Just Around The Corner debut show in Manchester a “resounding success”
Trade show Just Around The Corner (JATC) made its debut in Manchester on 18-19 January at the Freight Island warehouse venue close to Piccadilly train station, showcasing 80 brands across menswear and womenswear.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions still being in place, the show was well attended and went down well with exhibitors and retailers alike, happy to be back “out there” at a UK fashion trade show – the first of 2022.
Juls Dawson, Managing Director and owner of sales agency Just Consultancies and JATC, said: “Our inaugural event in Manchester’s Freight Island was a resounding success, with nearly 500 buyers attending including all the key northern retailers and independents from as far afield as Scotland and Ireland. The concept of the first Manchester trade show for nearly 40 years was greeted with positivity all round, and it’s obviously something that we are happy to continue in order to satisfy demand.
“The industrial backdrop was reminiscent of the early Bread and Butter shows, bringing a setting not seen before in the UK. The fact that there is ample parking on site, and it’s a stone’s throw from Piccadilly train station, made access super convenient. Our unique formula of complimentary refreshments, including food and drinks, always goes down well. Based on the feedback we received, we expect the attendance and brand count to increase next season when we will put on our next event in the same location.”
Lauren Brown, owner of Sisters Boutique in Falkirk, Scotland, commented: “For me, Juls has created what’s been badly needed in the north for a long time. It felt like a section of Bread & Butter Barcelona from back in the day, and for me that’s a winner. I drove to Manchester, stayed in a fab hotel, walked to the event, and enjoyed free hospitality and great brands. It was also fantastic networking opportunity to bounce ideas off people, and it was good to see product that we can once again touch, feel and try on! This show is a sign that buyers are still hungry for new product and it can only become bigger and better.”
The exhibitors were also pleased to have their customers in front of them once again in a trade show environment, and they seemed pleased with the level of attendance, particularly from independents, but also with some of the bigger retail players such as JD Sports, Very, Jacamo, Simply Be and Freemans.
Darryl Whitehurst, Sales Director of Religion, said: “Under the circumstances, I think they did really well to put on a good show, and it’s the first show in the Manchester scene for over 30 years as far as I can remember. I think it’s exactly what was needed. The way the world is out there at the moment, I wasn’t expecting too much, but it’s been really good for us as a brand and I think it’s got legs and will go from strength to strength. The venue is also fantastic.
“There was a lot of independents, and faces that have been in the industry as long as I have! It was good to catch up with them. The show also managed to attract some of the big players like JD Sports and N Brown.”
Dylan Chadha, Commercial Director of Louche, was equally complimentary about the show. He commented: “It was our first time exhibiting at a trade show in Manchester and it’s been good for us. There were loads of indies, which was great to see, and it wasn’t just retailers from around Manchester as we saw a good spread from areas like Northumberland and Derbyshire. For a new event that people are only really just becoming aware of, it’s been positive and the reaction has been strong.
“The venue was spacious with plenty of room to easily house both women’s and men’s collections. There were two levels, with womenswear on the ground floor, and the JATC team have a good idea about the right brand adjacencies. We were happy with the aisle we were on, next to brands such as b.young and Ichi.
“We’re a London-based contemporary womenswear brand, with a lot of accounts in the south and south east, and it’s been our aim to get a few more accounts in the north, so in that respect it was great. We had loads of interest on the first day, and we had more time to spend with buyers on day two. The organisers try to make it an order writing show, and we took orders on both days. That makes you want to come!”
Out on the hunt for new brands and to get an idea of new trends, Sacha Guglielmi-Lees, owner of Style Junky in Sale, Cheshire, was happy to have a show on her doorstep. She commented: “As an independent boutique, one of our focusses is keeping in the know with the up and coming trends. It was a refreshing change to finally have a trade show in our city, and great to see the brands and agents together again under one roof. It was also good to have some London agents come up north. That was a key factor for attending.”
Graeme Nichol, Director of Blue Sole distribution company, took three stands at the show for three different brands, a commitment he thinks paid off. He said: “My company Blue Sole has a constantly evolving mix of projects including footwear sourcing, distribution and sales. I was showing New Balance socks and Coma Toes slippers, as well as launching a new women’s casual footwear brand called Tiger Bear.
“The overall atmosphere of the show was really good and people were genuinely pleased to see old friends – both customers and people from other brands - having not seen each other for the past two years or so. Indies were well represented and the venue is great, with echoes of Bread & Butter in Berlin and plenty of room for JATC to scale up in the future.
“We wrote some orders and we have lots to follow up on too. I think a Manchester show is a great idea and I hope more brands are added next season to encourage the growth of the show. We will definitely continue to support it.”
The JATC London edition will follow at The Truman Brewery in East London on 8-10 February, 2022. Juls Dawson added: “In London, we have about 30% more brands showing and many brands that weren’t in Manchester including Superdry, Fransa, Guess, Kendall and Kylie, Luke 1977, Alpha Industries, Numph, Remus Uomo and Saint James.”