I saw a blog last month that was waxing poetic about how wonderful it was that needlepoint shops had just been at the TNNA market (in Columbus in June, 2013) and how wonderful it was that the shops were already receiving the canvases they had ordered, one week later. Excuuuuse me! In a perfect world, perhaps. But in the recent economy, the majority of needlepoint designers do not have the inventory to ship immediately after a show has ended. The soonest a shop can expect shipment of show orders is 4 to 6 weeks, if they are lucky. That is with the exception of a very few designers who always maintain inventory (and shopowners soon figure out who these designers are).
The only time shops have "instant" inventory is when they attend the cash and carry shows. This year there was the Dallas show in April (next year it will be in September) and the August show in St. Charles, MO (I am attending). At these shows, shops are permitted to bring canvases and other items home with them--of course, after first paying for them. A few designers offer 30-day invoicing, but most is cash upon receipt. The only merchandise shops can bring home from the "big" shows in January and June are items offered at Sample It!, a new program offered the evening before the show begins. For years we were told that selling on the floor of a show wasn't professional. Hiss. I heard the same foolishness about professionalism years ago when I was a librarian. You are what you are what you are.
I'm curious about the this year's summer TNNA show in St Charles. Traditionally the last cash-and-carry show of the year provides an opportunity for designers to "dump" the inventory that they thought would sell, but didn't. I'm not sure how much preordering of designs by the designers happens in today's economy. On the other side of the transaction, this show provides shops with opportunities to purchase canvases put on sale by designers who want to reduce their inventory before paying year-end taxes. Most of these canvases are in pristine condition. Needle Nicely has a large inventory (my husband thinks too large!), so when I go to a cash-and-carry show I order regular priced canvases for later delivery, but only buy for taking home the items on sale. If I see something I want to stitch for a shop model, I'll buy it so I can stitch it while my enthusiasm is hot. We all know there are only so many hours in a stitching day--I have many canvases that in the "light of day" didn't make the stitching cut.
I'm not taking my laptop to St Charles, but I am taking my camera with lots of batteries and memory cards. I'll tell you all about it next week when I return home. And we won't talk about my withdrawal from daily bouts of Freecell!