Show Time for Softline
By David Gill
The executives at Softline Home Fashions have no problem accumulating frequent-flyer miles, especially early each year.
A look at the company's trade show schedule shows why. In January, Softline was present as an attendee at Heimtextil in Germany, and as exhibitors at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, the Canadian Home Furnishings Market, Las Vegas Market, the Chicago Market: Living and Giving and Gift & Home Textiles Market in New York City. This month, the company will exhibit at the Seattle Gift Show, and March will find them at the New York Home Fashions Market, back in New York City.
This early-year hyperactivity is nothing new for Softline. Jason Carr, the company's president and co-founder with his brother, Rodney Carr, said the company has been exhibiting at each of these shows for many years. Carr pointed out that Softline is one of the oldest exhibitors at the Las Vegas Market, having shown product there ever since the market started in 2005.
Trade shows have formed an integral part of Softline's business since the Carr brothers opened the company's doors in 2001. "That was in our business plan from day one, and we have followed it religiously," Carr said. "The formula works for us."
Softline began its life in business as a fabric supplier, and then began to sell finished products in 2004. The company has estimated that it now appears in 36 trade shows a year.
"Our strategy for this year is to maintain a presence at all the shows," Carr said. "We also intend to show new product at all the shows." It's a mammoth effort, but the company has stayed true to this strategy from its first days in business.