My special blend of Tropical Rooibos and Jade Pearls teas in the Austin skyline mug, the Japanese alto Music of the Spheres windchimes on the back deck for my music this morning. Even with the beginnings of a looking-to-be-nasty cold, it is so good to be home!
Today I write and organize. I have a 1200 word article due for Profitable Glass and I have the firing schedule to finish building with the orders from the show and I need to make a list of buyers I didn't see at the show. My current drop-dead-go-live date for the new website is Friday, and I will start making calls next week, telling the buyers I didn't see at the show about the new site, saying I missed seeing them at the BMAC and offering them an incentive for ordering before the middle of March.
Bill commented on yesterday's post "Having mostly new customers sounds pretty good, actually. Isn't that supposed to be the point?" No, for a wholesale show it is the OPPOSITE of the point: If you're going to go to all the trouble of a show for a one-off sale instead of establishing an ordering relationship, then you want to sell at retail where you make twice as much for your work as you do at wholesale. My ideal wholesale show would have about 30% new buyers and a retention rate of 80% of the previous buyers for 10% growth in accounts... Reading over that I have a feeling I've done some fuzzy math, but the goal is the same--some new, strong retention, and then increased order size across all for another 10% growth.
To finish today, here's a report card for this year's February Buyer's Market of American Craft:
Hargrove Logistics (specifically Tracy Crea) A+, responsive, professional, human, timely--a tough mix to pull off and she was excellent.
Hilton Garden Inn: A, the staff, service and facilities were excellent, the only negative is their choice of pay-tv providers--when you pay $14 for an in-room movie you should be able to pause and rewind as necessary.
BMAC site staff: varied from A (Laura Bamburak, the Mixed Media manager) to D (whoever dropped the ball when I asked to speak to whomever has taken up ownership of the Wholesale Matters blog since the departure of Daniel Waldeman--I might as well not have existed)
Aramark Food Service: B, expensive but not bad quality and variety, good service
Java City (coffee place in the convention center by the entrance to the halls): C, slow sullen service, expensive, poor selection
Attendance: C-, I don't know what the attendance figures were, but I saw far fewer people there than I have in the past and there were too many artists who said they didn't see their regular buyers there for my low viewing numbers to be a fluke.
Sales: A, In this weak, scary, empty market, I managed 15 new buyers, 7 repeats, and 61% sales growth over last February's show. Last February was not as good for me as last August and I'll have to look at those numbers too, however I'm comfortable saying my business is growing steadily at the BMAC. Now off to write some more!