As I prepare to head to Atlanta Market this weekend, I thought it might be fun to share a few  “buyer secrets”.  I’m certainly no pro, but in the past few years I’ve been able to establish a little system that works well for me.  Since I’m usually short on time  {hey, someone has to be at the store to set up those orders!}, I usually try to pack a LOT of shopping into very little time.  I’m all about being as efficient as possible, and that means… being as ORGANIZED as possible!

When I mention that I’m headed off to Market, most people reply with, “Oh, how fun!” and “Man, I wish I could go!”…  The truth is, it’s not as fun as you might think.  Market is HARD WORK.  It’s a “walk-til-you-just-can’t-move-anymore” kind of thing.  For several days in a row.  Some aspects of it ARE fun – finding a great new product or seeing other store owners/sales reps that you enjoy hanging out with – but buy and large (har har, no pun intended), it’s also a beating {on your body, mind and pocketbook}.  The real fun is when we actually get the products in the store and get to hear how much you love them too!  🙂marketnecessities

I’ve created a list of “Off to Market Must-Haves” for anyone who is a new buyer (or if you’re just curious):

So here is my list of “Market Must-Haves”:

A “Hit List”  – a list of vendors that you want to make sure you see at Market.  I usually get this list by combing through the Market catalog accordionand mailings I receive before the show.  I use it as a starting point and can be added to as you go of course.  I start with a Hit List on paper but then transfer it to an excel file {column 1:  location/building/floor/suite, column 2:  vendor name, column 3: notes about the type of product I’m interested in}.  Once it’s in excel, I email it myself and open it up in the Numbers app on my iPad.  This just keeps everything nice and neat (and it’s easy to add to/delete from/re-sort by location or vendor)

Accordion file with month tabs – Mine is a 6-tab file, so it’s perfect for each month.  For January Market, I have the tabs read for Jan – June.  For Summer Market, I turn the tabs around to read Jul – Dec.

Pre-printed labels – with your store info {name, address, phone, fax and email}.  This makes ordering much faster if the vendor is filling out a carbon copy order form by hand.  They’ll LOVE you for this time-saver!

A copy of your Sales Tax Permit – for opening lines with new vendors who need a copy of file.

Shipping calendar – I use the iPhone app Calendars+ to schedule shipping orders.  It syncs with my google calendars so I can check it anytime on my iPhone, iPad, laptop or desktop computer.  By putting the ship dates on a calendar, I can easily see what items are coming soon, etc.

Copies of your credit sheet – if you want to apply for net 30 terms with vendors, this will be a time-saver as well.

Comfy shoes – Like really comfy.  I opt for Toms with a thin Dr.Scholl’s insert for maximum support.  I’d really like to wear tennis shoes, but I try to look at least semi-professional (ha)

Band Aids – for any blisters brought on by the serious walking I mentioned.shoesandlabels

Phone charger – you’d be surprised how terrible reception is in most Market buildings, so your phone’s battery will just get sucked down to nothing trying to find a signal all day.

Protein bars/snacks – Because shopping on an empty stomach just kills your buying power.  No food = cranky = no product looks appealing

A good pen – my fave is the uni-ball vision elite

A legal pad for good old-fashioned note taking.  I like the pink ones.  I know it doesn’t matter, but I go out of my way to stock up on the pink ones before Market.


So there you have it!  A few of my buyer’s secrets REVEALED!  Are you a seasoned shopper at Market?  I’d love to know your tips and tricks for plowing through the sea of available products!