I'm sure by now, you've heard the news: Surtex 2019 is moving to February.
There were lots of mixed feelings about the change among exhibitors at this year's show. Frankly, it was the most talked about topic on the show floor. Many designers were already convinced they wouldn't return, while others were a bit more optimistic.
No matter where you stand on the issue, I think it's important to take some time and think about how this change could affect us and our industry. That's why I put together a little pros and cons list of Surtex 2019 moving to February.
I complied this list based on my conversations with exhibitors and buyers at both Surtex and Blueprint this year and tried my best to remain neutral when discussing each point, even though I've already made my decision (read to the end if you'd like to hear what I think).
Why Moving Surtex to February is GOOD
- Cheaper Flights & Hotels: Every penny adds up when you're exhibiting at a trade show. Late May is the beginning of the summer travel season in NY and because of that, it's more expensive to fly to and stay in Manhattan. February, on the other hand, is considered "off-season", so it's possible to score better prices and save a little bit of money.
- An Earlier Show Could Mean More Sales: There doesn't seem to be a consensus on this, but I've heard from several people (both designers and buyers), that May is simply too late in the year for many companies to look for art. By pushing the show back 3 months, it gives us an opportunity to connect with companies who's buying season is earlier in the year.
- Access to NY Now Companies: Instead of exhibiting with the ICFF in May, Surtex will now be at the Javits during the NY Now show. At the January 2018 NY NOW show, there were 2,300+ exhibitors from multiple markets like home furnishings, gifts, and children's products. Conversely, ICFF's May 2018 show only featured 900+ exhibitors within a single market: home furnishings. The breadth of NY Now means we have the potential of reaching a much wider range of companies.
Why Moving Surtex to February is BAD
- Winter Weather in NYC: The average high during February in New York City is just 40 degrees – yikes! It's also the time of year when bad winter storms strike, causing travel delays and canceled flights. If the right storm comes along at the wrong time, we may be stranded in Manhattan afterwards or worse, not even make it to the show.
- Too Many Shows at the Same Time: There's an abundance of shows early in the year. Printsource takes place mid-January, as does the Gift Show in Atlanta, Creativation in Phoenix, and Heimtexil in Germany. There's also NYFW happening the week after Surtex. With all the shows happening around the same time, both exhibitors and buyers may have to choose one show over another because of time and budget restrictions.
- Less Time to Prepare for Next Year: At this moment, there's exactly 7 months and 2 days until Surtex 2019. To put that into perspective, at this same time last year we had 10.5 months. Think of how much new work you could accomplish with an extra 3.5 months? Less time to prepare will mean having less new work to show.
Of course the decision to exhibit at Surtex will ALWAYS be a personal one – each designer must decide what's best for them.
But I hope that by discussing the potential problems and benefits of Surtex moving to February, it will at least make your decision a bit easier, especially if you're considering exhibiting next year.
My Personal Thoughts on the Matter
As I mentioned at the beginning, I've already made my decision – I plan on returning to Surtex in 2019. And while the thought that there's only seven months from now to prepare is freaking me out a bit.... ok, a LOT, I still believe I can have a successful show.
What's most important to me is to keep the overall view of my business in mind when making these major decisions. The fact is, I made great new contacts at this year's show and am confident that I'll meet my income goal by the end of 2018 (my goal this year is almost double my income from 2017).
I truly believe that if you put in the work and focus your energy where it needs to be (namely on consistently connecting with buyers and designing new work for my portfolio), it won't matter that the dates of Surtex have moved.
It's all in how you approach it. You can either look at it as an opportunity or a disadvantage. For me, I'd prefer to view it as an opportunity!
I'd love to hear what you think! What are your thoughts about Surtex moving to February? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Tell me in the comments below.
P.S. I hope to write up my thoughts on this year's show, much like I did for 2017's show, a little later this summer. If you have any specific questions about exhibiting, please feel free to post them in the comments below or email me directly.