It’s here!  Those who travel far are probably heading out tomorrow… those who have a shorter commute might be busy with last minute preparations and moving about on Saturday.

I’ll be in the air most of the day Friday en route to New York – ready to set up shop in my 10×10 booth that will be the hub of my business and life for a few days.  It’s always an exciting and a little nerve wracking – am I ready? Will my bags make it? (I shouldn’t even tempt fate by typing that!  Nothing has ever been lost – knock on wood!)

The SURTEX show is excited to get going as well… and they have even won an award!  Here is what show manager, Penny Sikalis, wrote in the latest issue of “On the Surface”:

Show people, like any parent, swell with pride when their offspring grow up and prosper.

We’re pretty proud up in White Plains these days.  I just blew in from the Windy City, Chicago, with an award we’ve been working toward for nearly three decades:  last weekend Trade Show Executive, the business journal, named SURTEX to its “Fastest 50” list of trade shows that have achieved the highest percentage of Attendee growth in the past year!
Yes, the show has grown in sheer size, attracting more exhibitors from more countries and more attendees from more manufacturers and retailers.  No where else is there such a gathering of talent from all around the world, under one roof, with thousands of original designs available for sale and or license.

SURTEX has also expanded its scope—network with newsmakers from all over the global surface design industry. Learn what’s happening, world-wide, at the Trend Theatre. Polish up your professionalism in the info-dense Conference Program sessions.  See the largest ingathering of top textile designers in Atelier, the new special section that is debuting this year.

Check out the numbers behind our “Fastest 50” award in UPDATES & UPGRADES, this issue.  Then check out the extra-wide smile on my face when this year’s bigger, better, brighter, and busier SURTEX opens its doors later this week!

Here’s what won the award for SURTEX and some statistics about this year’s show:

  • The 2013 show will be nearly 5 percent larger than last year with some 290 exhibiting companies in nearly 30,000 net square feet of space.
  • 25 percent of the companies are foreign-based: 12 countries, plus the US, will be represented.  Last year, 22 percent came from 10 countries, plus the US.
  • Countries represented are the United Kingdom (second only to the US, with 40 studios!), France, Canada, The Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Thailand, Israel, Germany, Australia, Argentina. Countries never before represented at SURTEX are Thailand and Argentina.
  • 75 percent of the companies are from the US.
  • The new Atelier section has 75 exhibiting companies and covers almost 30 percent of the Show floor… The majority (nearly 60 percent) are foreign-based. Eight countries, plus the US, are represented in Atelier, “an amazing forum — the largest in the US— for buying the latest trend-forward designs,” according to Penny Sikalis, GLM VP/ SURTEX manager.  “Textiles and home-related manufacturers would be remiss if they don’t attend to see and buy.”
  • ReSource Hub will feature 7 exhibiting companies, of which 3 are new.  All are US-based, though 3 forecasting companies have headquarters in Europe.

If you are exhibiting at the show – BREAK A LEG!

Come rested, confident and ready to make and enrich some great relationships.  At this point the creative work is done and it’s time to put on your sales hat and get some deals!

If you are walking the show – here are a few things to remember:

  • Walking the show and attending conference sessions is a great way to learn more about the industry, how it works and if it might be for you.  Soak it all in!
  • The artists in the booths have invested heavily to be there – time, money, paint, sweat and probably a few tears.  Be respectful of their time and space.  If you talk to artists, always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you see a manufacturer and retailer pausing.  While most artists are happy to talk to other artists (it is a very friendly industry!)  our focus is on getting business or we wouldn’t have spent the big bucks.
  • Don’t take any promotional materials or take photos without asking permission – and be gracious if someone says no.  Sad as it is, there are many artists who walk the show, snap pics and then go back and knock off what they saw.  So most artists will have a no photography policy.
  • Keep your badge facing forward so people can see your name please! Turning it around doesn’t help – it makes you look like you are being sneaky. No need! 🙂
  • If you don’t have a booth, you can’t do business on the show floor.  Yes, there are artists who will meet with manufacturers without having a booth – but it needs to be off the show floor.  You are not allowed to stop someone in the aisle and whip out your portfolio – if you do, you could be escorted out of the show.  You should be there to learn and decide if you want to have a booth in the future – right?
  • Your badge will get you into all the shows – SURTEX, the National Stationery Show and ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) so be sure to see what is going on in those industries as well!

I will be in corner booth #513 and would love to meet you – if I’m not with a manufacturer of course!  The main hat I wear at the show is my artist and licensor hat – SURTEX is an integral part of my marketing and growth for my art licensing business.

Here’s to a great show!

– Tara Reed