Well, I’m here to report there was no shibori to be found at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show. Not that I expected to find any mind you. What I did see was more or less what I expected to see and one thing I was happily surprised to see. Walking through the lower floor of the show, I took note of the preponderance of exhibitors from China. This is no big surprise and has been steadily growing in the years I have attended. Ever more so this year! I guess you could say that across all trade shows I have attended over the years this is the major trend-chinese imports. Not that this is a news flash or anything but when you attend many wholesale product trade shows and you see it up close en masse it really makes an impression. We all read about it and see the cheap products in the big box stores but seeing it this way at trade show after trade show is another thing.
Their style of marketing needs a little work and they could use a little primer on trade show selling and booth design and merchandising but I trust they’ll figure that out eventually-although I haven’t noticed much improvement in that area. A typical sight is two chinese men(or 1 man and one woman) in suits sitting at a table toward the back of the booth, elbows on knees looking at the floor or even sleeping with their head down on the table! I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this. Once at a show in Atlanta, our booth was near a section of the show reserved for factory reps from China. The Chinese government had paid all costs to send them there and I also think the show management had given them a deal as well on the block of booths. I remember thinking how nice it would be to be subsidized like that. But then again, would I be as motivated as I am to make the sale, create the product, etc.?
This photo was taken at last years show and was worth the whole trip. That’s Phil in front trying not to laugh too hard. By the last day, they had taken down the sign and it was wadded up in the back corner. Apparently, someone had suggested that while this idea sounded good back at the home office, it didn’t really translate too well on the show floor.
This quilt graced the Ulracase booth and owner Dave Eastman told us he had commissioned it from his sister-in-law, Liza Eastman who is a quilter in NZ. He was a soundman in the 70’s (&80’s?) and this quilt consists of the many t-shirts he collected from touring bands at concerts over the years. The border notes for those of you who can sight-read is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It was a real treat to see all the original t’s with all the tour names and listen to folks reminiscing about the different concerts they had attended. Not to mention the great way that Liza designed the quilt with the guitars, the shirt motif and the notes. For me, this was the highlight of the show. It was a welcome relief in a sea of guitar, drum,and tech booths.
Next up: the California Gift Show and then back to the studio!