Agenda announced Monday that it has added Vanessa Chiu to its quickly expanding team in the newly created role of Women’s Sales and Marketing Director. The announcement comes on the heels of Agenda’s recently unveiled Vegas show, the first round of which will be held August 19-20, and the appointment of industry heavy weight and Electric Co-founder Mike Carter as VP of Sales and Marketing.
Putting in more than eight years at Insight as the brand’s U.S. marketing and PR manager, Chiu has immersed herself in what she considers “a true cross-over lifestyle brand” that encompasses fashion, lifestyle, ASR, and women’s contemporary--a skill set that will naturally lend itself to working with other brands in that sphere, and creating compelling ways for them to work with Agenda.
“I’m stoked to have had the opportunity to wear a gamut of different hats and most recently, being involved in opening Insight LA in Venice,” says Chiu. “It’s always been a creative ride and continues to inspire me.”
Jumping in to her new role at full speed, Chiu continues to build on her creativity around the women’s market, and is only in the beginning stages of brainstorming some huge initiatives for the show to better help engage and connect a female-centric audience of brands and retailers. We caught up with her in between meetings to hear more of her thoughts on where the women’s market is headed.
Congrats on the new position! How and why did you decide to make the move to Agenda?
I’ll always be a die hard Insight-er. Insight has been an amazing creative ride, and continues to blow my mind with inspiring creative apparel. I wasn’t looking to move on from Insight. For years, I’ve known and worked with Aaron. I’ve witnessed first hand how Agenda has transformed the tradeshow environment and evolved themselves into a brand vehicle. The massive potential for growth from the men’s and women’s lifestyle brands’ need is there, paired with the new partnership resources and fearless innovative platform make it a win-win formula.
Coming from the apparel/brand side of the action sports industry, especially working closely with women’s and juniors, what is your overall take on the market?
Brand education is literally at our fingertips and fashion at the click of a mouse. With the fashion oozing out of our computers and fast fashion getting faster, we need to get creative and connect quicker, and more authentically with our women’s audience in a more meaningful and memorable way.
What do you think are some of the best ways trade shows can promote, better recognize, and elevate the women’s side of the business?
It’s all about engagement, like the telephone game. Starting at the brand with their story, inspiration and design, to the media, to the retailer, then your goal--the consumer.
What specific initiatives will you be putting in place and executing during this next round of Agenda shows, and what do you hope to achieve this year in building on the women’s specific platform?
First, curating a dedicated women’s-focused section. Second, aligning female-centric media and partnerships. Third, building a female-centric women’s social media platform to engage and house all girly, pretty things.
Sounds amazing. Can’t wait to see that come to life at the show moving forward! Coming from the brand side, what is your take on the current state of action sports tradeshows? What do you think can be done to make the shows more valuable to retailers, buyers, and brands?
There are so many lifestyle, emerging, and cross-over brands that are popping up and equally as relevant as the heritage brands. The tradeshow environment needs to accommodate and balance both. Tradeshows are traditionally viewed as primarily for sales, rather than a marketing tool. By increasing the connectivity between the Brand to Media to Retailer to Consumer, you’re instantly streamlining their ROI.
What have you been hearing from women specific brands as far as feedback about building a women’s component to the show?
The feedback has been nothing but positive and everyone I’ve spoked to has been really excited and supportive about Women’s at Agenda. As of late, Agenda has expertly curated what they know best…in a male-centric voice. Adding a Women’s program is a very natural evolution.
What do you think are the most crucial elements Agenda, as a tradeshow and a brand, offers the industry?
Agenda has continued to create a great meeting place where streetwear, sneakers, skate, and surf lifestyle brand can converge. A meeting of the minds.
What do you think is the biggest opportunity for Agenda moving forward? The biggest challenge?
Agenda is a great progressive platform and continues to form symbiotic partnerships. The next big opportunity to take note of is Modern Assembly show in Vegas this August, a great strategic alliance where Agenda, Capsule, Liberty, MRket, AccessoriesTheShow, and Stitch join forces to curate over 2,500 brands at the lovely Venetian.
What are you most excited about in taking on this new role?
I respect what Aaron and Agenda have done to encompass the surf lifestyle, street, skate, and sneaker industry. I’m excited to help extend the support for the women’s sector.
Any closing thoughts you’d like to throw in here?
Yes. Girls rule.
Agreed. Thanks Vanessa!