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Footwear & Accessories Business Conference

Be sure to schedule time for this important business conference. Developed specifically to give you the critical information, ideas and inspiration that will impact how much you sell—and how much you profit—next season. Review the descriptions below, then sign up for the sessions you want. Don’t delay—many popular sessions sell out.


Complete List Of Seminars

MONDAY, July 28, 2008

Step-by-Step Orientation for Buyers New to The WSA Show
Speaker: The WSA Show Retail Relations Team
Time: 7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: Complimentary

Learn the ins and outs of navigating The WSA Show, including The Collections at WSA located at The Venetian. Discover the tools available to help you find what you’re looking for while making the show a fun and profitable business experience. If you have never been to The WSA Show before—or could use some practical guidance—this short session will save you time and energy.

Make Your Inventory More Profitable
Speaker: Paul Erickson
Time: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

This session examines the truly important things that you should be aware of to maximize your inventory productivity. Learn the essential starting point in effectively managing inventory, pricing techniques to maximize your profits and review the five common mistakes buyers make at trade shows. The presentation includes specific suggestions you can take home and begin implementing immediately to improve your bottom line.

Paul Erickson
presently serves as senior vice president, client services, of RMSA.
Widely recognized for his talents as a retail educator, Erickson has conducted seminars throughout North America on topics that include fundamentals of retail merchandising, strategies of merchandise planning, maximizing inventory productivity and why customers shop. Erickson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. in Marketing.

How Much Should I Buy?
Speaker: Mort Haaz
Time: 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

This buyer’s session details the needs, benefits and workings of the open-to-buy process. Retailers learn how to set up a buying plan to ensure leaner, better-balanced, faster-turning inventory with fewer markdowns and a positive cash flow. Whether your store is new or old, small or large, if you want to improve your bottom line, this is the session for you.

Mort Haaz has been involved in retailing since 1965 and has owned and operated small and large single stores, as well as multiple-unit operations. In 1970, Haaz developed an open-to-buy system for his own use and in 1985, began marketing his system to other retailers as The OTB Book. In 1987, he introduced The OTB Book as IBM-compatible software. In addition to presenting seminars and consulting with other retailers, Haaz writes articles for trade publications and markets and supports The OTB Book software.

Key Insights into Today’s Footwear Consumer

Speaker: Marshal Cohen
Time: 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

Marshal Cohen brings new and updated information on the key fashion trends that influence footwear sales today. Find out what motivates customers to buy, where they shop and which brands have the most consumer loyalty. This program presents research and expert insight into the footwear market from the consumer’s point of view, including how shoppers make their purchase decisions and what they think about specific brands.

Marshal Cohen
is chief industry analyst for The NPD Group. He shares 28 years of experience in manufacturing, retailing, product development and data analysis with NPD’s clients, the fashion market and the media. Cohen makes frequent appearances on NBC’s Today show and has been seen on ABC’s Good Morning America, The CBS Morning News, CNN and CNBC. He is the author of a best-selling marketing book, Why Customers Do What They Do.

Pantone Color Trends for Spring/Summer ’09 and Beyond

Speaker: Tod Schulman
Time: 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

This premier color trend company shares the entire range of Pantone’s color palettes, shades and themes for spring/summer ’09 and beyond. Find out which color palettes you should be looking to buy for next year. Don’t miss this opportunity to stay on top of the color trends for fashion, which directly affect what your customers will be looking for in footwear.

Tod Schulman brings almost 25 years of experience in the men’s and women’s fashion industries to Pantone Inc. In his capacity as vice president for the fashion and home division, he has been instrumental in changing the image of PANTONE for fashion and home color system. His experience within the apparel market has enabled him to edify clients on the importance of color in the design process.

Schulman sits on the forecasting panel for Pantone’s own color forecast product and is a member of the American Color and Trends Committee. He has been highly quoted throughout his career at Pantone in both consumer and professional publications.

Schulman began his career as an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale’s and worked as women’s clothing product manager and buyer for Allied Stores. He served in a dual capacity as both fashion director and director of merchandising for Burlington Knits a division of Burlington Industries, then providers of circular knits to such companies as Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Benetton.

TUESDAY, July 29, 2008

Create a “Contagious Experience” for Your Customers: Marketing, Customer Service & More!
Speaker: Anne Obarski
Time: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

Marketing, customer service and creating a customer experience is key to a successful retail operation. Learn how creating a “Contagious Experience” for your customers drives them to your business the first time and makes them come back again and again.

Discover the four important areas that impact your customers—marketing, providing outstanding customer service, making your business memorable and creating an experience—and make potential customers notice your business, even before they connect with you. You will take away tips and techniques that you can use right away.

This session is perfect for anyone looking to bring in new customers and satisfy current clients. If you are responsible for marketing or customer service for your retail operation, or if you’re a department manager, you’ll find important information here!

Anne Obarski
is executive director of Merchandise Concepts, a retail-consulting service that works with companies of all sizes that want to develop profit-building strategies to keep their customers coming back. She developed a mystery shopper service, which has shopped more than 2,000 stores nationwide, searching for excellence in customer service.

Obarski is a popular speaker and has written and co-authored several books on retail customer service and sales. Her retail experience also includes being a junior sportswear buyer for the May Co., now part of the Macy’s group.

