The Buyers Market was up for us this year. We are not alone. I saw a good number of people who looked happy and had good reports from most I talked to. The show has gotten smaller and buyer attendance has gone down. This year there were more buyers and the show is still small. Maybe that was good for those who did well but I think it was mostly an overall feeling of more enthusiasm. We have all had to dig deep within ourselves in the past few years to innovate. We had more new work and that made a huge difference. There are buyers who had taken several years off who came back. I am writing this in hopes that those with wholesale experience will consider giving the show a try again. For you newcomers, do your homework before testing these waters. I would be glad to mentor any out there and swap notes with you old timers.
It was encouraging to have a decent show and know that there were still many buyers who are not coming. Hopefully, enough of us did well to spread the news and have the show grow again. I am on the Artist Adviory Committe for the show and I can tell you the show is in good hands under Rebecca Rosen Mercado's direction.
I see the show as a fruit tree that has been pruned and is starting to bud again. For those of you who don't know me (probably most of you) I have been making art glass with my wife, Carol O'Brien for thirty years. We have been doing wholesale since 1985. willseaobrien.com
Ps. I went to the symphony at the Kimmel Center on saturday night and experienced a wonderful performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2. I had some binoculars and one of the cello players looks like my brother! On to Florida!
I have never done the Acre shows so I can't comment on them specifically. I have done the Buyers Market twice and will do it again this year. First year I didn't write many orders; last year all my first year orders re-ordered and I pick up a lot more orders including some people I talked to the first year but who did not order until they saw me the second year. I made a profit in year 2. This year, I am hoping for an even better show plus I am doing an additional wholesale show. I am doing fewer retail shows and more wholesale and online sales for 2104.
It was fun seeing you again, Diane, at the Buyers Market last winter. Very cool that it is now profitable for you. You have a nice range of jewelry and price points which I am sure helps you find your buyers. Are you thinking about doing the Beckman show in Chicago?
i am doing acre northeast in 2014, a first timer at wholesale. after reading this thread i am second guessing myself. wondering what i should expect? orders? no orders?
You can call me @ 585 374-8840. To answer your question it would be best to have a conversation and not just swap replies on a public forum
How to get the inside scoop on the success of any trade show or retail fair.
1) Get the list of exhibitors and call a few in your category.
2) Take a look at the return rate for artists. (This doesn't work well for small juried shows) but it does for mega shows. A show with a 50% return rate is not a good show. An 85% return rate is spectacular.
3) Visit the show and watch who is doing business. Count the luxury cars in the parking lot.
4) Is the show growing or shrinking?
5) Who are the sponsors? Is there an entrance fee?
6) Ask about the advertising plan and media outreach plan.
7) Write out your expectations and costs BEFORE the show happens. Stick to your guns.
Great tips, Wendy. I especially like "stick to your guns." I attended an outdoor retail show in Palm Springs last year and noticed the valets parking the luxury cars, always a good sign.
Glad to see that BMAC is a topic here. I'm the Director of the Arts Business Institute, and we put on the workshop for new artists during the show, which was extremely well-received. Speakers talked on Wholesale 101, Salesmanship, Gallery Relationships, Creative Marketing, Social Media, Pricing, Copyrights and more.
I also had an opportunity to walk the show for several hours, as we profile artists on our blog at the ABI website www.artsbusinessinstitute.org, and I write the blog.
Of the artists I spoke with, most were happy or very happy. I agree with Paul that sales were generally up. There were a few disappointments (one exhibitor who did very poorly - one of his biggest accounts had replaced his line with a cheaper one from China, how depressing). But I think the whole mood is positive and hopeful, which we need in this industry.
I had a production studio for over 20 years, but have not done the BMAC show since 2001 when I closed my studio. Over the years I did visit BMAC to walk the show a few times, and have friends who have continued to exhibit. There have been a few lean years, for sure, which is distressing, but I think this reflects the economy overall. We are looking forward to things getting better - not only at wholesale, but for artists and craftspeople doing retail as well.
The year I did ACRE as an emerging artist, those 2000 registered buyers never materialized. The best thing that happened was that I made 2 great friends.