Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To Market! To Market?

Market opens today. In Atlanta. Even in good weather I must navigate this concrete spaghetti to get to market. Park about a half mile from the Mart in impossibly steep lots or, leave the Fizz in a public lot on the outskirts and take the MARTA downown.

That's when things are normal. Now there is snow. Lots of it. Topped with ice. I think there is still a state of emergency declared  through today.

The MARTA website instucts one to check status before starting out.
"Expect delays" is a flashing message for both buses and rails.  Caution noted.
Worse than in the market do I want to be stuck on a MARTA train with ..???

I am wondering if the goods, the reps, the brass, the guest lecturers, the food has made it to market?

In the best of conditions it is a huge undertaking to set up for market.  Americasmart is smack in the middle of downtown Atlanta. The logistics are tough. Merchandise from all over the world must be selected, shipped, displayed, priced for thousands to view. All those thousands  will enter into 3 joined buildings in search of excitement, possibilities and  rejuvenation of their businesses. They, plus the thousands working there, will need, food, beverages, toilet paper.

Do I actually want to get in this?
I may not need to worry as there is no guarantee I will be able to exit my ice crusted driveway.
I hadn't planned on going until Thursday or Friday. Now I may have to wait until Monday.

I  have cabin fever after just two days of confinement. I want out !  I want creative stimulus. , I want to hear people laugh and smell food not of my kitchen. I want to fall in love with new offerings and possible new opportunities. I want to have hope.

When I turn on the news, hope fades.

The view out my windows looks like black and white photography. At noon Tuesday, the world was still gray. Bleak. Today the weather heads say there will be sun. But at noon it will only be 29 degrees. There is a prediction for temps above freezing, 33, for about an hour between 3 and 4 pm, after which it will drop to an overnight low of 17, with wind chill, 10.  There will be no real melting of ice and snow until the weekend.

There will be no Chickory-like videos of dogs frollicking in the  snow. I can hardly  shoo  Will off the deck. He is quite patient.  He looks at the snow then back at me as if to say, " Would you put your naked parts in that?"  I would not but, I point out to him I don't have fur and I do have a toilet. He is not persuaded by my logic and resists encouragement to get out there!  So instead of having engaging conversations with people at market I am talking to a dog about when and where he drops his load. This is low. Really low.

Market is calling.
Color! People! Laughter! New creations to evaluate or fall in love with.  And there is the need to get a feel for the new vibe of a changing industry. I am eager to read the signs. Are the showrooms updated or just reworked? Is the merchandise all new or revamped with a few new introductions carefully disbursed . Are the buyers looking or ordering? Are the reps looking excited or strained? Is there something  new and different coming from the young entrepreneurs in the temporary showrooms? Will there be a pervasive excitement or the pall of contining caution? Will I find answers in my observations? I need answers.  I have decisions to make as my primary client base , architects and developers, are dormant.  My secondary base has been  individual homeowners. I need to determine if I can successfully make a conversion. There are doubts as long term, successful, really good  designers in this arena are failing nationwide.

" Market research" has a new meaning now.

 The early sneak previews seem to be split between the renewable and practical and top of the experience
 luxe. There are those in " the industry" who believe strongly the world has endured three years of severity and are ready to bust loose and demand a change of pace.  They may be right but I do not have a queue of folks desiring $12K sofas or $8K soaking tubs.   I do have clients who say, " Fishy I would like to have a new X but only if the price is right."  I need to go  walk the halls of market if I am to find the well priced X my clients desire. If they exist. If not, I need to locate superior alternatives.

For today, I will let others know I am not coming. I will study the promos and try to plan my trip by building, by floor,  by showroom, by client need, by my need to satisfy creative curiosity. I wonder if this entire process is a part of a past I cling to?  There is no question our industry, like so many others, is in the midst of a paradigm shift. I do not know on which side of the shift I will land. But I would like to be in control of the landing location as well as the landing itself. Certainly there is logic in recognizing there is a difference in the need to survive and a desire to thrive.  What I want, is both. Will I find a way to achieve both by a trip  to market?
Maybe not.
I have to get there first.


Anonymous said...

Bad timing. I guess I understand how Atlanta BECAME a big convention town. I will NEVER understand why it REMAINS one.

I've had to go to 3 there. They were all HELLISH. And that was without ice added to the mix.

fishy said...

The next market after Atlanta is in Vegas. I will not be going.
I refuse to support the populous which forces the rest of us to endure Harry Reid.

Aunty Belle said...

I am really really REALLY tired of the the euphemism, "paradigm shift" when we are know the removal of the f is a truer statement.

fishy said...

