Marketing and Selling Part V

Checking Out New York

On my first trip to Philadelphia, I decided to travel from there to walk the New York Gift Show.  I wanted to see how the show management laid out the show.   Plus, I was also interested in finding a few items to compliment my pottery in the showroom that I had added to my studio.  

What Did I Do?

I took the train up to New York and got in line to take a taxi over to the Javits center.  The queue was 40 or 50 people long, and I was in the middle of the line.  A black man walked by and told me, in an authoritative voice, that I was in the wrong line and needed to move over to another line.  It confused me, but before I could move, a black woman about two people behind me told him to leave me alone.  He shouted profanity at her and told her to mind her own business, and then she told him to watch his mouth.  I was stunned by how he talked to her and her willingness to stand up to him.  Immediately, I turned to her and thanked her for her effort to protect me. 

The Most Dangerous City

Several years later and many more trips to New York, I am not sure exactly why he picked me out of that line of people.  It could have been that I had my head tilted back staring up at the buildings or the Hawaiian shirt I was wearing or that fresh from Texas look on my face.  Fortunately, a saint in that line stood up for me and I never found out what he was trying to accomplish.    It was not the last time that somebody tried to hustle me in New York City.  Oddly enough, over the years of doing both the New York and Philly shows, I felt that Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, was the more dangerous of the two cities, at least in the parts of those cities where I was staying. 

How the Shows are Laid Out

In both the New York and Buyers Market of American Crafts, exhibitors are grouped by the products they show. Mainly, this is true in the Buyers Market, where potters are with potters, jewelers are with jewelers, and glassblowers are with all things glass.   The New York Gift show is much larger and more varied, so they have a section that is called Handmade that includes most of the vendors that produce their work.  Since New York is a more expensive show, not everyone that does the Philly show does the New York show. 

Initially, I was not in the Handmade section in New York. My booth was on a pier about a mile from the main show in the Javits center, which housed vendors that were new to the show.  Buses moved buyers from the Javits Center to the pier and from hotels located in midtown to the Javits Center.  The good thing about being on the pier was that a larger variety of buyers came to the pier than came to the handmade section giving me access to buyers that wouldn’t ordinarily come to see pottery.   

Comradery at the Show

 Comradery develops between exhibitors at shows. Often they will go to dinner after the show or visit across the isle if the show is slow. At the Buyers Market it is between people that work in the same craft and in New York it is often people on the same isle.

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