Friday, June 11, 2010

What to expect at a gift show

Is this your first trip to the America’s Mart for the Atlanta Gift Show, or more formally called, The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market? If so, here is a snapshot of what you may expect and how to prepare. If not, it’s always good to refresh your memory and maybe even your approach to market!

  1. Know what you want to buy, what season you are buying for, and anticipate your needs. Typically, in July, you will place Holiday orders. Seems a little early, but this is industry standard. Plan accordingly. Know where you want to go. The America’s Mart publishes The Market! Guide in printed form and has information available online at Research companies and their products ahead of time and make a must-visit list.
  2. Budget and stick with your plan. It is overwhelming to go to the many floors of the mart and walk through the temporaries. There are some great items and fun, flashy designs – many of which will draw your eye! Add in some extra space in your budget to bring in new lines – after all, your customers are always interested in unique items they haven’t seen everywhere.
  3. Keep records and make sure to remember what you buy and your ship dates. After each purchase, take a moment to file an order copy in a folder so that you can refer to it while at another showroom or at the end of the day to reflect on what you have already purchased. It would be disheartening to purchase two of the same items without realizing!
  4. The Temporaries vs. Permanent Showrooms. The temporaries are vendors that have a temporary space at the mart – they do not have permanent showrooms and will only be available during market times. This is often the best place to find unique items manufactured by smaller companies. Minimums are usually lower and in many cases, they will get to know you and your store should you choose to do business with them. The permanent showrooms are just that – they have a permanent space in the mart. They are available year round, not just at market times and tend to be larger companies and companies that rep multiple lines. These showrooms can be great for staple items and can be a quick way to fill your store (and your budget) fast!

Remember, the Mart will be crowded. Make sure to establish a meeting place for your group in the event that you should get separated or you choose to “divide and conquer.” Perhaps, the best piece of advice: Wear COMFORTABLE Shoes!

Good Luck!

Stop by and come see us! Located in the temporaries, we are in Building 3, Floor 5, Booth #208.