My friend Courtney Akers (Bent By Courtney Jewelry) and I were at ICE's Handmade At The High event last December having a conversation about business; the pros and cons of wholesale vs. consignment. The trend in Atlanta is for many boutiques to support local artists and designers by allowing them to consign. While I think this model works for many people, I was curious to try the wholesale model. Right then and there, we decided to apply for the January Apparel Show at AmericasMart. I was able to snag the last booth in the Emerging Designers category, for which I was grateful for the reduced $1,000 booth fee (many booths cost $3,800 or more)!
Christmas rushed by....NYE came and went...
January flew by in a daydream! The whirlwind of paying for the booth, purchasing display pieces, borrowing items for my display from friends, building pieces for the booth, asking for helpers to volunteer to help (for free!)...it was all such a rush. And on top of all of this, I still had to make samples for the buyers to see AND create my beautiful, enticing line sheet.
It all came together, although there were several snags. One was over ordering line sheets. I ordered 200, when I think 75-100 pieces would've been just fine. Another snag was shipping; the bag samples my brother made didn't arrive and weren't ready until the second day of the show. Also, my display needed work on the second day of the show.
The overall traffic of this show was considered very slow. AmericasMart reported about 4,000 buyers, but I didn't see anywhere near that many. They must have headed up to the showrooms. My location was also pretty tucked aeway and hard to find. I was happy that my bags were featured in two fashion shows! That was definitely the highlight of the event for me!
All in all , it was a great experience. I am planning on doing it again in July, but registering for the Gift & Home show as an Emerging Artist. The booth fee is still reduced, and since I'll reserve my booth well in advance, the stress level won't be nearly as frantic!