As I return from the Summer Furniture Market I find myself not necessarily reflecting on all of the great finds but instead as I sit here writing this article I realize that I am reflecting on the lack of attendance by trade professionals at this week’s event. For once it was disappointing to not be in a crowd; it was disappointing to not have to wait to discuss products with manufacturers’ representative. I do not know if the low attendance level was caused by a continued downturn in my profession or just the opposite; that there has been such an influx of new business this past year and we are all so busy with current clients and projects that for most attending the Summer Furniture Market was not feasible for even just a few days.
I try to attend the Furniture Market each Winter and Summer. This year at the Winter Market which took place in January; I was thrilled to see an abundance of new releases; new designs and products which means that business is still doing well; people are still buying things and manufacturers are optimistic because they are spending the time and money to produce new items. Just as I was filled with optimism while viewing all of the new items; it was also encouraging to witnessing the vast number of attendees at that show.
At the Winter Market I felt that I was witnessing what appeared to be a little light at the end of that long tunnel we’ve been traveling thru since 2008.
I know firsthand how difficult it can be to break away from ongoing projects, especially when clients are in town; projects need to be completed and punch list items attended to, so I am going to remain encouraged about the economy and my industry. I am attributing the low attendance at this Summer Market to the probability that many trade professionals simply could not take the time to get away in order to attend because personally in order for me to attend the Summer Market I had to rearrange my schedule to create time so that I could attend a full day and a half even though I originally planned on attending at least 3 days.
While at the show I did ask a few of the representatives if they were having a good show; if there were a lot of people in attendance prior to the days that I arrived which were the last 2 days of the Market and they for the most part told me that Tuesday was the busy day when there were a lot of people in attendance and even though there might not be as many buyers at this Market those that were there were placing orders for items; they were actually buying instead of just looking.
I went armed with my own “shopping list” of items for several clients and found a lot of what I was looking for and for the first time also wrote several orders while attending the show. In addition several of the “new” vendors who were small booths at previous shows now occupied larger showroom spaces and were showing more of their line/items than ever before so I also found this to be very uplifting.
I am going to remain optimistic that the light I am seeing is truly at the end of the tunnel and that we’re slowly making our way out of this economy and downturn of business which has affected so many of us in the design and construction trade.