Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Atlanta Market 2010, by Amanda Burdge

Codarus Showroom
I have been going to Market since I was in my 20's. I remember the first time I went and I was terrified. I had NO IDEA what the hell I was doing or how it all worked. But I was 20, knew EVERYTHING, and wasn't about to break a sweat in front of those seasoned professionals in there fancy designer suits and comfy tennis shoes. Those snazzy women had nothin' on my Z Cavaricci jeans, bongo wedges and cute top that I just found at clothestime. And to make it extra special, I was doused in exclamation perfume from Mervyn's, bada bing, bada boom!

Go Home
Ok, so we ain't in Kansas anymore, or the trailer park neither. I grew up in a small town, with big dreams, and a whole lotta chutzpah. Seriously, do dreams gestate from anything better? Well, when you are in your 20's, coming from a small town, you think everything grows from guts, nerve and a little spit and glory. And certainly the friends you make along the way. But I quickly found out that isn't always the case. My graduating class in high school consisted of 33 students! We all grew up together, competed together and played together. Our sand box was small, and so was my view on the world. SO when I moved to Northern California for college, holy crap y'all I hit the big time, and had the common sense of Michael Kelso from that 70's show.

Stray Dog Designs
It truly is amazing that I survived, and somehow did not end up in a ditch. Like a lost, stupid puppy, I trusted everyone, and doubted no one. If they said it was so...well dammit it's so! 
By the time I went to design school my head was on a little more straight, or at least I'd like to think it was. I had a bag full of fancy utensils that consisted of pens and pencils, and even some thingy's called a  triangle and scale. I was set to conquer the world, and I even had a spiffy diamond ring from a boy who wanted to marry me. Now all I had to do was convince these slick, glib sales men from the San Francisco Market that I was all that and a bag of chips; or at least look like I was. Who would question a 20 something in her lee press on nails and outfit from Mervyn's? I mean come on, who can resist Bongo wedges? Am I right?  Lord.have.mercy. 

Global Views via Southern Accessories Today
Fast forward to 2010. Now a days I'm sharp, quick witted and know exactly how to work my showrooms. I know what I want, and how to buy it.  I go to Market three times a year. The big accessories and gift Markets are in all the major cities. The real big ones are in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York. High point, North Carolina is the biggest furniture market in the country. The home and gift Markets are in January and July, roughly and the furniture Market is in April and October. These markets allow vendors to show off their wares, and woo us into buying their loot. It is the best way to buy because you get to SEE and TOUCH everything before it hits the stores. 

All showrooms have what is called a "minimum." In other words, unlike a store, you cannot walk into a vendor's shop and expect to buy one item. They want you to invest in their line and product. Most accessories lines have a minimum purchase of $300 or more. Some even require you to purchase a certain quantity of one item. Larger companies can command up to a $3000 minimum. Larger companies that do not want every Tom, Dick, and Harry purchasing their product will have a higher minimum to weed out the lighthearted, non-serious buyers.


As a shop owner I do not mind paying minimums, and I don't mind purchasing 6 or 12 of the same item. However, if you are a designer working out of your home, or have a small office, it isn't always feasible to purchase 12 of the same clock. And you have to watch your sales reps. They are working on commission, and like all of us, they are trying to earn a living. They will always try to get you to purchase more. If it is in MY best interest, I will purchase more. But many of the reps have been in the business for a VERY long time, and they will glamour and romance you into thinking you need MORE!! "oh this has been one of our best sellers!", "Oh you must buy some of these, they were in Oprah!", "This lamp is going to fly off your shelves!"

Global Views via Southern Accessories Today
All in all it was an excellent Market. The big trend this show was color! Blue, orange and green were everywhere. Reclaimed wood, old vintage finds and Industrial chic, were seen in numerous showrooms. Old gears, apothecary jars, pottery, and anything with a nod to the past was prevalent from every vendor.

