We are pretty excited, because on Friday, Yancey and I are headed for Philadelphia and the Buyers Market of American Crafts show. This is a wholesale-only event that features the work of hundreds of extraordinary artist from the U.S. and Canada. It is held at the Philadelphia Convention Center. We’ll get an early start because we want to arrive by 4p.m. That is when they will open about 1/3 of the floor, the jewelry exhibitors area. Usually, they greet you with Mimosas. Lovely, you can sip and browse. Everything is artisan- crafted and it makes you proud to see how ingenious our American artist are. It can be overwhelming, though, Last year there were about 250 jewelers represented. It takes hours to view. The work ranges from diamonds in minimal classic settings to very artsy or whimsical designs. Nothing looks like the jewelry in stores at the mall. These designers are award- winning. And we get to meet them and talk about their work. We are looking for new trends from artists we already carry and hope to add some new ones to our collections. After hours of browsing and taking notes, we head out to find dinner. We usually end up at one of the Thai or Asian Fusion places just down the block. But we know that before we leave Philly, we’ll make our way over to the Italian restaurant that everybody from the show loves. After dinner, we comb through the catalogues that we have gathered on the show floor and mark booth numbers that we will re- visit. Then we crash. In the a.m. I’m up and out by 7:30 in order to grab a cup of coffee and attend the seminars offered by national experts on all kinds of topics. Last year I was really inspired by the editor of Gift Ware Magazine who did a slide presentation about store windows. As soon as I got home, I asked Vern Johnson make a platform and had lighting installed in our windows. All year, we had so much fun designing displays, using information that I learned from the speaker.
So then for the next two days, its hour and hours on the floor, checking more than 500 additional booths in aisles divided by categories such as “Glass” “Ceramics” “Apparel” “Mixed Media”etc. Its a little crazy- making because there is so much to see, so many decisions to make. We get sore from walking. Aspirin. We have to take short breaks. Creme Bruelee. We have to keep checking our budgets. Coffee. We have to try not to fall in love with too much. Wine. Every night we go over our work sheets. Tums
So we’ll let you know how our trip went this year. Here’s the most important part, we will be thinking of you when we shop, because that is what it is all about. We want you to come to the store with the same excitement as we feel at the show. We want to find the most wonderfu, fun, interesting, treasures in the country for you. Cheers!