Hey Y’all!
I’m in Atlanta enjoying some southern hospitality before heading to the hustle and bustle of New York City.  I’ve been at the Atlanta Gift Show in the AmericasMart buildings for the past 2 days.  MY FEET HURT!

If you’ve never been here, I’ll try my best to give you an idea of what it is like.  But I have to tell you, you just don’t understand until you come.  Can you imagine trying to describe Disneyland to someone who has never seen pictures of it or been to an amusement park, they wouldn’t really get it until they got there.

First, let me tell you, it can be just a tad intimidating!  There are 3 buildings – aptly named “Building 1”, “Building 2” and “Building 3”.  Oh.. now they’ve added a “West Wing” to Building 2 and it had everyone confused.  I still don’t understand why sometimes I had to leave Building 2 and go through Building 3 to get to Building 2, West Wing.  But as many of us discussed, we were not consulted when they were doing the design.  It is a classic case of resistence to change and confusion created by change– hopefully I’ll be less confused next year.  Here is a map:

americasmartmapNow mind you, this is a cross section of the floors of the buildings, it doesn’t even begin to give you an idea of the size of each floor.  Thankfully I didn’t have to walk every one!  One thing that is nice is that once you are inside the labyrinth, you don’t have to go outside.  They have bridges between the buildings.  Here are some pics of the bridges and looking out of the bridges:

americasmartpicsI spent my days walking the floors, meeting with clients, checking out new products (I had 2 new lines with new licensees come out at this show!) and looking for trends.  I saw some fashion trends I won’t be adopting as well as others.

The word on the floors was “cautious” — manufacturers are on the conservative side, bringing out tried and true product line themes and cutting back on skus to weather the economy.  There weren’t as many buyers (this is a show where store owners of all levels come to buy products for their stores) but I was hearing that the size of the orders was up a little over last year.  Good news I hope.  Several people I talked to also thought some buyers might not be spending the money to come “to market” (or “the mart” — knowing the lingo is important) but instead saving it to buy product.  The sales reps in the field will be more important than ever — they hope!

On Saturday I had the pleasure of doing an “Artist Signing” with Thirstystone.  I LOVE doing them since I really enjoy talking with everyone and helping sell the product.  My goal is always to find people who don’t know about them and get them in the showroom.  (We got at least 5 new customers signed up, from our estimations.)  I signed a coaster from a new “Fashion” line that just came out and most women were THRILLED when I told them the coaster came with a “no guilt guarantee” — they didn’t have to wear stilletos to enjoy the coaster.  (I was wearing Naturalizers — pretty funny!)  Here’s a pic from that event…

thirstystonesigning-atlanta091Not the best pictures but I decided to curb my vanity and post them!

That’s the lowdown from the show.  There may be a video to come as I was playing with my FlipVideo… I’ll keep you posted!

~ Tara

P.S.  Next Stop:  Printsource New York… stay tuned!