Anyone here hitting/showing at the MAGIC or WSA shows?

Was thinking of heading down to Las Vegas for the one of the above to hook up with some new potential clients/brands.

Any comments about either of the shows? compared to BBB?

What is the format of the shows? Are the booths closed for appointment only, or open as some other shows such as ISPO/BBB?

Obviously WSA is more footwear focused but have been recommended that MAGIC is better for lifestyle and sport footwear… (?)



Give me a call and I’llgive you the lowdown…ph# is in my email sig


Hi Richard,
I’ve been attending WSA for around 5 years now. Basically, it’s set up in two venues…usually one at each end of the Vegas strip. In the Sands Expo Center, you’ll find two floors; the “basement” is first cost, very low end. The main floor is branded; I’ve noticed mainly mens, branded and athletics. A wide target customer range there. In the Venetian suites, (which you get to by the elevators next to the Sands), you’ll find high end or branded that can afford the suites. One downfall about exhibiting in the suites is that there is not as much foot traffic there because the security is so high and the demand for those brands is a bit less than the mid-tier brands.

(…The show is now held in the Las Vegas Convention Center & The Venetian. Scratch the Sands Expo.)

The booths that are in the Convention Center…you can just walk around and browse. Some of the major brands; Sketchers, Kenneth Cole, Sperry Top Sider etc. require that you have an appointment. Others will let you come in and look around.

I think this show is very beneficial. Not only are you exposed to what other companies are doing trend-wise but you’re able to network and attend some great parties.

I highly recommend the opening night party. There is a cocktail/dinner reception prior to the entertainment where CEO’s, reps, designers, etc. all come together for good drink & food. It’s a great time.

For more info:
Also, I highly recommend booking your hotel and flight through their travel services online. They’re a fourth of what you’d pay otherwise.

I’ll be attending the WSA show… first timer… should be fun

thanks for the comments, everyone.

still working on my arrangements to see if ill make it out to LV for the shows. if so, would be good to have a mini core meet up perhaps?


Rich: I find Magic to be a MUCH better show with more inspiration, more to see and more in touch with trending.

WSA has become a very closed off and boring occassion IMO.

It’s kinda like those Mac vs. PC commerials…LOL

Rich – Contrary to Tony’s I had very positive experience at WSA a couple years ago. Although Tony and I both made our first trips to WSA with no previous pro footwear design experience, our approach was a little different.

I didn’t take a portfolio. Following the advice of a well-known design director I’d already met, I didn’t want to appear to need a 30 minute chunk of someone’s schedule for them to see what I had to offer. I basically condensed the highlights of my portfolio into a brochure, 8.5" x 11", folded to 5.5" x 8.5". It featured about 10 shoe designs, presentation renderings only. The outer cover was designed to also serve as a self-mailer. It contained a short bio in paragraph form, not bullets, followed by all my contact info. I wanted it to read more like a sales brochure than a resumé. Although I hadn’t done footwear professionally, I had 10 years experience as a graphic designer in communications and marketing, which served me well in preparing this way.

I made no appointments with any brands. I simply approached brands which looked interesting, or which I thought might have some interest in me. That turned out to be about 40 or 50. All the brands of course have a counter out front, stationed by a company employee or hired hottie (or two). When I approached, all I carried was a small messenger bag tucked behind me and one of my brochures in my left hand. My typical greeting was, “Hi, is your design director or any product development person here at the show?” About half the time, the answer was no, to which I replied something like, “I’m a freelance designer. Do you mind seeing that this brochure gets passed on to that person at some point?”, and then tried to get a read on their response, as I sort of stepped away to appear as if I might walk on—though I never actually walked on unless I sensed the person was done with me. But I was surprised by how many of those people said something like, “Hold on a minute, I’ll give it to someone right now who might have a minute to talk.” That happened a lot.

Over the course of two days, I actually got inside the booth and met with probably 14 to 18 brands, some of which I’d never heard of and some of which are very well known. In the end 2 of them developed into paying work, and 1 became a contact who gave me a lot of advice on presentation and technical renderings over the next few months. That was very valuable to me, given my lack of experience.

That’s my experience. Take it for what it’s worth. This is in no way to discredit Tony’s opinion of WSA. I know Tony fairly well, and his story is no doubt legit. I think your success rate at WSA depends heavily on your approach. And I received some GREAT advice beforehand about the portfolio part.

I hope you didn’t stay up too late reading this novel.

Oh, my Bad-

Rich I thought you were going to look at trends and for inspirational purposes. If you are going to present your stuff, Ryan’s idea sounds great! I would say my approach was not as good…but it did serve it’s purpose in the end.

good suggestion, thanks.

I’d be going to the shows more for making contacts, than inspiration, but seeing good stuff doesnt hurt either.

At the moment, I’m looking more at attending the MAGIC/Project/United/Pool shows than WSA based on what I’ve heard here and elsewhere.

One other thing-

any good suggestions for hotels that are nice, but not too much $$$. Off the strip is OK too, as long as its not too far away, I suppose.

I’m traveling on my own dime instead of corporate account :wink:


Rich, you’re in the same boat as me, first time I went to a show in LV. I looked for the cheapest place I could find. If you really, really don’t care how nice the place is, the Airport Howard Johnson will do. I stayed there a couple years ago. It was old and run down. If I’d had my wife and kids with me, I’d have sprung for someplace nicer. When my shuttle pulled up to the place, I cringed a bit, and checked in anyway. After all, I like camping. How could it be worse than sleeping in a tent in the woods? But, unlike the front lobby, my room was clean, had a good AC, the shower had good water pressure, and the iron worked fine. Little else mattered. I was by myself and all I did was sleep there. I think I payed around $50 a night.

F the airport hotel RK…The Riviera has huge suites for about $100 night that are not bad and the poker room is very good there for texas holdem! Its also in walking distance to the LVCC. Its your best bet on your own dime


I’ve been spoiled too much by corporate travel to go as low as the HoJo’s…

looking online, seems that I can get a decent place on the strip for not too much. Looking at maybe Luxor, New York New York, MGM Grand, Tropicana, or Monte Carlo.

Anyone been to any of those?

i’ll check out the Riviera too. thanks.


Rich, I roomed at Luxor for WSA last February. From my receipt…

Fri. 2/2 - $229
Sat. 2/3 - $294
Sun. 2/4 - $130
Mon. 2/5 - $87

not bad. found a deal at the MGM Grand. seems to have good reviews. also looking at Treasure Island now since its a bit closer to LVCC and more central on the strip.

Likely hit MAGICProject/United shows and skip WSA and Pool.


Not a fan of the MGM… try to stay in one of the new towers if possible…

I actually stayed at Paris and found it to be reasonably priced and very nice. I think I bought a flight/room combo on travelocity.

OK, booked.

26-29 for MAGIC/Project/Pool. Treasure Island. good package hotel/air from expedia (had the same on travelocity but more expensive).

anyone else going drop me a line- would be great to hook up at the shows or off the strip.


i’m going to be at both WSA and Magic…trying to look at it as a small paid vacation :confused:

WSA is definitely a more “serious” show and kind of gets boring after the first couple of hours, but if you do want to meet with designers and have a quick talk with them it might be the right occasion since overall the show is quiet and people in general have more time to sit around and chat.

Magic is better for mingling/partying and even though may be more hectic it is easier to approach people and start off a conversation without being snobbed away.

I think it all also depends on what kind of company you are looking for too.

anyway good luck!



I’ll be seeing you over at the Heyday booth at United right? The cocktails are on me…