MartSMART: An Insider's Guide to AmericasMart
Meeting The Mart....
Meeting The Mart....Growing up in a rural south Georgia town, I looked at Atlanta as "the big city," but was always curious where Atlanta's fashion scene stood in comparison to New York or Los Angeles. I'll never forget my first time passing AmericasMart in downtown Atlanta aka "The Mart" it was somewhere I had always seen as such an exclusive and special place, I was 16 when I told my mom, "I am going to work there one day." Fast forward 2 years (in 2013) I was blessed with my first opportunity to work within (actually go inside) of the Mart- I was a hostess when I got the call from a model friend of mine, "Kaci, I have an opportunity for us to work the Mart this weekend." I jumped up and down, ran to the restaurant manager, "I must get my shifts covered this weekend!" I then called my mom, we both squealed with excitement.
The weekend came, and I'll never forget walking into AmericasMart Building 3, riding up the escalator feeling like it was my first trip to Disney World. I checked in and received my badge as 'Exhibitor' working for the LA junior contemporary brand, MITTO Shop. The ambiance was unreal from the sparkling atrium to the endless levels of fabrics, jewels, shoes, denim, dresses, and every other detail that makes up a fashionista's dream. My position with Mitto ranged from exhibitor model to brand sales associate. I was fortunate enough to work two years with the brand at both Atlanta and Dallas Markets. It was my position with MITTO that allowed me to then intern with AmericasMart Fashion office (August 2015) as a production assistant for their Apparel and World of Prom fashion shows where I got to meet lead designers and brand owners of all the top junior contemporaries and prom brands. I had the pleasure of working with the awesome Fashion office staff as well as 5 other fashionista interns and like my other Mart positions before, this internship led to yet another amazing opportunity to work Chicago's VOW Bridal Show.
Now that we're Acquainted..
With my newfound market experiences, I thought what better way to share them then an insider's take on the market from not only my own exhibitor, model, and intern experiences, but buyers and national model experiences as well. You might ask, "If you've worked shows in cities like Chicago, why write about Atlanta?" Although my answer might be somewhat biased as a Georgia native, I see the Atlanta Apparel market as the Southeast's very own hidden fashionista gem where brands from LA-NYC come showcase the latest and greatest 'on-trend' pieces, colors, and fashion concepts. From my experiences not only am I exposed to the brands and trends, I've also been able to network with people ranging all 'walks of life' in the fashion and business world that I believe got me to where I am today and this is really only the beginning.
The Buyer's Insight- Tips and tricks to make your mart experience a walk in the fashionista's park:
Meet Kristina Frazier, Owner and Operator of District South online Boutique.
As a buyer, what do you think sets Atlanta's apparel show apart from other markets?
The website & app are both easy to use and navigate. I pre-plan which vendors I'm going to see ahead of time and I love that I can either use the website or the app to do so! To me, the little things like the complimentary nitro cold brew coffee stands and the fashion show features stand out.
Any tips for other buyers attending market?
To save time, stay on track and make the most of the time you have at the mart, I always advice to plan ahead and know the vendors you want to see first and for most. Always allow yourself extra time to search for new vendors while at the mart; you never know when you may find a hidden gem.
Favorite thing about the Atlanta apparel shows?
I love the layout and that it's easy to get around the mart. I can typically get in and out all in one day!
Fashion Trends for Fall 2017:
Red everything! Vintage Furs, 70's Plaids, Victorian Collars, Midi Skirts and Velvet to name a few!
Meet Jasmine Rasco, Owner and Creative Director of JRAZZ Collection, LLC.
What sets the Atlanta show apart from others?
I think what sets the Atlanta Show apart from other shows is the upcoming designers travel to this show first to get their brand out to other small business. It's a great way to find new brands and lock them in before they go to the other markets. Atlanta is one of the biggest markets for shows, and if you have a small local business, it's convenient to shop their verses traveling out of state.
Your favorite feature to the Atlanta show?
My favorite feature to the Atalanta Show is that it’s open year-round. It allows buyers access to those lines that have permanent status, whenever they need more merchandise. This is one of the biggest permanent wholesale trade centers in the world.
Advice for 1st-time buyers?
My advice for first-time buyers is to stick with your budget and plan. You can become overwhelmed shopping at the mart. Thousands of designers surround you, and you can easily be distracted. Have a game plan on which designers you want to carry. Also, schedule appointments with the designers so you can have more of an exclusive shopping experience and get to know more about the designer.
Why is buying in person at market better than online?
Buying in person, you're able to feel and see the true color, texture, and quality of the material. Online it may appear slightly different than in person. Also, you're able to build a relationship with the designer. So once you established your business with them for future buying, they know what to recommend to you because you've established buying history with them.
A Model's perspective of Americas Mart Atlanta:
Meet Emmakate Few, with 10+ years in the modeling world, walking runways in New York, Chicago, and Dallas- even she can agree to the sentiments of the Atlanta show...
My favorite show every market is the emerging designers daily strut show because it is so fun getting to wear these new designers styles on the runway for the first time and there is always so much detail in the design of every outfit in that show. My shopper tip for anyone who gets a pass to the apparel part for a day is to go to sassy south jewelry on the seventh floor and load up on your everyday basic earring needs like pearl and rhinestone studs, gold/silver hoops, etc because they are crazy affordable...
Feeling Mart Smart?
Are you ready to experience the AmericasMart Atlanta Apparel show? There are less than 22 days until the next market starts. You can access https://www.americasmart.com/markets/august-apparel/ for additional show details, brand information, and event dates. You can also Check out my "Gameday Glam" write-up on the June 2017 show I attended last month for a sneak peak into what will be trending this fall. Do you have a market experience you'd like to share? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to be featured.