Orlando will play host to the American Craft Retailers Expo from January 21-23, 2012. This is the second year ACRE will be in Orlando. Wholesalecrafts.com, who produces the Expo, was prompted to create the Orlando ACRE following the enormous success of their original show, ACRE Las Vegas, which is enjoying its fifth year.
Founded in 1998, Wholesalecrafts.com joins American and Canadian wholesale artists with retailers interested in selling their handicrafts. The ACRE, along with the online marketplace and quarterly buyers' guide, is part of the company's strategy for helping the 1,300 artisans it represents to sell their products.
ACRE Orlando will feature products in juried showcases including Handmade Jewelry, Handmade Gifts and Accessories, Handmade Wearable Art, The Gallery of Fine Crafts, The Gallery of Fine Jewelry, and One-of-A-Kind. The Fine Crafts and Fine Jewelry galleries feature products that wholesale for $100 and up, while the One-of-A-Kind showcase features items selling for $500 or more. Handmade Wearable art includes unique and beautiful clothing in all styles, as well as leather goods. The show features hundreds of established artists exhibiting their handmade goods, as well as "Emerging" artists who are new to trade shows. Products on display will include jewelry, watches, stained glass, metalware, stationery, home furnishings, decorative items, wall art and artistic prints, and pottery. Items range from the purely decorative to the totally practical.
The show also contains a Retailer Resource area, where exhibitors can get help and information with sales and marketing, and support from industry group CRAFT (Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow).
In order to exhibit at ACRE Orlando, exhibitor wares must be handmade in the United States or Canada, and must be unique items that are not crafted from a kit. Artists are screened based on an application process and photos they submit to the show, ensuring that the show's offerings are top quality, unique, and desirable. Jurors at the show are successful artists, gallery owners, and vendors from all over the United States.
ACRE also offers a number of educational presentations and seminars intended to help exhibitors have a successful show and to have further success in marketing their products to attendees and online. Presentations, most of which are free of charge, begin on January 20 and extend throughout the run of the show. Presenters are successful entrepreneurs and consultants with years of successes to share with other vendors. Topics include Exhibitor Sales Tips, Social Media Marketing, Hiring and Retaining Employees, Branding Your Business, and How to Increase Sales in Tough Economic Times. Exhibitors can even sign up for a free critique of their booth to ensure that they attract maximum attention during the show. As an added bonus, exhibitors get a free year of Wholesalecrafts.com web service.
Of course, ACRE will offer opportunities for vendors, attendees, and others to meet, greet, and network, starting with a networking reception on January 21st. The show's website also features a vendor directory, floor plan, and free show planner so that attendees can map out their visit.
For this second show, ACRE is once again partnering with the Orlando Gift Show, co-locating and co-promoting the two shows together. The Orlando Gift Show also features the Orlando Cash & Carry Show, a "show within a show" that features gift items available for immediate delivery to retailers. This complimentary combination of shows will provide even more opportunities for visibility and foot traffic.
Wholesalecrafts.com recently reported that the third quarter of 2011 was its best quarter ever. As is also indicted by the proliferation and growing popularity of similar web-based handicraft markets like etsy.com and tenthousandvillages.com, all indicators suggest that the market for handmade and unique items is growing. Shows like ACRE allow vendors the chance for face-to-face interaction with potential customers and buyers.