For years I have heard people talk about going “to market” to see the latest trends for the upcoming season and buy for their stores. It always seemed so exclusive and exciting. So I jumped at the chance to go this weekend with my friend Amy Hester who owns Red Beauty Lounge, a salon that sells gifts. A road trip to Dallas for shopping and some girl time sounded perfect.
In the center of the #dallasmarket. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Market is overwhelming, to say the least. Especially for two market virgins like Amy and me. Spread across three buildings, the tallest of which had 15 floors made it hard to figure out where to start. But first there was the parking dilemma: we didn’t even know where we were supposed to go in, so we were having trouble figuring out where to park. As the navigator with Google at my fingertips, I discovered $8 valet parking. Best decision of the day.
I had envisioned a trade show-like set up. And while there were temporary stores that were similar to trade booths, most of the vendors were set up in shared showrooms, behind glass windows and doors like permanent stores. We were on the hunt for jewelry and cosmetics. While the map directed us to the seventh floor for jewelry, it wasn’t the artisan jewelry we were seeking. We found what we were really looking for in the temporary booths and buried within gift stores on other floors.
Over the course of the six hours that we made our way through the buildings and stores, we walked a mile and a half. Amy and I worked out a system where I scouted while she made orders, then led her to the next vendor that I thought she would like. It was a good system. One catch: I had a “courtesy” badge, so not all the vendors took me seriously since I wasn’t the one with the buying power. I wanted to go all Pretty Woman on them and say, “You work on commission, right? Big mistake. Huge.” But I resisted.
Of course, I could be found sitting a lot while Amy shopped. I am still having some pretty bad back pain.
At the end of the day, we felt as if we had been successful. Though we learned a lot that Amy can apply to her next market trip. And we decided that the Dallas Market Center app could use some significant improvements to provide a better shopping experience.
We were exhausted by the time we got back to our hotel and had a little slumber party complete with wine, pizza delivery to the room and pay-per-view movies. It was perfect.