To: Quilt Market Exhibitors and Quilting Retailers
International Quilt Market has been connecting retailers and exhibitors since 1979. Over those years we’ve seen many changes in the way our industry does business. Market has changed, too.
From a show where the primary function was to introduce products and place orders, we’ve become a show where ideas are generated and shared, business and technical skills can be learned, networking contacts are made, and products can be showcased, demonstrated, and assessed, in person…and in real time. And oh yes.where exciting products are introduced and orders written!
To stay abreast of the latest concerns of both retailers and exhibitors, we are constantly seeking advice, input, and opinions from a wide variety of people across the industry. Both in formal ways-such as our Market Advisory Council-and informal ways during Market and beyond, by phone, by email, text, and in-person meetings.
As we all know, there have been years when Market attendance has been up, years when it has been down, and years when it has stayed steady. That fluctuation can be seen in any show that’s been in business for as many years as we have. But Market is constantly evaluating the input we receive to determine what will best meet the needs of all of the audiences we serve, and constantly adapting and changing.
We realize our industry is full of busy people, so everyone may not be aware of all we’ve done to ensure that Market continues to evolve and address our exhibitor and attendee concerns with fresh ideas for today. So here’s a comprehensive list of the most recently introduced innovations at Market that you may not be aware of:
1. We introduced the Market Newcomers Coffee, a welcome event for new retailers to help them make the most of their shopping time at the show.
2. We produced and distributed A Beginner’s Guide to Market and How to Shop the Market (given out to first-timers at the coffee and available on our website).
3. We produced and distributed a hand-out of tips for our exhibitors to save costs on drayage and included it in service kits. These will also be passed out at the show.
4. We introduced Wine Down! an informal Market mixer for retailers, exhibitors, educators.
5. Based on survey feedback, we’ve moved Sample Spree to an earlier time, and shortened hours on Market’s last day.
6. Also based on survey feedback and to help return Sample Spree to its original intent, we will be allowing those wearing Buyers Badges to enter first, a half hour before Industry Professionals are allowed entry.
7. We introduced Demo Alley for exhibitors to showcase their products to retailers.
8. We instituted periodic meetings with Online Leaders to share ideas about the industry. There’s a myth floating around that we banned bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and online media when we changed our credentialing. Not true! If those individuals can’t qualify for entry as an Industry Professional, they can apply and be screened as Media. We see these groups as reaching new audiences and helping to grow our industry.
9. We conducted post-show online surveys of every retailer and every exhibitor for the past several years, giving everyone equal opportunity to offer advice, suggestions, comments, and even criticisms.
10. Our company’s Executive Committee reviews every survey response to determine what responses can or should be implemented immediately or in the future.
11. On setup day at every Market, we hold an open Exhibitor Meeting, where we share information and listen to exhibitors’ comments, concerns, and suggestions. We encourage attendance at this freewheeling meeting where ideas can be exchanged.
12. We’ve totally revamped Market’s eInsider, shifting the focus to new products and trends and offering exhibitors the opportunity to submit new product information that we also post to our own social media.
13. We supply a website button to all exhibitors (“See us at Quilt Market!”) alerting blog and website visitors that they will be at the show and including coding so the button links back to the Market page on our own website. That way interested readers can get immediate and accurate information about the show.
14. Several shows ago, we introduced a Market app that offers every exhibitor the chance to submit product info and company logos for their listing, and we just recently made the app available year-round.
15. We market Market! We issue 15-20 pre-show emailers to retailers for each Market, with pertinent and timely news about the show.
16. Last year, we opened a dedicated email address just to solicit and receive comments and ideas about all of our shows. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many ways to keep up with the latest news and information about Market. By subscribing to eInsider, our free monthly ezine for the industry, you’ll automatically also receive our Market communications throughout the year. Just go to www.quilts-einsider.com and provide your email address.
We also send news out on all three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so follow us on those. And remember to install the new app for show news and information. Just download from the App Store or Google Play by searching “Quilts Inc”.
We hope you’ll stay in touch, we hope you’ll share good ideas, and we hope to see you at fall Market in Houston!
Founder of Quilt Market
and President/CEO of Quilts, Inc.