Source: WESA

WESA’s International Western/English Apparel & Equipment Market celebrated its Dallas debut in January featuring buyers from across the U.S. and 1000-plus brands dedicated to the Western and Equestrian lifestyle.

Buyers from forty-six states and two countries attended the January 14-17 edition of the Western & English Sales Association (WESA) International Western/English Apparel & Equipment Market, held in Dallas for the first time. More than 25 percent of the retailers were new to the show, which was held at the Dallas Market Center. More than 1,000 brands for the Western and equestrian lifestyle were presented in temporary exhibits and permanent showrooms including apparel and accessories, footwear, hats, and tack alongside complementary categories of gift and home décor. The WESA show stretched out across more than 210,000 square feet — an increase from last year’s event.

WESA President, Patrick Powers, commented: “We are thrilled. Buyers all have a great attitude. They’re excited to be here. They’re excited to see the facility, the opportunity. It has been fantastic.”

The permanent marketplace of Western and English showrooms, located on the 14th floor of the World Trade Center building and including more than 70 new showrooms, includes leading brands such as Ariat, Justin Brands, Dan Post, Hooey, Hatco/Resistol, Wrangler, Scully, Panhandle, Partrade, Equibrand, Rios of Mercedes, M&F, Lucchese, Milano Hat Company, Cripple Creek, and Roper/Stetson.

“Thank you to our partners at WESA and to the brands and buyers who made this debut such a success,” said Cindy Morris, President and CEO of Dallas Market Center. “The energy was tremendous, the number of new buyers was historic, and the momentum we have created will continue throughout the year. Dallas is truly the marketplace of choice for buyers seeking new products and inspiration.”

Exhibitors and buyers were also enthusiastic about their experience.

“We had a great time at the WESA show, including opening 22 net new accounts, a verbal agreement with a big retailer, we brought on two new distributors and networked with numerous independent reps,” said Anson Gessel with Bear Knuckles.

“This place is electric. This brings our Western industry to a new level; this venue is wonderful for our industry. It is first-class. The retailers are here, they’re shopping and they’re excited,” said Ryan Vaughan, president and CEO, Rios of Mercedes.

First-time exhibitor Jason Lenox with J. Alexander commented: “We were thrilled! It was busy and people were writing great orders and for us it was probably 80 percent new business.”

Exhibitors in product categories such as gift and home décor also experienced steady traffic and business. New WESA member Cathy Scholin, who owns the Cathy & Co. showroom in the Trade Mart, added: “We had a very good experience and I think overall we had a good show! We will do it again!”

Supporting the comfort, health, and safety of all attendees, the market center will continue measures that include mandatory face covering and temperature screening for every person entering the marketplace every day. Other efforts include low contact entry via online preregistration as well as enhanced cleaning with hospital grade products, hundreds of hand sanitizing stations, and signage for social distancing. Along with these new steps, there are safety measures that are part of the natural design of the marketplace: open parking, large entryways, quick registration in multiple areas, wide hallways, multiple escalators to every floor, and showrooms with controlled access to allow for the appropriate distance between customers.

The next WESA International Western/English Apparel & Equipment Market takes place August 26 - 29, 2021. Buyers and exhibitors can sign up starting on April 1, 2021. 

Photos are courtesy of WESA Facebook.