Jan 28, 2019 | By Nigel Taylor
That is the mission behind the newest trade show added to our industry’s roster: LAZR.
Stylesight was on location to cover the first edition of the event, which took place at Los Angeles premier site L.A. Live. A 4,200 sqft tent housed the new trade show which has many asking the same reluctant question: do we need another trade show?
We sat down with John Ruffo, C.E.O and founder of LAZR and, obviously, he seems to believes so. Mr. Ruffo is passionate about the city of Los Angeles and is eager to bring the footwear industry to a place that should be more strongly regarded as a fashion capital of the world.
“L.A. Live is the sports and entertainment capital of the world. Why not bring it all here? We’re done with Vegas.. It’ll take time, but eventually you’ll see a migration to Los Angeles.”
Mr. Ruffo, who was also one of the founders of now-industry-standard event FN Platform, is striving to create a community-driven event that will bring together retailer and consumer. Pop-up shops along the entrance of the show allowed brands as well as stores, to propose merchandising concepts to retailers. This, in addition to music and live entertainment, is what creates the whole experience of LAZR. The trade show is also aiming to provide “match-making” services for new and up-coming brands that will pair their product with the correct retailer, something Mr. Ruffo developed in his many years of experience in the footwear industry.
Though this first edition is of smaller proportion, the goal is to eventually utilize the whole 720,000 sqft the Los Angeles Convention Center has to offer, along with the many coveted event spaces available at L.A. Live. It’s an aggressive growth plan, but definitely the right approach for an event that is striving to be the Bread & Butter of the US.
“We’re trying to find ourselves and grow up, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Ambitious? Yes. But if there’s anyone who can pull this off, it’s Ruffo.
Build it and they will come… -Jenn Tello
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