Wholesale Shows

We are heading up to Philadelphia next week for Buyers' Market of American Craft http://www.americancraft.com/BMAC/ We are planning to drive from St Louis, a little risky this time of year, but last year, we made it okay. Hotel rooms were fairly easy to get on Priceline, which could be a bad sign. Is anyone else going to the show and are there any other wholesale shows that you do?

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  • Another possibility, Brittany, if you don't feel like putting out all that money, is to visit the show and look it over to better gauge your chances of success if you did decide to do it.

    My husband did 2D work, very useful for licensing, stationery, etc., and several times I trekked to the Javits Center to the Licensing show and also the Stationery show for research---it was a lot of fun and I did meet some people that we did some licensing with later on. But I learned a lot just by attending and not having to put out the money.

    Also, I know Mary Strope personally of the ACRE show. I like what Don said about those folks. Mary is terrific, knows her stuff and definitely cares about crafts and the people who make them. She has your best interests at heart. In fact, she is a member here and is available, I'm sure.
  • Well thank you for your insight so far!! I think I might just suck it up and do both, I'll never know how they are as shows if I don't try 'em!
  • You know, I know several people who do BMAC and ACC, but haven't heard about anyone I know who does Beckman's. Wish I could help...
  • Yes I have considered doing the ACRE show but have heard it wasn't great. But it definitely looks like they're growing! And it is nice that they've put the statistics online!

    As for doing good at a gift show, I hope I have something! That's what we all strive for! : ) I think I might just try it and we'll see how it goes!

    I do have one question though, do you think it would be a good or bad idea to do both Chicago (Beckman's Handcrafted) and BMAC or just one or the other? Just trying to get multiple opinions on this issue!
  • Have you considered ACRE?
    I can't say that I would recommend it, for me it would be a toss-up between August BMAC and ACRE.

    We did ACRE in 2007 and 2008 and it wasn't very good for us and most of the people we knew. But we all agree that the Wholesale Crafts folks are good to work with and are trying hard and we all want them to succeed. They just got started at a poor time. Plus, some of us are not sure the Vegas is the best place to hold a handmade crafts show.

    One thing very cool that they have done is put their show statistics online:

    Glad to hear that you did well at a gift show. There is a small gift show near us in Collinsville Illinois that we have always avoided because it is a gift show. If you can sell well at a gift show competing against imports, than it seems to me you've got something.
  • Don, that's what I was thinking. I called and talked to someone at BMAC and told me what Wendy had said. I'm also hoping she's right because if these stores want to stay in business they need to have product!! And we're supplying the product so hopefully they'll buy!

    Anyway, the Minneapolis shows are gift shows, they aren't handmade by any means. But even so, I was among the few handmade booths there and for my expenses and the economy, I think I did pretty well. I've also had some follow-up orders, which is nice! I just want to expand and do some larger shows, but not spend a ton in expenses, like I would for say Atlanta! I was just thinking getting into BMAC would be nice because it's all handcrafted and that might be where i need to be! I guess I won't know until I do it!

    I guess I just want to make sure the August show is somewhat worth the $3000 in expenses I'd have to spend just to be there and set up!
  • So are the Minneapolis shows gift shows? If so, I would think that Philadelphia would be quite a bit different from them. We have never done gift shows, preferring to do wholesale handmade craft shows. But in answer to your question, I've always heard that the August show is worse than the February show. Now, at Wendy Rosen's Sunday morning talk last Feb, she said that the August show would be really good, because all of the buyers were buying just enough to get by in February and would find themselves short in August. Hopefully, she's right....
  • I'm trying to decide if i should do the August show there this summer. I know it's not as big as the Feb. show but was hoping it might be ok to do! I have only done 2 wholesale shows, both in Minneapolis this past Jan. & March. I am also thinking of doing Chicago this summer.

    Any suggestions or ideas or advice???

  • I used to do the ACE shows and sometimes the Rosen shows. I quit doing them when the amount of artists doubled and tripled and the cost of doing the shows also doubled and tripled. At the same time, the number of buyers declined, or, in the very least, stayed the same.

    I found that if I couldn't take $10000 in orders, it was a waste of time. Now that figure has to be $20000. Some jewelers and glass artists can take between $50000 and $100000 in orders.

    Having said that, I easily made my minimum and plenty of potters, woodworkers, etc. prefer wholesale. I just thought it wasn't worth the $3000 or so in expenses to risk if it bombed or there was a snowstorm and nobody showed up.

    I would be interested in how well people did this year. I may return to wholesale thing again.
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