Trade shows can be a tricky business. Luckily we've got some insiders in the Academy. As a supporter member, Leanna Lin runs Leanna Lin's Wonderland, a gift boutique in Eagle Rock, CA. She recently attended the LA Gift Show and has generously shared with us her experience.
Q: Tell us about you and your company.
A: Leanna Lin's Wonderland is a playful jewelry STUDIO/SHOP/ART gallery in Eagle Rock. I curate the shop with a wide range of collections focusing on cute art, jewelry, accessories, home decor, books, kids, and vintage. We also carry some brand names that fit in with the Wonderland brand. Not only that, but we also do art + pop-up events and have open studio DIY beaded jewelry making workshops.
Q: What is the LA Gift Show?
The LA Gift show is a show for the trade. It's not open to the public. Their focus is on home, jewelry, accessories, stationary, toys, books and anything for the gift market. There are two major shows a year (Jan & July) and then two mini shows in between at the permanent showrooms at the LA Mart. There are also temporary booths and a cash & carry jewelry section at the Convention Center. www.californiagiftshow.com
Q: Who can participate?
Only wholesale orders are taken. If you are serious about your business and ready to take your business to the next level, then this can be a good place to test out. The stuff at this show is definitely more mainstream, so your line would also need to fit into that.
Q: How is different than the NY Now (formerly NY Gift Show)?
The NY show is much bigger and more higher end. I haven't personally been, but this is what some of my showroom reps have told me.
Q: What kind of makers would do well at the LA Gift Show? Are there any makers there?
I can't say who does well at these shows, but I do think that having a sales rep in a reputable showroom will help give you exposure to buyers who wouldn't otherwise know who your are.
There used to be a large Handmade floor in the LA Mart and they stopped doing that a few years ago. There has been a switch in ownership recently & it looks like they'll be revamping the handmade area in Jan 2015. I'll be interested to see how that is. http://www.californiagiftshow.com/636/handmade-resource-list.htm
Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to apply or those who get accepted?
There are all types of buyers at this show. Local and buyers from other states. Make sure your collection has a large variety of mini collections to cover the different types of shops. I see buyers buying the same lines as myself, but we pick completely different items! Also, you must be prepared with catalogs, style #, descriptions, wholesale price list, lead times, opening order minimums, re-order minimums, and all that fun stuff. Be sure you are covered and look professional.
Since I go as a buyer, I'm not quite sure of the designer process. But I'm going to guess that you don't need a rep to get a booth at the temporary show at the Convention Center and the Handmade Area, which I'm not quite sure what's happening with that since the owners have changed. In the past I've seen the designers work their own booths.
Q: Anything Else?
SAVE THE DATE: LA Mart's Winter Market is Jan 21-26, 2015. The California Gift Show is at the same time, but at the Convention Center. Kinda confusing, but they work together. San Francisco has another gift show that's like LA, if people want to reach Northern CA easier. As opposed to NY.
Q: Where can people find you?
Leanna Lin's Wonderland
5024 Eagle Rock Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041