I do not own or work in a lighting showroom or home décor boutique, nor am I an interior designer — but I pretend to be one when I’m at a trade show or market. Obviously, I don’t actually change my credentials or present myself as such, but when I’m looking at new products or displays at market, I’m always thinking, “Would this be helpful or unique for me if I owned/worked in a store or had clients?”
I bring this up because I’m fresh from the Las Vegas Market, where I was combing the aisles of the new Pavilions section that offered a lot of innovative products. I noticed some confused looks from exhibitors when I’d ask, “What’s your minimum?” or “Can you do custom or private label?” or “What’s the upcharge for XYZ?” and “Who else are you selling to?” The exhibitor would look at my badge, pause a second, and ask, “Wait, are you press or a retailer?”
I tell them to think of me as both…I am the press, here to represent the retailer/designer who wasn’t able to attend. While this is my modus operandi for every show I walk, the confusion was especially prevalent during my exploration of the temporary booths in The Pavilions (unlike in the main buildings of the Market, where I am already familiar to many exhibitors). In fact, in a change of editorial viewpoint, I wrote the article about my time there from that very perspective (see page 54).
We are heading into the holiday season in just a matter of weeks. This is one of the busiest shopping times of the year, even for home décor and lighting retailers as consumers are in the midst of sprucing up for at-home entertaining. Having distinctive gifts on-hand – and publicized as such in your social media or eblasts – is another opportunity to keep people coming back to your store on a frequent basis. There are a lot of unusual products out there that are new, different, and totally appropriate for your customers. When you travel to the major markets during the year, please do take the time to walk through the “temporaries” with an open mind. I think you’re going to find the side trip worthwhile.
There is still time right now in September to plan at least one festive event that you can hold in your store to bring in foot traffic and increase awareness that your shop offers more than just lighting or casual furniture. Write in and tell me. lindalongo