To Market, To Market Atlanta November 09 2013, 0 Comments
The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market is this week in July, which means hundreds of thousands of retail buyers, designers, decorators and people of the trade will be flooding the streets of ATL. The Market is where big chain retailers as well as small mom and pop shops (this is where we fit in!) discover new goods and take away emerging trends in the industry. I will be looking for the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons color schemes as well as goods that I think will interest and inspire you (our readers, customers & fans)and be a perfect fit for bömisch!
Typical two days at the market ☛
Day 1: Early morning start. Coffee, music on my iPod and a six hour drive from Durham, NC to ATL. I arrive into downtown around lunch. Park and check into the hotel. I have decided to use the same hotel as last year to add some familiarity and consistency to the trip. I figure this can only help to save time and smooth out the process. It is only the second time bömisch will be attending the Atlanta Market, and there are so many things to learn and see that I didn't want to add to the unknown. Also, the hotel is about 8 blocks from the market, which is key! I then hurry to my room, freshen up, clear my head and get back down to the sidewalk. The streets are packed with attendees dressed in their most hip attire. After all, buyers from every store that offers home furnishings, decor and gift items (America and beyond) is here. This means Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, West Elm, Urban Outfitters, the decorator for the most fab celebrity home, the list goes on.
Arriving at the AmericasMart main building in downtown Atlanta is a bit overwhelming the first time. Crowds of people waiting for their badges swarm the lobby. Once I am checked in, I wander the floors and walk into any vendor booth that appeals to me. I usually can tell by the window displays if the products inside are a good fit for bö and our customer demographics. I always make a list of the types of items I am seeking to add to the shop, prior to attending the show. This is important and has saved me countless times from going off on a whim for some gadget that is oh so cool, but doesn't fit our shop. It is very easy to get distracted by all of the lovely products and happy to help you, overly friendly, sales reps. If I don't love the item now, I am not going to later. I stick to my gut feeling. By the end of the day my feet and legs are tired and I am mentally exhausted from trying to keep track of the items and vendors I saw. I take notes and photos while I walk around. I have to remind myself to stop and take a break for snacks and water. Powering through breaks is not a good idea. Bad decisions are made when I am hungry.
It is late and I decide to find a restaurant nearby the hotel that offers vegetarian options, craft beer and some atmosphere. I take my notes, along with the photos and countless vendor catalogs with me to dinner. Looking around at the restaurant, I am not the only one. It is packed with decision makers sipping on cocktails and discussing what they saw at the Market. The weeding out process begins…
Day 2: I have my lists together of the vendors I want to re-visit and the products I potentially want to purchase. I see, touch and ask questions about the goods I want to buy. I want to make sure that the items are unique, made of quality materials, and have a purpose that my customers will love and appreciate. I commit to my favorite products, those that I can't imagine bömisch without. This is called "writing" (a vendor rep will write-up your order, apply a desired ship date and your method of payment). The sales rep asks you, "Are you ready to write?". This completely confused me during my very first Market that I attended solo in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart. I had no idea what that meant, along with other lingo such as minimums, price points and packs. I learn something new each time I attend one of these shows.
Lack of sleep from the grueling day at the show, late night decision making and another long day of walking the floors of the enormous AmericasMart buildings, I am ready to hit the sheets…But I have decided to drive home to spare the cost of an inflated Market hotel nightly rate. Six hours later, I am a zombie walking up my steps to my loft in Durham. Although tired, I get butterflies thinking of the new goods that I have curated and cannot wait for them to arrive and be added to the shop!