Crafts companies with showrooms offer customers a convenient product-viewing option
Craft retailers can look forward to getting an up-close look at the latest offerings at major product shows across the nation. But those who would like to set their own product viewing schedules — or perhaps not travel as far or for as much time as a show may require — should consider dropping in to see what's happening in the showrooms of the major crafts providers.
January and February are particularly busy times for the industry, and you can't be everywhere at once. But with a little research, you can find an excellent showroom display in environments that tend to be less hectic and distracting than the shoulder-to-shoulder activity found at national and international craft shows.
"People walk in all the time to our showroom in Cleveland," says Kort Masteller, national sales manager for Darice Inc. "Once they've had a chance to visit that first time, they typically come back over and over again to see what's new. When they do, they find a dynamic, constantly changing environment where our product line can really come to life."
The company also has showrooms in Atlanta and at its newest office in Ningbo, China. Masteller says there are several advantages in showroom tours that can make them a great option for craft retailers seeking another form of product presentation.
- Scheduling flexibility. Showrooms are often open year-round, giving craft retailers the flexibility of visiting on their own schedule. "Our showroom is open all year long and every day during working hours at our corporate headquarters in suburban Cleveland," Masteller says. "Our guests have the option of either scheduling an appointment with their Darice sales rep or just dropping by whenever they're in the area. We get a pretty steady pace of visitors throughout the year." That allows you to visit when it's convenient for you instead of requiring you to arrange your plans around a prescheduled, prebooked show. And a showroom allows you to get up close and personal. For example, Darice's Atlanta showroom, a more intimate space displaying some 2,600 SKUs, is open on a periodic schedule that corresponds with holiday planning in January, March and in the spring and summer.
- Personal attention. Showroom visitors can take a tour with a sales rep by their sides to guide them, or go on a walk-through alone. At Darice, for example, on-site showroom managers are always available to answer questions, but they'll leave you to yourself if that's your preference, says Masteller. Many people prefer the latter option for an absolutely no-pressure experience.
- Visitor convenience. Many retailers will find showroom locations to be less expensive and easier to navigate than some of the larger cities hosting major arts and crafts shows. And for those living within a couple-hour radius of showroom locations, there's not even the hassle of booking a flight or arranging overnight accommodations, as is the case when attending a national show. And at some showrooms, retailers can walk through the showrooms, place an order on the spot and take the product home with them, all in the same day, says Masteller.
- Great meeting place. Showrooms can also accommodate larger buying groups, says Masteller. "This might be the only place they can all get together, all look at products together and make joint decisions with everyone in the same place at the same time," he says. The company showroom environment tends to be much less chaotic and more conducive to team meetings than the atmosphere found at major crafts shows, giving potential buyers the opportunity to make decisions in a calm atmosphere, says Masteller.
What customers will find
While customers can click through photos on supplier websites or leaf through catalogs, it’s not the same as being able to pick products up, feel them and see how they look in holiday vignettes. For example, the 14,000-square-foot Cleveland showroom for Darice has been designed and outfitted in such a way as to offer a generous choice of as many as 30,000 SKUs and to make product viewing enjoyable and decision-making easier.
The space is divided into three sections to satisfy the needs of all types of viewers, says Masteller. "The front end contains our newest and coolest crafts goods, probably the first time you’ll see them anywhere," he says. "The center section hosts our everyday goods, and the back end is for our holiday crafts section." To find out which crafts suppliers have showrooms, and to plan your visits, simply click on company websites or ask your sales representative for details of arranging a showroom visit.