Friday, August 21, 2009

The Shows Are All Over.........

And now we have to make the soap (and all the other stuff)!

Yesterday was the last day of the New York International Gift Show. It has been a long 30 days for me, traveling from Philly to the New York shows. If the New York and the Philadelphia show are any indication of the where the economy is heading, then there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Sales were brisk and plentiful. Buyers were buying without hesitation. Customer confidence and spirits were high.

The buyers for both shows were out in full force, all looking for the newest and greatest items to fill their bare shelves with for now and the Fall/Winter '09 season.

Philadelphia brought out record numbers of buyers from as far away as Virginia and Delaware. Buying trends in Philly were for immediate delivery as well as Holiday. Biggest interest at the Philadelphia Gift Show was our ever expanding Back To School Educational Line including the newest editions of Crayon Soaps and antibacterial Foam 'n Go.

The New York Show brought international buyers from as far away as Russia! You got it - Just Bubbly will be found in retail shops in Russia this Fall! Also Panama, the Dominican Republic and other far away lands. Domestic buyers at the New York International Gift Fair included many from California, Texas, Illinois and Washington state. East coast buyers as usual were out in heavy numbers.

I enjoy the trade shows, they give me the opportuntiy to interact with my customers and get valuable feedback from them on buying trends and the wants and needs of the retail customers. At the NY show I was so glad to see so many of my wonderful customers like Ellen from Soapmarket in New Jersey, Courtney from The Blue Horse Boutique and Kevin from MXYPLYZYK in New York to name a few. I also get to see some of my old exhibitor friends like Ronnie & Jerry of the Puppet Workshop, John & Alma of Almas Designs, Kristel & Andrea of Semaki & Bird and so many others who I have grown to be very good friends with after 25 years of trade shows. Funny how time marches on - through all these years of trade shows, our children have been born, grown up and are now adults. I can still see Kristel from Semaki & Bird working at the shows pregnant with her daughter Grace who is now 8 years old! Our children have grown up together and our friendships have survived the test of time.

Working at the trade shows is not easy. The days are long and tiring. Both the buyers and exhibitors fight the clock - how to get ALL the shopping done in only a few days. We exhibitors stand all day, talking about product, trends and ideas with buyers and other exhibitors. Buyers walk miles of isles looking for the perfect products to fill their shelves. Twice a year we meet to look at the past and try and predict the future. Some of my best product ideas have come from customer chats at the gift shows. While I am glad the shows are over, I am also sad that it will be another 6 months before we all meet again!

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