"New York is the center of the universe!" declared the cab driver as Molly and I pulled up to the Javits Center to set our booth up for NY Now, New York's international gift show. With over 2,800 businesses representing their products under one roof, it did seem like we were at the center of something.
We were assigned booth #2486 in the section of "Home Furnishings and Textiles" and had three days to prepare before the show started. Ambatalia was extremely lucky to share the booth with Oakland-based artist Maria Schoettler. Ambatalia does a lot of collaboration with Maria, where her beautiful illustrations come to life on cloth, but Maria also has her own line of post-consumer paper goods that were on display as well.
Prior to the gift show I was well aware that there was a lot of stuff in the world, but being there put this into a whole new perspective. Tchotchkes, knickknacks, doodads, and trinkets lined the shelves of the booths row after row. The buyers for Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters wandered casually by, and looked at our stuff. It all seemed so strange to me, and it made it quite real that Ambatalia, and the products we produce, are part of this international global market.
Across from Ambatalia's booth was Pendleton, the company that made the blanket that sat at the foot of my bed as a child. In the main hall was Library of Flowers, the company that produces my favorite bubble bath. Downstairs, Yellow Owl Workshop had a booth, and for my birthday I just received a set of their stamps. Surrounding me were the faces of people who administer these products. Up to this point, I had bought into their realties. Their products and their displays at the show were perfectly tailored to my liking. There might possibly be a photo of me on the bulletin board in their office labeled: "target market." Is it a bad thing that we buy into these fantasies?
In a world where literally every sort of product exists, it is more and more important to make wise and knowledgeable decisions. We met a lot of people that really believed in Ambatalia. People wanted to know where we sourced our fabrics, if they were certified organic, and where they were being sewn. We are based out of San Francisco and everything is sewn locally. We know exactly where we are getting our materials from and select carefully. A lot of the buyers and consumers at the gift show really do care about these factors. They want to buy a long-lasting product that they can feel good about on a social and environmental level. This is exactly what Ambatalia wants to promote. I was extremely grateful that I was at Ambatalia + Maria Schoettler's booth standing behind products that I really believed in, aesthetically and also ethically.
|Maria, Molly, and me at NY Now 2013|
|Maria Schoettler, check out her work.|
|The Javits Center.|