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Smaller ... and slower.
Compiled by Mike Hartnett (July, 2003)
The following are edited comments from various exhibitors at the
recent Charlotte show.
Smaller and Slower
The show was a lot smaller. We did half the sales of a normal show,
but got an invitation to design for a magazine and 15 or more
Everyone seemed upbeat with their business -- things seem to be
turning up -- but everyone is still watching their pennies.
As to the future of the show, the move to Columbus, and the
possibility of a show in August, it was all over the board. I think
the Columbus show is a bad time of year for a lot of people; they
want to go, but it is longer, plus summer vacations and other
personal and business things are factors.
Many people are worried, due to the cost and the length of the show.
A lot of counted stitch people will not be able to make it, and
those who do are afraid they may get lost in the shuffle, and this
can impact the business. A lot of people can not be away from their
shop that long, and a lot of designers work other jobs that don't
allow for time away. Everyone expects the next two years to be a
I saw a few companies that seemed to be gearing up for the move to
TNNA. Several companies have added items that would work there, such
as wool applique and dyed fabrics and other items.
I also see the trend of smaller items still going strong. I think
that less expensive, smaller charts seems to be the way to go;
people want instant gratification. As for designs, it seemed to be
the usual mix; the degree of difficulty seemed to be evenly mixed.
The products were about the same except for a few companies that
were already thinking of the move to TNNA and had started adding in
the hand-dyed wool fabric and the wool applique and so on. -- Elizabeth
Talledo, Dames of the Needle, www.damesoftheneedle.com.
Cost A Lot To Learn
We were new exhibitors at the show. We are new designers and
contracted for a 10 x 10 booth before they came out with a Freshman
area. The all-day set up in the convention center in July was
horrible. No air conditioning was turned on. About 1 pm the day the
show ended, they turned off the air. We still had 2 hours and tear
down. At 10 minutes after the show ended, they turned off half the
lights. It wasn't what we expected, so maybe we had unrealistic
Most of the other exhibitors told us it was the worst year ever and
not to judge all shows on this one. There was not a huge crowd of
shopowners and as for exhibitors, there were some large companies
missing such as DMC.
We are interested in going to Columbus and the combination of the
two groups looks very promising. We did learn a lot, but it cost a
lot to learn it. I know some of the other new exhibitors had pretty
good experiences. There was activity in the Freshman row that we
missed out on, but on the other hand, we had the opportunity to meet
some exceptional people who had been going to Charlotte for years.
They gave us great information and support. I hope we all keep in
touch. I hope to have a more successful outing next year.
Please do not publish anything that might get us blacklisted from
attending future shows. I understand that this has happened in the
past . -- Name Withheld. (Note: The 2004 Columbus show
will be managed by Offinger Management. From our 20+ years of
experience exhibiting at and attending trade shows run by Offinger
Management, we are convinced there's no chance anyone would be
blacklisted for criticizing the show.)
A Disappointed Newcomer
I was an exhibitor and this was my first show, so I have nothing to
compare by. I will say that if the attendance was typical to most
shows, I will not be going to the expense in the future. I was
troubled by the lack of attendance, but was encouraged by the
compliments received on my product. Many people I spoke with were
disappointed by the attendance, but assured me Columbus would bring
better results. I hope that proves to be true. -- Kathleen
Jenkins, Ladybug Baubles
Hopeful For Next Year
The show was pretty quiet. The Friday crowd seemed like the Sunday
traffic. We did half of what we did last year. The buzz for the new
combined show with TNNA was very positive and buyers and exhibitors
seemed very excited about it.
Also, TNNA has approved the formation of a new Counted Thread Group
within TNNA. And INRG approved the management of Offinger to run its
part of the TNNA/INRG Columbus show. -- Peg Edwards, Carolina
Not So Much Fun
NATS was a MUCH quieter show, with a lot fewer buyers than usual. It
wasn't so much a "fun" show this time, but more of a
businesslike atmosphere. Buyers were in a hurry to do their business
and go home, and I think the vendors felt much the same.
This was my first time showing, so I can't really say how the
atmosphere has been in other shows, but I did visit once and it was
much bigger and brighter.
On a personal note, we did very little in sales, and it's my
understanding that a lot of buyers went straight to Hoffman's and
bought all their orders there. We DID make a lot of contacts, which
was very good, and we were picked up by two new distributors, which
I think EVERYONE -- vendors and buyers -- is looking forward to
joining with TNNA and being at the show in Columbus next year, I
think it'll be HUGE and we definitely look forward to going there!
-- Name Withheld