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FEATURE abpia US Against the WORLD Some of the bridal and prom industry’s brightest minds and biggest names have teamed up to take on the problem of global counterfeiting he American Bridal and Prom Industry Association was created with multiple objectives in mind. The bridal and prom industry needed an organization that represents all retailers, manufacturers, apparel marts, and any other entity that operates in our formalwear business. Critical situations often bring parties together. Such is the case with ABPIA. The onslaught of over 400 web sites ema- nating from China that are counterfeiting virtually all the prod- ucts sold through today’s traditional bridal, prom and social occasion outlets was the call to action leading to the formation of the organization. T What are the goals of the ABPIA? The goal of the organization is to do everything within its power to better the industry. The first major goal is to stem the tide of counterfeiting. In 2011, it is estimated that 500,000 illegal copies of merchandise arrived on shore. It is projected that as much as 600,000 units could arrive in 2012. Once the organization is successful, it will move on to other goals such as securing health in- surance for the industry. So many retailers, independent reps and small companies cannot afford insurance. The industry is large enough to be able to secure this if it pools resources. Other major issues facing the industry will be confronted. STEVE LANG There is a Board of Directors with nine members, including Stephen Lang (President—CEO of Mon Cheri Bridals), Bob Ca- hoon (Vice President—President of Maggie Sottero), Stuart Steinmann (Treasurer—CFO Mon Cheri Bridals), and Roanna Rose (Secretary—Owner of TJ Formals). Joining these board members are Peter Grimes (Owner VOWS: Magazine), Claudine Hamm (Principal, Alyce Designs), Michael Kasher (Owner, LaFemme Fashions), Susan McCullough (Senior VP, Chicago Apparel Mart), and Manny Ben Or (Owner, BrideClick.net). Legal counsel to the board is Mr. Craig Hilliard, senior partner at the law firm of Stark and Stark of Princeton, New Jersey. Craig is a seasoned intellectual property attorney. Withum, Smith and Brown is the accounting firm representing the association, also based in Princeton, New Jersey. How does the board operate? The board meets once a month via conference call and also meets at markets. Minutes are published after each meeting, and counsel joins them for each board meeting as well. Decisions are made by the group with a quorum required to approve matters. There are also subcommittees working on specific projects, such as advertising and public relations, membership, legal and other matters. How does one join the organization? How is ABPIA organized? The organization is an official 501C6 nonprofit organization. 24 PAGEANTRY There are annual dues to be a part of ABPIA. Retailer and in- dependent sales representatives dues are $100, apparel marts and