World’s Largest Western & Equestrian Trade Shows Round Up Successful Showings at Dallas Market Center
Dallas Market Center (DMC), global B2B trade center and wholesale marketplace, recently hosted the world’s largest trade events for western and equestrian buyers and brands. Held Aug. 26-29, the venue’s second edition of the biannual WESA International Western/English Apparel & Equipment Market overlapped with the collocated Dallas debut of the AETA International Trade Show, which was presented by the American Equestrian Trade Association and took place Aug. 24-27.
Throughout the equine-themed marketplace, more than 1,000 western and equestrian lifestyle brands in temporary exhibits and 70 permanent showrooms showcased their wares, including a wide variety of apparel and accessories, footwear, hats, equipment and tack, alongside complementary gift and home décor categories.
Held at the same time as the Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market and KidsWorld Market, the trade events collectively welcomed thousands of buyers from 41 states, with the number of first-time attendees setting a new record and accounting for 16% of total attendance. (Dallas Market Center does not release its attendee figures.)
According to DMC officials, the market was a busy and energetic one full of focused and enthusiastic buyers searching for the latest and greatest in western and equestrian goods.
“There was such a good energy at the show, [and] the brands had great presentations of new products,” said Patrick Powers, president of WESA. “Our industry has tremendous momentum heading into the new year as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of WESA.”
Many exhibitors commented that the WESA/AETA event was the biggest, busiest and most successful market they’d ever participated in, with serious buyers looking to open accounts and place orders to bolster their inventories.
“There is renewed excitement in the western industry,” said Jamison Hochter with Westmoor Manufacturing. “We now have a show that the customers, the manufacturers and the sales reps all look forward to attending.”
According to Hochter, the market was by far the busiest and most successful August show that Westmoor’s Panhandle Western Wear and Rock and Roll Denim have ever participated in.
“We also opened more new accounts than at any market in recent memory,” he said. “The [show’s] move to Dallas has been a huge success, and we can’t wait for what January and the coming year should bring.”
Lauren Austin, co-founder and CPO of Hooey Brands, said she was very pleased with the bookings coming out of the August show and felt optimistic about the buying power in the year ahead.
“Retailers were eager to see new products in person and place orders, further propelling the brand and the western lifestyle,” Austin said. “We feel this has been a successful transition for WESA and Hooey at the DMC, as we continue to see increases in traffic and purchasing at each show.”
Additionally, WESA and AETA buyers also had the chance to enjoy one of the key benefits of attending shows held inside Dallas Market Center: purchasing opportunities across lifestyle categories at adjacent showrooms featuring apparel and accessories, gifts and home décor products from leading brands.
In its effort to support the comfort, health and safety of all trade show attendees, the downtown Dallas venue continues to implement safety measures including recommended face coverings for every person entering the marketplace. Other efforts include low contact entry via online pre-registration as well as enhanced cleaning with hospital-grade products, hundreds of hand sanitizing stations and social distancing signage. Along with these new steps, the marketplace provides safety measures that are part of its natural design, including open parking, large entryways, quick registration in multiple areas, wide hallways, multiple escalators to every floor and showrooms with controlled access to allow for the appropriate distance between customers.
The 2022 editions of the WESA International Western/English Apparel & Equipment Market and the AETA International Trade Show will return to DMC Jan. 13-16 and January 11-14, respectively.