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What is the AmericasMart? Those in the trade business look for premier trade shows in the United States to launch their businesses, to introduce a new product, to preset your jewelry line, baby line, furniture, etc, etc.

The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market is one of the largest wholesale home and gift shows in the world with hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers in attendance.

Let’s be honest, though. Things have changed and I have heard this many times. Nothing is like in the old days. Where buyers will come in and buy on the spot or place a large order right away. Especially for new comers like me. The amount of buyers that used to come aren’t visiting nowadays. I have spoke to some buyers and they had to reduce their travel expenses and some had to reduce the trade shows they go to.   Buyers need to see my product perhaps two, three times before they are sure about me as a company. Don’t get me wrong, you will write orders during the show. But not as many as those who have been doing the show since 1957 or those who have been in business for over 20 years.

I have talked in my blog about all the trade shows I have attended and honestly as a seller we pay so much to attend these shows that little we could ask for is GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE. Perhaps because I worked in customer service since I was 17 years old, I expect non-other than the best. I have seen some sales people that are quite nasty to talk to you because you haven’t paid their fee, or simply because they are not having a good day; who knows but if you provide good customer service you will remember the person that treated you well and in the short or long run; you will look for that person to do business with:)

When I made the decision not to attend The New York NOW show. I decided to give a shot to the Atlanta Gift Show (AmericasMart). I was going to do it but not until 2014, though sometimes we have to follow God’s signs. Everything fell in place, even the size of my booth, the location, etc, etc. My 1st point of contact was Nancy Barlar (she was a sweetheart) and guided me to the person I was going to deal with for the rest of the show.  Her name is Grace Creta. I spoke with to Grace and she said to me call me or email me if you have any questions. It was truly like that she would  get back to me within 24-48hrs at the latest. As we were getting closer to the day of the shows. I even had someone else calling me and asking me if everything was ok? If I needed anything? This was during the PRE – SHOW.

During the show as I arrived in the building everybody were so welcoming. They will stop and guide you to wherever you have to be or where you would have to set up your booth. I met Grace we had time to connect and all I can say is that she understood my necessities as a seller and we are  already about Evelyn Brooks Designs coming back in winter 2014.

I also had great helpers that came during the show and gave me a little had.

 

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Today I got a written THANK YOU note from Grace Creta which I really appreciate. It shows their professionalism as well as willingness to continue doing business with you as a seller.

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Pilgrim Imports Inc. (see pictu re above) one of my great neighbors

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Reeves & Reeves another wonderful neighbor from England

Hope this helps those who are thinking attending AmericasMart. It is truly worth it.

Sincerely,

Evelyn Brooks

I totally believe in universal signs, energy, cosmic paths, etc., etc…or perhaps I shall say that it is my SECRET to some of my success, like in the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.

THINK. BELIEVE. RECEIVE.

I’ll tell you one of my recent experiences where letting fate take the wheel and following universal signs turned out to be one of my best decision this year!

The Javits Center in New York City. (Photo from http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps%20critique.html)

The Javits Center in New York City. (Photo from http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps%20critique.html)

Last summer I participated in the New York International Gift Show, now known as NY NOW. I loved participating because it took place inside the Javits Center, an impressive glass convention center in the heart of NYC. For the winter edition I wasn’t able to participate because my due date for baby Stella was the same weekend the show was happening. So I said, “OK…I will come back this summer.”

When I applied for it, they did not want to put me in personal accessories because it was full! The hand-made arts division is nearly impossible to get in because many come back (and it is just simply difficult to get in to that category, no matter what!). Many people wait for years to even get in the wait list!

My only option was to be in the “Newest Designers” division. I normally wouldn’t mind being there again (this was the division I was in last year), although this time they put the newest designers back in Pier 94!

How far away Pier 94 is! It's a 10-minute drive in good traffic!

How far away Pier 94 is! It’s a 10-minute drive in good traffic!

Pier 94 is off of the Javits Center premises, so buyers would have to take a shuttle bus to come see Evelyn Brooks Designs. Many of the buyers at Pier 94 go there on the last day of the show. Many say, “Oh, I’ll come back tomorrow,” and others just get so tired they don’t go to the pier at all!

So let me ask you this: Why would I pay almost $5,000 to be in a place where not everybody will go to??

On top of that, when I spoke to the center representative that was supposed to provide me with ALL the information I needed and be helpful, she was extremely RUDE to me during our phone conversation! She acted like she was doing me a favor to place me on the newest designers section, when in fact, that was the worst possible solution for me and my business. And to make the situation worse, it took them weeks to return my calls!

But the thing is — I respect the NY NOW show VERY much. It opens up doors to many designers and gives them amazing opportunities, and for that, I have so much respect for the show. But it is very disheartening to hear that not only do I have to pay $5,000 to attend something that may cause me to LOSE money, but to also receive poor customer service.

So I needed to do something about it — immediately.

I was open to other options, so I decided to look into other shows that are as big as the NYC NOW show. And luckily I found one.

The AmericasMart in Atlanta during Fashion Week! (Photo from http://tmarielewis.blogspot.com/)

My next call was to the America’s Mart in Atlanta.

From the first call I made, they answered me right away. If I had to grade their customer service, I would easily give them an A+. They were SO helpful!

And even though I’ve had my business for a few years, I still don’t know everything when it comes to trade shows, and to a lot of shows, I am a new designer. So obviously, when it came to finding out how I could get a spot at the America’s Mart in Atlanta, I had a lot of questions.

But you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Trust me on this one, do not feel afraid to ask about anything!

Anyways, I did all my paperwork with the amazing help of Grace Creta, who would be my contact for the show, and things were starting to move along!

I was thinking about doing the Atlanta Gift Show next year, not this year because I just baby Stella, BUT I had already made the decision to not go to NYC unless I was placed inside the Javits Center. And I was sticking to that decision no matter what.

Sweet Tyler and precious baby Stella! Big brother loves his little sister!

Sweet Tyler and precious baby Stella! Big brother loves his little sister!

I followed all the good and bad signs about leaving the NYC Show and moving forward with the Atlanta show, and everything seemed to just fall in place.

I’m excited to say that we’ll be a part of the America’s Mart July edition in Atlanta!

But I wouldn’t have been able to make that decision if I hadn’t paid attention to all of the signs and circumstances pushing me away from the NYC Show.

At first, not going to New York was a very intimidating and stressful decision, but in the end, something better came along!

The America’s Mart Show in Atlanta will run from July 12th -16th, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®.

For directions, parking and more information, check out the show website!

Evelyn Brooks Designs will be at BOOTH:914 in the Museum Gift Section – BUILDING 3! We are so excited to present my latest collection and bring it to new markets in Atlanta!

And I have a a feeling it is going to be a great opportunity for Evelyn Brooks Designs

Once again there is a reason for everything, so sometimes you just have to let go of being in control, and let yourself follow fate when making business decisions. Trust me, it all works out!

Also be sure to follow Evelyn Brooks Design’s Twitter and Facebook to stay updated about our events!

Sincerely,

Evelyn Brooks