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Meet Sannia Shahid of LA Men’s Market

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sannia Shahid.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sannia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started as an intern for the NTWRK agency, which was a multi-brand sales agency that represented Herschel Supply. Primitive, Native and other brands. At the time, I lived in DC where I was attending college but my siblings lived in LA. I came here to visit and one of my sister’s friends offered me an internship for the summer, it was an unpaid internship for 1 or 2 months for a couple of days a week. I was so excited my first day, I got all dressed up and showed up in heels. After I arrived, I quickly realized I was not wearing the right shoes for the job. They were in the middle of moving and had a temporary space at the time so there was nowhere to sit and my task was to blow up thousands of bags to get them ready for the Agenda tradeshow. However, I did not let anyone see me sweat even though my feet were on fire. I blew as many bags as possible and asked if I could return the next day because there were more bags that needed to be prepped for the tradeshow. The next day I showed up in tennis shoes and worked even faster. From there instead of a couple of times a week, I asked to come in everyday and even if there was nothing to do, I found something to do even if that was taking the trash out. I did not care, I was there to work.

After summer was over, I had to go back to college. I asked the owner, Kellen (now my business partner) if there was a job within the company for me and he told me no. This was heartbreaking because I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry and I found the company I wanted to do that with. The next day, I stayed home (which was a Friday) from my internship and thought what can I do? I know they needed me and I can really be an asset to the team. I decided to write an email to Kellen explaining why they needed me and what I can bring to the company along with a job description for myself. I received an email on Saturday from Kellen and all it said was…YOU ARE HIRED.

That is how my journey started. After that no matter what, I worked hard. I started as an executive assistant to Kellen. I asked questions when I did not know something, I took in every bit of information I could and stayed on top of everything as much as possible. I spoke my mind and gave my opinion but always made sure I had facts to back it up and knew what I was talking about. Being an executive assistant, I did not take my job lightly. I wanted to take things off from Kellen’s plate and if I could handle it, I would do my best to do so. Within a couple of years, I started an operation department for NTWRK, I had a team under me in LA and NY. We handled all operations and tradeshows.

I got promoted many times but I never let titles get to my head because all that matters to me is to work hard, be a team player because we are all trying to achieve the same goal which was the success of the company.

After that, Kellen had an idea to start a tradeshow by partnering up with other showrooms in DTLA to get more traffic to the showrooms for the in between seasons (Holiday and Summer) since there was no other shows during that time, all shows were geared towards Fall and Spring. The first season went great and we wanted to host LA Men’s Market twice a year. The first season I had a ton of responsibility so I wanted to take full ownership so I went to Kellen and asked if me and he can plan it moving forward.

We hosted LA Men’s Market for about four years together.

After four years, there was the merge of Herschel Supply and Ntwrk. This meant Herschel supply wanted to go in-house and hire everyone as a Herschel employee and there would be no more NTWRK agency. This put me in a bad position because I loved working for Herschel but that meant if I decide to stick with them, there would be no more LA Men’s Market. I couldn’t work for both companies at the same time. Everyone really wanted me to stick with Herschel. However, there was something in me that could not give up LA Men’s Market. I decided to go with LA Men’s Market and Kellen went to Herschel. I had to find an office, I had to make all the decisions and manage the staff. I was already doing that but it is different when you are running your own business and everything falls on you. Now I have been hosting LA Men’s Market for almost seven years twice a year.

I started from being an unpaid intern and had no idea where I was going to end up but I firmly believe if you work hard, there is always a path of success for you.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road is never smooth, without any challenges, struggles and being pushed outside your comfort zone you can not grow. There were many times people did not take me seriously when I started because I was a women. I had to demand respect and always speak up. I let my hard work speak for itself and never took the easy way out. I fought for my success.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the LA Men’s Market story. Tell us more about the business.
LA Men’s Market is a men’s trade event held twice a year in downtown Los Angeles.

The industries top brands from the contemporary, lifestyle, sportswear, footwear and accessories exhibit at LA Men’s Market. We attract buyers from the top trendsetting image boutiques, regional chain stores, online retailers and national department stores.

We pick top brands from each category. We create an intimate environment by curating the brand selection and taking out the white noise. We make it about getting business done.

We started from hosting LA Men’s Market on the 4th floor of the California Market Center in showrooms with 10-20 brands. Now the show takes over the entire 10th floor and we invite around 150 brands to join us. We are a small company which people do not believe, it is me and three freelancers that work for the company and the amazing interns we hire to help out.

The show is has themes each season, we give our attendance a new experience each season. The design and attention to detail from our pre, post-marketing to show floor is what sets us apart from others.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think we will see a shift to digital and the evolution of technology. I also feel a ton of designers are refocusing on being creative and not put the pressure of different seasons, the industry will move towards season less collections.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 110 E. 9th St. Los Angeles, CA 90079
  • Website: www.lamensmarket.com
  • Email: sannia@lamensmarket.com
  • Instagram: lamensmarket
  • Facebook: lamensmarket
  • Twitter: lamensmarket

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