Keeping up with fashion trends can be exhausting, but thankfully, there are people like Patty Park to tell us what’s new and hot in the world of style. Along with partner Lisa Sohn, she runs 2.0 Agency, a successful fashion purchasing agency largely responsible for anything and everything retail fashion-related in Downtown LA.
What do you do?
We are a buying office in the LA Fashion District’s San Pedro Wholesale Mart. As the middlemen between the retailers and the vendors, we forecast trends that are happening in the San Pedro Wholesale Mart. Because we are located in the heart of it, we offer convenient and quick access to all the new merchandise in the stores. We have a team that is in the field every day to build relationships with the wholesales and to see what’s in stores. Furthermore, we can immediately deliver the merchandise to our clients. This is an advantage to their consumers who want to see new products constantly.
When and how did you decide to start-up 2.0 Agency?
We started a year and a half ago and are now connecting over 500 retail stores including international clients to the San Pedro wholesale community in the LA Fashion District.My business partner, Lisa Sohn and I decided to start 2.0 Agency because we wanted to give back to the Korean community. Because many wholesalers here speak English as a second language, Lisa and I, who are both Korean-speaking Americans, are able to have an easier time doing business with them. With hundreds of wholesalers selling nearly identical products, the competition is fierce.
How did you get the inspiration for the name of your business?
I’m personally a second-generation Korean American and it’s important to me that I give back. My father has also been in the fashion business for decades, so being here is really in my genes. That’s why my company has the ‘2.0’ in ‘Agency’. We’re here to bridge the gap.
Your field requires you to stay up-to-date with current and future fashion trends. How do you keep up with what what’s trending?
Our proximity to the wholesale stores gives us an advantage to stay-up-to-date with current and future fashion trends. We walk to these stores every day and are able to see what is in style at this very moment before any other retailer can see it. Additionally, my business partner Lisa Sohn, owns a women’s retail store on Melrose Avenue. This is where we put into effect our market research. Because 70% of her customers are tourist based, we get a firsthand look at how a wide spectrum of people shop. We also test new merchandise at the store and see which styles and trends are selling the most.
What’s an average work day look like for you?
Every Monday I stop by the flower mart and pick up fresh flowers which gives a fresh start to every week. We usually start the day with a staff meeting to go over what needs to get done and regroup. My day varies, but typically includes meeting or speaking with potential clients, and meeting with my business advisors to discuss future business development. We are always trying to come up with innovative ideas to keep our agency growing and expanding.
What advice would you give to people interested in pursuing fashion merchandising as a career?
Internships, internships, internships! Also, don’t be afraid to test things out and see what you like. Unless you try, you won’t ever know.
Lastly, what fashion trends should our readers be looking forward to this Fall season?
The fashion trends for this Fall will include Aztec prints and animal prints which have both been very strong since Spring. Also, look out for color block sweaters and blazers. For bottoms, high-waist pants in denim and palazzo wide leg style in knits will be big.
[Photos: Courtesy of Patty Park]