Here I am again at another market.
In the cab on my way to the Westin, I realized this is about my 8th or 9th time in Atlanta (in 8 years) and I have finally found myself comfortable with the market routine. I am sharing a room with my retail friend Sandee from K.C. This is her first time attending the Atlanta Market and I found myself talking her slowly through it like I was preparing her for her first year of college. The right shoes, the right bag, condense your purse, get your book, plan your route, start at the top, work your way down with the stairs or escalators, look for showrooms you already order from, stumble upon the rest. Eat breakfast, power bar lunch, good dinner. How funny the things you learn over time. I can remember my first market ever- High Point! Can you believe it?!! I had no expectations. I remember being surprised by how dressed up everyone was. These were the power hitters of retail. I also remember thinking I was supposed to see every showroom of every floor in every building and tent. I really did. And believe me, I tried. I have since learned one simple lesson: Take it easy.
The only time I am ever away from the store is when I am working for the store shopping at market or antiquing. It's always an ordeal, it's tough, it's long, it's hard, there is never enough money, or research or hours- so you have to learn to do what you can as there will always be something fabulous you will miss (and a lot of junk you want to).
The second best advice is networking. Talk with vendors, showroom managers, other retailers about the business. Learn you are not alone in your worries, success, highs, lows or failures. How often do we get to do that at home? Also share in your finds, good values, fun showrooms, great ideas. This might help us think we see it all.
Hope to see some of you in the WESTIN LOBBY BAR, Sunday night, 6:00.
Hang in there.