Sunday, February 2, 2014

Three Big Lessons from The Atlanta Gift and Home Market

Now that the Market is over, I want to share with you the three biggest things I learned.

Big Lesson #1
At the Atlanta Market, I saw a lot of booths and showrooms that didn't "have it".
Their displays were drab or too simple, reflecting a lack of effort or even worse,
a lack of awareness of their product and how it looked from the curb.

Then I would pass by a showroom that was packed tight with buyers, music was amped up, 
and the atmosphere was electric with positive energy.  
It was a happy uproar.
Image of Creative Co-Op Showroom by Creative Co-Op
Showrooms like Creative Co-Op had attended to every detail of their appearance "vocabulary".
They were confident in their work because they had done their homework,
attended to every tiny detail,
 and were consequently comfortable enough to let 'er rip.
They were having fun.
And it showed.

The Lesson?
Do your homework before you start.
Be aware of what is going on in the Market.
Know what your vocabulary is.
Then work your composition until you know there are no holes in it.
Have a blast while you are doing it, because that will automatically show up.
Stand back and see if it has curb appeal and joy - if it does, it will grab the buyer's eye and hold it.

Big Lesson #2
While walking this Market, it was easy to spot the new trends,
alongside the trends which have already run their course.

Owls and chalkboard art have had their time, but you will continue to see both for seasons to come.
Farm animals, big florals, and outdoor activities like camping were strong,
along with coastal and shore images, but there were still foxes, hedgehogs, dogs, alligators, crabs...
know what I mean?

Orange and blue were dominant "trend" colors, but I also saw every color in the rainbow.
Image from Company C

When you walk through any large shopping district, you see eye-catching displays
of "on Trend" products.
But you will also see other themes displayed just as beautifully.
What anyone ends up buying to put in their home or to give as a gift
 will always boil down to personal choice.

The Lesson here?
If you are an artist trying to sell your art for application, stay aware of what's going on out there,
and then just go and make your own absolute best art.  Every day.

Because there is a buyer out there for everything.

Big Lesson #3
Amy Howard of Amy Howard At Home has been tremendously successful because she practices several personal rules, which she passed on to us in a short seminar at Market.  I won't go into full detail here, because I'm sure Amy will be teaching this in her upcoming seminars and retreats.
But what I took out of her session was this:  Get Your Game On.  Really.
Images from Amy Howard At Home

When you walk a Market like this, you realize with absolute certainty that you have to be at the top of your game, and you need a game plan to follow to get there.

I picked these two simple steps from Amy's rules to

Be The Best At What You Do Best:
1.  Figure out what your Achilles heel is.
What stops you from being the best you could be?
Procrastination?  Record keeping?  Organizing your studio?
Face it head on and figure out a way to handle that weak point.
Create a solution to keep it from gomming up the works
and stopping your work flow.
Do that NOW, with a firm hand.
Commit to your solution.

2.  Then, take a critical survey of all that you do with your creative self.
What do you do BEST?
Now apply yourself to doing that better than anyone on the face of the earth,
and let the things that you do WELL fall by the wayside.

As Amy loves to say, "don't be a Jack of All Trades, and a Master of None".

Make what you do best be what you are known for.

And that's it.  I hope these Three Big Lessons will help you out - I am off to school again:

Lilla Rogers Assignment Boot Camp!


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