Does anyone out there do wholesale shows? I’m thinking about
applying to the Buyer’s Market in Philadelphia in July. I’ve
been doing retail shows for years, and I’ve been pricing my work
to wholesale for the past couple of years, so I think I can
handle it. I’m pretty nervous about paying $1200 and selling my
work wholesale. Do you really come out ahead like the promoters
say? If you have any experience you would like to share with me,
please e-mail me off list. Thank You, Wendy Newman
Does anyone out there do wholesale shows? I’m thinking about
I am also interested in the info you seek. If you receive any
interesting feedback, would you please forward them to me.
Wendy, I have never done wholesale shows, but a friend of mine
recently did the Dallas show. He came away thinking he had
waisted time and money. Four months later he got a call from
Neiman Marcus. His product was listed in their catalog.
Wendy, a friend of mine did the Dallas market show. wound up in
Neiman Marcus catalog. Made about 30K sales from that. Thought
he had wasted time and money till neimans called about four
months after the show. Luck is in the draw. Good luck. Frank,
I am also interested in the info you seek. If you receive any interesting feedback, would you please forward them to me.
Dear wendy I think some Orchids want the same info ,includ me.
Would you post in Orchid if you get some useful please! seeya
I lived in Philadelphia for many years. Moved out 2 years ago.
In the 12 years I spent there I sold my designs to stores. I
personally never heard of this show and would be cautious about
the location. I do not know if the area would have enough
infrastructure to support a wholesale show. The retail ones I
participated in where very “iffy”. Is this a new event and will
buyers from wealthy markets be there? I can see doing a show in
Dallas, New York, Naples (FL) or any other major urban center,
where buying offices for the better stores are located.
Unfortunatelly Philie is too close to New York and all the people
I dealt with there would shop in New York for the major
purchases. How about doing one of the New York shows?
If you can please send me some info on this event. I am very
curious about it! My e-mail is @Acquamarin, or you canpost
your answer at Orchid. I check it every day. If you are
interested in the New York shows I probably have some numbers to
share with you.
Dear Wendy and Gang,
As a consultant to several wholesale trade shows I thought I’d
add my two cents and open myself up to whatever questions you all
The first thing to consider when doing a wholesale show is to
know which ones are good for designers of your type of product. I
read someone’s post that said a friend did the Dallas Show and
was disappointed…well, that show isn’t known for designer
business. Wendy’s original post was regarding the Rosen Phili
Market of AMerican crafts…this is generally known to be a
good market for those selling low-to medium priced work and those
that want to sell to boutiques and galleries. Feb. show is much
better than summer show. for most. The ACC Baltimore show is the
premiere wholesale craft show catering to the highend as well as
the rest. And for the fine jewelry market to reach fine jewelry
stores (and some galleries and some boutiques of course since
there’s always crossover) there’s nothing like the JCK Show in
Vegas. For an interesting mix of jewelry types the AGTA show in
Tucson has a designer pavilion that’s gaining popularity.
FYI, I manage the designer pavilions in AGTA Tucson and JCK so I
may be biased but I also know what my designers are doing at
these shows so my opinions are based on their facts. ’ OF course,
only you can decide if wholesaling your line is the best business
approach. I have about 200 steady designer clients and another
300 or so that we see at shows or talk to throughout the
year… some start out doing craft shows and then
"graduate" to jewelry shows and some who have always done jewelry
shows have “:discovered” craft shows and even retail shows once
or twice a year for the cash as well as the market feedback.
Remember when you want to go from retailing your own work -
which limits your sales volume to what you can physically go out
and get each year - to wholesaling - which gives you the
opportunity to meet possibly thousands of retailers of which
some are sure to like you and put you in their store and SELL
YOUR WORK FOR YOU - you must consider how much you can produce,
an accessible yet profitable markup and most importantly, some
sort of advertising and marketing budget and plan to let these
retailers know you exist and get them primed to buy (and then
sell) your work.
Also, remember that if you decide to “go wholesale” you are now
competing on a national level with hundreds of other
designers…if your work is less than inspiring or, at kindest,
redundant in the marketplace, you will have a harder row to hoe.
If you’ve been making jewelry and selling it in your own backyard
it’s great that the neighbors go for it and who cares if it’s
really something similar or inspired by something you saw in a
jewelry magazine - but when you go national you could come face
to face with the person that originated that piece pictured in
that magazine… it’s a small world out there and imitation is
not the sincerest form of flattery in the designer community.
Research and more research is the key. Talk to friends that do
these shows. Call show promoters for a show catalog to see the
calibre of exhibitor (good idea in the case of small regional
jewelry shows like Dallas) and then you’ve ultimately got to just
jump in and try it for yourself.
There’s no better way to get your work in front of potentially
hundreds of thousands of jewelry consumers AROUND the country at
one time than to have several sales agents = meaning stores =
selling for you. The markup may be lower but hopefully the
volume is way higher.
Vera! Greetings. Wholesale shows where I live, in Naples, FL?
