|Buyers Market of American Craft|
DATES: February 18-20, 2012
TOTAL ART/CRAFT EXHIBITORS: 735
ATTENDANCE: 4,000 (The Rosen Group)
BOOTH COST (10x10): $2,250+
The new version of BMAC pretty much took up a little more than half (my estimate) of the actual space than BMACs in the past. So instead of entering the show near the top of the escalator, you had to walk quite a bit - past another (not craft-related) show - to reach the entrance of the BMAC.
This turned out to be a good thing.
Whereas last year the show was very spread out with wide aisles and lots of empty spaces, this year’s show was compact, with all the space available utilized either for booths or rest areas. If there were empty booths it wasn’t noticeable.
WhereasWhen buyers walked into this year’s BMAC, what they saw was what looked like a busy show with more crowded aisles. When they walked to the back of the show they were met by exhibitor booths, instead of curtains hiding empty show floor space.
The re-layout of the show wasn’t because it was a smaller show - in terms of booths it was close to last year - but to give the show better flow and present a more energetic show floor.
In addition to the tighter layout, the Rosen Group decided to change the length of the show from 4 days to 3 days, moving the first day of the show from Friday to Saturday. There were mixed feelings among those artists surveyed on whether the the lost day gave buyers enough time to see the whole show.
About an hour into Saturday, the aisles were definitely more crowded with buyers than it had been for many years. Right off the bat, some of the artists we spoke with said they had already placed substantial orders. In fact one regular BMAC exhibitor said they took two orders from a buyer who would normally shop both the Winter and the now defunct Summer show, with the second order to be filled after August.
But in order for this show to continue to succeed, the Rosen Group needs to resist the temptation to give in to quality over quantity. In general the artists and work available this year are as good as ever, but in the show’s prime you would never see salsa or skin care exhibitors on the BMAC floor.
For that matter, you also wouldn’t see 5x8 booths. Part of the reward of making it to the crafts big leagues is the financial risk you have to take to do a show of this magnitude.
Instead of adding smaller booths and food to the
And while they are at it, they should poach exhibitors and buyers from the globalDESIGN show that, for some reason, takes place at the convention center the same time and competes with the BMAC.
If you are an artist thinking of applying to this show and you sell your work through galleries, there really isn’t any better show to do than the BMAC. Even though the buyer attendance has diminished from ten or so years ago, this show currently draws a larger number of handmade craft buyers than any other wholesale show.