ACRE Las Vegas E-mail


SHOW: ACRE - American Craft Retailers Expo (Las Vegas, NV)

DATES: June 4-6, 2011


ATTENDANCE: N/A (3 requests to

BOOTH COST (10x10): $1,995




acre-2-withcaptionOnce again, credit must be given to Nancy Vince for taking the chance of starting a wholesale craft show to Las Vegas.


When she first told me she was thinking of producing a show in Las Vegas, she emphasized that the West Coast based retailers that utilize her popular website,, were appealing for her to produce a show out west. The retailers didn’t want to have to come east to buy work from quality craft artists.

(I thought that solved that problem)

Unfortunately those retailers have steadily become no-shows at ACRE over the past couple of years.

The absence of the number of buyers in attendance has made it more difficult for ACRE to attract and maintain the caliber of artists that they had originally envisioned and that the staff works to find. The past two years, the talented ACRE sales team has had to replace at least 50% (150) of the exhibiting artists from the year before.

acre-1Any show producer will tell you that when you have to find 150 artists willing to pay almost $2,000 on a booth, not to mention travel costs, you are bound to lower your “jurying” standards and/or devise clever marketing strategies to fill those exhibit spaces.

One of those strategies is the “Emerging Artist” section. By no means is this a phenomenon exclusive to ACRE. The Buyers Market of American Craft, ACC, and now retail shows employ the same type of strategy to fill their booths.


Usually it comes with a lesser cost for the booth, even though the booth may not be smaller. And it can be a deal closer for the salesperson working on an artist on the fence about doing a show.

When I randomly Googled three of ACRE’s “Emerging Artists” exhibitors, I found out that one has been in operation “since 1985”, one “since 1994”, and one “for 40 years!”

As you would expect with this experience, these artists do good work. They are just not what I’d call “Emerging.” In fact, I asked WSC in an email what the requirements are to be an “Emerging Artist” at ACRE, there was no response.

If you are an artist considering applying to next year’s ACRE-Las Vegas show, consider these numbers from the accompanying CSN survey of ACRE exhibitors:

65% responded that they made less than $5,000 in sales.

69% responded that sales did not meet their expectations.

86% responded that they were unhappy with the total attendance.

64% responded that they were unhappy with the number of new retailers they met.

67% responded that they were either not going to apply to next year’s show or were undecided.

The name of the game is attendance. The “revolution” that Nancy Vince started in Las Vegas 5 years ago has never really gained traction with buyers. Sure there will be a few artists who will say they had a great show, and a few retailers that will come every year, but that’s not what is being promoted.

Maybe some of those retailers, so convincing in their desire for a show in Las Vegas, actually miss Philly or New York City. I mean, when it isn’t snowing they can be pretty nice places to spend a long weekend.





#5 Elsa Mikus 2011-08-08 06:08
I agree with Cynthia...we had our best show yet in Vegas. Just because there are not a lot of buyers, doesn't mean the ones that are there aren't buying. We no longer do Rosen because of her "Niche" show in Vegas. Very poor business idea to follow someone else who is off to a good start and try to steal their artists only to have 2 shows in the same location not being able to attract a larger number of buyers. We think Nancy and her crew do a great job and are interested in what the artists have to say. They try their hardest from year to year to attract new artists as well as buyers using artist input.
#4 Kimberley Morris 2011-07-28 08:41
Wow Cynthia, had I not had the conversation I did with a certain someone who shall remain nameless, I'd say you were a plant for ACRE.

Bottom line, the folks that put on both shows forget who is putting money in their pockets. And let's be honest here, it's a business and for them it's all about the money.

I think the organizer's of both shows need to put their big girl panties on and stop trying to see who can run the other one into the ground first.

As for me, I'm out of doing wholesale shows for either group. I don't need the negativity.
#3 Administrator 2011-07-27 13:09
Beth, thanks for your comment.

The comments, both negative and positive, were pretty much evenly spread between those of you that have done the show before and those "newbies."
+1 #2 Cynthia Webb 2011-07-27 12:39
I have to say the quality seemed VERY good, espeically 'all things condisdered' - and I had my best ACRE show yet - between the buyer discounts (if you are smart, you use them!) and the membership to WholesaleCrafts , it's a fairly inexpensive, easy and nice show to do.

I think many of the complaints come from newbies who don't know the industry well enough to realize, Yes, you need to have items priced, etc.

Obviously the attendance is an issue, but, I did get new customers. I hope the economy gets better and Wendy dumps her dumb idea to steal away from one show, which could be viable, instead of 2 shows that can't.
#1 Andy Mathis 2011-07-26 14:07
Some artists do the show as they are given a year's membership on WholesaleCrafts . About a $480 value ($39x 12 months) so that is one of the perks to signing up.

When I did the show in 2009, some buyers were given Buyers credit to attend. Basically paid to show up. One buyer was so brazen as to only place an order with an exhibitor if the exhibitor would agree to charge the remainder over her credit amount.

I do not know if they gave away buyer credits in 2010 or 2011.

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