Paris Tradeshow Diary
Twice a year, we head off to Paris to Salon International de la Lingerie, to show our buyers and stockists our new collection of pants. While it might sound rather glamorous, most brands hide the parts about carting large suitcases around (or they get their interns to do it instead) and spending the majority of the day waiting.
So here’s our semi-glamorous Paris Tradeshow diary!
10.30am - We made sure all our lingerie and show pieces were packed into our 5 (!) suitcases and grabbed a taxi to Kings Cross for our Eurostar at 12.25.
4pm - arrived in Paris, building up our muscles dragging our suitcases off the train (with no assistance!). Grabbed a cab straight to the exhibition hall to set up our stand. On the Friday the hall is still being set up, especially the larger brands' stands, so we had to navigate around paint tins and rolls of carpet left on the floor!
Our stand is nearer the back of the hall, in the "Limited Edition" section (which essentially means young designer) alongside similar independent brands (next to us were What Katie Did, Olivia Von Halle, Underprotection and Beautiful Bottoms, nearby were Kiss Me Deadly, Fräulein Kink, Bordelle and Lascivious).
We set up and locked our samples away ready to just open up the cupboard in the morning. Luckily our hotel was just 15 minutes walk, and we already knew of a nice place to eat quite close by, where we were joined by the ladies from Kiss Me Deadly and Betty Blue’s Loungerie. We ended up exhausted and in bed by 10pm!
9am - After a quick breakfast we headed down to the exhibition hall to set up our stand. Wonder of wonders, the lock on our cupboard door had broken off, possibly from the weight from the samples, so the next few evenings were spent hiding this fact and hoping nothing got stolen (there’s been many an occasion when fellow brands have had something disappear overnight).
We had a good first day, meeting both new boutiques and current customers interested in seeing our AW14 collection!
One of our new stockists is Lulu Boutique in Haarlem, Netherlands. They have only been open for a few months but we loved seeing photos of their shop. We should be delivering some of our goodies to them in the next week; do visit them if you are in the area!
We met the ladies from So Lenceria, an online shop based in France. We also met with one of our long-term buyers from Elegance in Greece.
This was a fairly quiet day for us, but we met a few new people.
We met Shukeena who is going to be launching Little Black Box in September; we are really interested in seeing her brand develop! We also met Enrapture from Hong Kong, Timbree et Culottee from France and a lady from Sizem - an interesting bra fitting app.
7pm - For dinner we ventured a bit further afield with Karolina Laskowska to a really beautiful art nouveau style restaurant. There was a bit of a wait as we had just turned up without a reservation, so we spent some time staring at the live crabs and lobsters in the tank. The food was good, but actually not as good as the place we went to on the first night!
Last day of the show!
We met a lovely lady from Fashion Snoops who took some photos and asked us some questions for an article she will write - we will post it once it’s up.
Another interesting new contact was a Tunisian manufacturer; as you may know, we already manufacture in China and will be making some limited edition pieces in the UK this year. China used to be the cheapest place to have something manufactured (although we independently audit our factories to ensure they remain ethical), however prices and minimum quantities are rising, so we are interested in seeing if different countries can match or beat the price. We need to make sure our pants are still affordable while remaining great quality!
We also spoke with the buyer of Lemon Curve to see what sold best for them last season, and to show them our AW14 collection. If you are based in France you can find our lingerie on Lemon Curve here!
5pm - Our Eurostar was at 7pm, so we packed up and rushed out of the show just before 5pm. Emma told me some horror stories about how they once had to queue for a taxi for an hour and narrowly avoided missing the train! Luckily we seemed to get a taxi within 20 minutes and zoomed off to the Gare du Nord while the driver started talking about all the landmarks we passed (although I only understood a tiny amount as he was speaking in french!).
There was a bit of chaos getting our luggage through the security checks. They had a upwards sloping baggage belt, which appeared to have no grip and caused our heavy suitcases to slide back down towards us. Of course nobody else made a move to help us, so we had to guide the suitcases into the scanner ourselves.
Ironically, the only people that helped us onto the train with our bags were British. To finish off the show we both had separate arguments with people, one about the toilet and one about seats!
It was an exhausting mode of travel, that’s for sure!