People ask me all of the time what it means to "go to market" and for those that understand it means a buying trip for the store, they ask what market is like. Well, it tends to be several long, tiring days, with a lot of brain work, but also a lot of fun! Each major city in the US (even some not so major) hold markets. I typically go to market in Los Angeles-- it's easy to hop on the Horizon flight right here in Santa Rosa and land in LA an hour and a half later. At some point I'll venture to Dallas, Atlanta or New York, but LA is just so easy! I generally plan two to three days at market which in LA is at the California Market Center (aka "the CMC"). My day starts around 7:30 as I head out the door for the relatively short commute downtown-- I usually stay with one of my best girlfriends and her husband on the west side, so getting downtown is just a hop on the freeway, which by LA standards is usually not that bad. During Market, the CMC is hopping with buyers, store owners, designers, reps, press and a dj spinning his or her tunes-- it's super energetic and from the moment I walk into the atrium, I'm excited and invigorated and ready to start the day! Just the mere buzz in the air is enough to get any fashion-lover's heart racing. After grabbing some coffee and a bagel or doughnut (they like to fuel you with complimentary goodies throughout the day to ensure that you don't run out of steam) , I head to my first appointment. The CMC's 3-million square feet occupy 13 floors and over 1000 showrooms. Lucky for me, I mostly stick to childrens and maternity on the sixth floor and then the occasional fifth floor showroom such as True Religion. The showrooms are usually set up like your favorite boutiques- fixtures and racks of clothes and accessories to sort through, the only difference being that there's just one of each item. As I sit and nosh on my goodies, the rep I'm working with will show me each collection by each designer, usually in order of possible delivery dates. As they hang each piece up on some sort of display wall (or on the floor when we run out of space), I tell them what I like and don't like. They remove the rejects and then move items around to pair tops with bottoms per my instruction (it's really kind of obnoxious when I think about it- I do a lot of sitting, pointing and directing). After we settle on a "story" for that delivery (a story would consist of items that can be displayed in the store together, whether by color or theme), we decide which sizes each item should come in-- should we bring that in for baby? Or just keep in toddler and big kid? Or is that too young looking for a size 7? If a big brother or sister wanted to wear this, then which coordinating piece should we do for the younger sibling? This continues collection by collection, designer by designer,, showroom by showroom and day after day... you can see why I said it's a lot of brain work! I can spend up to three hours in one showroom alone. By mid-day I'm ready for a break. I usually plan to hit a run way show or two but usually end up running out of time. But for those I have seen, even if just for a few moments, they're just what you picture--a lot of fun, energy, good music and excitement in seeing the styles and trends for the upcoming season. Lunch is served at some point on one of the floors, or if I'm working through lunch, then whichever showroom I'm working in will order lunch in. I eat and view more collections. By late afternoon, happy hour cocktails and goodies are served in one of the buyers lounges, but again, I generally work through that as well, so unless the showrooms are pouring champagne, I usually miss out. However, I always partake in the coffee and cookie carts rolling down the halls. By the end of the day, my bag filled with catalogs and sheet after sheet of orders is tugging on my shoulder, my dogs are barking and after another jaunt on the 10 West, I collapse in the comfort of my LA accommodations... until getting ready to go out that night. And then of course, I get organized and rested enough to do it all over again the next day.