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Jennifer Marks

Get Out the Vote

A couple of European shows did it last year. Showtime is doing it later this year. And now the home textiles industry is being offered an opportunity to do it too.

After eons of grumbling that the dates for the New York Home Textiles Market have fallen out of sync with the global production cycle, suppliers are being urged to cast their votes for more realistic scheduling. Retailers are being encouraged to vote, too.

The Home Fashions Products Association has established a Web site at http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB2244LBZDJX6 at which the industry can weigh in on the topic. The vote is open to all members of the home textiles industry — regardless of whether companies are HFPA members or not.

Those of you who operate small-, medium-sized and emerging suppliers that rely on markets for exposure have a particular stake in this vote. You should know that among some of largest and most well-established suppliers the sentiment is tilting in the direction of one annual market.

And there are a few among the majors who favor abolishing market altogether. They already work with the largest accounts throughout the year. From their perspective, showrooms constitute an unnecessary overhead and market weeks an unnecessary expense.

The HFPA committee overseeing market dates has recommended holding one major market week a year between mid-July and mid-August and one mini-market annually in February. The committee's recommendations are not written in stone. But in the absence of strong response from the suppliers community, one can assume the committee's recommendations will be brought forward.

The online ballot takes about three minutes to answer — and that's if you have to think about it. It asks voters to choose how many markets there should be each year and in which months they should take place. In addition, it asks about the value of holding the New York Home Textiles Show at the Javits Center concurrently with the showroom-oriented market weeks.

Members of the Textile Market Association have already voted to change the dates of the semiannual Showtime fabric fair, which should ease the way for home textiles suppliers which buy from that show. