Monday, January 21, 2013

Atlanta Snippets

We had a great time in Atlanta, people were very positive and interested in chatting about their biz, their plans and our art. That makes for much more productive (and pleasant!) meetings, and we have a wealth of snippets to show for it. Unfortunately, the downside of a busy market schedule is that we didn’t get to spend nearly as much time as we would like with all of our wonderful pals in this business. We did manage to sneak in a few moments but now we’ll have to wait until NYC.
But enough of that – fresh from Atlanta, the snippets:

“We’re doing well, I don't have any numbers yet but I know we're getting a lot of new customers, and that’s great.”  – the sales mgr at a stationery company

“I’d love to do this up big and make a statement but unfortunately I have a reality to deal with.”
- an art director commenting on management’s lack of design insight

“It sold in really well but then it didn’t retail.”
- a creative VP commenting on a line that tanked

“Let’s expand this line, so have her do some drawings and send them over – but no people, people just aren’t selling.”
- one of our manufacturers

“Just because an artist can draw it doesn’t mean that we can make it.”
- a gift manufacturer about the realities of product sourcing

“The problem with jewelry and accessories is that, unless you have something truly new and unique, it comes down to the cheapest price.” - a gift company art director

“You are not going to get anywhere in this business by doing what's already been done.” – an agent about trend shopping at the gift market

“So I told him ‘You need to take care of these artists because they all talk to each other out there and all of them will know if there are any problems’” – a creative director talking about mgmt

“I think someone would be nuts to get into this business now.”
– owner of a gift company

“The problem is that they sold all their stock during Christmas, and rather than loading up for second and third quarter they are pulling the old dusty items out of the back room and trying to sell them.” - a multi-line rep about the retailers (one of very few complaints)

“The three rules of marketing are test, test, test.” – a licensing agent

“We like to let them down easy, but not so easy that they keep coming back.” - a creative director commenting on artists whose work is not good enough for licensing

“I like it but I can’t figure out how to fit it into the marketplace.” – a comment on a collection

“We are thinking about doing the new Surtex Shanghai. We plan to hang a mini-blind over each banner and then, after we have collected all the cameras, we will flip it open so they can see what’s behind it.”
- an agency owner (in jest…sort of…)

“We’re not going to do signings anymore, we don’t get anything out of it. All we do is give away free stuff, they don’t come into the showroom and shop.” – owner of a gift company

“It’s a nice men’s line, but men don’t buy stuff.” – comment about a collection

And then there was this, overheard at the Demdaco reception desk:
“I’m an artist and I would really like to work with Demdaco”, to which the rep sitting behind the desk replied “All the artists do.”

Ain’t it the truth.


  1. Jim, thanks for sharing since I couldn't be there! (sounds like we would not have had time for drinks anyway!). Maybe things really are looking up! :)

  2. Wow! Straight from the horse's mouth is right. Thanks, Jim. This is great insight to the realities of the business.

  3. Very cool to "listen in". Thanks Jim !

  4. Awesome recap, Jim! Loved reading all the quotes. :)

  5. A great way to snapshot what's really happening out there! Thanks for posting Jim.