Ask Alex: Market Days

Alex Belt

Alex Belt

From consumers to boutique owners, many people have asked me what it takes to stock a gift boutique and how to find new and up-and-coming items. Here are a few questions I am often asked, along with a glimpse into my experience at market!

Q. Where do you and other boutique owners find what you are going to sell in your stores?

A. I get items from the Dallas Market Center, located in Dallas, Texas. It is a 5 million square-foot wholesale trade center that houses showrooms selling consumer products, including gifts, lighting, home décor, apparel, fashion accessories, shoes, housewares, gourmet, floral, holiday items and more for storeowners. The Total Home & Gift Market in Dallas is held four times each year in January, March, June and September.

Q. Can anyone go to market?

Renee Schochler, Evette Sissel and  Alex Belt with Santa at market.

Renee Schochler, Evette Sissel and Alex Belt with Santa at market.

A. The marketplace is closed to the public but open to qualified retail buyers and interior designers, manufacturers and industry professionals. Market events throughout the year attract more than 200,000 buyers and sellers from all 50 states and more than 80 countries.

Q. What is  your market  routine?

A. I always go to market with my two cousins Evette and Renee. Evette and I drive in from Houston, stopping at Buc-ee’s, of course, to stock up on jerky and Big Red. Renee drives in from Rusk, Texas, and we meet up at the hotel.

Q. What was your first trip to market like?

A. The first time I went, I was so overwhelmed. I slowly walked into the large auditorium in the Dallas Market Center’s World Trade Center and looked up at 15 floors of vendors staring down at me. And then, there were three more buildings next door with more vendors!

Believe it or not, stores buy Christmas goodies and décor in January at market. The world is packing up all of the décor, and at market, we are buying for next year. The market experience enables store owners to find the best items to delight shoppers. Everyone wins! I love going to market, especially with my two crazy cousins who make it so much fun!