ACRE Orlando-a report

This past weekend, I was in Orlando for the ACRE Orlando show. It was the first time I had participated in this show. First off, logistics: I flew to Orlando and shipped my booth and pots. Here’s a money saving tip: don’t use FedEx Freight. They charge you a “convention center fee,” which doubles the price. Use the convention centers freight company. Friday, I set everything up and waited for my last package that was accidentally given to another exhibitor. No worries, it was located and unloaded with no problems. The show opened Saturday and my brand new track lighting didn’t work. Luckily, all the services providers at the Orange Country Convention Center were fantastic and so helpful. They got some lights up and running in no time. Phew!

ACRE ran Saturday, January 19th-Monday, January 21st. The sales were SLOW. Everyone I talked to said the sales were down from last year. One poor soul didn’t even make a sale until Monday afternoon. Saturday I had three sales, Sunday I didn’t have a sale until 4:30, and Monday I didn’t have a single sale and one gallery from Saturday came back and put their order on hold. Geeze.

So why were sales slow? In my opinion, it’s leftover anxiety from the fiscal cliff. Buyers were scarce, but one consideration for me is that the ACRE show was run in conjunction with the Orlando Gift Show. I don’t sell well with imports. And I’m not talking about fine handcrafted imports or fair trade items. I talking about mass produced junk. It just brings a different type of store owner than what typically buys my porcelain pottery.

I did meet some really nice artists and got some great tips from the veteran wholesalers, which means it wasn’t a complete loss. This will probably be my last time at ACRE in Orlando. The Buyers Marker of American Craft(BMAC) in Philly changed their 2014 show dates to the same weekend as ACRE Orlando and since I did better at the BMAC, I will be there. I voted for the BMAC to remain in February, but I think the organizers are determined to dismantle ACRE Orlando. We shall see.

Here’s the before of my booth:

photo 1


And the after:

photo 2


Have a wonderful weekend!

4 Responses to ACRE Orlando-a report

  1. Herb Ayres January 25, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Hey Heidi, nice display. Well at least you got to go to Orlando. Think of it as tuition; I bet you cross paths down the road with some of the people you met.

    How come you don’t dress casually, like in jeans?


    • admin January 25, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks Mr. Ayres! That is a good point and one of the orders was to a great gallery in Winter Park, FL. It’s all a learning experience. I usually wear dress pants (to look professional), but since I was in Orlando I broke out some dresses because I thought it would be warm. It was outside, but the convention center was freezing!

  2. Amanda January 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    did you build that booth or buy it?

    • admin January 28, 2013 at 11:14 am #

      Joe and I made it. I should post a progression of my booths over the years. My good friend is in charge of design for all of Anthropologie, so I get a ton of excellent advice from him. 🙂

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