Thursday, May 19, 2011


Where are we going?  A big question asked by almost everyone this year. SURTEX grew in booth numbers.  Many new Agencies have popped up, and several individual Artists/Designers bit the bullet and rented space. At a dinner of peers and good friends the last night of the show, the consensus was B  to B- for the show quality.  Not bad, but definitely not great.

The Stationery Show is about 45% of what the size was when I first attended so many years ago. As with many trade shows, they keep shrinking in size and numbers. Less attendees as several top manufacturers only sent one  or did not send anyone to the Show. This appears to be a reflection of the overall economy. The cost to exhibit is exhorbanent and prohibitive for the potential return  and long term business it is suppose to generate. As with many companies we see in Atlanta and other Gift shows, many companies are expanding their product lines and encroaching into arenas never tested on their part.  They are morphing into the proverbial chatsky shop we have all experienced at every travel destination around the world. Or, as one famous Artist put it, producing crap for the highway truck stop.

Don't blame anyone for any of this. It is a morphing of the US retail business model, of which we are a part of the supply chain. As with the other parts of the chain, we are experiencing fast and furious change and need to analyze, decide and move to meet the demands and changes or we will be left behind. Technology, social media, computer graphics, bubbles, recession, double dips, wall street, on and on and on.  And we do it with less and less and less.

I, like many, love this industry. It's unique although people outside looking in, think we're crazy the way we do business. But the people, for the most part are great, honorable and in many cases, extended family.  Who doesn't want to work under those conditions? So we continue to work through the issues at hand and jump over the hurdles that pop up to throw us off course.

It's part of the cycle. It always changes.  Better times are ahead for sure. It's only a matter of when and how long one can stand the heat..

The best to All!