Tonight I am heading out to East Texas for my annual vacation at our family lake house. I can’t tell you how much we all look forward to this trip and how excited I am that it is finally here. I talk about my Texas/Louisiana roots a lot in this blog, because I know how much they have influenced my interests and tastes in fashion, music, art and culture.
In keeping with the honky tonk theme of this week’s posts, I want to tell you about The Free Agency Showroom in downtown Los Angeles. I’m always out there looking for cool new things in the market, and this place sort of fell in my lap organically through some of my friends in Laurel Canyon. Theses friends are the ladies of Heyoka Leather, an amazing line of leather accessories that somehow manage to fuse the Wild West, Laurel Canyon and Native American traditions into their designs. While looking for a better way to showcase their collection to buyers, they partnered up with their friends from Bandit Brand which is a kick ass collection of vintage inspired tees and jewelry that has a similar vibe.
In an effort to showcase their aesthetic and have more control over their sales strategy, they decided to open a CO-OP Sales Showroom. By partnering with brands that have a similar aesthetic, they are able to create and sell a lifestyle to their buyers. This is a concept that has been brewing for awhile as an alternative to multi-line showrooms in the market.
With a multi-line showroom, collections are put together that might not necessarily compliment eachother and sales are controlled by several members of their staff. By creating a lifestyle co-op showroom, each collection is able to have control over what their merchandising presentation looks like by adding in fixtures and propping that suits their brand. Another bonus is that the cost of the showroom is divided amongst all the brands that are represented rather than having to pay a monthly fee as well as commission to the multi-line showroom.
As the apparel business continues to be challenged, everyone is looking for new ways of doing things. The business is not what it used to be and companies need to look outside of the box to find new ways of engaging their customer. The Co-op Showroom is a great example of this approach to the marketplace.
The lifestyle of The Free Agency Showroom is a great combination of the western and vintage vibe of Austin mixed with the hippie canyon vibe of Los Angeles. We all know this aesthetic has been growing from a trending perspective and this showroom has everything a buyer needs to complete this look in their store.
The aesthetic of the showroom was achieved by mixing together vintage elements, lots of wood, taxidermy, antlers, American flags, cowhide and lots of succulents. Walk into any house in the canyon, and you are going to see these elements mixed together. This is the lifestyle of free spirits, musicians, artists and gypsys and this lifestyle is being copied and coveted all over the world right now.
From a variety of vintage inspired tshirts, to studded denim cut-offs, sterling silver jewelry, apothecary, sheepskin boots, and leather goods, this showroom is a complete representation of this lifestyle.
Outside of Bandit Brand, the showroom also carries several other distinctly different lines of vintage inspired tees for both men and women. Destination Pin-up uses pin-up designs from the 1940′s for both men and women. Werthan Brother’s Supply Company uses old feed bag art from the 1940′s to the 1970′s to create a unique collection of tshirts while Wairpaint and FilthMart design their own graphics and create a vintage feel with their styles.
Another added value to this showroom is that all of their lines are MADE IN AMERICA. Not many showrooms can say that, if any. I love all of the collections that they have and I love how they all support eachother’s aesthetic but each have their own unique thing that they bring to the market. This allows for stores to buy multiple brands in the showroom to fill their need and keep everybody happy.
If you have a store or want to learn more about the showroom, please visit their website to find out how you can be in touch.
Now I’m really in the mood for my Texas trip…I’m thinking cowboy boots and my bikini…and I think I’ll bring my cowboy hat this time.
See you when I return next week!