Trade shows are often a great way to connect with retailers and wholesalers and to expose oneself to the marketplace at large. While they are an investment, there are those that cater specifically to certain products and markets. Artisan Resource (founded by ByHand Consulting) is one such trade show that works specifically with export ready artisan enterprises and provides a platform to connect with US buyers. The Artesan Gateway recently caught up with project manager Helen Joffe to learn more.
AG: Tell us about Artisan Resource. How did it come into existence?
AR: In August of 2012 we launched Artisan Resource at NY NOW to help link artisans and global markets in order to increase incomes and standard of living of individuals in developing countries. When reviewing the industries that we currently served, we realized that there was an unprecedented demand for handmade and artisan products in U.S. gift, home and accessories markets today. Artisan activity is second behind agriculture as the largest employer in the developing world. We believe demand in this sector will continue to increase as consumers and retailers seek handmade, ethically sourced products that are sustainable and are differentiated from mass-production products.
NY NOW is the leading market for global retailers and can offer such a wide variety of producers now with it’s large and growing Handmade sections of the show.
AG: In addition to providing ‘floor space’ at NY Now, are there other resources you offer?
AR: Yes, ByHand Consulting conducts an exclusive seminar series in conjunction with each Artisan Resource show with select market experts, addressing trends and topics specific to the handmade market today.
We also offer pre-show training webinars for Artisan Resource exhibitors – addressing buyer demographics, sales and marketing materials for American buyers, and changing U.S. distribution channels – this allows exhibitors to be better prepared for participation.
AG: How many exhibitors participate in this trade show? What countries and products are represented?
AR: This last show August 2015 we had over 155 exhibitors in Artisan Resource, representing over 30 different countries. It was our largest show to date!
AG: What is your criteria for recruiting artisan and producers groups? Do the exhibitors attend both August and January shows in a year?
Our criteria for selecting artisan enterprises and determining their export readiness depends on the following: who they are currently selling to, how they are selling their products, who produces the products and how many artisans they work with, and their price terms and lead times. Other than these questions we look closely at the quality of the product selection and how sellable it is for the US Market.
AG: How would you define a successful trade show?
AR: More and more we are seeing that trade shows are contact driven. Buyers are walking the show to see what is new and check out the product quality and design. The contacts you make at the show are your biggest asset to develop upon, particularly for first time exhibitors.
AG: Any advice for a first time exhibitor?
AR: Attend our webinars! Our educational programs are truly designed for these first time exhibitors and continue to be useful for returning visitors to emphasize all of the important details of entering the US market as a global artisan enterprise.
AG: What have been some of the lessons learned?
AR: Probably the biggest lesson learned is to make sure the exhibitors are truly ready for export to the US market, which is why we have learned to ask a lot of questions before accepting artisan groups to the show.
AG: Does Artisan Resource have plans to set up at other, global gift trade shows outside of the US? Does Artisan Resource exhibit at other trade shows aside from NY Now?
AR: At the moment there are no plans to expand the Artisan Resource program outside of the US. Many of the Artisan Resource exhibitors attend other tradeshows individually, but more and more are finding that NY NOW is really the best show for finding new contacts and buyers.
AG: What are your plans for 2016?
AR: We are really excited to be launching The Innovation Showcase this January 2016, which is another market entry program for US-based wholesale companies who are new to the NY NOW Market and are offering global handmade products. The program includes exhibiting in the Innovation Showcase Pavilion in the Handmade Global Design section of NY NOW and mentoring from market experts to prepare companies for success at the Market.
For more information about ByHand Consulting and Artisan Resource visit: http://byhandconsulting.com/