Your Best Market Ever!
Straight from the Melrose experts! Gain pro-tips from years of markets, so that you can shop worry free.
Every year, we travel to our show destinations to bring you the best in home décor! All year long we prepare for the shows and during each show, we are constantly working to improve your experience! All this traveling has given us a hit list of market must do’s and must don’ts—all here for you to review before you travel to the January shows.
Before the Show
~Gather your paperwork. Bring multiples of the following: business cards, your certificate of resale for your state, credit reference sheets (if you are applying for terms), and credit card (if you don’t need terms).
~Take pictures of your store. You’d be surprised how much they help you place items in your mind once you are on the show floor.
~Make appointments with your reps!
~Plan dinner ahead. The good restaurants near the shows fill up fast after 5:00. Make reservations and stick to them! We suggest making a reservation through Open Table about 10 days in advance.
At the Show
~Most importantly, wear comfy shoes. Even though you’re on your feet in your store, walking the concrete floors of a showroom is a totally different story. Here is where you want to sacrifice fashion for comfort.
~Eat! Get in a healthy protein filled breakfast and pack snacks in your bag. Keep in mind that not all vendors offer food or beverages to their customers. And please, stop for lunch. Even a peanut butter sandwich will keep you going!
~Utilize social media. The average person checks Facebook seven times a day. Post pictures of a handful of items you’re ordering and see what your customers think. You’ll probably need to go back to the vendor and order more of that item before you even leave the show!
~Be organized. After each order you place, a copy of the order is given to you. Bring a binder, folder, whatever to keep it all together. Tablets are also great for taking pictures (ask first, some vendors worry that pictures will be used to create knock-off items), saving notes, making appointments and of course, checking in on your favorite social sites.
~Pricing and Shipping vary from vendor to vendor but you aren’t required to remember each! That’s what the showroom reps are there for. And, don’t be shy before starting an order for the first time—ask what their freight cap is. Anything under 15% is common.
~Minimum orders. Manufacturers are successful because of good business principles and making wise decisions. If a vendor has a minimum order, there is a reason for it. It may not be good for overhead to ship only 1 SKU, no matter how much they want to be a good supplier.
~Seek out new vendors. Walk the floors and temporary booths and see what’s new in the industry. Your customers don’t want to see the same items year after year. Mix in new, fresh product with your go-to best sellers to keep them coming back for more.
And, your best advice is to have fun! You work hard in this business—when it’s your turn to be the customer, enjoy it.
Have a show-shopping secret you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!