Well Aunty,
My paradigm is definitely missing the f. Only thing deeper is my anger.

chickory said...

i wont be going to market and i really wanted to see the temp shows. I want to see how people with just an idea and samples get their game on. temp booth is 3K! I wonder too how they are carting all the stuff in.

i feel for ya trying to figure out what to do business wise. V is beside himself looking for new clients. its a very weird time.

I hope you do go though - and will pray you get out of the driveway and to ATL safely.I probably cant get out of here until sunday when rain comes and melts the snow and ice.

Sharon Rudd said...

Dearest Fishy, sorry 'bout your weather woes. On the other hand, I found this a really fascinating post. I wish you a thaw in your business - a little "spring" in the economy can't come too soon for any of us.


Pam said...

OOOOH! I want to go! Can I meet you there? And good for you for having a bit of a plan in facing what the future brings ... gotta know which way to jump depending on circumstances as they develop ... playing your own cards. Fun fun fun on going to market.

fishy said...

Currently my plan is to drive down to jawga on Saturday with the intention of spending all of Sunday (8am-6pm) at the Mart. The offer to buy you a fine cuppa and a guest badge is still good if you get out of the mountains :-)

Oh! From your sweet purple heart to God's ear! I am beyond ready for a positive change.

On the home front, today the sun is shining, I will get out of the driveway and Blowfish will be excited at the return of his favorite groceries! Last nights dinner was a fireside picnic of roasted potato salad with citrus marinated drumsticks and pan grilled asparagus. Sadly for my foodie spouse, culinary creativity isn't in me.

Come on down!
Shall I pre-register you as a guest and have your security badge waiting?
I hope it will be fun, informative, energized, rewarding.
Some markets are high energy, exciting events others are a boring slog.
No photography allowed so it is unlikely I will be able to have a fun post market photo blog report.
Certainly I won't be able to take the new camera but I might sneak in a few shots from my tiny little point and shoot. With all the smart phones, how do they hope to prevent photography?

moi said...

Did I just read Aunty cuss?

Anyway, I sure hope you get there, because it sounds awesome. If I were a lady of leisure, I'd drop the three large on a Delta Direct and be your driver. Snow and ice? Concrete spaghetti? Pfffft. No problem.

Jenny said...

Awwwww, I'm sorry Fishy. Sorry you're stuck in a black/white world and stuck not being able to make your annual pilgrimage to the Market. I have many clients who rely on the Atl show for business and some are stuck here in Seattle, but I think their product is already there.

I also understand how our lives can be reduced to pushing dogs out the back door into snow drifts and hoping they'll unfreeze enough to be their business done. As you can imagine, Chihuahuas don't likey the snow.

Hang in there and here's hoping for warming temps and a successful trip. Drive safe.

@Moi - Aunty's comment caused me to cough up my coffee. I had just taken a big swill. ahahahaha.

Jenny said...

p.s. Las Vegas is a horrible place for a convetion/show.

fishy said...

I know! I know!
I could not believe my eyes reading Aunty's comment. I read on the Porch about Granny back in the hospital so I put it down to sleep deprivation and said a prayer for her. May be I shoulda said a rosary.

Come drive me! The spaghetti is hell on my neck. All that tension from reckless drivers texting while approaching the Fizz at 90 in a 55. This Southern beach type can tell you for damn sure driving in snow is NOT the same as driving in sand. If I weren't broke I'd buy the Delta Direct for you.

Will isn't as low to the ground as a Chihuahua but at just 26 pounds more than his feet are in the cold stuff. It's the looks they give you isn't it? Like yours, mine has opinions and an expressive face.

Today the world is beautiful again, the sun is shining, the temp has made it all the way to 34 and tonight will be low 20's not teens. I got out of the driveway today and made it off this hill without sliding into the 5 lanes of oncoming at the bottom :-)

Most of the new introduction merchandise for this market were being set up in late December. It's the newbies in the temporary showrooms who will struggle to get their goods in place. That and the employees of the companies which provide security, maintenance, sanitation and food to the multitudes. When those services don't happen, it's yucky.

Not ever going to Vegas for many reasons. These days, I am furious with the selfish louts who keep sending Harry Reid to congress.

Milk River Madman said...

What kind of world do we live in when the temp in GA is colder the MT? It's crazy I tell ya.

I hope everything works out. Freezing rain is the absolute worst thing to drive in. Be careful.

fishy said...

In my neighborhood, we have elected to blame it on Al Gore!

It's Friday and it still is not possible for me to walk around my block. I can get off the hill if I exit to the South. To the North, there is still a 2 block area which is one big sheet of steep downhill ice.