NY NOW Exhibitors Sound Off
On The State Of Business
Companies exhibiting at NY NOW (view products in “Summer Finale” beginning on p. 10) share insights into how business is faring and challenges in the coming year.
How’s business compared to last year?
“Absolutely better! Although the majority of our business comes in the later parts of the year (for obvious reasons [we produce goods made with alpaca]) we have had more response and orders coming in for this time of the year than ever before. This is a result of many factors, some internal and others not. I believe the economy has begun to pick up and cosumer confidence is on the rise. We have also taken major leaps in our product lines and colorways [and results] are really starting to show.”—Lori Perri, ceo, Shupaca
“Our growth has slowed a bit this year, although we continue to grow. Being a small company, we are greatly influenced by the activity of a few larger customers and one of ours has turned more to directly sourcing overseas, which hurts us. But we have found a few new potentially large customers and hope to work with them now.”—Ellen Dorsch, founder, Creative Women
“We are seeing renewed interest from our wholesale customers. They are restocking more frequently, which is a sign they are getting more sales. On the retail side, consumers are very price conscious and buying primarily when items are on sale. Our unit sales are better, but our sales have not grown to the same degree.”—Ellen Fish, found and director, Tilonia
What are your greatest challenges?
“Hopefully, our greatest challenge will be keeping up with demand! However, as we have continued to grow so rapidly, it will be to continue the level of service we have provided to our clients as we begin to pass responsibilities on to others—we can no longer handle it between only Andrew [Schuster] and myself. Another challenge is developing the capabilities of our artisans as the demand has increased. Creating an infrastructure in foreign countries that is both culturally and environmentally sensitive can have its challenges, though it is always rewarding.”— Lori Perri, ceo, Shupaca
“There are two challenges: 1) The sourcing issue is looming again, but this one comes and goes, and 2) Enough production to fill orders and grow business.”—Ellen Dorsch, founder, Creative Women
“Margins are tight which makes it difficult to grow oganically, and financing options for working capital are pretty limited and expensive. As a fair trade company, we provide an advance to our suppliers for production. At the same time, many retailers are looking for terms of 45 days or more. It becomes increasingly difficult for the small retailer or wholesaler to survive. We’re still here, so that’s a good thing.”—Ellen Fish, founder and director, Tilonia®
“New good quality business and where to find it—establishing new and meaningful relationships with U.S. retail businesses, whether retail, corporate gift or private label.”—Richard Thornton, PillowHeaven Ltd., a UK-based company exhibiting in the U.S. for the first time at NY NOW