...on two accounts. The first: I got to spend three full days (and I do mean FULL) at the World Shoe Association trade show. Before we left, John informed me that the show was in three different convention halls and there were over 4,000 vendors being showcased. Thankfully, John had done quite a bit of research before we left and had already made appointments with eight or nine vendors. Honestly, I could kiss him for being so prepared. We were able to get SO MUCH done since we already had those appointments booked and it was a lot less overwhelming than I think it could have been had we just chosen to walk around and see what was out there. We did that too, but we would have been sunk if that's all we had planned on doing. We did find some other cool vendors by walking around and through word of mouth, so we'll probably be adding some of them to our original line-up. I know you're all curious to know exactly what kinds of shoes we're going to be carrying at habitat. We'll, it looks like you're a lukcy girl (or lucky boy) too, because I'm going to give you a sneak preview of some of the lines we've already ordered from:
1. faryl robin -- very unique shoes. In their words, "we design footwear so that you can look great at work and then make your way to a party and turn heads there." Faryl started the company (about 5 years ago I think) and is also the designer (not to mention a wife and a mother). She actually helped us pick out our shoes for next spring/summer. I truly appreciated her honest and forthright opinion. I never once felt like she was trying to "sell" us on her brand, but was really interested in helping us choose the right does for us at this time (being a start-up and not knowing our clientele yet). She's a woman who understands the importance of good working relationships and realizes it's in her best interest for us to be successful. Pesky one of my favorite boots we picked out of the whole show (in smooth, chocolate brown though)...I love the Victorian feel of these.
2. fornarina -- sexy in an "embrace your inner rockstar" kind of way. We spent the most time in this suite (some vendors had booths in a large convention hall, others had their lines displayed in suites in the Venentian hotel)...I just couldn't get enough of their shoes. I had a very difficult time narrowing it down to 16(!) different styles for spring/summer. There were just too many great ones to choose from. Their website is currently being overhauled, so I can't show you any examples of what we purchased for fall, but trust me, you'll want a pair. Even their current website page that's counting down to the new launch is cool.
3. j shoes -- a perfect mix of styles you would recognize, but with an artistic flair. Prior to the show, this was the vendor I was most excited to see in person because I've been salivating over their styles online for so long. It's VERY difficult to choose my favorite out of all the ones we bought (every design is amazing), but I'm going to go with the portobello for men and the suay for women (or the quartz...or the marion...I told you they were amazing).
4. medium -- shoes for the culturally creative. John and I both own a pair of the alchemist and guys will be able to get their own lux pair (in kelp) come October. Ladies, you'll have to wait a little longer. Medium has decided to manufacture women's styles (not just men's shoes in smaller sizes), so those will be available in February.
5. camper -- a name you probably already recognize. I can't find any of the shoes we ordered on their website...when I do, I'll post 'em.
6. gola -- soccer inspired sport shoes in both "easy-on-the-eyes" and "not-so-easy-on-the-eyes" color combos (we stuck mostly with the former to start off with). For men: the chase and the coyote; for women: the harrier and the couture.
Well, that should keep you busy for awhile. I'll post some of the other lines we're considering in the next few days. Feel free to leave feedback (but only if it's positive). No seriously, all comments are welcome.
And why I'm a lucky girl on the second account...because all I've been doing for the past three days is flipping through Lucky and other fashion magazines. One thing I realized at the trade show was that I'm really not *that* into fashion. I mean, I like to buy clothes and shoes as much as the next girl, but 1) I don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes, 2) I NEVER look at fashion magazines, and 3) in light of #1 & #2, I don't know anything about designers or what's *HOT*. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I flipped through a fashion mag, but, it looks like we'll be getting a subscription to at least one soon. Why? Well, I figure if we're going to actually sell cool shoes, we need to know about them: how to wear them, what to wear them with and who's wearing them. All stuff that I never really thought about before this weekend, but I picked up pretty quickly after talking to just a few shoe vendors. They were throwing around terms like peep toe, boho, kitten heel and names like Marc Jacobs and Lindsey Lohan. So, aren't I a lucky girl because I get to read fashion mags as part of my job? It's a tough life, but someone's got to do it.