Saturday, July 22, 2006

Report from BMAC & Cheap Train to Philly

Yesterday I went to Philadelphia -- home to an amazing collection of gigantic public murals, one of my favorite art forms -- to attend the Buyer's Market of American Craft, a massive craft fair (the biggest?) just for retailers organized by the craft-friendly (er, "craft art"-friendly) Rosen Group. The fair is held twice a year, and Jae and I went in February to scout new talent for the shop. This time I went alone not to buy but because we had been nominated for the Best New Store award from NICHE magazine and I wanted to attend the award ceremony in the (extremely unlikely) case that we would have won. It was also a good opportunity to visit with some of the artisans we work with and see their new work. I got to see a number of the jewelers we work with including Chelle Kraus, Alison Mackey, Lisa Crowder, Kristina Kada-Madden, and Melle Finelli, as well as woodworkers Buff & Sharon Brown.

Well, we didn't win the award, but I learned a lot about what to do to strengthen our application next year if we get nominated again. I met some nice new people. And I gleaned some good marketing and display ideas from the winners. More that that, it was really wonderful to be in that big room full of all these well-established craft gallery and shop owners from around the country and feel their camaraderie and good spirit. Many of these folks have been in business for 30 years, and one for 39 years! I want to be able to say that Greenjeans has been in business for 30 years one day (well, any time during 2035, if we're lucky...).

Also, I wanted to mention a way to get between NYC and Philly by train that's a lot cheaper than Amtrak. You might know this already, but if not, it'll save you a bundle (it's $33 round trip off-peak), even though it takes an hour longer.

From Penn Station in Manhattan (7th Ave & 32nd St), take NJ Transit to Trenton. Change to the Philadelphia-bound SEPTA train (the R7) in Trenton. It will most likely be across the platform and timed to leave right after the NJ train arrives. You can get out at the beautiful 30th St. Station, or if you're heading to the convention center for a craft fair or something, wait until Market East Station, which is in the lower level of the center. Easy as pie!

Back at the shop, things are a little overwhelming as we are still not done unpacking new orders, rearranging the shop, polishing jewelry, and entering inventory data, but I really cannot complain. In fact, I'm happy, because to borrow a line from a store owner receiving his award last night, "I love this business!"

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