Tradeshows Are In Good Hands

Written by
David Bedwell
Photography by
Johnathan Hokklo
A Profile of Erik Ulin


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Erik Ulin is not stressed out. Well, maybe he’s a little bothered by the 111 degree mid-August Las Vegas heat, or because he has to be in Vegas for ten straight days and he’s not really a Vegas kinda guy. But, nine months into his new position as President of Men’s Fashion for UBM Americas, Ulin is responsible for the men’s side of the business for Project, The Tents, The Collective, POOLTRADESHOW, and Magic, and he is not stressed out about the future of apparel trade shows. He is excited.


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In a recent phone conversation Ulin defined his new role at UBM as “a privileged position.” He continued, “I’ve gone from the outside to the inside,” referring to his move from being a one-brand guy to now being responsible for the multiple brands that choose to align themselves with the aforementioned shows. “And I find it liberating,” he adds. Asked what his main focus has been, and what changes we can expect from what I call the “formula” of the tradeshow and how it differs from the past, he wasn’t shy with an answer. “The focus has been to set the stage for us to really be a business partner for our brands and our retailers on a year-round basis, not just the limited time we spend together during our shows in New York and Las Vegas. Gone are the days of just providing a meeting space: we need to lead the development of the industry going forward. So, as part of this, we have organized educational events [called Swimlessons] for brands across our shows, bringing experts to give seminars on issues, such as legalities, logistics, social media, retail buying, etc. These are opportunities not only for networking, but for learning how to do business better.”


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A team player and leader, Ulin knows and understands that his “team” is important in helping to find a voice and direction for their brand partners. It’s refreshing to witness his clear understanding of an entity that has at times stagnated. “It’s no secret that this year has been and continues to be a challenging one for brands and retailers alike,” he said. “And we feel we can play an important role in working on improving how the industry functions.”


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I myself have had moments, standing at a gate in McCarran Airport waiting to board a plane, and thought thank god I’m leaving Las Vegas. Surely Erik Ulin could have those sentiments as well, but, chances are he will return with excitement and enthusiasm, because he is that kinda guy.