RAGTRADE ATLANTA’s first visit to the BLANKSLATE Showroom was such an enjoyable members-only event that we just had to feature Felicia Ruiz, BLANKSLATE’s showroom manager, in our 5 Questions with… series. In our live Instagram interview, she gave details about how she reached her current success as a showroom manager, gave tips about emerging designers showcasing in showrooms, and the next phase for BLANKSLATE. Read Felicia’s 5 Questions With… below!

  • What influenced you to become a showroom manager?
I always knew I wanted to work in the Fashion Industry, but didn’t want to be a designer. Once I graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Degree in Fashion Merchandising, I took an internship in NYC’s fashion district at a multi-line showroom. It was then I realized I wanted to work on the wholesale side of the business and I have been doing so for the past decade.
  • How do you feel that your line of work influences Atlanta’s Fashion Community?
At AmericasMart we host 5 annual tradeshows for 1,000s of buyers throughout the region and nation. Through these shows, we are giving our brands exposure to 100s of specialty stores including here in Atlanta. We also give designers and students internship and volunteer opportunities to work in our Markets. I am passionate about mentoring and exposing students/designers to the wholesale side of the business because it’s not taught in depth in the classroom. I think it’s so important to get out there and work first hand to gain the experience. 

  • Where do you hope to see Atlanta’s Fashion Industry in the next few years?
The traditional fashion business model is a thing of the past. Designers can really run 
their business anywhere in the world and I would love to see Atlanta be home to more fashion brands! With more resources being brought here and more companies choosing Atlanta for their Headquarters, I think it is possible. Currently, we have Spanx, Carter’s, Alternative Apparel, Mudpie and a new Adidas factory opening soon. I would like to see more companies added to the roster. I want to see the Fashion Industry thrive as the Film, Music, and Technology industries have in Atlanta. 

 

  • What advice/tips would you offer to an emerging designer on having a showroom?
I think it is extremely important for designers to step from behind their sewing machines and cutting tables and get exposure to the other aspects of the business. Overall, designing the product is only 10% of their business. The other 90% is branding, marketing, and selling. I recommend designers getting an internship or part-time work in retail and showrooms so that they understand how the sales world works. From the retail standpoint, they will learn from working with the consumers first hand. They will also learn the importance of the finish product..ie hang tags, labels..etc. In a wholesale showroom, they will learn how products are sold to buyers. Everything from merchandising a full collection to sales presentations, a Showroom is the powerhouse that will take their brand to the next level so it is imperative that a designer fully understands how one works and how to approach one to take a chance on their brand.

Currently, we represent 6 international brands from the UK, Israel, and Spain. Next year we will be adding a few American made brands to our roster. We will also be launching a new site for our brand Arrow + Sol. You can shop our current collections at www.arrowandsol.com  

Visit www.BlankSlateShowroom.com

Visit www.ArrowandSol.com

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