It's been quite a while now since Sarah and I got home and relaxed (as much as one can with little kids and work and such) after our first stint at the Americas Mart. Now that we've had some time away from it, I feel like I can finally tell you all about the whole adventure. The Americas Mart is a giant wholesale show, three massive 20 story tall buildings in the middle of downtown Atlanta. Big and small retailers like Anthropologie or the mom and pop gift store down the street come to buy the goods that go in their stores from wholesalers. They fly in from all over the country and abroad to find new things or to see favorite wholesalers' products. They can see the goods in person before buying, and often discover new companies to buy from, like Helmsie. Exposure to your perfect buyer is the best part for wholesalers like Helmsie. We were on a floor called "Children's World," and on our aisle was Freshly Picked, Aidan and Anais, Bearington Bears, and two baby clothes companies who only sell wholesale, including Viverano. All day long we greeted new buyers who may have never found Helmsie otherwise.
The set-up was a ton of work. We used my husband Joseph's old booth, which was beautifully custom-made with walls and hang-down lights. Joseph's mom and dad drove all the way in from Oklahoma to watch Lucie so that we would be free to set up. Sarah's parents drove down from Tennessee to watch Helms and Lewis too. We met all our neighbors at the show lending out our ladder since most everyone flew into Atlanta with their shipped goods. We loved all the people we got to spend the week with, and the information-sharing and camaraderie was so nice and unexpected. We made genuine friendships, and even if we don't return to exhibit next year, we will definitely be stopping by to visit all the friends we made.
It was definitely worth the financial cost to exhibit at the Mart, but for me at least, I don't want to speak for Sarah, it was a hugely exhausting week that I am in no hurry to repeat in 2018. An amazing friend let us take over her apartment for an entire week, which was so nice, and it was still hard to be away from home while working long hours with a little one missing me. My back injury has kept me mostly at home for three years now. Mart-week was the most I have done in all that time. I am still emotionally recovering from the stress!
All in all, it was a really positive experience. Helmsie has lots of new retailers all across the country, and we are so excited to foster those relationships. We are super thankful and hopeful we will be back! -Karla