At Seladex, we’re focused on helping apparel and accessory showrooms succeed by helping them stay organized, better manage their showrooms and increase sales through the use of our Apparel Industry CRM(Customer Relationship Manager).
However, we go beyond the use of technology as a means to help entrepreneurs in the fashion industry grow. We’re big believers in education, so from time to time we bring in fashion experts from around the world to help educate you, our blog readers, about the various ways you can grow your fashion empire.
Today, Seladex had the opportunity to speak with Jessica Gabay about her experience running Seamless Showroom.
We have an exciting interview planned for you today, so without further ado, let’s jump in!
Hello and thank you for taking the time to chat with our blog readers today about your experience managing and growing your showroom. Let's dive into the interview by having you introduce Seamless Showroom to our audience. Tell us a little bit more about the history of the showroom and let us know what inspired you to start it.
In 2005 I started working at Seamless Showroom under a previous owner, Brianne Manz. We had a small showroom in the now trendy Meatpacking district but at the time we were right in the middle of many meat plants/slaughterhouses. In 2008, the previous owner decided to start a new venture and I officially took over the showroom. To be exact, I signed the papers the day that Lehman Brothers collapsed and we hit a major recession. This was also the year that I learned the most about becoming a showroom owner the hard way.
Your showroom has two different locations. You're in both NYC and LA. Was this setup from day one or was branching out to other regions something that came later? If the expansion came later, what inspired the expansion?
I was traveling to LA for markets but I decided the best way to grow the business would be to open a showroom on the west coast.
My friend Jamie, who had many years in wholesale was looking to start a showroom of her own, so we decided to partner up and it was one of the best business decisions I ever made.
As a showroom, what are the major benefits of having a location in two different regions?
The major benefit of having showroom locations in two different regions is to be able to operate as one massive family. We all work together as a team and are able to bring all of our employees to all US trade shows and markets. It's also beneficial to our brands as we are able to give feedback on collections from two totally different territories.
What are the biggest drawbacks of having a showroom in two different regions?
I couldn't tell you one drawback of having a showroom in two different regions!
Can you tell us a little bit more about what your scaling process looked like for bringing on brands? Today you represent 11 brands, but you didn't start out at this point. How have you approached scaling and bringing on new brands?
We are very selective when picking up new brands. We always want to make sure they do not compete with each other but compliment each other.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the brand onboarding process? What does that process look like? Do brands find you? Do you find brands?
Brands will usually reach out to us but there have been times that we have approached them if there was a category that we felt was missing from our assortment. We will either set up a meeting to see samples or video chat to see the collections. If we feel the brand is a good fit then we will send over our showroom contract for them to review. The rest is history!
What are the main concerns that a showroom has when considering bringing on a brand? What are the major risks you're assuming as a showroom and how you mitigate those risks?
If a brand does not have a look book or line sheets then that is usually a red flag. We also feel very strong about brands being on an online platform such as Nuorder or Joor these days.
Communication is also very important when picking up a brand, we also like to make sure they are open to feedback. Sometimes brands like to keep accounts inhouse and we have felt that always confuses the buyer so we like to avoid those situations.
If you had the opportunity to go back in time and do three things different when it came to developing your showroom, what would those three things be?
Not to only pick up lines based on personal preference but think of the larger picture.
Trying to break comfortable habits and being open to technological changes.
Let go of brands that are not working earlier on because holding on to a brand that is not working does not benefit us or them and sometimes it's just not the right fit.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with Seladex blog readers today about your experience in the showroom space. It’s been inspiring learning about your history and ups and downs. To our readers, if you’d like to learn more about Seamless Showroom you can head over to their website here.