I just returned home from a whirlwind trip to the New York International Gift Fair and to the multiple apparel markets in Las Vegas and boy am I tired. After multiple red eyes, a couple time zones, and a TON of great food (OMG I think I gained 20 lbs in a week)……. I got back and had to sit down to organize my thoughts on market.
This was my first trip to market when I wasn’t buying for my own store, and I have to say I enjoyed the experience a lot more than I did when I was buying!! And that got me thinking about how I could help my clients and others reading this blog make market a more enjoyable experience. I know some of you already love going but for me I was always a little stressed because my budget was smaller than my wants and trying to pick the “right” stuff that fit the budget, made my head hurt. If you have a new store, just thinking about going to market and or deciding which one to attend, can make your head hurt. So here are a few tips I learned this trip that might help make your market trip more enjoyable. Some of these are for sure Mr. Obvious tips but it never hurts to revisit.
- 1. Be organized. Make appointments with the folks you 100% NEED to see. If at a larger market like Las Vegas, make sure you keep your appointments at the same market on the same day (i.e. Project on Monday/ MAGIC on Tuesday etc) that way you aren’t bouncing around.
- Don’t work from 8am-7pm EVERY DAY – after about 6 or so hours you need to step away so you can see things objectively – not to mention it’s just plain exhausting. If you can’t get everything done you need to get done in one market – considering going to another one to finish or pick out some vendors you can work via email etc.
- Along the lines of #2, give yourself enough time, and if you have to go on a short time frame, considering going to more than one market so you aren’t stressed and rushed.
- Make sure you carve out some time to explore new vendors. You don’t necessarily have to sit down with them and write orders but get their information so you can go back to them later or contact them when you get home.
- Look at areas of market that you might not normally …. i.e. In NYC, I thought I didn’t need to go to the global handmade section because it was small and didn’t seem like what I was looking for but gosh was I wrong … some of the best things I found in the whole show were in that section.
- Make sure you take some time to enjoy the city you are in (without going against #6) – or do something fun and/or pampering (go to the spa) while you are out of the store. It doesn’t have to be all about work and I know how hard it is to get away from the store when you are in town so take advantage of your time away.
- This is going to be soooooo unpopular but get lots of sleep!!!! Don’t party like a rockstar and stay out all night – you will sooooooo regret it in the morning (trust me, I know) and you will be useless in getting any real work done.
Market should be a fun experience, seeing new products and vendors and getting out of the store. If it isn’t this way for you, change things up a bit and try to make it something more enjoyable.
P.S. We did find some interesting vendors in our travels, and if you are a client of The Project: Retail, and need some inspirations in a certain class, call your consultant and see if any of our finds fit your store.