the shopkeepers' version of christmas

this is a re-post from december 2010-- but appropriate, because christina and i are at the show today....

the new york international gift show is held twice a year (in january and august) in new york city, and it hosts some 8,000 vendors from all over the world for a week-- all hoping to sell their wares to retailers. there are vendors selling everything you can imagine-- sheets, towels, candles, tableware of all kinds, pre-packaged gifty foods, books, toys, fake flowers, baskets, pillows, cheesy plastic things, door mats, lamps, kitchenware of all kinds, home decoration, tee shirts, jewelry, pottery, joke gifts, japanese things, german things, british things, french things, soaps, soaps, soaps-- well, think of all the things you are giving as gifts this year and then you will start to get the idea.

it is largely in one building, the javits center-- though there are also hundreds of vendors at the piers as well. the javits center is an enormous building the size of a whole city block in new york. there are stalls lined up leaving ten foot aisles between-- the rows of stalls run most of the length of the building. it is like an enormous indoor market or bazaar. vendors stand by their stalls-- some as small as a ten by twelve foot room, some many, many times as large-- chatting and visiting with retailers walking by and stopping to visit. the vendors offer a discount if you order during the show-- so the vendors hold clip boards ready to take orders. the aisles are packed with retailers-- all watching the vendor's stalls like hawks-- trying to find the best products, the 'big new thing,' and the best deals. retailers are putting in their orders for the season or the year-- they might well, in january, be ordering for the following holiday season. all the big retailers send their reps-- there are teams of people from macy's, bloomingdales, and anthropologie. and then there are people like kate and me-- people from tiny shops and design studios from all over the country just in the big city for a day or two to see what's new and visit with our vendor friends. it is a huge party-- people hugging and laughing, conferring quietly with each other, calling from across the aisle. it is crowded and hot and overwhelming and loud.

and kind-of fun for a little while.

i think of it as the shopkeepers' version of christmas shopping.

this photo? from our website-- hopefully a little peace amidst the madness.


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