Join Me on a Las Vegas Gift Show Adventure!
Most of my life I have been paid to shop. I started in my early 20s as a department store buyer, taking the train from Baltimore to New York to meet with the heads of companies like Hanes, Danskin and Izod. I will never forget that very first trip, all alone, heading for my first big buying adventure. Now, decades later, I still enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Through the years the question I have heard most often from customers is, “Where do you find all this good stuff?” I’m sure other Montrose boutique owners hear the same thing. We are all driven to find the unique things that define our stores, and that no one else around here has. For most of us this involves getting on a plane. Thus the adventure begins.
This week I would like to give you an insider’s peek into what it is like to shop wholesale Vegas style. Las Vegas has made it a goal to give every business segment a reason to come to town. For those of us in the gift and home décor business, they have made it irresistible. The World Market Center was built just for us. It is a grouping of three high rise buildings just a few miles from the strip. Each morning a shuttle bus picked you up at your hotel and deposited you at “shop ’til you drop paradise.”
In the center of the three buildings is a giant courtyard, equipped with misters, used to entertain the buyers. This year a prominent Beverly Hills catering company owned by a French chef was in charge of all of the food and parties. Upon arrival in the morning you were greeted with a gourmet “grab and go” breakfast. Then it was time to register and get your admittance badge. There are very strict rules about who can get in. You must be a wholesaler, with a store, resale number, and have proof such as checkbooks, business cards, a website, etc. Guards were posted at every escalator to make sure you had a badge. This year, with all the new technology, vendors were able to scan your badge upon entering their showroom and have all your info instantly.
The showrooms were amazing, floor after floor of them. Some showrooms were more intimate and specialized like the stores in our town. Others were so large they had their own restaurants inside. Dale and I always make sure we have our cellphones turned on because you could get lost and separated easily. Most of the day we were on our feet shopping and placing orders.
When you needed a break, there was always something fun going on like a themed party with food, or an informative seminar. This year we enjoyed a professional wine tasting where a world traveled sommelier taught us about the wines of Southern Italy and a chef showed us how to pair roast lamb and gourmet chocolates. What a job, huh?
If you would like to see photos of what this trip was like, visit my blog at marydawson.typepad.com. When you get there, you can also scroll down and see our suite at the Paris Hotel. In the meantime, thank you for shopping the one of a kind stores in the Montrose Shopping Park. Each store here offers an experience and product that is special.