Michael Brown, Michael Brown Chairmaker- Grantsboro, NC
I am a full time professional (sole means of support) chairmaker, a one man shop. I rely heavily on 3-4 shows a year to keep my order book full. The PIFS has been consistently the best show of every year and the move to the Armory in 2012 was the best year ever, walk in traffic took me over my “best yet”. Josh Markel, the show director, is “one of us” and the knowledge he puts into running this show pays off every time, putting his advertising budget where he knows it will work. There is a loyal fan base but the location is surely helping.
Mary Ann and Jay Paulukonis, Paulukonis Studio- Scranton, PA
Holding this year’s PIF show at the 23rd Street Armory was a plus in several ways. The location attracted many walk-in visitors to the show, in addition to those for whom the PIFS is a priority destination. This year’s show attendees were knowledgeable shoppers who appreciate artisan-made furnishings, evidenced by the good cash-and-carry sales we had. Furthermore he Armory has great character and it felt good to be there for three days.
John Landis, John Landis Cabinetworks – Warminster, PA
I have been an exhibitor at the Philadelphia Furniture Show since its second year. It, like many shows I have participated in over the years, has undergone many changes in style, location, and attendees, as well as exhibitors. I have participated in the “roaring 90s” and the not so roaring ’09. One thing that has stayed true to the Philly show is the level of interest in the attendees making the either long or just around the corner journey to the show. 2012 was no exception. No one will argue that attendance at this show, and most other shows has waned. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Sure, if you are a vendor whose success depends upon selling to thousands and therefore you need tens of thousands through the door, this show is not for you. The Philadelphia show, year in and year out, proves to be one of my best selling shows. With the new location at the downtown Armory, I feel confident that the show’s attendance will only grow and its base of clients improve. In fact, my best client this year travelled from Washington DC solely to visit the show and we were able to give him exactly what he wanted. I highly recommend applying to this show, bring your best work, bring your best sales persona and make a statement.
Dennis Peterson, Dennis Paul Peterson Furniture Maker– St. Mary’s, Ohio
I sell interpretive styles of furniture. PIFS clients purchase a wide range of furniture styles. I sold contemporary and traditional styles at the 2010 show. I like the natural light and ease of set up at this venue. Knowledgeable and receptive clients come to buy – build trust with them.
Michael Hoy, Michael Hoy Woodworking– Solon, Maine
I did well – sold 13 chairs and a custom work order all in the first month after the show. If this show is like 15 or so other PIFSs (I’ve done every one but one) I can expect another order or two before I return for the 2011 show. Best venue in terms of interior. Great old building, architecture of a reasonable scale, warm, natural light, etc. Best set up and tear down by far in 21 years of doing shows. The crowd could grow some – not at the expense of its quality which far far out weighs quantity in my mind. Attendees and staff are friendly, serious, helpful, knowledgeable people.
Ryan Procsal, Made by Prox– Pottstown, Pennsylvania
I found unloading and setup at the PIFS convenient, with no union regulations. As a younger woodworker, I was pleased that people at the PIFS took interest in helping me early in my career by giving me an excellent booth position. From a steady stream of people attending the show, I was able to sell right off the floor as well as meet interior designers and future clients. I believe I’ll make my attendance at the PIFS an annual routine.
Zelouf and Bell, zelouf+BELL– Vicarstown, Ireland
We had done the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show in 2004, and visited the PIFS show that spring, with a view to creating a presence in the Philly area. This year, we decided to do the Architectural Digest show in NY. When we realized the PIFS was the subsequent weekend, we decided to take a chance at the last moment, and we were made to feel very welcome.
Shipping all our work from New York and creating a new booth was tough going. We definitely questioned our decision to do the show, and our sanity! We changed into our show clothes, sweaty from the set up, five minutes before the guests arrived.
Certainly, the cost of the show is extremely affordable; it was not a huge investment for us. We felt there were serious prospective clients visiting the show, including galleries, and even the young students who were there were a pleasure to deal with. We took commissions and are still following up on other enquiries. One of the prospective clients we met at the AD show in NY made a point to re-visit us at the Philly show, and we closed the deal on an important piece. We were very happy with the show press coverage.
Walking around the show, we were impressed by the standard of work, although there is a more ‘woody’ feel than other shows we do. The work featured on most of the stands was extremely accomplished and interesting; we did feel that some excellent work in material other than timber might’ve been overlooked by the attendees, including gorgeous work in metal and some of the less traditionally designed pieces.
We’re pleased that next year’s PIFS follows the weekend after the AD show, allowing us to combine them. We hope to do both for the next two years, if possible. We feel it takes a good three years of doing a show to establish ourselves in any new market.
Arnold d’Epagnier – Colesville, Maryland
The PIFS show has provided a stage, consistently, for me to meet again with my customers and determine the next set of stages in a setting that is conducive to committing to a furniture purchase.
Two months after a past customer saw a new coffee table at the show, I saw him close to home in Maryland and he said he wanted me to go ahead and make them one. Again, PIFS provided a conducive atmosphere to focus on furniture designs and a memorable experience. PIFS is an event where people can discover they have new tastes in furniture and foresee new interiors.
Furniture seems not to be an impulse buy but a discovery with much contemplation. A show like PIFS offers the chance to discover and learn new things and then return later to see the same vendor.
>Bill Russell – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The 2010 Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show was a very lively event. Foot traffic was strong and constant. My discussion with other exhibitors revealed very positive sales and plans to return for next year’s show. I sold pieces directly from my booth and have already completed one commission from the show.
I have done the Furniture show each year since the start. The show has dramatically improved, and continued to do so each year, since moving to the Cruise Ship Terminal. A year ago, I actually had my best show ever, based on two commissions, one of them several living room chairs, the other a dining room table and chairs and a living room makeover.
This year, so far, I have two commissions, for a small dining table, and a “retreat” area in a local home for two reading chairs, a desk chair and an ottoman. I am close to landing another commission for a kitchen dining table and chairs, and collaborating in a kitchen makeover for the same client.
The smaller size of the show is a definite asset. Also, like the early years of the show, the work islargely furniture, and associated (parallel direction) craft.