Today I'm going to write about trade shows. I'm going to use as an example the recent trade show/exhibition for the violin (really, string instrument) trade, MondoMusica New York 2013.
What are Trade Shows? The name says it all. Businesses and businesspeople getting together at an event organized for the chance to network, display their wares, buy and sell — to each other and, possibly, the public.
How do you find out about trade shows? Good sources would be Trade Journals and Directories. Some directory titles:
And, of course, you can use your favorite search engine!
The Sound of Trade - Beyond Cacophony: However much you may like the sound of the string section of an orchestra, when those players are left to their own devices some really astonishing sounds will ensue. Notwithstanding the Strad and Guarnerius in the first display cases you see entering MondoMusica, you can't help but hear this as a place where the devil let loose a thousand Paganinis (or would be's). But I'll be brave — I've come here to explore, urged to do so by my friend, entrepreneur Clarie Stefani (Volute Service International), one of the folks who organized this event.
The Trade of Violins: Violins are the sum of many parts. Violin-making craftspeople may do all of the carving and assembly independently, but they still depend on other businesses — suppliers of woods, tools, ingredients for varnish, fittings (pegs and tailpieces), strings. And then there's BFE (buyer furnished equipment) — cases, rosin, "shoulder-rests," new strings, etc. And bows — a whole new set of maker/craftspeople and their suppliers. Plus, how do these violins and bows get to market? Notable in almost the entire "industry" is the preponderance of small businesses; from the one-person violin maker's shop to the many retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers of BFE it's an entrepreneur's world!
Using MondoMusica as an exemplar of a trade show, what kinds of businesses do we discover here? Well, in no particular order:
Retail String Instrument Dealers: Most of us buy retail. While you can sometimes deal directly with a maker (as I did with Jason Viseltear for my viola), as in almost any "consumer product" the retailer offers extensive value-added services. Representative here would be Reed Yeboah Fine Violins (disclosure: I got my violin — made by Todd Goldenberg — from them, and they also show instruments by Jason Viseltear, who had a cello at their booth at MondoMusica). There are many more listed on the exhibitors page; they form a substantial portion of the show exhibitors.
Instrument Makers: Both Jason and Todd were at the show (I was pleased to meet Todd for the first time there), represented by dealers. But others of their colleagues had their own booths (or shared): old acquaintances such as Andrea Hoffman-Simmel and Guy Rabut. A new acquaintance, Gabriela Guadalajara, who makes viols and violins in Harlem. And a multitude of skilled makers from France, Italy and many other countries.
Wholesalers and Distributors: Is that a future violin back over there, incandescent, on the floor in front of Tone Wood International Srl Cremona? Certainly not just a slab of wood for the weekend hobbyist! Looking closer at their booth and others you can see wood for violins as well as fittings — beautiful and of the finest quality — as well as many other string instrument-related products.
Manufacturers: Cases from Bam France and Accord. Varnishes from Old Wood Colours & Varnishes S.I. and Kremer Pigments, Inc. (here in NYC!). Strings from D'Addario & Company, Inc. (on Long Island).
Trade and Professional Journals: Strings Magazine; The Strad. Quibble over these being "trade" journals, but they both include coverage of string instrument businesses.
Trade and Professional Associations: Violin Society of America; AFVBM Inc - American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers; Consorzio Liutai "A. Stradivari" - CREMONA (The Consortium of Violinmakers "Antonio Stradivari")
Conical Violoncello by StegmuellerSome Favorite Things: A new conical instrument design from Wolfgang Stegmueller — for which he has a patent!
The SlipperThe Slipper (a new design for a "shoulder rest")!
For a full rundown of exhibitors, and other information about MondoMusica New York 2013 visit the website.
Ah well, I've droned on enough for now. Drones! Back with that topic a bit later!