A brand new virtual showcase with the potential to revolutionize the trade show industry is set to debut next March.

The brainchild of Kele Meenan, a former Regional Director for Triple Five Soul and International Sales Director for Robin’s Jeans, the Forward Global Trade Show, bowing Mar. 2-3, 2010, will bring together 300 handpicked brands and industry experts in an interactive online environment.

Meenan says Forward is her way to give back something special to the industry, by lowering the price to do business and raising the level of convenience.

For one, vendors will be able to feature their products in easily customizable virtual “exhibit hall” web-stands for a cost of $3,500, with the option of adding two additional brands for $500 each. Those stands could include video of their runway shows or other real-life modeling. At the same time, they will also be able to invite their own attendees as well as see who visited their “booths,” how long they stayed and how they like to be serviced. Subsequently buyers can place orders at the click of a button. Sellers, buyers and special guests could also communicate with each other via chat sessions, one-on-one IM, video conferencing and blogs, compatible in five languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Italian). Some 3,000 buyers are expected for the inaugural showcase.

“With this virtual trade show, everybody has a voice. This is the first and only platform that helps vendors showcase their goods and bring the latest fashions to market quickly, productively and cost-effectively,” Meenan explains.

Other features of the service include the ability to control who can enter web-stands, 24/7 technical support and detailed lead reports post-show. The plan is to archive the “live” show for three months, after which the next show will be held. Forward will have two shows the first year and up to four, one every three months, beginning in 2011. A virtual tour is currently available on the home page.

—Tim Yap