ATL gift show recap

Winging my way west after a week in Atlanta, I must say I’m quite pleased with the results of 5 days of sitting in Bldg 3, Floor 4, Booth 404 at America’s Mart in ATL.  Sharing the booth with Susan Schmitt of http://www.susanschmittart.com was wonderful.  Our lines compliment each other.  As do our personalities.  It’s so much more enjoyable to have someone to commiserate with when no retailers are walking the aisles not to mention celebrate with when orders are written.  We also had fun getting to know our vendor neighbors.  In addition we had the time to sit and dream about/discuss what we hoped for our respective business futures.  Everyone agreed that traffic was painfully s l o w.  But even with all that, I was happy to find that when I opened my journal to write about the show on Sunday, I had nearly 3 pages of bullet points describing all the good that happened as a result of attending the show.

Briefly, we had the chance to talk with a number of seasoned veterans.  Building relationships is critical, I believe, no matter what kind of business you are in.  The downtime gave us time to chat it up with my friend Michael Flynn, head sales guru for Compendium as well as long time friend.  He’s provided me with many a listening ear over the years and advice, when asked, has been along the lines of “Go Big or Go Home” and my favorite “Peg, you know what to do, you are just calling me to get validation.”  Glen Biely, with Madison Park Greetings, walked by and told us that we were in the booth that for many years housed Madison Park.  He also was very complimentary, as was Gina B (who I had licensed an image to over 10 years ago) regarding the continued growth of Words and Watercolors.  Phyliss Wright Herman, the Wright in MikWright cards, was a big help providing me with names of reps in the Midwest.  I got to meet a facebook friend who now is a “real” friend, Marci Moore and her partner Pam Williams, who work with Applied Insight.

Even though retailers often seemed few and far between, we did have many that decided right then and there to write orders.  And because both Susan and I were very good at introducing each other we shared a high percentage of orders written by the same stores.  I especially liked the fact that I recognized a few of the business cards people gave me.  I would say, I’ve talked to you before!  I remember this logo!  The marketing adage of it taking a few times to “touch” someone before they order is true.  Also met with one of my favorite accounts, Frederik Mejier Botanical Garden.  They walked in the booth smiling as if they knew me and though I’ve talked to both Raychel and Chris over the phone, I didn’t know what they looked like, but they knew the look of Words and Watercolors.  Loved being able to give them a hug, thank them for their business and show them new product!  Debbie Reuter, one of my great reps who is in Florida, stopped by and gave her thumbs up on the new product.

New Product was well received.  Happy to report that overall feedback was very positive on both Wall Art and Paper Placemats, I wrote orders on both.  To sum it up, I’ll close with the many of the adjectives used to describe Words and Watercolors:  Happy, Beautiful, Exquisite, Joyful, Colorful, Vibrant, Amazing, Perfect….all in all it wasn’t a bad way to spend 5 days.  EnJOY the pictures…..

One of my favorite NEW accounts...Merryman...that's her real name!  And she is happy as can be!

One of my favorite NEW accounts…Merryman…that’s her real name! And she is happy as can be!

The Ladies from Sarah B in Madison, WI...happily just wrote another order with W&W!

The Ladies from Sarah B in Madison, WI…happily just wrote another order with W&W!

She thoroughly enjoyed her dancing queen role!

She thoroughly enjoyed her dancing queen role!

adding fun, music and delight to Sunday!

adding fun, music and delight to Sunday!

all manners of costume on display along with the inspiring  marching music that was played

all manners of costume on display along with the inspiring marching music that was played

marching band that came through the bldg on Sunday afternoon

marching band that came through the bldg on Sunday afternoon

Susan showing her dolls and boxed notes

Susan showing her dolls and boxed notes

The Mart is a BIG place...this is just Bldg 3!

The Mart is a BIG place…this is just Bldg 3!

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