Back from Atlanta Gift Market. Mixed bag of thoughts. Was able to spend time and share in a few meals with good friends and discuss the current state of affairs in the art licensing world. In a nut shell, things are rough sailing. Between manufacturers dropping licensing and preferring to go the easy route and buy clip art or buy off the shelf from Asian manufacturers to the quasi strike at the ports, things are difficult at best and could potentially get worse. On a brighter note, some Artist friends are doing well and so are some of the manufacturers.
The gift industry seems to have morphed into companies offering giftware, apparel and jewelry, from their previous core offerings of resin and ceramic product. Understandable they would chase the consumers whims, but crazy to get too far outside a known lane. When you want to survive, you will do whatever it takes and changing lanes sometimes is what it takes.
Lots of vacant real estate in Atlanta at the Mart. Disguised with Americas Mart offices and lecture rooms, press rooms, buyers lounges, show windows for current showrooms, and the basic empty space offered for lease. The temp floors and now vacant save one floor which is not 100% utilized. This is down from a few years back when there were three and a half floors of temp space. Only a couple of spaces with the high country lodge offerings and only a few years ago there was a complete half floor.
Things change with time. This is crazy change. I am confidant that it will reverse course and head back the other direction but only after the next election. It matters, so vote. Vote for business and commerce. The progressive movement is anti business except for reaching into their bank accounts and increasing taxes. That's as far as I'll go with politics here. I think everyone has their reasons for what or who they vote for. Mine are mixed with economics and freedoms. Freedom to conduct business is of utmost importance, and we have been hindered in the past several years.