Wonderful news from Rebecca Mercado, show director for the Buyers Market of American Craft (now called the American Made Show)! The Art Business Institute asked Mercado to share her insights after the Buyers Market show in February. According to the interview, attendees were up and exhibitors described the show as the best in 5 to 6 years!!
The State of Wholesale Crafts: A Show Director Speaks
ABI: The Buyers Market February show recently took place. What can you tell us about attendance numbers and sales results for the artists?
RM: Attendance was up by 12% over last year. Several exhibitors commented that it was their best show in 5 or 6 years, meaning sales that were back to pre-recession numbers. But that’s the high end of the spectrum. Overall, exhibitors were really pleased. Even exhibitors who didn’t make their sales goals at the show felt confident that the strong leads they acquired would become orders in the coming weeks.
Mercado continues the interview by explaining why some exhibitors do better than others during these shows. As a show attendee and exhibitors, I can attest to the wisdom of her advice:
ABI: You often speak with gallery owners about their needs and concerns. In your opinion, what are the most important things craftspeople should know about them?
RM: A big pet-peeve of buyers who attend our show is when an exhibitor lacks “booth manners” or salesmanship skills. Remember, retailers are sales experts. When they’re buying, they expect the same attentiveness that they give their own customers. Artists coming from the retail festival circuit often don’t realize how critical it is to be in their booth on time, to stand up, to SMILE… It’s amazing how just being alert and approachable will open you up to far more leads than someone who sits in the corner, reading a book and looking bored. (You know who you are!)
Make sure to check the link above to read the full interview with Rebecca Mercado. Hopefully, the positive feedback from the February American Made Show is a sign of a change in wholesale purchasing. I would like to think Wendy Rosen’s (and The Rosen Group) hard work in this area is reflected in the higher turn out of the show!