WSA Preview

WSA kicks off next week at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas with a roster of more than 1,100 brands, said the show’s director, Pamela Baffo. And to celebrate its 62nd anniversary, the ENK International-owned show will donate $62 per exhibitor to Two Ten Footwear Foundation.

In addition to the show floors, there’s The Box, showcasing contemporary brands, and Ten, a new venue devoted to higher-end fashion and comfort collections. Both are located at the entrance to the Sands on level two. Additional exhibitors will be located at the Venetian hotel on level two and in the Veronese and Titian meeting rooms.

Conference Call
The National Shoe Retailers Association will hold its annual conference on Aug. 8 at The Venetian.

New Balance EVP Chris Quinn will give the keynote address. Additional speakers include Noah Barsky, professor at the Villanova University School of Business, and Gary Shunk, a psychotherapist from Loyola Family Business Center.

Matt Hudson, owner of Big Feet Store in Fort Worth, Texas, will lead panels on “Retail Wellness,” focusing on what it means and how to achieve it, and “Engaging Your Staff for New Merchandise.” Maurice Breton, president of Comfort Management Corp., will share tips on how to “Maximize the Shoe Show Experience.”

“Effective Vendor Partnerships — Setting a New Path” is a panel discussion with industry veteran David Kahan and Jim Sajdak, president of Stan’s Fit for Your Feet. Ray Margiano, CEO of Foot Solutions, will moderate. Jeff Antonioli, group sales director for Spenco Medical Corp., will lead a panel covering ways retailers can analyze their inventory turnovers. Robert Schwartz, president and CEO of Eneslow Pedorthic Enterprises, will lead a session on “The Rocker Sole Revolution.”

International business consultant and stand-up comedian Garrison Wynn will close the sessions with tips on communicating effectively in almost any situation.

Shopping Lists
“We’re looking for more texture and material interest, such as python and croc prints. Neutrals and nudes will be important again. Our customers always respond to color, so we’ll be chasing brights — yellow, cobalt-blue and magenta. Profile-wise, I’ll be investing in more wedges and dressy low heels.” — Shara Movahedi McIntyre, co-owner, Hedi’s and Footsie, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.

“We’re scouting for closed-toe flat sandals with unusual details in muted colors, and [heels] that go from fashion to comfort. Open-toe sandals with unique details [are important], but with fewer rhinestones and studs. Slip-ons with cutouts for breathability make great transitional looks. Woven leathers or vegan materials are also high on my watch list.” — Dana Bayerle, manager, AmeriBag Adventures, Kingston, N.Y.

“Because we’re in a beach community, we’re looking for sandals. People [want] color, comfort and function. SAS and Naot have been wonderful, especially Naot’s stones and shiny ornaments. These [decorative] looks were good last spring, and we’re going forward with them.” — Keric Rowlee, GM and buyer, The Shoe Tree, Pismo Beach, Calif.

“We’ll be looking at open-toe styles, not only sandals. Multicolors sold for spring ’10, so we’ll go forward with them [again]. And there’s been a demand for blue and metallics. Textures will continue, as well as rivets and buckles. These have not been fully exploited yet.” — Tony Fargnoli, Chaussures Tony, Montreal

“The most interesting thing has been sophisticated, younger comfort [looks]. It’s a growing category for us, [from brands] like Naya and the new Earthies. Our customer is in her late 30s and 40s, asking if we have anything better-looking that’s also comfortable.” — Dave Levy, co-owner, Hawley Lane, Shelton, Conn.

Learning Curve
WSA has a full schedule of seminars, on everything from fashion trends to balancing inventory demands.

Monday, Aug. 9
8:30-9:30 a.m.: Step-by-Step Orientation for Buyers New to the WSA Show
9-10 a.m.: Warming Up: Pantone Color Trends for Spring/Summer ’11 and Beyond
1-2 p.m.: How to Open and Run a Successful Shoe Store, Part I
2:15-3:15 p.m.: How to Open and Run a Successful Shoe Store, Part II
4-5 p.m.: Your Next Step: The Secrets to Long-term Retail Success Every Shoe Store Needs

Tuesday, Aug. 10
9:30-10:30 a.m.:
Hot, Hot, Hot: Must-Have Fashion Trends for Spring/Summer ’11
11 a.m.-12 p.m.: Make Your Shoe Store a Must-See: A Workshop on What’s Hot (and Not) in Visual Merchandising

Wednesday, Aug. 11
9:30-11 a.m.: Web 2.0:
Taking Your Next Step to Internet Success

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: 10 Hot Tips for Mastering Inventory: Getting the Balance Right

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