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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Boston Gift Show

Expecting the Fall show to blow away the Spring one, I planned to roam the convention center all day Saturday, and then return on Sunday or Monday to place two or three orders that I’d have to cull from several candidates.

Instead, I covered all 13 aisles before lunchtime. I saw ample evidence that 90% of everything in the world is crap. I breezed past booth after booth of kitsch, mass-market junk, nice but undistinguished jewelry, gourmet food items, etc. Even among the 10% that held some quality and interest, very little was appropriate for Curio City. I expected to sift through a lot of coal for a few small diamonds. I was unprepared for how little coal there’d be to sift.

I ordered from only one vendor – Tile Craft, Inc. – whom I had previously seen at the Spring show. They told me that the Boston Gift Show has been shrinking steadily as fewer and fewer vendors find it worth their considerable expense. New England merchants, I was told, are too conservative and cautious to place show orders. (Personally, I’d think that shopping show specials is a Yankee trait; in my previous retail career, convention specials usually recouped the cost of my trip.) Whatever the reason, the show was a big disappointment. It felt tired and perfunctory. As much as I hate to say it, I might have to plan a trip to Toy Fair in New York next year.

So what did I buy from Tile Craft? Since they have no website, I can’t link the product here. If you’re a subscribed customer, you’ll find out in the October issue of The Curio City Chronicle. Otherwise, watch my New Arrivals section, where the items will appear within the next couple of weeks. I picked up a couple of other catalogs, too, but nothing that I’m especially excited about.

On the bright side, the show was not nearly the challenge to my meager budget that I thought it would be. My single order bled my open-to-buy from $202.38 back down to (-$61.62).

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