Tom Nastos, president of ENK talks about his collaboration with White and their joint ventures in New York, Milan and China.
What is your aim in this collaboration between ENK and White, taking a tradeshow to New York, Milan and China?
As a leading American tradeshow company, we’d like to take the opportunity to bring American exhibitors to White in Milan. Similarly, ENK will then bring Italian exhibitors from White to our men’s and women’s shows in New York and China. This past year, ENK launched ENK China during Beijing Fashion Week – this was very successful. We had 15 labels and we see it growing very quickly. This is another big opportunity for everybody.
What do you expect from this collaboration in China?
I think that in China, specifically, the market is really growing. I think that each label is going to have an opportunity. Don’t forget that the first labels to have success there were Prada and Christian Dior. Both had a tremendous amount of success so now it’s a chance for other brands to come in. And I think that the Chinese population is looking for contemporary brands.
I came to Beijing Fashion Week four years ago as a journalist with some French labels and we felt a little lost in this big place. Have you had this same feeling at all?
No, because ENK's job is to take people that feel lost and organize the market. ENK is so successful because we do all the analysis, all the work. Our responsibility is to provide added-value services to the exhibitors: everything from interpreters, to business manuals, to potential matchmaking, because we understand that this is such a big market. We want people to be successful.
But at the time I was there, I don’t know if it has changed, there were not a lot of multilabel stores...
The situation in China changes constantly. The next important thing in retail thing is the multilabel store. It was all a question of time. The market is really evolving on a daily basis. In several months when I go back, I expect it to be even more different, in a very positive way.
This is the first time that two tradeshows are coming together. Why did you decide to collaborate?
I think that collaboration is something necessary for the market, for the exhibitors. That’s a key point. For the Italian exhibitors, White is a tremendous show but I think that we can help give the Italian exhibitors the multiple opportunities that he/she is looking for. While the individual lines are strengthened, each show will subsequently grow. Everybody grows through this international collaboration. It’s very important to buyers and to exhibitors. We work together and we’re making the life of our buyers and our exhibitors easier. We are opening a global market. We are the premier tradeshow organization in America, so we’re going to help the city too, bringing international labels to NY or Vegas while Italy is proud that American brands will be showcased in Milan on a regular basis.
And you’re not afraid that bringing White to New York will introduce competition?
No. We’re working together in Milan, New York and Beijing.
A lot of people are wondering: how will it be possible to adapt the way of working, which in terms of buying is very different in France and Italy, from how it is in America?
That’s one of the issues addressed in these “added-value” services. We’ll be helping brands understand how business works in each of these countries, and hopefully helping them to establish some kind of global standard. With internet and technology, the world is becoming a lot more similar. It was once very different, French society used to be very different from Italian society but the world is becoming very similar. If you look at Japan and Korea, for example, societies are becoming more similar. Wherever you go, people have iPhones for example. This is an opportunity for us to help people conduct business and to navigate the market.
Are you saying that you want to establish a framework in which business can be conducted globally?
We can’t do that but I think that the market will do that. We can’t tell the market what to do. What we can do is explain how the market works and how to be successful in a particular market, that’s our responsibility. What I think is going to happen is that you will have more collaborations and more people working together, and the market will begin to adapt to global standards.
How long will you continue with this partnership?
It’s a long-term agreement.
Do you have your eyes on any other partnerships?
Why not? We will always be looking for potential partners that have the same common goals.