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Agenda President on HB expansion, more

By Tiffany Montgomery
July 15, 2011 7:24 AM

We're checking in with some trade show operators to catch up on what's new in the ever changing trade show landscape as the season gets underway.


Today, we talk with Agenda President Aaron Levant about Agenda's expansion in Huntington Beach due to demand, what is planned for Agenda NYC, and much more.


What is new for the shows? Anything you are really excited about? 

I can’t point at any one thing that stands out that we are doing differently then we have done in the past. I think we are just getting better at what we do, and growing the scale we are doing it at. Our main focus is very simple - get more buyers and press into the show and keep all the bull**** out.


I'm always excited for the show and I think this summer in Huntington Beach with the Nike US Open of Surfing will bring a good energy to the show for the third year in a row now and this summer will be the fourth installment of our partnership with The Berrics (The Berrics Agenda). NYC this summer is also our third show in a row and I think we are just hitting our stride there.


We try and stay away from the gimmicks that other shows use to gain attention. You will not see a ramp or a demo on the Agenda show floor any time soon.


Are the numbers of exhibitors up and is the total space of the show up? 

Pavillion at AgendaThe new Pavilion area at Agenda Huntington Beach

Yes, all the numbers are up. For NYC we opened up some more space and plan to move into a venue that is twice the size by January 2012.


For the HB show we have so much demand for space, we worked with the city to close down a street next to the venue to create an extra 30,000 square foot of space. This new "Pavilion" area will be the largest space in the whole show.


Any new brands coming that you are excited about? 

I think you will see many of the same faces we are known for at the HB show but we have also added a good amount of new surf brands: AMBSN, Roxy, Reef, Lost, FreeWaters, OluKai, Lightning Bolt, and Quiksilver and QSW are back in the mix at the show.


The NYC show the focus is more geared towards Street, Skate, Sneakers and not as much Surf or Moto. Pro Skater Chris Cole will be debuting his new apparel brand OMIT at the show in NYC and you can see the Agenda staple brands like OBEY, The Hundreds, Stussy, Crooks&Castles, Supra, Nike, Brixton, DVS, Skullcandy, LRG, Analog, DC Shoes, plus a few new faces like Kid Robot, Looser Machine, Artful Dodger and House of Marley.


Now that the recession is behind us, are you seeing brands increasing their trade show budgets? 

We were not hit by the recession like other companies were. During that time we saw a 300% increase in our business. So I can’t say I see brands spending a lot more then they were in the last two years.


How are you ensuring retailer attendance at your show?

The biggest things we are doing to get retailers to the show are:


1. Putting the shows in a time frame that is actually relevant to showing and buying product. Shows that are later then ours are questionable if they are useful to the buyers or brands because the product-booking window is over for the majority of the brands.


2. We have all the brands buyers want and need to see in one place and we put the show in an exciting environment that people will actually go out of their way and travel to.


3. We do spend some money each season to assist retailers in getting to the show. We don’t need to give money to a third party for an endorsement to get retailers to our shows.





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