A few times a year, the merchandise buyers at Allegro get to go to dance retail trade shows to visit with current and potential manufacturers, buy new products for the upcoming seasons, and visit with other retailers. Here’s a little peek at what we do behind the scenes at trade shows.
Above: Deciding which pointe shoes we’d like to add for the 2013-2014 school year. There are a zillion different styles out there and they are expensive to stock, so we’re sure to choose wisely.
Above: After going through racks of apparel and often trying the leotards on ourselves, the last step is to sit down to place our orders. We’re a boutique and not a supply store, so we edit our selections carefuly to bring you only the best of what is at the shows.
Above: Bonding with our manufacturers. Allegro’s owner, Victoria, learns how to make a pointe shoe with Mark Suffolk from Suffolk Pointe Company in front of a group of other retailers. It’s a sticky and tedious job. If we didn’t already appreciate the talents of pointe shoe makers, we sure do now! Check out a more in depth description about how pointe shoes are made from our time with Suffolk at the 2012 dance retail trade show.
Above: Spent time playing with foot molds made by Suffolk Dance to demonstrate the compression of a foot in a pointe shoe. We’ve finally found a manufacturer that is as nerdy about foot info as we are.
Above: At the Sansha booth. We visit a zillion booths and sort through racks and racks of apparel. There’s a lot of, “How about this? How about that?” going on here. Megan’s not sure about this one.
Above: Some vendors, like KD Dance, allow us to choose which items we want (left) and then go through color swatches to pick which colors we want them in (right). It’s a lot more work, but it’s so worth it to get unique items that match the leotards we’ll be ordering at one of the other booths.
Above: One of the hard parts about buying is saying “No.” We often meet great people and great manufacturers that have products that we LOVE but know aren’t quite right for our stores at the moment. Sometimes we never end up working with them, and other times, we tuck them in our back pocket for later.
Above: Did we mention that even though these shows are a lot of fun, they are also looooong days spent making decision after decision. We break up the work with some joking around as much as we can.
Below: a few more photos, just for fun: