Home
Business-Wise
Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard


Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


A view of the industry through the eyes of a chain buyer.

Printer Version

Hot Trends and Trade Shows

Trends change, but the keys to success do not.

by Mike Hartnett (January 17, 2005)

(Note: While performing my annual end of the year computer cleanup, I came across an article that was written for the ACCI website just before the 2003 show. While re-reading it, I realized that with only minor updates, what I wrote then is relevant for the upcoming 2005 CHA show.)

The 2005 CHA winter show is almost upon us. It will be my 26th, and I predict I will hear two major complaints. Iím predicting this because Iíve been hearing versions of these two complaints at every show Iíve ever attended.

"Itís become a scrapbook show." Well, no doubt there will be a lot of scrapbooking, stamping, and related paper crafts at the show for one good reason: memory is hot.

Back in 1980, the version of that complaint was, "Itís become a macrame show." That was followed by, "Itís become a cross stitch show," and then "Itís become a wearables show."

These complaints are and were made by folks not involved with scrapbooking, macrame, cross stitch and wearables. Of course, if you stay in business long enough, sooner or later you will be out of the hot-trend loop, but that shouldnít matter. Regardless of what the biggest trend is, there will be hundreds of buyers at the CHA show looking for products to boost the other categories in their store.

Would they like to find some hot new scrapbook items? Of course, but what they really want most are new items for hard crafts, kids, decorative painting, needlework, florals, and so on.

And the best new product of them all would be something that not only sells, but boosts the sales of products the buyers already have in their store.

Years ago I walked an ACCI show with an excellent independent retailer. He told me what he was really looking for was products to help sell his existing inventory. "I donít have room for some enormous new category. I want items to help what I already carry."

Which brings me to complaint #2: "Thereís nothing new." Well, there may not be the next scrapbooking at the show, but I can almost guarantee buyers will find lots of new items, lines, and line extensions.

I always hear the "nothing-new" complaint. But I never hear that from really successful retailers. For example, for years now I have tried to get together halfway through the last day of the show with Jim Bremer, head of The Tall Mouse. We meet for coffee or lunch and I just sit there, listen, and take notes as Jim and his staff go on and on about all the wonderful new items theyíve seen.

Successful retailers find the great new items; thatís one reason why theyíre successful. If you walk the show and conclude thereís nothing new, then you havenít looked carefully enough.

Scrapbook retailers should also be wary: If they think all they need to do is visit the scrapbook and new exhibitor sections, they will miss lots of products with real profit potential for their stores. They need to walk the entire show for two reasons: 1. Many vendors who are in the other sections Ė craft, painting, needlework, etc. Ė are offering products for scrapbooks. 2. The embellishment trend in scrapbooking has now turned many traditional craft and sewing products into potential scrapbook products. So "craft" products that two years ago would not have been relevant for a scrapbook store now are very relevant.

In other words, donít listen to the complainers. There will be lots of potentially profitable new products for everyone. And lots of buyers for every vendor.

And always, wear comfortable shoes.

(Note: To read previous "Benny" columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To comment on trade show issues Ė or any industry issues, email Mike at mike@clnonline.com.)

xxx 

 

horizontal rule

horizontal rule



   
   

Benny's Recent Columns...
BERNINA NAMES TOP DEALERS FOR 2012; They demonstrated exemplary sales, service, and customer education.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE; Do it for the grieving families.

AN INTERVIEW WITH SPC'S ALEX NIELSEN; Explaining the new affiliate program for independent retailers.

A LETTER FROM HOBBY LOBBY STORES CEO

HIGHLIGHTS OF MICHAELS' SEC FILING; The finances and the plans.

THREE WAYS RETAILERS CAN AVOID THE BLACK FRIDAY BLUES; How to maximize what should be your biggest sales day.

BE A MEDIA DARLING: 5 TIPS TO A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW; How to talk to reporters to maximize the positive effects of media attention.

TOP NEW PRODUCTS AT CHA'S SUMMER SHOW; Mostly scrapbook/paper craft products, but not all.

WAL-MART AND OUR INDUSTRY; A brief, casual history of the relationship.

THE STATE OF RETAILING & THE LOCAL BEAD STORE; The fast pace of changes is creating challenges for all.

COMMENTS ON THE FUTURE OF INDEPENDENT BEAD SHOPS; Are chain stores the problem, or is it something else?

MICHAEL'S FOURTH QUARTER, FISCAL YEAR REPORT; Highlights of a positive report.

WHY MICHAELS DIDN'T MAKE A BOTTOM-LINE PROFIT; Evidence that the banking system is coming back.

MEMORIES OF AN OLD FRIEND; Lots of years, lots of fun with Mike Dupey.

MICHAELS AND A.C. MOORE: Fourth Quarter, Fiscal Year Results; Profits, losses and sales.

HANCOCK AND JO-ANN: FOURTH QUARTER, FISCAL YEAR RESULTS; Profits are up!

WHAT'S THE BEST PRICING STRATEGY? A new study reveals retailers can increase profits by changing pricing strategies.

THE RETAIL SIDE OF THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Comments from Scrapbook Updates' readers.

RETAILERS WRITE...About lower prices than Michaels, the cost of services, tourism, and more.

HAS THE ECONOMY STARTED TO RECOVER? HAVE OUR CUSTOMERS? Two economic-savvy industry retailers have some answers.

IS BIGGER BETTER? Bad customer service can drive a customer to drink.

A NEW TYPE OF CRAFT STORE; Catering to the indie crafter.

CHA EVENTS FOR RETAILERS; How to get more out of a trade show besides ordering products.

HOW TO CAPITALIZE ON "STASH CRAFTING"; Enthusiasts have plenty of supplies? Here are ways to boost sales anyway.

A NOVEL WAY TO CHANGE OWNERSHIP; An essay contest for consumers.

SPARK CRAFTS NEEDS A SPARK; A great concept, but...

FOIL THOSE "FIVE FINGERED- DISCOUNTS"! How to guard against shoplifting.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF INDUSTRY CONSUMER SHOWS; Retailers benefit if they participate.

RETAILERS SPEAK OUT! On chain stores' coupons, individual paper vs. pads, offering a slide-scanning service, investing in technology, and how the younger generation thinks.

SCANNING FOR MORE BUSINESS! A simple, profitable service to offer customers.

IT'S TIME TO RE-AWAKEN THE INDUSTRY'S THINKING; Time to embrace new ideas and expand horizons.

HEY CRAFT INDUSTRY...WHERE ARE YOU? Where's the teaching, the inspiration?

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE SHRINKING ECONOMY? Think outside the box.

UPDATE: HOW CONSUMERS WILL SPEND THEIR REBATES CHECKS; Food and gas inflation is taking its toll.

HOW PRODUCTS SELL...and why you need reexamine your buying habits.

WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER; We may sell different products, but our challenges and strategies are the same.

THE KEYS TO SUCCESS - AND FAILURE; Dreams get you started, but management skills make you profitable.

AN OPEN LETTER TO RETAILERS; Store traffic declines as gas prices rise? Some answers.

INDEPENDENTS RESPOND TO PROVO; To say they're not happy is an understatement.

ADVICE TO RETAILERS; How to keep a genuine enthusiast - and big spender - happy.

HOW ONE INDEPENDENT IS CATERING TO THE "NEW" CONSUMER; She needs motivation and inspiration, not a smiling bunny.

CLN NEWSBRIEFS; May 8 - June 2, 2006.

THE NEW WAL-MART SUPERSTORE; The craft/sewing department remains about the same, with some major exceptions.

REAL ESTATE WOES; How a landlord drove an independent our of business.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY NEEDS; Creativity, common-sense pricing, and much more.

HOW TO DRIVE A RETAILER CRAZY ... And lose a good customer forever.

THE CRAFT INDUSTRY: SLIPPING & SLIDING; The cause? Competitors instead of creativity.

SPARK CRAFT STUDIOS: THE INTERVIEW; This unique store offers food for thought for every retailer, large or small.

MICHAELS VENDOR PARTNER AWARDS; Winners produced better sales, higher margins.

A SCRAPBOOK VENDOR QUITS - WHAT WENT WRONG? Too much product - and loyalty - or too little?

GOOD AND BAD TIMES IN KANSAS CITY; A lesson in civility.

WAL-MART IN THE NEWS - Charity work, legal hassles, an irate ad, and money.

HOT TRENDS AND TRADE SHOWS; Trends change, but the keys to success do not.

MY LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MICHAELS, PT. II; There's a lot to like, too.

HOW DO WE TURN THIS "CRAFTER" INTO A SCRAPBOOKER?; An essential goal if the scrapbook market is to grow.

RETAILERS RESPOND TO SCRAPBOOK DILEMMA; How to be a merchant, not a missionary.

BUYER'S HORROR STORIES; Vendors: here's what NOT to do at trade shows.

A BUYER'S VIEW OF "CRAFTS"'; A magazine changes, and buyers disagree.

WHY I DON'T STOP AT YOUR BOOTH; Advice on selling chains.

HEY VINNY: DON'T YELL AT ME; I don't make the rules.