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Fine Craft Wholesale Shows – A Review of the Philadelphia Buyer’s Market Visiting Artists Program

As a glass artist new to the wholesale market, one of my first tasks was to research wholesale trade shows.

After lonely hours culling through Web sites, I’d sip wine and recite mantras from Deepak Chopra: “There are no wrong decisions. Wherever you are is exactly where the Universe wants you, right now.”

This was to relieve deep anxiety over which trade shows to choose and where I’d get the cash for the booth fees.

Then the Universe said, “Sign up for the Philadelphia Buyer’s Market of American Craft Visiting Artists program at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, June 21-23, 2006.” The Rosen Group runs this program during its regular trade show to help new artists learn the ropes of wholesaling, and presumably to incubate a new generation of artists for the Buyer’s Market juried shows.

I wavered, fretted, reserved a hotel room, and advised myself several times to “get real” and cancel the whole thing.

Then I got into the car with my 78-year-old mother and her walking stick. As we pulled out of the tree-lined driveway, Mother asked if I didn’t already know enough about wholesaling. “I’ve done a lot of research,” I said. “But this should fill in the gaps.”

Chopra was right about the Universe wanting me to participate in the Visiting Artists Program, but I was dead wrong about the gaps. What I learned filled not gaps, but chasms. The presentations by gallery owners, wholesaling artists, and the Rosen Group’s own staff were invaluable. Since applying the knowledge I gained, I’ve made enough sales to pay for the trip, and more.

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