Fashion Trends for Spring/Summer ’09

Speaker: Ellen Campuzano
Time: 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

See what shoes and apparel will look like a year from now. This comprehensive overview will point you in the direction of what your customers will be buying for the fall/winter ’08/’09 season. See this trend forecast that looks at fashion from head to toe before you buy.

Ellen Campuzano
is the editor and publisher of fashionFACTSfolio, an e-mail bulletin newsletter for the footwear and accessories industry. FashionFACTS reports on designer collections, footwear and accessory trade fairs, street trends, what’s new, what’s hot and what to zoom in on.

Campuzano is also the founder and president of the Committee for Colour & Trends, the only color forecasting, trend tracking and consulting service in the United States for the footwear and accessories industry. Tracking these trends takes the committee’s associates to every corner of the globe, where they cover the major fashion collections, visit trade shows and shop retail. The information is then edited, digested and translated into the Committee’s fashion forecast presentations and publications.

Prior to starting the Committee for Colour & Trends, Campuzano held the position of fashion marketing vice president at Intershoe Inc., makers of Via Spiga shoes. She also developed a seasonal leather color forecast for Leather Industries of America, then known as the Tanners’ Council of America. Preceding her footwear and leather experience, she designed a handbag collection.

Campuzano is affiliated with the Fashion News Workshop and Roundtable of Fashion Executives.

How to Open and Run a Successful Store, Part 1

Speaker: Mercedes Gonzalez
Time: 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

One of the most popular sessions at The WSA Show, this is Retail 101. Part 1 includes how to select the best location; the who, where and how much to buy; and retail math, as well as advertising and promotion ideas that are tried and true. Whether you’re opening your first store or expanding your business, this session covers what you need to know. Get a good start, or a good refresher, from this retail industry expert.

Mercedes R. Gonzalez
is the director of the Global Purchasing Companies, a full-service buying office that plans and implements retail strategies with specialties in new store planning and streamlining established businesses. Gonzalez has been a buyer in the garment industry since 1988.

How to Open and Run a Successful Store, Part 2

Speaker: Mercedes Gonzalez
Time: 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

Part 2 of our Retail 101 series, presented by industry expert Mercedes Gonzalez, is essential to all business owners, whether new or with established stores.

Whether you’re just opening your first store or expanding your business, these elements are key: growth strategies, merchandising your store, hiring and training your sales team and loss prevention.

Mercedes R. Gonzalez is the director of the Global Purchasing Companies, a full-service buying office that plans and implements retail strategies with specialties in new store planning and streamlining established businesses. Gonzalez has been a buyer in the garment industry since 1988.

WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2008

Visual Merchandising: 10 Ways to Better Displays

Speaker: Sharon Leicham
Time: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

Good merchandising increases sales. That’s a fact. This seminar will give you easy ideas and techniques to create persuasive displays that will enhance the look of your products and store environment.

You’ll receive tips on the best use of color and light, as well as window dressing ideas and the latest merchandising techniques. The seminar includes resources for interesting shoe display fixtures and props, along with sources for hard-to-find merchandising Web sites, magazines and books.

Whether you just opened a new store, or are looking for ways to make your existing store more enticing, this is the session for you.

Sharon Leicham
is the author of Merchandising Your Way to Success and How to Sell to Women. She is the creator and principal of

Leicham has served as trade marketing manager and global marketing manager for Specialized Bicycle Components, director of merchandising and national sales manager for Royal Robbins, director of apparel merchandising for Sierra Designs and contributing and visuals editor for Outdoor Retailer magazine. She currently contributes a merchandising column for Specialty News (SNEWS) and Florist’s Review and writes for GearTrends and GearTrends Fitness magazines. She has contributed merchandising articles to Outdoor Retailer, Visual Merchandising & Store Design, Bicycle Retailer, Sporting Goods Business, Fly Fishing Retailer, Country Business, Dance Retailer News and Bicycle Dealer Showcase magazines.

Take the Mystery Out of Hiring Great Employees

Speaker: Kathryn Dager
Time: 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
Fee: $50

Hiring the right people is the most important aspect of building a business. How do you know who is right for your business, for your customers and for your success? How can you screen out unwilling, uncooperative, incompetent or disruptive people?

This 90-minute session shows you how to build a “good employee” hiring profile and gives you practical information on recruiting and hiring so you can attract and select employees who match the profile.

This session will teach you how to upgrade your team, increase employee retention and increase profits by hiring those employees who provide exceptional customer service (and are a pleasure to work with!). You will maximize human potential and turn payroll dollars into profit with this new technology of recruiting, hiring and selecting good employees.

Participants will receive a customized workbook with forms and tools that they can use to take action right away.

Kathryn Dager, founder and president of Profitivity Inc., is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant and trainer for small and large retail organizations. For more than 20 years, she has successfully created highly productive work environments and consistently turned dysfunctional work groups into aligned, productive, profitable teams. Dager has an M.S. in Psychology and is also an organizational development expert. She has authored two books, published several articles and offers a free monthly newsletter.

Dager is a retailer who knows the challenges of, and has found solutions for, many human resources issues. She has been a manager, trainer and assistant buyer for Bullock’s Wilshire; a buyer, recruiter and director of training for Robinson’s Department Stores; and regional HR and operations manager for General Nutrition Centers. Dager also designed and launched a chain of retail stores for the Carnation Co.