Mark Sullivan thinks there’s an opportunity in the women’s business and he’s betting that he’s not alone.
Sullivan, president of Garden City, N.Y.-based Formula 4 Media, announced this month the group will debut a new trade show, The Running & Fitness Event for Women.
Female runners and fitness enthusiasts are the focus of the show, which builds on the success of the popular annual Running Event, targeted to the specialty running channel.
The Running & Fitness Event for Women, which replaces the brown shoe- and athletic-focused Footwear Event, will be held at Chicago’s Navy Pier and the W Chicago Lakeshore from June 30 to July 2, 2014.
Here, Sullivan tells FN what to expect next summer.
Why is now the time to launch a dedicated women’s show?
MS: We do our best work when we’re market driven, [and] if you look what’s going on, there’s so much activity around women and retail. I feel like this stuff is crystalizing. For a zillion years, as long as I’ve been in the business, people have been talking about having better responsiveness to the women’s market and now it’s actually happening.
How much overlap will there be with The Running Event?
MS: Running is part of it, studio fitness is part of it, yoga is a big part of it — we want to address all those different aspects. We will have footwear brands, but apparel is going to be a major piece of the show. One of the things about how women shop is they go to running specialty stores to buy their shoes and then drive to Nordstrom or Lululemon to get their apparel. From an attendance point of view, specialty retailers will be there and full-line sporting goods chains, and the boutiques and department stores and studios that have retail also play a role. One of the things that is both exciting and challenging when you look at the women’s business is that it’s very fragmented, so we want to have the full gamut.
Will there be a conference portion of the new show?
MS: The content at the event in Chicago will be a little different. We’ll have technical content, but we’ll also have the view from 30,000 feet — a view into what specialty stores can learn from department stores and consumer electronics stores and home furnishings stores. And there will be a consumer piece to it with a retail partner, likely a one-day event before the actual trade show.