I’m writing this blog at 2:30 PM on Sunday, so the final results are not yet in, but I have the preliminary results — the show is in trouble. Attendance was very light for most of the show, especially when I remember back 15-20 years, when the aisles were so crowded that it was difficult to move. Attendance at most shows in the US is down, but this one seemed down more than most. On a personal note, sales were good for me because the right people showed up. Almost all of my sales were to established clients (thank you to each and every one of you), with a couple to new clients. New clients are essential because established clients don’t remain clients forever.
Some shows enter what I will term a “death spiral”. It’s hard to say which comes first, but here’s the gist of it. Fewer clients show up to buy, so sales are disappointing. Disappointing sales lead some dealers not to return the following year. The following year the show is smaller and lower quality, so attendance goes down because of word-of-mouth. You get the point — one bad thing leads to another until eventually, the show collapses. So what can a show promoter do? Take the patient to the ICU and treat aggressively. That means NO business as usual. Give the right medication and treatment and save the patient. Take the Palm Beach Show Group as an example. They purchased the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show from Frank Farbenbloom. The show was OK when they bought it, but going nowhere. The new promoters were very aggressive in signing new, high quality exhibitors to the show, glamming up the look of the show and most importantly, advertising strongly. Now the Baltimore Show is on firm footing with high quality exhibitors, excellent attendance and good sales.
The Atlantique City Antiques Show entered a death spiral that wasn’t fun to watch. Each year the show got smaller and business got worse until finally the show collapsed. Allison Kohler of JMK Shows is reviving the show March 27-28, 2010 with many changes and hopefully a very large advertising budget. One big change is that the show will only be held once a year. Good move, Allison. I wish her the best of luck (and me too since I’ll be exhibiting there).
Rosemary Krieger is the very capable owner of Dolphin Promotions, the promoters of the Miami National Antiques Show. Rosemary, I know you read my blog, so take heed. This used to be a great show, so now you have to take dramatic action to renew and restore it and thereby break the cycle. Shorten the show to two days, Friday and Saturday, like the NYC Pier Show, so there will be bigger crowds and more energy. Greatly increase your advertising budget to include radio and TV. Increase free passes for the dealers to give out to their best clients. Make the parking free to the public. Sign new quality exhibitors with the promise of greatly increased advertising and a shorter show. Otherwise, my friend, the news is not good.
This week the eagerly anticipated Original Miami Beach Antique Show, opens to the public. It will be held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Thursday, January 21, to Monday, January 25, 2010. It’s a huge show that attracts both exhibitors and attendees from all over the world. I’ve done business at this show with people from almost every continent. There’s always a lot of action, with millions and millions of dollars of merchandise changing hands. Many dealers save their best items just for this show. Give yourself at least two days to see everything.
I’m taking a lot of time to add new items to my website. I’ve already listed new items under Gallé glass (including a blownout vase), Daum Nancy glass and Tiffany Studios glass. Soon I’ll be adding many Tiffany Studios desk pieces. Please take a look, as every day I’m adding more. Click on this link chasenantiques.com.
Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog entry.
Call or write and let me know what you would like to buy, sell, or trade. firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-922-2090. And please visit my website. chasenantiques.com