INDIE Market Bay Area July 13 2017
Just got back from INDIE Market Bay Area! INDIE is a new wholesale trade show and was created in 2016 after the permanent closing of the San Francisco Gift Show by its organizer. Two large rep groups in the Bay Area, Kiss That Frog and Air Company started the show. I liked that the goal of the show was to showcase new product and design as well as highlight smaller, up-and-coming indie makers looking to sell wholesale.
INDIE Market also wanted to curate their vendors and treat them as partners. From the moment I pulled my car next to the pavilion to unload, I knew this show was going to be different. A handful of ladies welcomed me and offered to unload my things, put them on a hand-dolly and take them to my booth space! Setup and break down was so quick and easy.
INDIE Market wanted to do things a little differently and they brought their years of experience showing at all of the national gift shows to design a “new kind of market.” INDIE’s goal was to create a market for discovering the newest lines and latest trends of 2017 from both established vendors and emerging artisans. INDIE also wanted to create a local experience for independent retailers in an intimate, easy to navigate and beautiful venue – the Craneway Pavilion. Unlike many of the other established, large tradeshows (in dark, crowded convention centers), the Craneway was spacious, open and airy with large glass windows and lots of scenic water views of the East Bay.
Before the show started each morning, vendors had an opportunity to attend a buyers panel. It was great hearing discussions from established buyers on topics related to wholesale (buying habits, market trends, brick and mortars). I found these informal talks informative and valuable. I also liked how the organizers also made a point of meeting each vendor and asking for constructive feedback on the show.
I am also happy to report that the feedback on the show I received from buyers was extremely positive. They appreciated the vendor curation and the fresh alternatives to the standard, large market wares. Other buyer plusses mentioned included free parking, complementary hot beverages and snacks, and afternoon sangria!
Overall, my experience at INDIE Market was very good. I met some really terrific fellow vendors and hope to keep in touch with many of them. The next INDIE Market is scheduled for the winter of 2018.