Trade Show Organizer Seeks Deal With Small Creative Shop

By David Gianatasio

BOSTON–Ad agencies looking to gain a foothold in the fashion industry might want to contact The Larkin Group in Newton, Mass.

The 50-year-old company, which specializes in presenting fashion industry trade shows, is looking to partner with a small to mid-sized creatively driven agency in the Boston area, said Larkin Group official Charlie Ettridge.

Purchasing a shop is a possibility, but the company will also consider a joint venture, allowing the agency to become a regular resource for various designers who attend Larkin’s trade shows, he said.

The company plans to offer advertising services to up-and-coming designers and fashion houses that have not yet affiliated with an agency, Ettridge said.

Hot design houses such as Betsey Johnson and XOXO often attend the company’s exhibitions, including the International Fashion Boutique Show and the International Fabric Exhibition, both held annually in New York, Ettridge said. ‘We get a lot of the hot ones on the way up,’ he said. ‘It’s a chance for an agency with . . . great creative to get its feet wet in fashion.’

‘It makes sense,’ said agency consultant Bill Montbleau of Burlington, Mass. ‘It comes down to . . . how many contacts (Larkin has).’

For the past two weeks, The Larkin Group has been placing ads in trade publications to attract prospective partners. So far, Ettridge has received two ‘serious’ responses. ‘These were from smaller shops with good creative,’ he said.

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