Our First Visit to AmericasMart
Once we made the decision to move forward with our vision of opening Living|Room Collective, we knew one of our first steps would be to plan a trip to AmericasMart in Atlanta. AmericasMart is a complex (three buildings with over 7 million square feet!) where thousands of wholesale apparel, gift, decor, furniture, and lifestyle brands showcase their collections during markets held throughout the year.
The two big gift and decor markets take place in January and July. In January, many brands showcase their new fall and winter collections, while in July, you’ll see what’s new for next Spring. These are the largest two markets as all of the permanent showrooms are open as well as a slew of “temporaries.” The temporaries are brands that don’t have regular representation at the Americasmart and set-up (you guessed it) temporarily for these larger market events. It’s a great opportunity to find unique lines and items to bring into our regular collections that we plan to sell.
Our plans to attend the January market were thwarted when I woke up with a temperature of 102 and tested positive for Covid the morning of our flight. "Bummed" doesn’t even begin to describe how disappointed we were to not attend.
Americasmart also hosts a Spring Market for buyers to wrap up their orders for the year. Not all showrooms will be open, and we did miss out on temporaries, but we were eager to have another opportunity to attend so soon. We changed our flights, rebooked our hotel, and refocused our buying strategies for the year with a plan to attend the Spring Market - which has finally arrived this week!
While I’m bummed to miss out on the energy and excitement of the larger January market, I am looking forward to our first trip to AmericasMart to be a bit quieter. It’s an overwhelming task - we will have two and a half days to make it through as many of the showrooms as possible to source items for our summer, fall, and winter collections at Living|Room.
Here are three ways we have prepared for our first visit to Americasmart:
- Preparing both mentally and physically. The first may sound silly, but we needed to assess our shoe situation. With a seven million square feet to cover and a history of plantar fasciitis, function over form wins the day here. Mentally, it has helped us prepare to consider what our personal weak points may be during a long day of sourcing and sensory overload. I’ll definitely be carrying water and snacks. When I’m hungry and dehydrated, especially during that mid-afternoon slump, I tend to just shut down. As an introvert, planning quiet mornings and early nights back in the hotel makes the most sense to keep me in forced-extroversion mode throughout the day.
- Creating vision boards for our brand and our collections. Our shop has a very seasonal focus, and our seasonal collections will be highly curated. Looking ahead at trends and finding pieces that will also have long-lasting appeal is important to us, so creating a vision board gives us a framework to say “yes, this!” or “this is cool, but no” while we are sourcing. You can sneak a peek at the vision board for our opening collection at the bottom of this post.
- Scheduling time to debrief. Mary (interior designer for Living|Room) and Paul (my husband and co-owner) are coming along as well for this sourcing trip. Keeping our vision boards fresh in our minds will help us all stay on track, and with nightly debrief sessions (before my introvert recharging time) we hope to be able to make cohesive and smart decisions about what our purchasing will look like and how it fits with our overall vision of the store (and budget!). As a bonus, our debrief sessions with coincide with the dinner reservations Paul painstakingly researched and made.
We will be sharing lots in stories on Instagram (@shoplivingroom.co). I hope to meet you there as you follow along. And, I'll be sure to update you here with the lessons we learn and fun things we find in the next few weeks. Be sure to subscribe to our email list below to never miss a beat!