We would like to share segments and highlights from the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) podcast “WRAPCast, Episode 11: A Brave New World – Apparel Sourcing and Trade Shows in the COVID-19 reality with Jason Prescott”.
Jason Prescott is the founder and president of JP Communications Inc (JPC), which owns Manufacturer.com, Apparel Textile Sourcing, and TopTenWholesale.com. This month JPC celebrated its 15th year in business.
In 2016 JPC moved from an online to a trade show business model. One of the objectives of JPC is to continue to evolve and innovate. This May they are hosting the first ever Apparel Textile Sourcing Virtual Trade show (ATSV) from May 25 – 29, 2020.
During the WRAPCast, Jason was asked questions about his businesses and the effects from COVID-19. Here are some of the Q & A:
WRAP: From a Micro prospective, what are some of the impacts COVID-19 has had on JPC specifically?
JASON: There has been a significant impact; trade shows have been really hurt. He new his May and August shows would be affected. JPC decided to focus on the virtual mode; reschedule trade show; and do the second-best thing by launching ATSV this coming May.
Their other businesses have also been affected: they have lost revenue and premium advertising. Their proactive strategy is to offer discounts .
WRAP: Do you think the Virtual trade show will eventually replace the traditional model?
JASON: JPC wants to be one of the first pioneers for a sourcing event which requires a lot of adaptation. There are many digital divides (over 30 countries) that they need to take into consideration. Apparel and Textile is the foundation of fashion. Normally buyers need to see and touch the product to make a connection. In Jason’s opinion, a virtual show is the second-best thing.
The world had been going more virtual, even before the arrival of the pandemic. There are always going to be issues regarding visas, geo-political strife, and budgets. But there needs to be a supplement option to a traditional trade show. The aim is to find both an emotional and physical experience through a digital world.
WRAP: How many producers, brands, and retailers will be operating after this pandemic? Personally, I believe a virtual presence that is budget conscious will be a big-time value add. What are your thoughts?
JASON: Yes, I agree. Sales people and executives always want to maintain that budgets are never an objection to improvement. I believe budget is an issue: the expense of the booth is just the beginning; you have flight tickets, hotels, dining, entertainment, employees, and sampling expenses. A trade show is a significant investment. Having a virtual option will assist quite a bit.
How are things going to change? Ralph Waldo Emerson believed “conversations are a lot like a circle, it goes back to where it started”. Everything starts and ends with the consumer.
WRAP: Let’s talk about the producers: the ideas of transparency and social compliance. Do you think there is going to be a shift in the attitude of the producers? How is that going to look in the post-COVID world?
JASON: Much of it will be the same. There will be a dramatic sense of urgency to get back to work. Great organizations like Wrap and Testex will employ new standards in factories. There will be new QA/QC adaptations, such as labour standards.
With increased opportunity comes increased risk. A major challenge will be to avoid cutting corners in order to make up for losses.
WRAP: China has been the leading manufacturer for many years. Many companies are moving production to Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam. Do you think China is going to rebound?
JASON: I feel China is the winner of COVID. Their style of government has made it possible for them to contain COVID in their country. China does not operate with the same complicated bureaucracy of other countries. It has the flexibility to adapt quickly and efficiently to new working standards.
China has the most sophisticated foundation in the world for logistics in production. The buyers know China. Much of the developing countries’ new business operations have partnered with Chinese firms. Everything in the operation starts and ends with China. China will be the first go-to for buyers who need a dependable and reliable supply chain.
For ten years JPC has employed a really fine Saas (Software as a Service) work-from-home environment.
To hear the full podcast please go to: WRAPCast, Episode 11: A Brave New World – Apparel Sourcing and Trade Shows in the COVID-19 reality with Jason Prescott