Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Which Market?

From a reader:
Thanks so much for sharing your experience at the Atlanta Gift Show! You have NO idea how much I've learned from you and your blog! Background on me - I received my business license in August. I plan on opening a small retail home/lifestyle boutique this year. I have a few questions and any insight you are able to provide would be SO appreciated!... Tonya

Q: Is the Atlanta Gift Show the show you would recommend attending over all others?
A: Yes, Atlanta has a better selection to choose from than the others. But- I like to attend all of them at least once to compare vendors as you never know what you will find. None are easy and they all have bad product somewhere. After you experience them all (and you should) you will decide on your favorites.

Q: Is it possible to initially buy for your store without attending a Market first?
A: Sure, if you research and order catalogs. Vendors get inquiries all the time. I call and email for anyone I hear about all year long to add to my stash. Buying doesn't just happen during market, shop owners buy all day every day 24/7. The more resources the better.

Q: Would you delay opening a store until you COULD attend a Market?
A: Depends on the style of your store. If you don't need a lot of new items there is no harm in it. But if you want unusual things no one has seen you need to do your homework and market is where that gets done. Keep in mind the saying: you have one chance to make a first impression. Opening your store while still building and creating it as you go along will take longer for a buzz to happen about your shop. Impress them right off the bat.

Also, many buyers are at market to buy for their store that will be opening soon. Have your retailers license, tax ID and a 'fake' business card with all your info for delivery. Look as legitimate as possible. Higher-end vendors will be more suspicious because they care how they are represented and the style and reputation of your store (and higher minimums), but smaller vendors just want to sell.

Q: I attended the Seattle Gift Show this summer - what a let down! I
think there was only one vendor that shared the same vision as myself.
A: Welcome to the world of retail!! This will happen even at the best shows only on a larger scale. This is why it is so much work to hunt for the items you need. Keep in mind these markets are supplying hospital gift shops, drug stores and all styles of gift and home decor shops. There is a lot of bad design out there. Keep your blinders on.

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