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 Michael Cavaggioni from C2 Apparel about his involvement in the Showroom space.
We have an exciting interview planned for you today, so without further ado, let’s jump in!
Hi and thank you for taking the time to chat with our blog readers today about C2 Apparel. You've been in the industry for over 20 years. First of all, congratulations. Can you begin telling us a little bit more about your early days? How did you get C2 Apparel off the ground?
My wife Rosy and I were living in Italy and my parents here in Canada were already in the biz for many years. Like most 20 year olds we had no clue what we wanted to do - except to enjoy life...my parents introduced us to some new italian labels and after meeting with them, Rosy and I decided to head back to Canada and start our own distribution company.
How did you go about onboarding your very first brand? How did you onboard a brand before you had connections to retailers or buyers? Or did you already have those connections lined up?
My parents have long standing connections in the business on both the supplier and retailer side and that made it a relatively smooth and easy entry into the market.
After you onboarded your first few brands, what were some of your biggest unforeseen challenges you faced as a showroom? What were some struggles you didn't expect to have, but managed to fight your way through? How did you fight through those obstacles?
I would say the largest obstacle (and still no major roadblocks) was understanding how to navigate and understand government regulations, tariff implementations and tagging regulations…
ps - dealing with "french" speaking Canada is always fun as well.
Once you onboard a new brand, what are the first activities you usually engage in?
We get deep into the collections themselves. Try to understand global positioning and then follow through with a plan that mimics that positioning
In your experience how does a brand change once they get distribution? What part of that change do brands often struggle with the most?
Having local foot soldiers give the brand first hand experience in a market. A distribution company like ours allows direct presence in a market like Canada that is not normally the number one priority for brands.
Today, what does a "day in the life" at C2 Apparel look like? Run us through a typical day.
Coffee, emails, pump up the staff, more coffee, emails, visit a shop, have some drinks - repeat
Today, you have a lot of exclusive distribution deals for brands like Alternative Apparel, Bang & Olufsen, Karhu, Novesta and many others. Can you tell us a little bit more about how exclusive distribution deals work? Exclusivity would totally change the relationship between you and the brands you represent. Can you tell us a little bit more about what those changes are from both your perspective and the brand's perspective?
It wouldn't make sense for us to distribute a brand nationally without an exclusive deal. In fashion - positioning is everything. Imagine a brand with a certain plan being distributed in the same territory by 2 different people - the dynamics would simply not work and be counterproductive
What are your favorite things about helping to distribute fashion brands?
Love bringing newness to the market and making it successful...watching someone on the streets wearing something we brought into Canada from anywhere is pretty satisfying.
Lastly, if you could go back in time and give a younger version of yourself 3 pieces of advice with regards to what's needed to run a successful showroom, what would those three pieces of advice be?
Patience, patience, patience. I’m not the best sit back and wait kind of guy. I expect things done yesterday.
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 C2 Apparel you can head over to their website here.