FashionGo is bucking the norm.
The Los Angeles-based business-to-business online marketplace has teamed with trade show veteran Tom Nastos to create its first physical show.
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The inaugural women’s-centered event will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif., from May 3 to 5.
FashionGo was founded in 2002 and today hosts some 1,800 brands and more than 2 million stock keeping units on its site in a number of categories including women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, accessories, footwear and beauty. There are around 1 million registered buyers who work with the company to discover and connect with the brands through the site, said Paul Lee, chief executive officer of NHN Global, a subsidiary of technology company NHN Corp. in South Korea, and parent company of FashionGo.
Lee said although FashionGo has been in business for 20 years, the site has seen a significant uptick in traffic and volume since the pandemic began and physical trade shows were forced to be postponed.
But even as that situation lessens and some operators are once again holding in-person shows, Lee believed it was the right time to jump into the fray.
And his partner has the right résumé.
Nastos has had a long career in trade shows and held the position of president and CEO of both UBM Fashion, which owns MAGIC, Project, Coterie and ENK International. Most recently, he created BluEnsign, a strategic advisory firm for consumer brands and event planning, with Scott Chowan of FG Events.
“We have assembled an experienced and empowered team of innovative creators and connectors who are passionate in their support of the wholesale fashion and lifestyle communities,” Nastos said. “Together, we are focused on building a premier portfolio of specialty events, offering new opportunities and solutions that are just right for all of our customers.”
He said that when researching the different online platforms, such as NuOrder and Joor that have worked with a variety of trade show operators to bring their events to a digital audience, he believed they were different from FashionGo,.
“FashionGo is a marketplace,” Nastos said, “while the others are order-writing platforms. They literally offer digital order sheets initiated by the brands. But with over 2 million products, FashionGo offers the ability to both shop and buy. It’s like a consumer shopping experience. Once you’re verified, you can search for product by category and you have the ability to check out securely.”
So why then would FashionGo want to enter the physical space?
“We look at FashionGo Palm Springs as an expansion of our services,” Lee said. “Even with the pandemic, we realize that touching and feeling is the best way to make informed purchase decisions.”
At the show, FashionGo will provide a true omnichannel experience, he explained. Attendees can use the platform’s app on site to search for the categories and brands they want to visit, avoiding the “tedious” task of walking from booth to booth, Lee said. They can make purchases on the app or directly with the vendors at the show or move products to their digital carts to return to later when their seasonal plans are complete and they’re ready to buy.
Other tools that will be offered include StyleMatch+, which immediately identifies similar styles and price points, as well as other data-focused solutions such as real-time updates on bestsellers, trends and new products that have been added.
“At FashionGo, we are focused on creating market access for our customers to discover, connect and transact with confidence,” Lee said. “We continue to strive to deliver exceptional value, service and solutions that not only help advance businesses but move this industry forward.”
Nastos said the May dates were chosen to align with “a regional calendar.” The first FashionGo Palm Springs show is expected to offer 300 brands in women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear.
Looking ahead, the plan is to hold a second show in Palm Springs from July 26 to 28 as well as one at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City from Nov. 5 to 7 before increasing the frequency to four in Palm Springs and two in New York in 2023. The second Palm Springs show is expected to host 450 women’s vendors, Nastos said.