If you’ve been keeping up with me on social media, you may have seen my recent posts about The Atlanta Market, and you may be wondering what that is and why it is such a big deal. Well, wonder no more! I had a blast exhibiting at my first Atlanta Market in the Emerging Artist category and wanted to share my experience with all of you. Keep reading to find out what I loved about this awesome event (Spoiler alert: I won an award!!!!!!).
In a nutshell, The Atlanta Market wholesale trade show held twice each year (January and July) where exhibitors can showcase their latest products to buyers from all over the country (well, from all over the world, actually!). Buyers can walk through three buildings with hundreds of temporary and permanent exhibitors to make orders to stock their boutiques and gift shops for the coming season.
Scope out this view of all 14 floors from the Atrium of level 4 in building 2.
For exhibitors, Atlanta Market provides a platform to showcase our products to a large and diverse group of buyers. The market is also a great place to begin building relationships with key retailers across the country. My goal was to connect with gift shop buyers for botanical gardens, coastal boutiques, and museums.
Although I read a lot of information and talked to everyone I could about what to expect as a first time exhibitor at the Atlanta Market, nothing really prepared me for what it was actually like.
Leading up to the market, I planned and prepared for my space, designing my floor plan and décor to perfectly suit my allotted area, from flooring to walls, everything had to be customized. Services are available to exhibitors to assist with designing their booths, installing walls and floors, etc. Since we live here in Atlanta, I used the show designer, Fern exhibitions to install my booth walls, and then brought in my own rugs, fixtures, and lighting.
We had two days to move in and set up our space before we welcomed buyers to shop, and I was anxious about the move in process, but we had tons of help, and everything went smoothly.
Once the Market opened to buyers on Wednesday, we were rocking and rolling non-stop until the show closed on Sunday! I loved meeting amazing people from across the country, and I was excited to see so many gorgeous and vivacious WOMEN at the show representing their own shops and boutiques.
I am delighted and so grateful to have my line picked up by the Yellow Butterfly Boutique and Salon in Florida and Berbank Events in South Carolina! My real orchid jewelry will also be featured in The Ringling in Sarasota in addition to our existing retailers at the Flagler Museum and Atlanta Botanical Garden.
What an honor to be working with these amazing new clients and sharing my tropical dreams with more and more people!
Another highlight of the Atlanta Market was winning a Market Snapshot Award, and being voted one of the People’s Choice winners!
As newcomers to the market space, and as small, one woman show, it felt incredible to be honored along with much larger businesses who have large followings.
With this award, Devi & Co. received special recognition on social media and emails, and I was able to display some of my favorite Real Orchid Jewelry in the Market Snapshot vignette. I’m still reveling in this accomplishment.
I know many of you took time to vote for me, and I am so appreciative!
I learned so much, and I can’t wait to participate in the January market!
My key takeaway from the planning and set up phase -
Although I did my best to anticipate what I would need, and envision what my space would look like, so many aspects had to be adjusted on the fly during move-in. I wasn’t in love with my beautiful rugs anymore, and my shelving units took up more space than I anticipated. My banners seemed huge and overpowering, and I started second guessing my design decisions, but luckily, my husband drew me back from the edge. We moved a few things around, got rid of a few pieces of furniture, and little by little, my vision of a calming tropical escape began to take shape.
My second takeaway was a more personal one:
Trust myself while pushing myself.
As a handmade jeweler with a line based mostly on one-of-a-kind statement pieces, I needed to rethink my entire catalog in order to suit the needs of larger scale buyers. I had to determine which pieces I could offer in greater quantities and which I could not. So, I sourced new gems, drafted new designs, and crafted over 30 brand new pieces for the show.
Additionally, for this market, I knew buyers were coming in with a focus on Fall/Winter seasons and Winter holidays, and I was worried my line wouldn’t meet the expectations for those seasonal type buyers, but I still wanted to provide options for everyone, so I brought in brand new designs with gemstones I don’t usually work with.
I stayed true to my Devi & Co. aesthetic but adopted some new colors, although I wasn’t sure how these new darker pieces would mesh with my signature light and airy vibe. In the end, the new darker pieces were a success, and so were my traditional styles! They were both wins, and I’m so glad that I could stretch myself as a designer beyond my normal scope and see success. AND, now that means I get to bring you an amazing new Fall collection this year!
I loved being an exhibitor at Atlanta Market this year, and I can’t wait to see what the January market holds for Devi & Co.!
Do you have any shops in your area that you think should carry my handmade real orchid jewelry? Leave me a comment below and let me know where you’d like to see my tropical jewelry on display!