one more tradeshow post…

Image from the show at NY’s Museum of Art & Design (formally know as the American Craft Museum)
radical-robins.jpg
Yesterday I walked the California Gift Show as an attendee and not an exhibitor. After being an exhibitor for 25 years at these shows it felt a little strange but at the same time it was a welcome change. These are my personal observations only. Being there for different purposes also allowed me to view things in a slightly different way as well. First off, for those who are familiar with this show, I didn’t walk South Hall which is where many of the big imported lines are. Also stationery, novelties, plush, floral, and a few other catagories I didn’t really need to see. I walked through West Hall, Kentia, as well as what was formally known as handmade which now resembles a swap meet (cash & carry) with lots of beads. Looks like the new owners/management of this show upped the quality of lines in West Hall which contains a juried section as well. Far less low end imports than last show which is nice. They had lost quite a number of exhibitors and buyers to other shows because of this and it looks like they are paying attention. They have attracted some new exhibitors with fresh lines but it may be too little too late. The dirth of buyers had many of them complaining about sales in earshot of the buyers (a trade show no-no in my book). It may take a couple of years to lure some of those buyers back and create new buzz and by that time, who knows what exhibitors will still be holding on? I was interested in seeing if any of the handmade lines had heard of the ACRE show and were planning on exhibiting. I found a couple who were already signed up and several who had at least heard of it. It will be a first time all juried wholesale handmade (US & Canada) show in Las Vegas. If that show is successful, I can see more of the West Hall handmade exhibitors going there.
Kentia Hall, where most of the ethnic craft import lines are, looked good. You can find some very nice quality craft/handmade goods in there. Looked better than ever actually. Nicely displayed as well. Also looked to be busier than upstairs. Now the cash and carry part of that hall was it’s usual chaos. Some nice ethnic beads, semi-precious stone beads from china and india, silver, all mixed in with lots of very cheap import jewelry made to look expensive. I know for a fact that many stores buy this stuff cheap, re-card and sell high. Buyer beware! I found most of what I needed and visited with a number of long time friends and made some new ones! I’m not sure if I will make it to the CHA show since other things have come up but for now, it’s back to shibori. Yea!
In flickr photo pool news, we have a new member from Japan who is doing some really nice work. Leave her a comment or two when she gets some photos posted.

2 thoughts on “one more tradeshow post…

  1. Karren

    I wonder what the range of prices you saw in this Kentia section? It worrys me when imports are beside USA made crafts.

    I’m going to post about prices on my site.

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  2. shiborigirl Post author

    I didn’t look too hard at prices in Kentia- there wasn’t really anything to compare with silk shibori textiles.There were no USA made crafts in this hall. The nicer ethnic crafts had a nice price as well (in general) and the lower priced goods were of distinctly lesser quality, I thought. So priced pretty fairly. I know some of those vendors are not as good about shipping goods and you take what you get. After all, it is imported and they don’t always have control. Much of that area turns in to a free for all bazaar at the end of the show- cash & carry.

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