A studio via Southern Accessories Today
I had a wonderful time showing Dayka Robinson, from Meditations on life and style all the ropes, and explaining to her how the vendor/designer relationship works. Not only did I scare the living daylights out of her, causing her to drive down the wrong side of the street, she is convinced that a retail store isn't for her. DAMN! Apparently, I'm not as inspirational as I thought I was. Nothing like a dose of hard knocks from the girl who shopped at Mervyn's and sported BONGO wedges like it was 1999!

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  1. you ARE inspirational--you inspired me to stay focused on my passion!

    i see i missed some really great stuff from friday (?) morning. you are a market tour guide goddess!!!

  2. Fun post.

    Class of 33? I bet everyone knew everything about everything. I graduated with a class of around 1,000 so it was the total opposite.

    Glad you and Dayka survived then.

  3. Fun post Amanda!
    Right on with the colors you saw...a lot of orange in every product category, no?
    And ditto for the recycled, reclaimed, whitewash look.
    I thought the traffic was light, but then the July show is never as busy as January. See you then, maybe?

  4. O-M-G....when does classes start??? You are a blog goddess!!!! Inspiration that I need to hear - I just need to hear: hope. This post hit so close to home for me, that I almost literally saw myself 5 years ago in mid-air. It's something. I too have a story about when i first started my business - and in my own way, I can totally relate. This has given me a laugh, a smile and ENCOURAGEMENT. Thank you thank and thank you. Umm, do expect a "Prom Queen" ( a new award I'm giving out - shhhhhh, I haven't posted it yet Ha) award. Have a fab evening!

  5. Truly inspirational!!! thanks for this fabulous post :)), xoxo

  6. Hi Amanda, I have posted about our new relationship on my blog today. Enjoyed the virtual market tour. Thanks.

  7. That was hilarious! I loved your post, too cute, you and your Mervyn's perfume! You have clearly come a long way, baby, and how kind of you to offer to share your skills and experience with others! XO!

  8. Sounds like you both had a blast. I think I would have had fun but they don't let goats in I am sure.

    Thanks for the kind words on my furnishings. I guess I'm with the trends, eh?

  9. Great to read about yourself! You are inspirational! Thank you so much for the kind comment :)

  10. What a great blog!

    I am in love with all the pictures and I am loving the style, and story.

    Thanks for the comment and thanks for stopping by my blog!


  11. OMGoodness, you are absolutely cracking me up! This post was HI-LAR-I-OUS, Amanda! I'll see you your Bongo wedges and raise you one royal blue sequined pageant dress!!! By the way, there were 38 kids in my graduating class. ;-)

    I also loved what you said about vendors, sales reps, etc. Order minimums are the bane of my existence. I just can't buy 12 of one thing, and it seriously bums me out.

  12. I truly loved this post, I ate it up with a spoon! Contemplating retail myself, and planning on going to the NYC shows this August, I will take your advice to heart! Your photos are great, can really see all the goods...so many pretty items!

  13. I really need to master the art of market! I've only been to the High Point market a few times, and not as a buyer, but just a visitor. I'm going to do my best to make it to the next Atlanta market!

  14. Great posting Amanda...

    I have to mark Atlanta on my calendar for next year and go to the show. It would be fun to meet up and shop for our stores.

    I hope to see lots of colour when I am in Toronto next month.


  15. Love this post :-) Isn't it funny to look back on times when we thought we were so cool, and realize that we were living in a state of delusion?! :-)

    The Atlanta Market looks fantastic -- so many awesome pieces!! The orange displays really catch my eye. Hmmmmm..... is that a sign that I should paint my front door orange?! ;-)


  16. I need those Moroccan lanterns. Love!

  17. Fun to visit the atlanta market vicariously, Amanda! Thanks for your visit and comment - have a great weekend.

  18. Amanda, we only THOUGHT we knew everything back then... but now we really do know everything, right?! :) Looks like you had as much of a whirlwind trip to Atlanta market as I did! What fun - and work! - all at the same time! Hope to meet up with you there next time around! This blog post was FAB, by the way... loved the photos AND the giggles I got from it!

  19. love this post! i like it , so interesting...Thank you for sharing it.

  20. This post Truly inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

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