9 years ago when I started designing West Indies Wear, we were sailing our little boat around the Caribbean, dropping in to visit various resorts and boutiques on the islands, to see if they wanted to include our collection in their offering. Here is a photo of my husband entertaining our daughter on the swings at True Blue Bay Resort in Grenada. (how cute are they) while I dropped in to meet Magdalena, the owner. (what a gorgeous resort it is - check it out by clicking on the link!)
Soon I realized that a lot of the buyers I was meeting, were traveling to Orlando FL to Surf Expo to see all the new collections, and so I thought WELL it is very expensive for a little start-up like us to get a booth, and fly up there etc, but hey, what's a little challenge! Yes Surf Expo is not just all about Surf gear, its also a trade show for resort and boutique buyers to find goodies to sell in their island stores, and so I started exhibiting at the show. It was great because I got to see all of my island buyer friends in 3 days, and there was no more hard sailing between the islands. (I miss that now)
These days I have moved back home to Australia, but every September, I take a little 30 hour journey from my home in Australia, all the way to Florida for the show. On arrival we pack 2 vans full of samples, ladders, flooring, banners, furniture, bamboo and ourselves and drive 2 hours north of our warehouse in Palm City FL, to Orlando FL for Surf Expo. Its quite a trip - here it is on a map !
A couple of times I even had to do that trip with my babies, because I was still nursing them. Here is my baby boy hanging about in my kanga-pouch while I showed the line to a lovely patient and understanding buyer.
It's a great couple of days to catch up with all of our island friends, and meet knew ones. Last September we met Amber from Trunk Show Boutique who arrived in our booth wearing our St.Barths Sarong as cute top !
Well I am grateful to say that I have an AWESOME team behind me, and for this weeks show, I don't have to leave my babies and make that 30 hour journey to the opposite side of our planet, because our fantastic Sales Manager Lauren Buchanan recruits family and friends and gets the job done without me. Thank you Lauren ! I feel terribly guilty when you are doing a show without me, but totally appreciate it !
I have put together a little video of West Indies Wear @surfexpo for you all to see. Ok I am not yet a professional videographer but you might find it fun to see what its all about! Here is the link.