16745 Mon, 08/10/2009 - 1:41pm
By Jennifer Boncy
Decorative accessory and gift vendors are touting the Las Vegas Market as the optimal opportunity to give their buyers all-important face-to-face time and to connect with the bicoastal, international crowd expected to attend.
Putting aside concerns about the economy and its affect on trade show traffic, many exhibitors are optimistic about the potential for good business at this September’s market. They are also committed to the fledgling market and have high hopes that with time, it will prove to be a must-attend bi-annual event to all in the industries.
Penni Haragon, president of kitchen decor and decorative gourmet products company Wild Things, identified potential in the Las Vegas Market since the beginning and has yet to miss one.
“I love it,” she said. “From the get-go I had faith that it would be a great place to be.”
Convenience, she said, is among the top reasons the market appeals to buyers and exhibitors. It’s easy to travel to, with plenty of hotels and restaurants to choose from. That along with the facility itself are enough to make it popular, she said.
“Everyone is starting fresh there, and I think there’s something about the newness of it that’s desirable,” she said, adding that its much easier to set up a great display in a newly constructed showroom.
Ron Thomas, sales/marketing director of Heather Ann Creations, designers of photo frames, wall decor and tabletop accessories, is like-minded on the market. He said that much of the market’s appeal comes down to location, location, location.
“Who doesn’t like to come to Las Vegas?” he said. “People come from around the world to visit Las Vegas. And the market is growing in terms of being an international show.”
That international exposure, Thomas said, is the most compelling reason for the California-based company to exhibit there.
“We are there for the duration,” he said.
Meanwhile, the West Coast venue is also seen as a great spot for East Coast-based companies to connect with attendees who may not make it to their eastern showrooms.
The decision makers at GO Home, a New York-based company specializing in accent furniture, decorative accessories, lighting and other decor, jumped at the chance to build one of its largest showrooms in Vegas, lured by the market’s newness and the availability of permanent showrooms.
“Because we are an East Coast-based company it is crucial we make our presence in the west,” said Liora Simpson, director of marketing. “Between the beautiful facilities the Vegas Market has to offer, our outstanding showroom and great West Coast reps, we can continue to focus on expanding our line, increasing our customer base and taking the brand to the next level across the country.”
The company is also confident that the market is among the best places to make its mark.
“While the economy is going through a soft period, it has the greatest potential for growth,” Simpson said.
Adding to the market’s coast-to-coast and international is the growing diversity of product categories exhibited in Las Vegas. Attendees expecting to see home decor, gift or furnishings displays may see categories they hadn’t even considered.
California Accessories, a 75-year-old company that makes and distributes optical-quality readers, eyeglass cases and chains and related items, for example will be showing at the market for the second time, after discovering earlier this year that the Vegas show is a smart fit.
“What really surprised us in the first show, although it makes sense, home decorators are looking for other revenue streams,” said Director of Retail Sales Jean Smith. “They are looking for items that will complement what they have without diversifying too much, and our items seem to be a hit.”
She is banking on the market being able to attract buyers from both coasts and the states between, and says California Accessories will probably be exhibiting there for some time.“We feel strongly that World Market will be a contender when it all shakes out,” she said.
Exhibitors are doing what they can to make their investment worthwhile. Fantastic Craft is sending its customers postcards and emails and offering a promotion to try to draw them to market.
Fellow exhibitors are taking a similar approach. Haradon of Wild Things sends out emails and to any of her key buyers, a personal invitation. “Because I’m a temporary, my booth is not always in the same space, so I think it’s smart to just say, ‘Hey, I’m here. Come see me,” she said.
Exhibitors are also shoring up their offerings, hoping to entice buyers with new buzz-worthy products, while offering proven bestsellers.
“We make a conscious effort to always look fresh, consistently adding product to the line, changing the way we look while maintaining brand recognition,” GO Home’s Simpson said.