ENK International has named David Kahan president of ENK Footwear Group. Along with developing and implementing the company’s plan to expand the WSA and Sole Commerce shows, Kahan will also be responsible for creating new domestic and global footwear opportunities for the trade show organizer.
First order of business, Kahan says, is to re-energize the Las Vegas-based WSA show, which he describes as once the crown jewel” of the footwear industry. “Footwear needs a show that is as exciting and comprehensive as its industry,” Kahan says. “Right now, no show—including WSA—is showcasing fashion, comfort and athletic categories in its entirety.” Kahan adds, “Retailers need one location where they can spend two to four days getting a clear understanding of the season’s trends, marketing opportunities and other business tools in a single environment dedicated to footwear."
Kahan lauds ENK’s roster of 29 apparel shows (includes Coterie, Collective and Children’s Club) for their “unique energy” and says he hopes to translate the vibe to WSA via well-merchandised selling floors and daily show magazines. “I want to utilize the talent, skill, knowledge, dedication and creativity that makes ENK a leader in apparel trade shows,” he says. Capitalizing on the synergy between WSA and the upscale Sole Commerce show, which is held bi-annually in conjunction with the Coterie show in New York, is another key item on Kahan’s agenda. “There’s opportunity for brands to cross-over, reach new calibers of retailers and vice versa,” he notes.
Having worked both extensively in the retail and wholesale sides of the footwear business for nearly 30 years, Kahan believes he knows what both sides of the equation demand from a trade show experience to qualify it as a success. “I understand the needs of both constituents and can connect those dots,” he offers. In addition, Kahan believes most footwear professionals would say it’s nice to have “one of their own” in a leadership role.
Kahan broke into the shoe business in 1981 as a Macy’s buyer and later crossed into executive positions at Nike, Fila and Russell Corporation, before joining Reebok in 2002. He joins ENK most recently from Reebok subsidiary, Rockport, where he held the position of senior vice president of U.S. sales. Tom Nastos, president of ENK International, says Kahan’s skill set, tenacity and well-seasoned track record as a footwear executive prove he is capable of galvanizing ENK’s strength as a bi-coastal resource for retailers and exhibitors.
One of Kahan’s first directives has been to shift the footwear show management and sales team to ENK’s New York headquarters with a strong presence in Los Angeles and possibly other regions of the country down the road. “My intention is to make WSA the most comprehensive and shoppable experience for retailers, and where vendors get the return they wish for on their investments,” Kahan says.