Elila Lingerie. Photo by Jan Klier.
“The management of Curve works very hard to get the best buyers/stores to attend, and we are appreciative of this,” said Krista Tonra, US Sales Director for Lou Lingerie. “New York tends to have more traffic, but we had a good response in [Las Vegas] as well. And since we launched Swimwear for SS17, we were able to participate with a Spa/Resort program offered for Las Vegas with the opportunity to focus on the swim category.”
Above: Vanilla Night & Day.
“Regarding Curve Vegas, Naja was very excited to have participated in the show for the first time,” said Patricia Japson, the brand’s director of sales. “While we hoped there would be more traffic, we did make some good connections with retailers who attended and look forward to getting Naja product into their stores this Fall.”
Above: Catrina Maccalla and Hollis Hall of Love Letters Intimates. give their opinion on CURVE.
Kathy Zutz of the Bra Garden said, “Well you know what, the first couple years was great, but we’re going back to New York in February.”
Kathy cited CURVENY’s amenities and overall experience a stronger pull for her and her team.
On Buyer Attendance
One of my concerns is that there are fewer lingerie buyers out there. Those that remain are making strategic decisions about what events to attend and when based on budget and time.
Above: Addiction Nouvelle.
Recently, Lingerie Insight reported a drop in MODA attendance with exhibitors complaining about the lack of buyer commitment to that show.
It’s important to note that the CURVE team, as Krista Tonra noted, works diligently at finding new ways at attracting buyers to their show and makes it a point to add new features and listen to exhibitors and buyers.
Above: Teddies for Bettys at CURVENY.
The Future Looks Bright
The lingerie retail landscape is rough, but there are positive signs for this side of the economy we’re involved in.
This summer, Azaleas opened a second store; Teddies for Bettys moved into a larger location and Musée opened in New York City. And later this season, Sugar Cookies moves into larger digs.
Above: Dominique Intimate Apparel’s booth at CURVENY. Photo by Jan Klier.
It’s also worth noting that more e-Boutiques are sprouting online each month. However, many e-retailers we talked to at the shows said they were disappointed with brands refusing to do business with them.
We understand the hesitation of working with a new retail partner. However, e-boutiques are going to outnumber brick-and-mortars. Brands — large and small — have to adjust and evolve their business practices to include new and established e-retailers.
(E-boutiques are seen as less legitimate vendors than brick and mortar, even though online shopping continues to rise.)
— Bluestockings (@BluestockingsBo) September 1, 2016
Above: Blue Stockings Boutique’s excellent thread on the issue of e-boutiques not seen as equal business partners.
It wasn’t too long ago that major brands were highly dismissive of lingerie bloggers. Now, many of those same companies hire and work with these digital influencers to move product and improve their social media presence.
The same shift has to happen (quickly) with online retailers.
Look at successes like Bella Bella Boutique and incredible newcomers like Anya Lust and Blue Stockings Boutique to see the future of online retail.
(Hint: it’s versatile, inclusive and diverse!)
Above: FOXERS at CURVENY. Photo by Jan Klier.
I wish I had the answer. But I hope that more brands and retailers invest in their digital marketing and advertising and leverage social media and video to drive more sales.
We know it works. The Lingerie Journal helps influence behavior on social media and it’s been a great help to our advertising partners and the brands we cover.
For example, at CURVENY I sent out an image of a Mad Mac panty. In the post, we highlighted the brand’s features including the Microbrushed Lace and Signature “Animal Print” liner. The result:
Had a chance to see the lovely @madmaclingerie at @curvexpo. The collection features "Microbrushed" #Lace w/Signature "Animal Print" liners. See them at booth 535! photo by @allklier
Within minutes, the post received several likes and a consumer placed an order. At-home lingerie concierge service Rosie’s Lingerie later commented that they would start carrying Mad Mac lingerie. It was great to see this play out on the show floor.
So we hope to see more social activity at the CURVE Shows next year. In the next few months, we’ll keep our readers updated on all of the new CURVE developments. We also suggest that buyers and brands reach out directly to the show organizers. They genuinely want to hear from their visitors and are actively looking at ways to improve the show CURVEXPO experience for everyone.
CURVE 2017 Show Dates
Mode Lingerie and Swim CURVENV Las Vegas
Hosted by Project Women’s
February 21 – 23, 2017
Mode Lingerie and Swim CURVENY
Jacob Javits Center
February 26 – 28, 2017
A Deeper CURVEXPO Experience
The Lingerie Journal’s latest Buyer’s Guide highlights 14 great CURVENY exhibitors. Click HERE to read the latest issue.