Atlanta Apparel: Spotlight On Key People

by Freya Drohan

Ahead of Atlanta Apparel taking place October 13-17, The Daily got in touch with some folks in the industry to hear what keeps them coming back, time and time again, to the trade show floor at AmericasMart. 

Kelsey Light, account executive, Hudson Jeans

What does your role as account executive involve?
I’m responsible for managing Hudson Specialty stores in the South East and Mid-Atlantic regions. This involves seeing the buyers at tradeshows or road appointments, and creating an assortment for each delivery that best fits their customers’ needs. I then ensure that styles are confirmed, approved, and shipped within each delivery. We build lasting relationships with our buyers and aim for a successful business plan year over year.

How did you get into the business, what is it about fashion that appealed to you?
I studied fashion as an undergrad and found the wholesale side of the business extremely interesting. I enjoy the fast-paced, high energy environment, and I’m thrilled to be apart of an ever evolving industry!

What’s your connection to Atlanta Apparel?
I’ve been showing at the Apparel Apparel for three years, ever since I’ve been with Hudson. I’m permanently based in North Carolina and I travel for each show—so I’ve built a great community at Atlanta Apparel and in the Atlanta area—it’s like my second home!

What does an average day look like during the event for you?
A typical market day includes seeing my buyers by appointments and walk ins to present our latest collection. It’s always great to connect with new buyers and provide their store with our denim.

What makes Atlanta Apparel different from other events?
I believe Atlanta Apparel Mart sets itself apart from other shows by offering the brands and price points of larger city shows, in a more intimate, less overwhelming setting.

When do you have some downtime during the event, what do you like to do/explore/eat in the city?
During my downtime throughout the shows, I love catching up with other friends in the industry. It’s always great to get a coffee, cocktail, or sushi with the girls while in Atlanta!

How is it different building relationships with people at Atlanta Apparel?
As a Southerner myself, I find building relationships during the show natural and genuine. The buyers and vendors both have a common respect and willingness to help one another.

How will this year look different to others for you?
Hudson will be taking all of the proper safety precautions with masks, sanitization and distancing, but one constant is that we’re eager to show our latest collection with big smiles behind these masks to see our lovely buyers!a

Jay An, general manager, HYFVE Inc.

Tell us about HYFVE.
HYFVE is written weird but it’s pronounced like high five! Just like if you were to see someone wearing a nice outfit and you wanted to give them a high five. Established in 2001, HYFVE was started under the main brand name DOUBLE ZERO, so some of our old customers still know us as DOUBLE ZERO.

What is your role?
I’m the general manager of the company so I’m mainly involved with the sales division but oversee all divisions.

How did you get into the business, what is it about fashion that appealed to you?
I first joined the company a little over 13 years ago, when we used to have the higher-end fashion apparel line called LOVE and LOVE fashion. We used to make all fashion pieces with jewelry embellishments. Then I joined the sales team and grew with the company. Even when I was growing up I loved fashion! It really drew my attention. I think of fashion as expressing yourself and being different, and I really love how uniquely people can put things together even with the same material. It’s amazing and creative!

What’s your connection to Atlanta Apparel?
Our first Atlanta Apparel show, if I remember correctly, started back in 2008, so we’ve been going for about 12 years now. I was running the show by myself writing orders on paper PO’s. Now we have 12–16 sales reps in our booth with 24 scanners. I’m proud to say that we are [now] one of the biggest and busiest exhibitors at Atlanta Apparel. Throughout the years the show grew bigger and we attracted more and more buyers who recognize and love our brand. And yes, we love to see the smiles on the faces that we always greet at the show.

What does an average day look like during the event for you?
Our show team does a tremendous job organizing and running the show. Atlanta really grew as one of our main shows. An average day… it gets really crazy! Often, 16 sales reps is not enough and our 20 x 80 booth is too small! I don’t think we have ever had a day that wasn’t busy.

What do you look forward to about the event?
We really look forward to meeting our buyers to show the new items that we have. They get super excited and that makes us happy. We love bringing fashion and business together.

What makes Atlanta Apparel different from other events?
As I mentioned, we go way back—we have history together! With Atlanta Apparel, I love how the show is always so alive and friendly to exhibitors and attendees. I think they do a good job at bringing the buyers in and keeping the liveliness up and going. The vibe is really good: I think that’s important!

When do you have some downtime during the event, what do you like to do/explore/eat in the city?
We’re pretty exhausted most of the times after the show, but sometimes we like going to Rays, Hsu’s, or Fogo after the event. There’s not so much time leftover explore the city… we’re usually too tired for that!

How will this year look different to others for you?
As we’re all impacted by COVID, it’s not easy, but I’m just fortunate to say that our company is doing very well. Some of the major shows were cancelled, but we’re happy that Atlanta’s been here for us. Our last show was very successful! So we are ready and very excited about this coming October market!

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