Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wholesale Shows, Where and Who?

This is the fourth in a series of posts about wholesale craft shows.

Wholesale shows can be regional, or national, or perhaps even international. Shows such as the New York Gift Show will have importers as well as craft artisans from the United States and Canada. The size of the show will impact, to some degree, the numbers of people who come to the show, and how far people will come from to the show. The two big wholesale shows in the world of craft are The Rosen Group Buyer's Market of American Craft (referred to as the Rosen show, or BMAC) in Philadelphia, and The American Craft Council Wholesale Market (ACC) in Baltimore. BMAC occurs in both February and August, and the ACC show is in February. These shows draw buyers from gift shops to top galleries, and from local shops to galleries from across the country.

There are Gift Shows that occur all across the country. Boston, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. George Little is one of better known promoters for these shows. Some of these shows are geared toward specialty retailers, others are for anyone selling gifts. Some have a reputation for lots of importers and very little work in the "fine craft" category. Before doing a show, visit if you can. At the very least, talk to other artists who have done the show to try and find out if it is the right show for you. A great resource for finding out about shows is some of the forums online, such as at the Craft Report website, or American Craft Forum. Like all online groups, the traffic and intensity of conversation can vary over time, and the quality of information can vary. But the archives can be a good resource, and a way to get a range of experiences and opinions.

Who is at wholesale shows? Primarily Vendors and Buyers, naturally. But there are other people who will visit a show. People from various publications will go to a show to see what new things are out there. Being prepared with some press kits to leave in the show office is a good idea. You never know what kind of publicity you might be able to generate by bringing materials to a show. My work was featured in two different publications due to ACRE. and at least 8 or 9 copies of the press kit were picked up at the show. Those articles have led to phone calls and inquiries from shops and galleries.

Next, and last in this series....How??

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