Are you one of those designers who sometimes conducts business out of the back of your SUV? You know who you are!
You’ve got wallpaper samples and bolts of fabric coming out of every car window! Or maybe, just maybe, you’re lucky enough to have a small office just large enough for your computers and a few samples. Many interior designers know the plight of too much stuff and not enough room. Thanks to AmericasMart Designer Workspace, designers no longer have to conduct business out of their back seat.
Opened in October 2014, the Designer Workspace was created to accommodate the need for onsite client consultations both during Market and also daily, during non-Market periods. “It’s perfect for hosting everything from large events to small lunches to a variety of programs,” says Kayte Granick, Gabby showroom manager at AmericasMart.® The Designer Workspace offers workstations, conference rooms and sitting group areas. All are available for free to any buyers on the premises. Valet parking is available during off-market days. (Fees to attend or sponsor seminars and conferences are dependent on the event size. For inquiries, contact Cathryn Miller.)
Conveniently located just across the hall from the Gabby showroom, the 6,000 square foot Designer Workspace is a place for designers to meet with clients, review exhibitor product specifications and develop working design sketches. Bring your laptop; there’s free Wifi throughout AmericasMart.
The Designer Workspace serves the entire Mart, making it a neutral gathering place for designers. “There’s no pressure from the Designer Workspace or the Mart for designers to use any one showroom,” Kayte says. “But it is nice that we are right next door and always available if they want to stop in.”
Opened in time for the January 2015 market, the Gabby showroom is a permanent space that offers personal attention to designers on a daily basis. “Being open daily to the design trade means designers and their clients can view, touch and sit in our products anytime,” says Kayte. “It’s a lot easier to buy a case good from vendor catalogs, but people want to see the comfort and quality of the seating in person.”
Getting Ready For Market! 10 Tips for Successful Shopping.
Now that you know where to set up your meetings, take time to prepare for your AmericasMart shopping adventure. Remember that Market days are extremely crowded and busy, and you’ll want to make the most of your and any client’s time. Don’t limit yourself to just the permanent showrooms only during Market. The temporary showrooms (there’s usually about 2,500 of them) often have those special new and trendy items for your designs. Off-market days offer fewer crowds and a lot more personal attention. Either way, it’s important to come prepared. Need help getting there or booking a hotel? Click here.
1. Reserve your work area at the Designers Workspace. This office-away-from-home offers areas for all of your needs. “Designers are invited to visit the Designer Workspace located in Building 1, Floor 15 for inspiration, relaxation, networking and professional resources,” says design relations manager Cathryn Miller. “This resource includes work areas, meeting rooms, seminar space, a sourcing library, and concierge service.” To reserve a space, Cathryn can assist.
2. Pack a bag. You’ll see plenty of people cruising around Market with roller suitcases. Depending on how ambitious you are—or how much shopping you have to do—a roller bag, tote, or backpack usually does the trick. Photography isn’t allowed at market (unless you have special permission. At Gabby photography is allowed.), but you’ll find yourself with plenty of product catalogs and handouts for your at-home library.
3. Make a plan. There’s nothing more frustrating to a client than a designer that doesn’t know where he or she is going. AmericasMart is an amazing resource filled with 1,400 permanent showrooms in three buildings, but it can also be overwhelming. One of the world’s largest wholesale trade centers, AmericasMart offers over 7 million square feet of space and hosts over 500,000 visitors a year. Scout it out ahead of time. If you can, visit the Mart in person before inviting your client. That way, you’ll have a good idea of where you are going to maximize your schedule. Narrow down your needs. The Mart’s open windows are incredibly enticing eye candy and it’s easy to lose focus.
4. Map it out. Familiarize yourself with the showroom directory online before visiting. Most floors are organized by subject matter. (There’s a holiday floor, floral floor, rug floor, etc.) The Mart offers great user-friendly interactive maps to create an efficient plan for your visit.
There’s also a smartphone app to help you find your way around. Similarly, pay attention to what floors offer crossovers from one building to the next. There’s no reason to dash across traffic or ride the elevators all day long. Lay out a plan to help you and your client get to each space you need to see quickly and efficiently.
5. Plan for breaks. The Mart and individual showrooms offer pop up cafés and cocktail parties during Market. These can be as simple as ice water or as elaborate as Gabby’s themed parties. On non-Market days, there’s usually breakfast, coffee, or cocktails somewhere in the building. In the Designer Resource room, there’s always water, iced tea, sodas and snacks for visitors.
6. Introduce yourself to the various showroom managers. They will assist you and your client with spectacular customer service. If you have specific items in mind that you would like to show your client, let the showroom manager know ahead of time so they can easily guide you in the right direction when you arrive.
Gabby Showroom Manager: Kayte Granick <KayteG@gabbyhome.com>
7. Make appointments ahead of time. Not every showroom is open every day. Always be sure to check hours ahead of time. If a showroom is closed, you can usually arrange to have someone meet you there. If you work through the Designer Workspace, they can help arrange a tour of market or connect you with showrooms and sourcing for specific products
8. Know if you can buy. Some showrooms—both permanent and temporary—require accounts or minimum orders. You don’t want to frustrate a client by showing them something fabulous only to find out you don’t meet a minimum. Always ask ahead of time. Minimums and requirements vary from showroom to showroom. Most showrooms are order-only though some do sell off of the floor. Gabby, for instance, sells antiques off of the floor, but Gabby furniture must be ordered.
TIP: Visit the Mart on Market Wednesday! Market Wednesday is a special shopping day that takes place on the first Wednesday of each month when a Market is not in session. Many exhibitors offer special discounts and buying incentives such as no minimum orders or free shipping, as well as food and beverages in their showrooms. Upcoming Market Wednesdays: June 1, August 3, October 5, and December 7. (Dates are subject to change.) Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“In the Gabby showroom, Market Wednesday is a great time to shop for antiques,” says Kayte. “The antique inventory is constantly rotating and is hand-selected by members of our design team. This is one of the unique things that sets the Gabby Showroom apart from others on the floor. Some Wednesdays, we have select floor samples for sale as well.”
9. Check out the AmericasMart schedule of events. It may not be a full Market week, but there’s usually something going on. Don’t miss a book signing, lecture, or other fun activity.
10. Put your feet up! After a long day at Market, there’s nothing better than a great dinner and a beverage. For a recommended list of restaurants nearby, click here.
The Gabby showroom is located at #15E24 AmericasMart and is open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm.
AmericasMart Atlanta is the nation’s only global wholesale marketplace housing the world’s single-largest collection of home, gift, area rug and apparel merchandise. The largest of AmericasMart’s 14 annual Markets and shows, The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and The Atlanta International Area Rug Market in January and July are the ignition switch for global retailing with buyers from every U.S. state and as many as 90 countries discovering product in more than 1,400 showrooms and more than 2,500 temporary exhibiting companies. ICON HONORS , the home and gift industry’s most celebrated recognition program, is produced and staged annually by AmericasMart.
Located in downtown Atlanta, the AmericasMart complex contains more than seven million square feet of space. It’s a huge global stage on which manufacturers, designers and sales representatives unveil new lines, launch new designs and introduce new categories – all for the benefit of buyers seeking all that is fresh and first in the home, rug, gift and apparel arenas. For more information, please visit www.AmericasMart.com . Follow us @AmericasMartATL or @AtlantaApparel.
For upcoming 2016, 2017, and 2018 Market dates, click here.