After 8 months in private beta, and countless Zoom calls, Emilie and myself finally burst the Hong Kong bubble and met our some of our community in person at Texworld, and Premiere Vision in Paris this month 🥳 🇫🇷
Although this isn’t our first rodeo 🤠, it was our first foray into the world of fashion trade shows.
Some things we expected, some things we didn’t, but at least it gave us enough content for this blog 👌
Read the honest highs, and lows of Dot’s first day out 👇
Ok, I’m gonna rip the band-aid off here. We were both pretty surprised at the vibe and atmosphere of the first show. There seemed to be a distinct lack of energy, and hustle for most of those manning the booths, besides our community member Rob of course 😉
Chalk this up to first day nerves, first show back or a combination of the two, but this surprised us a fair amount.
That being said, when it got to 5pm, the Turkish corner broke out the tea, cakes, and started filling the hall with song.
Did I mention before we’re a bootstrapped start-up? 👀
Well, having no money meant we had to be innovative in our approach for the show, spending the little money we had on bright purple t-shirts, and more stickers than you could count.
The bright purple t-shirts definitely had the desired effect, as we stood out (not sure for the right or wrong reasons), and a few people sparked up a conversation with us. Result 🦾
Another trick we used was to hover around the job board, notice any designers looking in the design section, and then start chatting to them and pitching our moodboard creator.
And then the stickers, well, more on that below.
Now, about those stickers (I’m not sure anybody cares by this point).
Along with walking, pitching and finding people to talk to, most of my time was spent sticking QR codes (linked to our website) in as many places as possible, without getting caught.
Easier said than done when there’s security on every corner (another shock to me). I mean, can you imagine being kicked out of your first fashion trade show for sticking a QR code to the wall…..
Luckily we didn’t.
Some personal fav spots we managed to plant our flag included; tables at the eating area, benches and the same jobs board we were hustling at.
We even saw someone scan our QR code as we walked past.
Guess that’s what it feels like to watch someone Google you.
Now, my French isn't very good but I'm pretty sure he said, 'this moodboard creator is going to improve my productivity and workflow' 😉
I knew the fashion industry was secret, but boy I didn’t know how secret. Surface pattern designers section aside (you know we love you guys), all fabric booths were closed off, opaque and some even had a receptionist…
Talk about showing off your work and inviting potential business.....
A personal favourite interaction of mine was:
Me: You ok?
Me: Is this your work?
Me: Cool, its great. Are you having a good week?
Person: Why you ask?
A huge learning for us, and one the reasons we started Make the Dot in the first place is time. Designers just don't have it ⏳
From collecting inspiration on a moodboard creator, using that research to come up with something original, drawing a piece of work and creating a physical sample as timely as possible to keep up with current trends.
With the fashion creation roadshow constantly moving from city to city, we met a pattern design team who forgo the whole moodboard creation process completely.
Once a runway show has ended, they'd scroll through Vogue, find the print and pattern pieces and try to design something similar, as quickly as possible. There was once a client who visited the trade show only 30mins after a Dior had debuted heir collection, asking if the designer's had a similar print in fabric in stock......
Now this is an easy one and no surprise really, but being back into the swing of things in person beats Zoom, any day.
Authentic interactions, jokes, and natural occurrences were a welcome change from looking into a computer screen, and trying to have a two way conversation.
Finally, to some of the old friends, who we got a chance to meet in person for the first time:
Rob - One of our earliest members, and always the first for testing and feedback. Check him out for the best jeans this side on the Pearl River
Blynda - I'd say maybe our first community member. She's has been around before we had a website, yet alone a moodboard creator. Blynda is finishing her Masters at IFA, and will be launching a menswear brand shortly after.
And all the new ones we met during the week:
Those of you we didn't get to meet, fingers crossed we'll be seeing you at the next show ✌️
Look out for the stickers 👀