Monday, June 10, 2013

GASC Recap

Well, it’s a wrap on yet another Great American Scrapbook Convention, and I have to say, it wasn’t all that great, and I am as disappointed as ever.  So much so, that I actually sent an email to them about it.  Here’s a few points I made:

Poor marketing: Leading up to the show, every email I read sounded like they were going to combine sewing and beading booths in the same exhibition space as previous GASC shows, which would mean HALF AS MANY scrapbooking vendors as before.  This convention was already suffering from fewer vendors each year; if half of the vendors were going to be beading and sewing suppliers, there wouldn’t be very many scrapbooking vendors left at all.  It was really poor marketing, because it didn't make it clear that the Martha's Sewing Market was actually a BONUS show that would be set up in a separate exhibit hall.  It really did sound like it was SPLIT between the two.  I know lots of scrappers did not attend this show because they thought the same thing.

Same old classes:  Several of the vendors offered the same worn-out classes that they offered in February at Scrapbook Expo.  Seriously?  They came back to the same city just three months later and didn’t even bring new classes?

No LOCAL vendors:  When I first started attending this show more than 10 years ago, ALL of the local stores had booths or participated in some way.  For the stores that couldn't afford a booth, there used to be "cheaper" vendor tables out in the hall where local stores could set up information tables.  Those went away a few years ago after one of the ownership changes.  Now there are almost NO local vendors. There were a few of the local retreats, but NOT ONE of the local scrapbook stores had a booth at this event!  There are more than 20 stores in the North Texas area and NOT ONE OF THEM had a booth?!?!  

Booth rates are too high:  The local stores aren’t participating any more because the booth rates are too high.  GASC should be wooing those local stores like CRAZY because the stores are the ones who will get the word out about the show and they are the ones who will sell the tickets and get the local scrapbookers to the show.  They should be cutting deals with those local retailers to give them cheaper priced booths, etc.  I've had store after store tell me that they can't do your show because the booth space is just too high.  Wouldn't it be better to FILL the exhibit hall at half the cost than to have it half empty?  I know I’d be a LOT more interested in attending this show if the exhibit hall was actually full.

Low attendance:  Well DUH.  If you don’t put on a great show, you aren’t going to have huge attendance numbers.  I don't know what the attendance numbers were, but they couldn't have been all that great.  I'm there every year and the crowd I saw on Saturday looked like the number of people I *usually* see on a Friday.  Where were the Saturday crowds?  They didn't come because of all the things I mentioned above.  

Dates/Timing:  This show USED to be the week AFTER school let out, which worked out well for moms with kids and teachers, too.  But when the state changed our school release day, GASC did not change their date, even though we asked them repeatedly to do so.  That last week of school is a TERRIBLE time for lots of people to try and get away to something like this.  I noticed a HUGE drop in attendance when that change happened, and the show has not recovered since.

That’s just a few of my observations about this scrapbook show.  I’m sure many of you have some comments of your own to add…please do.  If you went or didn’t go, post a comment and let us know what you thought!

As for me, I did wind up going this year because a friend who had never been wanted to go AND I decided I still needed to do some promotion for one of my events.  I was terribly disappointed to see so few vendors (even less than last year) and I did note that many of the core vendors were not there, some of them big names in the crafting industry, and ESPECIALLY the local vendors.  I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to see the Martha's Sewing Market in another location, but I also noted that it *used* to be where they held the crops, so now I wonder where the crops could be, and whether they have gotten smaller, too.  I can honestly say that I do NOT think I will come back next year unless some MAJOR changes are made because it just isn't worth my time and it is certainly NOT something I want to promote or recommend to my customers.  I would rather go 200+ miles to Houston for the CKC event two weeks later than go to Arlington for a show as bad as this.  What about you?

“You Make Me Smile” card designed by Valerie Jackson and made with products from Close to My Heart during our recent party. 

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