Jewelry, purses and coats, oh my!

By Lily Singh

Red bejeweled lips, turquoise flowers and purple discs – these were just a few of the pendants on display as women handpicked which ones matched their outfits perfectly.

A four-day show dedicated to the latest looks just in time for the holidays sounds like any shoppers dream. That’s exactly what was on display when you walked into TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show held in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Luckily, this month’s show is one of the five held throughout the year.  You’ll want to flag the next show in your iPhone  – it’s the holiday show, December 3-6 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Finding an empty spot on the floor was nearly impossible as the convention center filled with vendor booths for as far as the eye could see. From cooking demonstrations to manicure stations, attendees enjoyed a full day of shopping for Christmas decorations, custom pet collars, faux fur coats and all things clothing, home goods and accessories.

Just ask attendee Kenyatta Harris of Riverdale, who makes a weekend of it by attending each of the five shows a year with a group of friends.

“We try to get things that we come for, that we plan to come for,” Harris said. “But we always find so many other different things that I’m like ‘Oh my God let’s get this, oh my God let’s get that.’”

“For us it’s more about brand exposure,” said Dan Demir, co-owner of Choice Apparel Company, a Chicago-based company specializing in tri-blend clothing. “I mean there’s foot traffic here that you can’t get at most brick and mortar locations or pop-ups.”

Jordan Campuzano, owner of Mavi Bandz and a first-time vendor at the show featured her company’s adjustable non-slip headbands in everything from the Chicago flag print to a glitzy pink ombre.

“You get thousands of people coming through who are looking for accessories and so it’s a great platform for moving product and getting your name out and we’ve done really well,” Campuzano said.

The audience at TransWorld shows is different from the usual athletic audience Mavi Bandz reaches out to at marathons and races.

“We’re catering to two different [groups]. We’re catering to our retail market and our wholesale market,” Campuzano said. “That’s why this is a great platform for a lot of us.”

Campuzano estimates adding 15 new salons and boutiques to her customers and clientele as a result of this show. She said she was pleasantly surprised to have both a wholesale audience and a cash and carry customer.

“It’s great, now you have someone else who is actively promoting your brand so that’s what we’re looking for,” Campuzano said.

For the vendors, taking part in the show several times a year has its own perks.

“This being our second show, every person from the first show that we sold to came back around and actually bought more from us,” Demir said.

Demir said he believes in the business growth opportunities at the show. “If we could retain 100 customers for every show, 10 years down the road we’ve got something special.”

Photo at top: Jewelry on display at Transworld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. (Lily Singh/Medill)