The One of a Kind Show and Sale® Chicago starts tomorrow at 11 am and I have the inside scoop from the Vice President of Marketing, Lisa Simonian! Read my interview with her to learn tips & tricks for navigating through the show and what to do in between shopping sprees.
Throughout the course of the event, how many people do you anticipate will attend this year?
Last year there were around 55,000 people who came to the show over the four days, so we’ll have somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 people. It’s huge and it grows every year. People come back, we have our regulars and new people who discover the show. It’s very popular and very well attended.
What is the criteria for selecting vendors and how do you decide who gets to participate in the one of a kind show? Do you allow them to come back consecutive years?
We have over 600 vendors and the returning artists are invited to return the following year. New artists have to fill out an application and go through a jury process where their work is reviewed for uniqueness, quality and we always try to balance the categories as well because we don’t want to have too much of any one category. However, we do have a lot of fashion oriented artists and a lot of jewelry artists because that’s something that our audience loves and is looking for.
What are you doing differently this year that you haven’t done in the past?
There are always new artists and new work coming into the show that makes it interesting. We also have a new partner, Goose Island, and their company is going to be setting up a beer garden on the show floor. It will be a really great place for those who want to take a break from shopping or significant others who want to enjoy a beer and watch the football game. We’re always trying to make the show as comfortable as possible for people who come and spend the whole day, or even the whole weekend, at the show. In addition to great shopping, they can eat at our gourmet cafes, they can listen to live music, go to artist demonstrations. They can definitely get a full and fun experience.
I’m really looking forward to visiting the Fashion District. How many artists will be featured in there this year?
There are about 80 artists that are in the fashion district and they have everything from apparel to accessories and jewelry. There are also fashion-oriented artists that are not in the Fashion District, but the Fashion District has more of a fun vibe and tends to be more contemporary artists.
How much space does the show take up?
The show takes place on the entire 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart, which is about 200,000 sq. ft.
Given that the show is so huge, what advice do you have for people so that they can make the most of their time there?
Before they get there they can go to our website and look at our artist locator and image gallery where they can look up artists by category and see images of their work. It’s always a good idea to do a little research before you get on the show floor. Once you arrive at the event, we do have directories with alphabetical listings and listings by category.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
We have daily fashion shows, which feature work from the artists and they’re really fun to attend. And, the great thing about the show is that you’re buying handcrafted work directly from the person who crafted it. It’s a good opportunity to talk to the artists and find out about the technique behind their work or what inspired them. That’s what makes the show really special – you’re buying work directly from the person who designed it and made it with their hands.
The One of a Kind Show and Sale® Chicago starts tomorrow at The Merchandise Mart and goes through the weekend:
Thursday, December 4 11am-8pm
Friday, December 5 11am-8pm
Saturday, December 6 10am-7pm
Sunday, December 7 10am-5pm
And be sure to check out some of the fashion shows while you’re there too:
Friday, 1pm and 6pm