Trade Shows are dead Part 2. – Current state and the future
I hope you listen to the solo podcast I will be releasing (or released depending on when I post this) about the show I attended in early August. It was a very interesting experience because I thought the show would be awesome when I booked the trip in early May. After all, we’d be in the middle of hot girl summer, vaccinations rolled out, and normalcy should be coming back to us. Enter Delta that wiped that all out… There were only a few bands I needed to see in Vegas and one in a suite.
Enough of the background that you’ve heard before, but why are the shows really not attracting men’s underwear brands.
Even before the pandemic, brands were moving to more video and internet presentations. You can reach way more people and customers than just those who go to a trade show. Not all buyers have the money or time to trek to Vegas for the shows.
The pandemic fucked everything up. Everyone was affected by this, and just when you think rounded the corner, something else pops up its ugly head, like Delta. Some of the brands and the buyers are not comfortable traveling. International brands may not be allowed in the US or have even received a vaccination. Why take unnecessary chances.
Cost for Brands
If you are a buyer, you just have the cost of airfare, hotel, and food. There is no cost if you are approved to attend the show. If you are a brand, there is the cost of the booth. The last time I checked, it was 7000-10000 for a 10×10 booth. That doesn’t’ include the new gear to show off and booth design. To break even, you would need to sell that and hopefully more and gain some new customers. This show in Aug 2021, I doubt you would get many new customers to cause unless you needed to go; I don’t see many people coming just cause they have nothing to do.
Treatment of brands by the show
I forget the year; I think it was 2016 when the underwear brands were put in the back corner in an area that wasn’t even on the show map. This was insane, and many of the brands said their customers just got fed up trying to find them and gave up and never met to buy new collections. Also, they have limited models and what they can wear. This led many brands to go to suites to show off their new lines without limitations. This brought a new problem, and it goes against the rules of the show and the hotel. You can get kicked out, and you are out of luck.
Finding a new community
The one thing I loved about going to the shows in the heyday was the community. The entire world of men’s underwear is a super happy place. It was great to get face time with brands and really develop relationships that aren’t just online or behind email. This is one reason I created the podcast and relaunched it. I want you guys to see the industry and hear from the brands. I have never regretted creating UNB or the UNB store. It makes me happy to do these things! Granted, opening a store, there is a lot more to learn than just doing a blog. However, it’s skills that I’m willing to learn to do what I love.
I’m curious, how do you guys see that we can expand the community for underwear online? We all know Facebook and IG aren’t the places to build a community cause so many people and brands get kicked off the platforms every day. This is a question I have been pondering for years with no clear solution. We need something for guys to connect across all walks of like, every sexual orientation, everybody type that’s not rooted in “let’s fuck now.” (hey, we are all adults if ya want to fuck go for it, but I have found so many underwear guys are just genuine guys). I credit UNB for some of the amazing friendships I have now. Leave a comment, email, or DM me on any social media.