AmericasMart Atlanta offers an enormous selection of merchandise for every type of gift shop, and the sheer volume of product might seem overwhelming. We sat down with some veteran buyers to find out what they'd recommend in order for new and returning buyers to get the most out of the trip to January Market. Here's what they suggest.
Tip 1: Make a Plan AmericasMart offers tools to help buyers discover new products, and registering early will ensure buyers can take full advantage of these freebies. Molly Egbert, owner-operator of Tin Roof Gift Shop in Princeton, Kentucky, has been in business for 18 years and is working on opening a second location. "When the book comes out, it is like a celebration," Egbert said.
As soon as the Atlanta Market Magazine arrives in early December, Egbert takes the time to Google search the vendors in the temporaries to find out if they are right for her clientele. She creates appointments during the first two days of Market with her staple brands to ensure she is able to get those early shipments. Her planning process is extensive, but it is how she is able to get special deals on shipping and be part of the first wave of shipments. "This is extremely important to me in a highly competitive industry," Egbert said. In addition to free or discounted shipping, Egbert looks for Net 90 terms from vendors- a perk of being a VIP.
Tip 2: Organize your Path When Egbert gets to Market, she begins on Floor 18 in Building 2. It's more spacious with larger showrooms, so it is a serene place for Egbert to start the process as opposed to busier areas like floor seven. In order to stick to her budget, she is certain to make appointments with the brands she always buys during the first two days as well. She methodically makes her way through every single floor in Building 2 and goes through Building 3, then Building 1, ending at the temporaries. With the level of detail she has in her plan, she is able to see it all.
Egbert isn't the only one who starts at the top- Debbie Martin, owner of Traditions in Columbus, Georgia, also starts on Floor 18 in Building 2 and works her way down. She searches for specials and free freight especially.
Part of organizing the ideal route through Market includes attending as many days as possible, according to Dann Boyles, owner of Rebel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Boyles focuses on each building separately and searches with intensity for unique items his clientele will love.
Tip 3: Buy for Holiday "I love that January Market (has) so name specials for early buyers for Christmas. It's one of the main things I go for," Egbert said. Martin agree- and makes sure she orders everything her store needs for holiday at January Market. After all, she noted, products tend to be sold out by the time summer shows roll around.
Boyles also always buys for holiday during January Market. Since he is fresh off of the busy holiday season, he knows he won't forget the volume of business- which he said often happens six months later. "this is a great time to trust your instincts and get your first wave of holiday ordered. It's the time to dig in for the following year and set the tone," he said.
Tip 4: Participate in Networking; Listen to Speakers AmericasMart offers a panoply of speakers and networking opportunities for retailers and buyers. Egbert always attends the social media sessions. It helps her to freshen up what she posts and to learn the latest tactics to increase her reach, so she encourages everyone to attend. "It's free. It's crazy not to go," Egbert said.
"Through the years, I've met so many talented, wonderful friends in retail. We love meeting at Market for lunch or dinner. It's fun to see friends, share new lines we've found, discuss what's hot and what's not. Networking is a good thing," Martin said. Boyles shares in these sentiments. He enjoys spending time with his fellow retail owners, many of whom he doesn't see any other times throughout the year. Being able to bounce ideas off of each other is one of his favorite parts of attending January Market. He likens it to high school homecoming. Boyles has even spent time in this way with makers and designers to find out what inspires them.
Martin loves learning all she can from the speakers and sessions- and appreciates getting to sit for a few minutes during the sessions. She always learns new thing that can apply to her shop and Marketing efforts. After all, the retail landscape has seen a great deal of change since her shop opened in 1990.
Tip 5: Visit Temporaries Boyles always makes time for the temporaries. He find the special items he knows his clientele will want. This includes discovery of up-and-coming Egbert also loves the discovery process of shopping temporaries. She knows which makers and designers to visit within the section, and some of her clientele's favorite brands are represented there.brands, makers and designers. Even though they can't afford a big showroom, Boyles knows he will always find treasures in their smaller offerings.
Why January Market? January Market is unlike any other show in the retail circuit. All three of the retailers we talked to expressed the excitement and high level of energy January Market has. "If you can't find it in Atlanta, it doesn't exist," Egbert said. Because she can find everything her store needs at January Market, she no longer attends any other shows.
Boyles appreciates that he can physically get his hands on every single item his store will carry during January Market. He prefers to touch and experience what shoppers at his store will, and appreciates that he can experience that engagement with product at January Market.
Boyles also loves seeing new color palettes starting in January. He knows that he'll see similar or identical palettes at his staple vendors as well as in the temporaries, and he attributes this to the forecasting the industry sees. These fresh palettes help set the tone for the year. In his shop, he tells a color story and each brand contributes, creating a unique look and feel that his clientele appreciates.
When to Come to Market Showrooms are open Tuesday, January 14 through Tuesday, January 21. Temporaries are open Wednesday, January 15 through Saturday, January 18.
How to Get to Market (for less) Book your airfare with Delta through AmericasMart.com/travel for exclusive rates. Reserve your room at one of the official AmericasMart Atlanta hotels and take advantage of free shuttle service to the AmericasMart campus. AmericasMart also provides multiple options for free and discounted parking during Market. Lots outside of comfortable walking distance are serviced by courtesy cars, shuttling you to and from campus.
What to Expect at Market Plan for new product introductions, new and expanded showrooms and exciting Market programming, events, celebrations and experiences. Confirmed speakers include Becky Tyre of Retail Details the Podcast, Patti Biro of the Spa Industry Association, Mandy Kellogg Rye of Waiting on Marthaand so much more.
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