Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ICFF Designboom Mart part 1

It's been a week since I came back from participating in the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and I'm so happy I can finally share my experiences with you!
I've got to say, I thought about all of you lovely readers quite a lot while I was there. Normally when I travel I don't take many pictures, but this time I took a ton of photos! I kept thinking - maybe I can show this on the blog/ this might interest my blog readers/ what a great photo to share...


Let me start from the beginning, for those of you who looked at the title of this post and said - wuh?!
ICFF is the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (sounds fancy, eh?). Located in New York, it takes place every summer. They feature mainly Furniture Design, but also some accessories from well established firms as well as young designers mostly from the US. I came to exhibit there through Designboom - a website for Designers and Architects from all over the world. They feature works, offer courses, organize competitions- lots of good stuff. And they also host what they call Designmarts in different cities across the world. These take place during Furniture Fairs and Design Weeks in cities like Tokyo, NY, Stockholm etc.  Young designers apply, and designers who get accepted take part in the fair and sell there designs. So you get to meet buyers, press, and design enthusiasts coming to the fair - and also sell your items to cover costs. People attending the show often describe it as one of the highlights - Cool, right?

I always wanted to go, it seems like such a great opportunity,  but never felt quite ready. Then this ear whrn they had a last call for designers, I decided I am ready - my collection is complete, the production is sound - let's do this!
So I applied, got in, freaked out, designed some postcards, packed, freaked out some more, and flew to the beautiful and amazing city - New York (this would probably be the time to thank my husband, who stayed with our kids who were of course both sick while I was gone).
I was to sell the Stretchy Bowl and Candlestick Stacks, but I brought the rest of my line to show people who were interested, and eventually sold those samples too.
So if I had to describe the experience, I would say it was a success. But that's not to say there weren't any difficulties. On the contrary, there were quite a few. When I arrived at the Javits Center where the fair took place, my heart sank. They had moved the Designmart to a different hall far away from the main area. Even I had trouble finding it! I knew something had to be done- but what? And although English is my father tongue (Thanks, Dad) I felt so Israeli in the way I wanted to handle things. You see if something like that would have happened here in Israel, I would have made such a stink. It's completely normal to yell at people you don't know here and make demands, it doesn't seem odd to anyone - this is a warm Midlleastern country after all. But I felt over there I had to be very polite, and that was tough, b/c of how upset I was... I ended up finding some allies in a couple from Venezuela and a girl from Barcelona - and together we went to the main office to complain a couple of times. Eventually they put out more signage and the traffic got better, but I can't help thinking what would have happened if we were in the main hall.

I decided to regroup and manage my expectations, which turned out to be a smart thing to do since it allowed me to actually enjoy myself. Any entrepreneur gets knocked down again and again, what makes a successful entrepreneur is the ability to pick yourself up and start over again.
The other designers were pretty awesome, and came from all over the world - Spain, Italy, Thailand, Germany, Japan - cool! And turns out what every designer has in common (especially the European ones:) is there love of alcohol, especially the free kind. People were filling empty Starbucks cups with the wine that was being handed out at various events. There was a very good vibe, I can tell you that.

So let me introduce you to a few of my new friends, and show you there designs.
This is my new stylish friend Gab, from Montreal. She designs reusable vinyl stickers to mark your wine glass - they look like lipstick marks - so cute. You can see more at Gab Design.


The next designer is Carmen from Labyrinth Studio in Barcelona. She and her partner Doron design coasters shaped like miniature pallets and salt and pepper shakers shaped like safety cones. Carmen and I had a good connection and I was so glad I met her.


Next is Lee from i-clue in Korea.  He was selling lots of cute stuff, including little silicone people in a yoga position -to rest your phone on. He said he designed them for his daughter, and after meeting her I can tell you she is super cute.


These cool wood additions designed by Carolina and Mathias for Combolab (originally from Venezuela, now they live in the US) transform regular plastic crates into awesome stools. They are stackable too, allowing for all kinds of different heights.

The lovely Rita from Lithuania (currently living in Berlin) purposes old basketballs into small bags and wallets. These are one of those designs I wish I had thought of. You can see more at Bal Design.


And if you'd like to see the entire list of Designmart exhibitors, you can do that here .
Here's a more detailed optimistic list of the actual results:
I am currently in negotiation with a couple of large scale stores and distributors.
A design I'm working on got shortlisted in a contest (fingers crossed) for a big company to manufacture (cross them tighter:)
I had a couple of orders I actually sent out while still in NY
And some pretty fancy reporters will hopefully write about the studio in a fancy publication.
I hope for some of these to follow through, and you know I'll keep you posted.

I am very proud of myself for taking on this adventure. It was definitely fun to be on vacation, even if it was work, in one of the most amazing cities in the world.
See you soon,


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