Enough with the Tiptoeing!
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 3/12/2007 12:00:00 AM
Once upon a time — just back in the early '90s — a specialty retailer came to the New York market and, as usual, visited a "major mill" with whom he was doing about a hundred grand on the special-order sheet and bedding program designed by the "major mill" for those accounts. He was greeted at the door with the information that he was no longer welcome at market. He was now a telemarketing customer. Not even a polite "ciao."
Needless to say, this customer quickly became a non-customer, as did many others in similar situations. It was the period in the annals of home textiles when the "major mills" and the other "major players" decided that their roads to fame and fortune were with the Top 10 or 20 of the major retailers in this business.
As the years rolled on, the regional department store groups and the specialty stores were made less and less welcome during the New York home textiles market week.
It has now reached the point where many suppliers talk about how market really isn't market since they see their 10 or 15 customers (if that many) year-round.
We're not just talking about the luxury home textiles segment, but the mainstream and what would be called "bridge" in the apparel world. As a result, these folks have been testing the waters in places like High Point, N.C., Las Vegas, and now a new venue in Atlanta. What's more interesting is that the folks with national or regional grand showrooms in New York are tiptoeing to these out-of-town markets to play make-up with the once-discarded retailers.
Something is wrong with this logic. The overhead and expenses already are in the New York spaces. The challenge is how to re-invite these folks back into the fold.
Then there are the folks who are crying about the change in market dates to February and August. Memories are short. Remember when many of us schlepped, without whining, around New York during these months for mini-market? It wasn't a full house, but it was full enough.
And then, there are the thousands who shop the New York Int'l Gift Fair, also held in winter and summer. The numbers are in the thousands since the product reach is far beyond that of home textiles. But they move from place to place, year after year.
It's possibly still not too late to make the New York Home Fashions Market a welcoming event for more than the Top 20. It will take some doing — but maybe not as much as it would seem. In a strictly selfish financial perspective from the supplier ranks, the dollar cost and energy expenditure would more than make sense, compared with the regional schlepping efforts.
We would love your feedback!