It's the Pure womenswear show in London this week and, just to warn you, I shall be smiling - or trying to. It might be boiling hot under the glass areas of Olympia and the air conditioning could have broken down, but I shall still be grinning away like a demented Cheshire cat. Why? It's my job, so please don't be suspicious of me. Surely no one wants to see a grumpy face on a stand?
I am a naturally friendly person, so for the three seconds that you are walking past my stand at Pure, I'd like to talk to you about the products I am selling and explain the idiosyncrasies of that particular range. If I engage you in conversation I won't expect you to place an order, but it might work out to our mutual advantage. After all, if we don't speak to each other, we will never know.
On Valentine's Day, which was the final day of the previous edition of Pure, I gave out free heart-shaped truffles. What a lovely idea, you may think. However, some of the suspicious looks I received had to be seen to be believed. I never seriously thought that it would get me any business, but it certainly didn't do me any harm. It also helped to pass the time during the quieter moments that came along on the last day of the show. However, many people were so dubious of my intentions and gave me such strange looks that it was comical at times.
Being an anonymous visitor to the show is all very well, but it is extremely helpful for exhibitors to know who has looked at our collections, even if after doing so they choose not to place an order. Feedback, whether it be positive or negative, is always useful to any company. With a few exceptions, the designers of the collections stand well back at the shows and negative feedback is not usually taken personally by the sales people.
Obviously the writing of orders is the positive end result, but even to know that someone bothered to come on the stand and look means that at least you, as an agent, did something right. We can only lead the horse to water; we can't always make it drink.
So please, all you buyers out there - don't be scared to visit all the stands and touch and feel the clothing and accessories on offer. But most of all, please engage with the people who are exhibiting. It is soul-destroying standing all day in a box with people walking past, looking through you as if you don't exist. Remember that feeling in your shop when a new customer walks in and totally ignores you? Eye contact doesn't cost anything. Like you, we are here to serve, if you let us.
At this point I would also just like to say how useful it would have been if the organisers at the CPD trade show in Dusseldorf had talked to the organisers at Pure before deciding the dates for their February 2008 edition. It will only make an already busy month even busier. However, worry not; these days there are so few brands that are exclusive to CPD that a day trip to Dusseldorf more than covered it.
- Clare Morgan runs the Clamor Fashion Agency in Wilmslow, Cheshire.