NYIGF Summer11- Handmade Designer Section E-mail


SHOW: New York Int'l. Gift Fair: Handmade Designer section (New York, NY)

DATES: August 13-17, 2011

TOTAL ART/CRAFT EXHIBITORS: 270 (approx. U.S. & Canadian)

ATTENDANCE: N/A (1 requests to GLM)

BOOTH COST (10x10): $2,500+




It’s too bad this show isn’t the arbiter of things to come in regards to what business will look like for artists that sell their work through galleries and gift shops.

If it was, then most of the artists exhibiting in the NYIGF Handmade Designer section this Summer could look forward to better economic results from the investments they will make in their work and show schedule for the coming year.

For as many years as I’ve been visiting or exhibiting in the Handmade section of NYIGF (25+ shows), I could count on one hand the number of times the total buyer attendance as been so bad through the whole show that all the artists could do was talk with their neighbors and bemoan the emptiness of the aisles.

That’s not to say that even with the aisles busy – which they are at most of these shows – all the exhibitors will be happy at the end of the show. But at least there’s a chance.

nyigf-summer11-2Saturday isn’t exactly the best day to visit the Handmade Designer section of the show if you want to gauge the impact the show has had on the exhibitors. It’s the first day that the show opens, and a number of opinions are formed after the first few hours of the show; most of which will inevitably change by the time everyone packs up to go home.

If the section is really busy that first day – which isn’t unusual since only a few sections are open that first day – artists are filled with an attitude of the anticipation of a great show with really great sales in the works. That temperament usually fades by Monday.

If the aisles are virtually empty – which can be caused by some turn of the weather – there is dread. No buyers. No sales. And I’ve got to be here for four more days! This feeling usually subsides by Monday, when artists start actually looking at the sales they’ve made.

On Saturday, when I visited the show, the show was fairly slow. And I’ll admit that I was worried that this year the Summer show was going to be a clunker.

nyigf-summer11-3The information I received from speaking with some artists after the show, and reviewing the results of the CSN exhibitor survey, pointed to the show attendance picking up after Saturday – or at least after I left. Only a quarter of those responding to the survey were unhappy with the total attendance of the show.

This actually isn’t too bad considering the expectations exhibitors have going into this show. Many of those artists who expressed displeasure with the total attendance did agree that those buyers that did attend were there to place orders.

Over the past ten years I could see that those responsible for the Handmade section have made a real effort to keep upping the quality of the work and exhibitors being offered at the show. Artists who five years ago wouldn’t touch the NYIGF with a ten-foot poll – relying exclusively on the Buyers Market or ACC shows to reach wholesale buyers – are now cheerleaders for the show.

nyigf-summer11-4Although there were a number of comments regarding the location of the pavilion where this section is housed – and GLM could add little bit more signage on the opposite end and middle of the Javits to encourage buyers to visit the Handmade Designer section – the pavilion is still the most aesthetically pleasing of all the halls in the Javits. Maybe by adding a familiar name or two within the pavilion  - someone suggested a Starbucks – buyers would make sure to check out the section; even if for just a cup of coffee.

Also, here is my chance to state my wish that GLM would limit this show to artists from North America. I get the fact that this is an international show, so set up a section in an adjacent hall featuring “handmade” work from Europe, South America and Africa.

Or don’t distinguish – through signage – or cluster the international groups. Intersperse each individual artist throughout the section. This is the fair way to do it.

Because of the consistency of attendance, as well as commitment by the producers to make this section a better section, the New York International Gift Fair Handmade Designer section has become the one show many artists have decided to keep on their wholesale show schedule.




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