I decided after writing Part 1 of this series that I couldn’t sum up the experience at AmericasMart in just 2 parts. There is just too much I want to share. So this Part 2 post will sum up the basic questions about AmericasMart, as in the who, what, when, where and why about AmericasMart and the final Part 3 will give you my personal tips for making attending Market more enjoyable!
So you’re thinking of opening a store? Or you may want to help people with decorating their homes? But you have no idea where to start? Neither did I. When I began this journey 5 years ago, my business was mainly painted furniture and vintage finds. I love both and you can still find a lot of those when you visit our brick & mortar store, but it is nice to offer a variety to your customers. Also, once you hone in on your style, your brand and the customer you want to attract, then having a few wholesale line of products under your belt really helps define who you are.
The other major road block is that you have no idea where to start, when you’re thinking of opening a small business. You could certainly hand make items for your business and that could be your entire business model. But not everyone is creative, and it’s nice to offer other items in addition to your handmade items. But where do you go? Where do you start? And most retailers certainly aren’t going to call you up and say “oh, I heard you were thinking of opening a storefront, let me tell you all of my secrets.”
Just like you, I love to shop. There was a part of me that always wondered where stores got all of their merchandise. It was never really more than a thought, though, until I had to fill a store myself. I knew I wanted to keep vintage furniture, found items, repurposed items and as many locally made, repurposed items as possible, but I have 1500 square feet to fill. I began hearing of a few companies and an event called “Market”, but had to do research to find out what it is! You mean there is actually a place you can go and see literally hundreds of potential companies for you to do business with? In one place? YES! And Market is absolutely amazing!
First and foremost, you have to possess a Resale Certificate and assigned Resale Number to attend AmericasMart. You cannot obtain a badge to get in without one! A resale certificate is for purchasers when acquiring property for resale in its present form or as components of other property. They are also used to purchase taxable services that become a part of property for resale in some states. A business which is registered for sales and use tax can use a resale certificate only when the merchandise being purchased is to be resold by the business.
When you place an order with a wholesale company, you pay the wholesale price + shipping, but you do not pay tax on the front end because you are saying “I am buying this item with the intention of reselling it and will collect the tax at the time the item is sold.” It helps prevent a double taxation and is incentive for business owners.
Not only do small independent retail business owners, like myself, attend market, but big buyers attend as well, as in Target, Kohl’s and others.
The other “who” that attends market are designers. I met a few, incredible interior designers while I was there and had so much fun walking around with them for a bit, and seeing market through their eyes! Interior designers go to gain a library of options for all of the clients they serve. And the companies certainly don’t disappoint. There are specialized showrooms, as well, such as one that I stumbled upon that only had lighting, as in every kind of light you ever imagine for every kind of taste or location. It’s companies like these that are very helpful to designers to offer options to their clients when decorating their homes. Or what if you wanted a to open a lighting store that only offers lighting? See how this works? Exciting isn’t it?
AmericasMart Atlanta is a venue for companies to show off their products and for buyers to compare potential investments. 1,400 permanent showrooms and 2,500 temporary exhibits make AmericasMart Atlanta an exciting option for retailers!
Yes, you read that right. That’s an average of 3,900 potential companies to look at while you’re there. There’s a reason why it runs for an entire week! Not every one of them will be for you, and I’ll talk more about that in Part 3 tomorrow, but to sum up the “what”: bring comfortable shoes to wear!
AmericasMart Atlanta offers shows throughout the year. The one I attended in January is the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®. They also host an Apparel show, a Bridal Show, a Rug Market, and even a Prom market! You can find all of the dates by visiting their Upcoming Market Dates page. *Remember: these shows are not for the public. They are for people with businesses that possess a Resale Certificate (see “Who” above).
Obviously, the market I went to is in Atlanta and was strictly geared towards home furnishings and gift items, but there are also markets with various options in Las Vegas, Dallas, New York and Chicago.
You could certainly find companies online with some research and time, but when you have all of these options and companies from around the world in one place in each of the cities mentioned above, it’s very easy to see why you might want to attend. Not only that, but instead of looking at the items offered online or in a catalog, it’s so much better to be able to talk with the company representatives in person, ask questions and to be able to see and touch the items that you’re considering carrying in your store. *Buyer beware: I’ve had it happen a couple of times when I’ve ordered an item and was not satisfied with the quality. Being able to use all of your senses before you commit to a product, is worth the time and money you’ll spend attending market.
Hopefully, I’ve answered some basic questions about Market. It really is an incredible, eye-opening experience and I’m so grateful I had the chance this year to go and spend quite a bit of time there!
Tomorrow in my final Part 3 of this series, I will get more in depth with some of my tips for making your attendance at market more enjoyable.
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