Las Vegas Summer 2018 Market Wrap-up: SSA Exhibitors share their experiences

Earlier this month we put one more Summer Las Vegas Market in the books.  Our SSA exhibitors told us they definitely felt the traffic dip this Summer, but when it was all said and done, they did the business necessary to make the Market work for them.  Overall, traffic at the Market was reportedly down, and our own showroom traffic reflected that, experiencing about 18% fewer buyer groups than Summer 2017.  We offered lunchtime snacks for buyers this market, however with the light traffic, it was hard to gauge whether or not it was appreciated.

 Click here for full Gallery of Summer 2018 photos

Click here for full Gallery of Summer 2018 photos

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Because our showroom is a coop of our members, we always do an exit poll, and take everyone’s experience at Market into serious consideration as we plan for the future.   It is fun to compare and contrast the comments from new companies (freshmen) with the seasoned upperclassmen in the room.  Let’s take a look at our post-Market exhibitor comments and suggestions.

The Freshmen


            Art Felix, frame maker/distributor JP Products:  I thought the show was perfect for me. Everyone in the SSA showroom was nice and helpful. For a first time exhibitor the traffic seemed accommodating. The summer show gives other exhibitors an opportunity to visit our showroom and see what we all have to offer. Many of us are not only trying to show our products to the retail side but are also trying to present products to other wholesalers.   I think over all most of us are happy being part of the show and the success is up to each of us to our own due diligence. I want to thank you (the SSA) for all your help and desire to make all of us feel at home.
            Brian Philips, mattress maker Swiss Bliss:  The Specialty Sleep Association is a value to the industry and the Las Vegas Market.  It provides one stop shopping for all your sleep related needs.  Most of my quality opportunities were created in the months and weeks leading up to the market.  We had a few walk ins but our new neighbors were so exhausting to the majority of walk ins that there was very little interest in slowing down after breaking away from those guys.  (They must have been enthusiastic!)
            Peter Laurens, mattress maker Baltica Naturals:  In terms of the ratio of booth expenses to visits by attendees, the showroom is the best place to be for specialty bedding industry participants at the Las Vegas Market. Foot traffic in the showroom and to our booth in particular was good during the Summer Market and we received strong interest and much useful feedback from our visitors.  The Summer Market was a fine experience for us; we expected it to be slower than the Winter Market but we received a surprising number of visitors. I invited a few retailers who were to attend the show anyway, but did not send out an email blast to unknown prospects.  I expected to meet new people here and I did.  
            Maureen Delker, top-of-bed soft goods maker Gotcha Covered/Sweet Dreams:  I am so happy to be apart of the SSA showroom family now.  Not only are the other vendors a wonderful resource for networking, discussion, and feedback but knowing there is a support network to help with space logistics makes my show times much less stressful.  Summer is typically a slower market than January.  While this market did seem slower than last year, it still proved beneficial for even the few key appointments we had.   
          Steven Wu, pillow importer Coolist Sleep Technology:  It feels like a big family. I knew some neighbors in the showroom.  It was my first time to be an exhibitor in the market.  It felt like it was very slow. Hopefully it will be better in the winter market. 

The Upperclassmen

            Thomas Frismodt, Mattress and softgoods importer Danican:  Danican’s experience in the SSA showroom has always been positive.  We feel there is always good traffic of different types of contacts and buyers each market.  Additionally, we feel there is great value being part of the “community” that exists with the other exhibiting SSA companies and also SSA staff.  Yes, the buyer traffic was generally viewed as a bit light for the recent Summer LVM.  However, each market presents the opportunity to nurture existing relationships and start new ones, which we continued to do at the summer LVM. 
           Brent Polunsky, frame maker W.Silver:   I thought the overall traffic was down a bit, but I did see enough of the right people to have a successful market.
            Barry Cik, organic mattress and bedding maker Naturepedic Organic:  The SSA showroom is really an excellent place to experience new thinking and products.  It actually deserves to be much bigger in size.  To improve it even further, it can use more separation among brands, so that it never gets a “bazaar” feel.   If anything, it deserves to be presented as an “exclusive” group of brands.  The Summer Market is always slower than the Winter Market - not aware of anything that can be done about that.  2018 was much slower in volume and in people willing to make appointments.  There are always those who will stop by and chat.  Then there are those who don’t really need to stop by.  But the biggest hurdle is getting new interested parties.  That said, it was clear that several other similar type manufacturers throughout the buildings didn’t get much traffic.  So there may be a much bigger issue regarding overall traffic for the whole market.  And, if that’s the case, then even if the SSA showroom had a modest drop in traffic, SSA may be well ahead of the market overall which may have experienced a much bigger percentage drop in traffic.
            Brice Hata, pillow maker Remarkable Pillow/TMI Molded Foam:  This market was much tougher than any other one we have attended.  We ended up doing ok simply due to the fact that we pour foam as a manufacturer and found customers in that arena.  The brick and mortar retail sector of the market was pretty horrendous. We normally write a brisk amount of business opening up new accounts at each show.  This time around, we opened relatively few new accounts.  That being said, I truly believe Winter will bring about pent up buying with retailers spending more freely.   Let’s hope the traffic for Winter makes up for Summer.  Thanks for all your help.  Although we always get verbal commitments from our normal buyers, for our category they do not make a concerted effort to create time to visit.  We normally grab them at the show and they say, “Oh yeah, that’s right, good to see you…..let’s get down to business”   For the first time, we had some great Market Specials for the show only and were able to open the new customers as a result.  We will continue the specials during the Winter Market as well.
            Suzanne Diamond, bio-friendly futon and mattress maker The Futon Shop/Honest Sleep:  Summer market was dreadful, slow and no traffic. We had appointments so that was good, but if not for that we would have died. The showroom was pleasant as usual!  We do make appointments, many small retailers did not come to market, mostly the majors.
            Paul Kraus, frame and top-of-bed/softgoods maker Body Sense/Electropedic:  The SSA showroom is always warm and inviting. The process for a new buyer gaining entry to the suite is easy.  The Summer Market is very slow compared to the Winter Market. I would estimate there are less than one-half less buyers in the summer compared to the winter.
            Curtis Spain, top-of-bed/softgoods maker BeddingTechnology:  The SSA Showroom is always friendly and good flow of dealers.  The  attendance at this summer market was a very low, but the dealer optimism was good.
            Butch Craig, top-of-bed/softgoods maker Sleep & Beyond:  The SSA showroom was very organized and the flow was great.  Although the overall attendance was off, the buyers who attend were quality.  For a Summer Market not that much of a difference between years, just have to be creative as to having the right frame of mind.  All the time making sure the buyers know that you are glad they came by your space and having new products is always a positive approach.  Looking forward to the Vegas 2019 Winter Market.
           Richard Loo, mattress and softgoods importer Aximon Sleep Products:  This summer was slow, worse than last summer.

Stay tuned

We asked about the lunchtime buyer snacks, and got mixed reviews.  Stay tuned – we will come up with something FUN that everybody can snack on in the SSA Showroom for Winter Market 2019.