Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Atlanta Market!

We're back from market!

Wow!  It was a great show.  Not a ton of surprises trend has actually helped me stay above trends by having a strong foothold in the handmade movement and being active in places like Etsy and Craftsy.  What I did see was a renewed enthusiasm from both buyers and vendors - I think everyone is ready to shake off the doldrums of austerity and let loose...a little.   Okay what did seem to be on trend?  Here's my short list:

  • nautical anything - anchors, stripes, knots, rope - even saw an uptick of mermaid stuff

  • woodland inspired - from cute creatures, to activities of fishing, hunting and camping.  (mushrooms were the big item in this trend and owls continue to thrive)

  • bold geometrics (such as chevrons).  Neon for kids and slightly muted for adult accessories and decor

  • vintage - duh.  reproduction linens, ball jars, anything you've seen on Etsy in the last three years.  (the hot trend was to retrofit vintage baskets, ball jars, even cheese graters into light fixtures)

  • handmade-ish knit and felted wool creatures either for children or morphed into home decor/gifts for adults.

  • accessories.  nearly every gift line is dabbling in jewelry.  We found some neat things to mix into the shop.

  • succulents - this doesn't directly apply to gifts and decor - but they were used in many showrooms.  Look for items such as terrariums or glass orbs to help display customers' collections.

Now for a little seen and heard...

  • Kurt S. Adler snagged the licensing for a line of Downton Abbey ornaments.  I totally wanted to order but C said no...too many of our customers prefer Duck Dynasty to we got this:

  • Also, at Kurt S. Adler, I walked in on a buyer's total meltdown.  OMG!  They usually have buyers for large stores and apparently none of the true decision makers were in the group.  Drama ensues and someone (some guy) nearly cried..."guys (choking back tears), I just don't want you to think I'm not pulling my weight!"..."Jeffery, just write a proposal and he will review it" - what what?  Y'all know we're shopping for Christmas ornaments, right?

  • Magnet Works probably lost my business 4ever.  I've been ordering for a while, like years.  I go to their booth, and it was like tumbleweed.  I'm greeted and the specific questions I ask are barely answered...okay, I ask for a catalog so I can look up the answers.  Nice lady grabs one out of a cabinet of 200-300 catalogs.  I'm flipping through it and trying to navigated their booth - which is a hot mess - stuff too high to sort through and a really awkward astroturf/stepping stone path that I kept tripping on.  "Can I just bring this catalog home tonight and give you a written order tomorrow?"  since this was just taking too long.  She asked for a business card and it's the ONE thing we forgot.  I explain; she scowls.  "No, sorry I can't"  "Really...I'm going to place an order, a reorder"  "Oh I guess"  Um yeah, retailers/vendors please take note!

  • We got kind of caught up in Building 2's upper floors of 16 through 18.  It's a lot of huge showrooms dedicated to rep groups.  So ultimately, millions of little booths...a bit of a headache to navigate.  We ended up finding these super precious items from the Aspen Companies, we found ORE products (a friend and I had had success with them in the past in another venture)...I don't know if they were exhausted but they had a little trouble identifying their best sellers...eek.  I looked into Sloane Ranger...I've been watching them for a while as they have adorable fabrics used throughout their bag collection, its just the zippers are HUGE and the labels...ridiculously huge, like someone driving 50 miles an hour can read it's a Sloane Ranger bag in detail as you walk along the street.  They had a few modifications in the zippers that I liked but the damn labels!  Then the very twee sales girl shows me a case of jewelry (see everyone is into accessories)...and she picks up these very twee anchor charms and seems mesmerized in their tiny, special, twee-ness and I don't even know what else, picking up each one and then repeating in the same order - saying little but how tiny and special they were. Everything was telling me "abort, abort"...I ask what the minimum is and she says $500 - uh bye.

  • I fell in love in the back room at Raz.  Well, with their closeouts. How long has everyone known about this???  Some of the case lots were ridiculously large (not as large as Sloane Ranger tags...but almost).  As one lady shopping next to me put it when she couldn't touch the case lots offered on most items  "My husssbannd sez wer smaall potatoes"  and yeah, I guess I am too.  But I got some fabulous finds and a good price I can pass on to my customers.

  • We made into the Market Buyers Club...Oh yai!  The Buyer's Guide detailed that based on our past attendance we now had access to two specialty lounges - ooh la la.  However, they were never on an actual floor where you would possibly want to shop.  Oh well, we were excited with the extra little mention on our we were big small potatoes, or something. 

I hope to get back a bit more often in the next couple years.  The trip actually confirmed for me that I'm still offering something of value to my customers and community.

So keep your eye on our main website for all the new market finds!

***not all pics are mine; each is linked back to their respective home on instagram.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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