How do I get in touch with the promoters? Which 'better stores’
have buying offices here? If Wendy is talking about the Rosen
Group wholesale crafts shows, I’ve heard good things about them.
I’ll get their phone # from my studio and post it later. They’ve
sent me some very professional marketing for their shows. One of
my customers, a local jewelry store, loves the Pennsylvania show
and told me it would be great for me to get into it. Chuck
Hunner, on the gulf where the sun is coming up an hour early
I too am considering the jump from the exhausting craft fair
circuit where your displays are wet and the traffic unpredictable
to a wholesale tour. I am sure some more experienced trade show
pro’s would have like descriptions but it’d be great to get some
insights on its benefits. Thanks t.lee
To everyone on Orchid:
I see a lot of posts on wholesale shows on the Orchid group. Is
it possible to organize a wholesale show amongst our group of
Orchid. This is only a thought. I am sure if this were
undertaken a good amount of organizing would have to done by
experts or people with experience in organizing a wholesale show.
I personally never heard of this show and would be cautious about the location. I do not know if the area would have enough infrastructure to support a wholesale show.
When a wholesale show is successful it pulls from a national
base of attendees, therefore the infrastructure of the local
Phili area is not pertinent.
Rosen’s Buyer’s Market of Crafts is a very successful show and
has been for 10 years. You can email them for info by contacting
firstname.lastname@example.org. They don’t have a website yet but they
do produce two magazines on american craft and one of them,
AMericanStyle, does have a website…AmericanStyle,com.
Yeah, Cindy! Excellent post. Thank you very much for your
frankness and thorough description of the wholesale show…arena.
I’m an artist who does precise wax models and casting for a
variety of clients. Local, one-of-a-kinds, some sealife type
charms and a client out of state who’s quickly (in the last 18
months) become my biggest check. I like the growth that is
occurring! So I want more. Wholesale has always been my meal
ticket. Your insight into the Philly, Baltimore and Las Vegas
shows will help me to place my expansion budget in a specific
place. Thank you Cindy. and Thank you Orchid. Chuck Hunner, in
Naples on the Gulf.
Rosen Group, who put on Buyers Market in Philadelphia - 3000
Chestnut Avenue, Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21211 410-889-2933 Good
Luck! Chuck Hunner
Naples was suggested by a friend of mine who visits the area. She
tells me the stores are upscale, and so is the clientelle. I have
moved out of Phillie for 2 years now. I just wanted to say a word
of caution, as I have spent a lot of time and money on shows that
were not that great. If that is the Philadelphia Craft Show, for
instance This is a well known show, and had nice things at the
times I visited, but they were not my cup of tea. At another craft
show I was explaining to a customer, back in 1989, why the
necklace price was $65.00 (dirt cheap, anyway). I told her that it
was mostly amber, horn and silver. Her reply was " Why don’t you
use plastic instead? It is cheaper and looks the same." That was
enough to turn me off to doing shows in the area. I hope that was my
experience and all of you have better results.
Vera- What a pity. That one ignorant customer can turn you off an
entire city. I am happy to say that I have had much better results
than you. I have done both retail and wholesale shows in
Philadelphia and surrounding areas and have done quite well. But,
this is a business of no guarentees. You pay your booth fee, put
out your best work in the best display that you can create and
then… you hope for the best. The city cannot be faulted if your
sales are not good. Perhaps you need to reevaluate the details of
your business like your work or the way you display it.
The fact that Wendy Rosen chooses Philadelphia to put on a
national show like the Buyers Market of American Craft in Phila. is
a testament to the city’s appreciation and support of the fine
Janet in Philly
Thanks for the reply, Vera. Naples is an upscale area and I want
to do more wholesale…to larger stores and so I was hoping that
you would tell me that the corporate offices of Sachs, or Dillards,
or somebody big that I didn’t know about were right here in town. I
like really low overhead when it comes to advertising. I think
that most of us have had similar experiences with customers who
have different tastes than ours. Let them buy non-natural material
jewelry, quickly made, if low price is all they want. NBD. They’re
still potential customers. Naples is a great place to live, if you
like warm temps, high humidity, a tranquil beach(which wasn’t so
tranquil this year, thank you El Nino for the surf. Now please
return the 20 feet of beach you took!), and a year round clientele
that triples in size from November to April every year.
I did the Los Angeles (California Gift Show) for 2 years, and did
much better than I had anticipated. The only problem was that
since I work by myself, I found myself working all year to fill
these orders, and had very little time, if any, to develope new
ideas, and do one-ofs. I grew to hate making so many of each
design, and got quite short-tempered regarding deadlines, etc.
Plus, I hated sitting in a booth for 5 days twice a year, either
being over-run with people all wanting attention at the same time,
or being able to bowl down the aisles at slow times. I decided to
give it up for a year or two, and while I still take wholesale
orders, I don’t feel so enslaved by it. The customers I really
wanted to keep still call and place orders! So, a word of
advise…If you don’t have a back-up team in place to handle large
orders, be careful about taking more than you can handle, as many
large stores will cancel if you’re even a day late, and ruin you
Ruth in rainy LA