An Interview with Leslie Gallin of UBM Advanstar, FN Platform

An Interview with Leslie Gallin of UBM Advanstar, FN Platform

Executive Retail Insights
An Interview with Leslie Gallin of UBM Advanstar, FN Platform

This month FDRA interviewed Leslie Gallin, Footwear President of UBM Advanstar, about the success of FN Platform and how to stand out as an exhibitor at the show.

FDRA: You work with a lot of companies and brands and put on a great show for the industry.  What is the one thing people misunderstand about the work you do? What is the best part about hosting a successful shoe show?

Gallin: The show is merchandised as how a retailer views the buying process. Like type products and pricepoints together. [The best part is] knowing that we are providing the best possible environment for bringing buyers and sellers together.

FDRA: FN PLATFORM is one of the key shows where new styles and trends breakout.  We can see it as we walk around the convention centers.  What do you see as the top styles and trends right now that came out of August’s show?  Any insights into what we may see in February?

Gallin: Thank you! We pride ourselves in doing the scouting and brining products to the show floor who is ready to do business. Top styles and trends- booties- chukker for men and for women any type.  We also are seeing fashion athletic and platforms trending.

FDRA: We are all in the business to sell shoes.  From your position how is the industry doing at the retail level?

Gallin: I was fortunate recently to sit in on a presentation from a Mastercard VP.  Footwear is up.  The world is dressing casual.  In order to dress up today, this means great shoes and accessories with jeans.  It will be the independent retailer, those doing $50M and under who will benefit from the current conditions.  The trend for shopping is do your homework online… And then hit the specialty retailer who will provide service and selection.  Consumer is looking for quality over price right now. Mid range price points are what they are looking for.   Department store buyers are not on the selling floor enough interacting with the customer. Which seems to have a direct result in poor earnings.  Being close to your customer is key right now.

FDRA: We want to ask you about some tricks of the trade show.  How can a new brand use FN PLATFORM/ MAGIC to become a hit?

Gallin: Provide us great product photography.  Have a story to tell about the brand.  Make sure you are committed to being present at the shows.  It is the best opportunity for face time with the retailers and your competitors. Be in your booth and smile-not looking down at your iPhone or computer. Make eye contact and say hello as buyers pass your booth.  Create inviting presentations. Buyers are consumers on the show floor. They are attracted to good looking booths and positive energy. Do your homework. Write personal letters to the retailers you are looking to attract. Send them old school visuals and info on your brand.  Handwritten. Let them know you put some time and effort and care into the communication. Slick is not always effective nor is email.  Go online and view your competitors websites, see who they are selling. Do not come to market and think buyers are just going to flock to your booth.  We offer many free marketing opportunities if you read the mail we send. We also offer free our shop the floor.  This product enables brands who are new and may not have great websites a plug and play opportunity and direct access to all of magic’s attending retailers.

FDRA: Are there any best practices long time exhibitors use to keep traffic flowing by their booth?

Gallin: They do all of the above! They also develop relationships. They recognize people want to do business with who they like and trust. They also spend time on the retail selling floors, trunk shows, personal appearances, and training the sales people in the stores. Since they are the ones ultimately selling the products, you want them to like you.  If they do they will push your brand.

FDRA: We ask everyone this – so don’t hold back. What are your favorite pair of shoes you wear to walk the floor at FN PLATFORM?

Gallin: Lately I have discovered how much I love Sam Edelman’s shoes.