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Sourcing shows & selling shows

We mentioned in last week’s newsletter that this year the HYPER team is focused on helping you get tactical with your brand, whether it’s live already, a dream you’re working on, or something you’re considering for the future.

Today, we’re going to dive into a new creative manifesto from our friends at Air, and talk tradeshows, but not generic industry shows, specific shows to solve issues like product sourcing, and how to make sales to retail.

If you missed last week’s newsletter on ecommerce bundling and branded objects… read on here. Related to brand objects, Clayton ranks misses and hits for logo slaps in a video here.

Let’s get into it.

Be the Rick Rubin of whatever the hell you want

Ok, our friends over at Air might’ve mic-dropped the craziest news in software marketing since… well, ever.

This week, they announced that the Kareem Rahma is joining the company as Chief Imagination Officer 💭 💡 

And to unveil this announcement, this duo produced a banger of an e-book called Creative Air, where Rahma unpacks insights, hot takes, and musings on his philosophy as a creative director, with tips on how you can be one, too.

“I’m excited to change the world,” reflects Rahma. “I have been given this platform and I plan on using it to make the world a better place.”

This is some much-needed, refreshing news to hear, especially at a moment when it feels like everyone markets the same, boring ass way.

There’s no juice, let alone sauce, in B2B SaaS marketing. But Kareem plans to be the change…

“If we're all thinking outside the box...then aren't we all just thinking the same? As a creative director, I prefer to think inside the box – because no one else is.”

You should If you wanna own your creativity, download this ebook right here and they’ll send you a personal copy via email.

It’s a delightful series of isms around the art of creative work and how to make it last.

This segment brought to you by Air.

The HYPER Tradeshow Edit

I stopped by the MAGIC/PROJECT tradeshows in Vegas recently, which is a great opportunity to discuss tradeshows in general. If you’re a more visual person, I break down these concepts on my Youtube channel as well 🙂 - Oren

Sourcing shows

So there’s a few layers to finding factories for your brand — and this goes across any niche.

First you have - what you can find online. Alibaba gives access to make essentially anything in the world, the only cavieat is… many premiere suppliers don’t want just anyone hitting them up, so they don’t list on there.

That’s where the second tier of sourcing comes into play — more curated networks. These are folks like our friends at Pietra that have a vetted network with a lot of factories that are hard to find elsewhere, but you can access only with a monthly membership.

Then we have tradeshows, where those factories actually go to promote themselves to what they feel are the right clientelle. This is generally a good sign, as it shows they are open for business and have capacity, and also gives you the opportunity to see their work firsthand and meet people you will be communicating with to begin to vet if you can effectively work together.

Then lastly there are mass production factories - the big places that handle your volume, but only once you’re a big enough brand. There’s lots of content out there about what factories produce what major brands, and also tools like ImportYeti to reverse search suppliers, but lots of the truly large ones won’t give smaller brands the time of day until they have proper volume, and even then are hard to get ahold of. Pro tip when you get there… hire someone in that country on a service like Upwork to reach out on your behalf in their native language with a local phone number etc to set up a meeting for you.

As far as shows, the grail is Canton Fair in China, where you can go and talk to suppliers on their home turf amongst a sea of their competitors. This is the place to get the lowest prices, and the connections closest to where they actually operate.

I know many of you on this list are focused in on apparel or consumer packaged goods, so some shows in those industries where you can find partners are below.

A few other sourcing shows:

Premiere Vision - luxury fashion

Portugal textile and sourcing

Lux Pack (packaging

There are plenty more in most niches—if you’re having trouble finding what you want, a day pass to meet people in person may be a great solution.


These are some of the ones we found at MAGIC. Please note I have not ordered from these besides Crease and Shyft (who are both great), this was our first time meeting the rest.

Crease Group - excellent athleisure & headwear - https://creasegroup.com/ 

S&Q Clothing - pullovers, windbreakers - [email protected]

Shyft Global - technical, through through soft goods (bags, accessories) https://www.shyftglobal.com/

Zhouyang Garment - denim - [email protected] 

Alec Group in Portugal who had denim tears, stussy and moschino in their booth - https://alec.group/

Ador Global - sneakers and footwear - http://www.adorglobal.com/

Dear Vogue Leathers - leather goods - https://dear-vogue.com/

Hubei Hui Li Apparel - Affordable streetwear - https://huiliapparel.en.alibaba.com/

Limton Corporation - sports and jerseys - https://limtoncorp.com/

Selling Shows

I’ve always been a proponent that brands should be thinking omni-channel from the start. This means not just DTC with your ecommerce store, or just Amazon, or even just retail, but a combination. I tell founders all the time, find one independent retail store near you or that you can be friendly with you can use as a beta spot. Hook the staff up, give them product on consignment, do demo days, take the buyer out to dinner twice a month and learn.

  • What are the retail margins in your category, and what determines higher/lower?

  • What marketing support do the brands offer, if any?

  • How often do they add new products and whats the process?

  • What new brands do the best and why?

  • How do the staff get trained?

And once you have an idea what you’re doing…there are some shows to meet retailers. It’s a bit of a crap-shoot depending on your niche, your level of preparation and your general acumen, but we’ll dive into this a bit here. At these shows you present to your industry, and they are a great location to meet buyers you may have existing relationships with, or get on the radar of new buyers.

At PROJECT this year for example (a selling show attached to MAGIC) we met with a few vendors who bought the minimum size of booth (about $7k) and one had gotten about $20k in orders, another about $43k, about halfway through the show, without coming with many, if any prior connections.

So how does this work? Succeeding in this environment means

  • having product that is up to par and applicable for retail to carry

  • understanding margins and having line sheets of your wholesale and suggested retail pricing, specs, imagery etc

  • being charismatic and having a plan to attract people in the booth, and explain your brand and build repoire to encourage an inital order

  • having the organization to be able to setup ordering, and follow up with execution, while mapping out the timing and cost of your production

It is not a simple endeavor, but one that for the right brands has a lot of opportunity. In other industries like CPG with shows like Expo West, there is similar opportunity, but you also likely need a distributor who retailers know and integrate with to fulfill, and in all cases be super proactive scheduling buyer meetings to know your making the most of your presence.

Project - mens and women's contemporary fashion

Expo West - healthy and natural foods and beverages

Parting Thoughts

Bring dual use electronics back:

The sound system should come back as the focus of the modern home:


The next Cut30 content bootcamp with Oren and crew that’s helped 200+ creators and brands launch and improve their short form video skills for Instagram, TikTok and Youtube Shorts starts February 27th, learn more here.


Check out our market reports. We spend many, many hours researching markets, categories, and brands & products within the consumer space–all so that you don’t have to.

How to Source Blanks 101 — HERE  
A guide to finding and producing your own merch

Market reports on Running, Golf and Tennis — HERE A guide to each sport, the market opportunities, and how to launch your own brand

Inquiries? Shoot us a note here: [email protected]

We’d love to chat!

Oren & Clayton ❤️ you.