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other industry trade shows...

updated sat 7 mar 98


Wendy Rosen on thu 5 mar 98

Don Jones asked,
>Can you give us more info on the architect/designer/contractor/tile shows?
>Where are they and when?

My Favorite (for potters) is...

(March) 500,000 consumers looking for floweer arranging vessels. The
attendance is international and well-heeled. The MARKETPLACE area includes
cuttings, seeds, lawnmowers, japanese bonsai and tools as well as vessel
makers... not long agothere was a 5 year waiting list to become an
exhibitor (no jury!!!) Recently, the show moved into the new convention
center where it expanded the marketplace area. The watining list is
shorter now. The 11 day show is grueling... but profitable. You can bring
other artists works... it's a consumer show not an art fair... Call the PA
Horticultural Society (You can make a LIVING off this show alone!)

Chicago Design Show
(First year was this fall at the merchandise mart during the same weekend
as SOFA. Sponsored by the Mart. Lots of designers, some architects, some
collectors... exhibiting-- lots of studio furniture makers that straddle
the fence between craft and industry. Lots of browsers... few orders but
good contacts.

High Point Furniture Show
Was at one time a high end show with some nice modern goods... now it has
mostly third world accessories and some budget made in the USA/Canada case
goods. Very little order writing.

Chicago (June) the show that contract specifiers attend to see the latest
designs in office furniture made by the "big boys" Herman Miller,
Steelcase... etc... some people help "accessorize" showrooms. Very little
order writing.

PhillyFurniture and Accessories Show
PHiladelphia (spring) used to be mostly studio furniture... now spreading
out to include accessories. It pre-empts the ICFF in New York (The
International Contemporary Furniture Fair)

You can find many trade shows online or in your local library. Look for
Billboarad 615/321-4250.

Wendy Rosen
The Rosen Group
Niche & AmericanStyle Magazines
The Buyers Markets of American Craft
3000 Chestnut Ave #304 Baltimore, MD 21211
Voice: 410/889-3093 Fax: 410/243-7089

Paul Lewing on fri 6 mar 98

It was great of Wendy Rosen to list some other trade shows that clay
people might do well at. Since I first posted that comment, a number
of people have asked me privately what kind of shows I was talking

As I said, the local Home Show works great for me and my tile murals.
There are some potters at that show, too, and I imagine if you were
doing planters, lighting fixtures, fountains or sinks you'd do real
well, too.

We have a Flower & Garden Show here that is very good for potters if
their stuff is at all garden-related. Planters, bonzai pots, ikebana
pots, fountains all do well. I'd do it myself if it didn't overlap
with the Home Show.

There is also here, some years, a restaurant suppliers' show. I've
condidered doing that, and I imagine if I did dinnerware, it might be
good for some big orders.

There are also kitchen and bath shows, mostly for cabinet and surfaces
people, but if you make pots that would go in those settings, you
could do well.

I have a friend who makes sinks and planters, and does real well at a
dental supply show. My neighbors, who are bannermakers, do incredibly
well at a show for shopping mall developers. My point here is that
you have to be imaginative in your thinking about where to show your
work, and that there is a huge variety of trade shows out there.
Think about what you want to make, then who sells that to the public,
then where do they find their inventory. If what you are making is
the one-of-a kind ritual vessel or nonfunctional collector's teapot,
you're pretty much limited to the craft/art circuit. But lots of other
stuff can be sold in different trade shows.

There is another benefit to doing trade shows, as opposed to art
shows. There is no ego involved in these shows. No jury, no
commission on sales, none of that nonsense about wanting a commission
on sales that happen after the show. No delusions of grandeur about
their place in the Art World. Once you're in, you're usually
guaranteed a space every year thereafter. I've never done an ACC or
Rosen show, even the new ACC show just across the lake from here, so
please don't apply this comment to them, but I have never been as
professionally treated at an art show as I have at the two Home Shows
I do. Another benefit to doing a show that's primarily for more
mundane products is the reactions from the crowd. Seldom at a craft
show will people ambling down the aisles look at your booth and say,
"WOW! MARTHA, LOOK AT THAT!". It happens all the time at a trade

Paul Lewing, Seattle