Trade shows can often seem like a drag to get through, a marathon for the booth bitches, and a place where crowds gather to obsess over industry obscurities. But they are also a great place to find inspiration, meet some new people, and rediscover lost connections with previous points of excitement or inspiration. For my first design show, I went to check out the Architectural Digest Design Show at the Manhattan Piers. The show floor was pretty large with a separate exhibit solely dedicated to table settings, but we feared not and made sure we saw what all was there to be offered. Lots and lots of state of the art appliances, beautiful fabric and furniture, and a food court and bar set up that would make spending money enjoyable for anyone.
While there is always going to be plenty of stuff out of the average persons or small business owners price range, there were also a number of great booths worth seeing where you could get away with spending only a little. And even more booths of beautiful inspiration. The aha moment where I knew my time wasn’t wasted came when the booth bitch for Morihata kindly asked: “Are you a retailer?” “No.” I replied, “but I like to stay in the know of what’s coming out and who’s around…” “Oh, well, you should definitely come to our shop in Philly…” 5 seconds later he was swept up by a gay couple from Philly and we were off to the next booth @TeaAtelier where I found a delicious lemongrass tea to take home.
In this brief, momentary interaction, I received my guiding light reminder
that I want to be a retailer!
I remembered that becoming a retailer is a key factor in my business model and why I have gone through the professional lengths of learning corporate retail strategies. Uh-duh, Geli! Let’s get that wholesale and resale license!
To hold myself accountable and begin creating my “assortment wish list,” here is a list of some of the designers at the show that caught my eye and I’d like to keep a watch on.
Listed from left to right, favorites included:
- Ethan Abramson for his use of natural materials and fluid design.
- Night Space reminds us of the multiplicity of senses with both a visual and aromatic collection fittingly titled “A Scent Spectrum.”
- Eduardo Terranova who’s sparkling tabletops immediately drew my eye and lit up my insides with joy.
- The cool and muted tones of Borealis Studio vases are calming silhouettes.
- Aimee Wilder provides a tactile playground with textured wallpapers, beautiful bohemian rugs, poufs, accent pieces, to create an all-around dynamic & colorful setting.
- The “Oooh-Ahh, I want all of this booth” goes to Ariana Ost who’s delicate and divine décor appeals to our higher senses of the effeminate.
- Fluid, ethereal, and lighthearted, Eskayel drew my eye time and time again until I had to feel and pick up a card.
- As a self-proclaimed tea junkie and discovering tea collector, I had to stop at the Bellocq Tea Atelier booth who both charmed and delivered with their delicious and high-quality tea selection. We promised to visit their shop in Greenpoint where I’m sure the soothing and eclectic vibes will carry.
Trade shows come and go every year and can quickly become a “thing we should go to” – but don’t ever actually do – because we psych ourselves out, fearing what can seem like a daunting and tiring day to undertake.
If you really want to grow a business or stay competitive in your industry, it’s important that you make it a priority to get out there and meet your peers in business.
This is one of the easiest ways to network. Whether you are just starting out or looking to expand, there are certainly people who you’ll find on a likeminded path. The number of collaborations and design partnerships was encouraging and authentic in the evolution of a shared, mutual goal.
Here at Gelilife we thrive on the energetic exchange of collaboration and are happy that we used our Saturday afternoon to see what was on display at the Architectural Digest Design Show. We had an Aha! moment and left inspired, and more in love with intentional efforts to make our environment beautiful.
See more pics below from the table setting segment, a series of completely transportive dining experiences.
Me living out my wood bar fantasy with a couple of hotties on their hogs.