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What's new in various product categories; monthly update.

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INRG REPORT

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 automatics orders.

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 wait-and-see.

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 expectations.

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 Country House

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 is great.

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

xxx

 

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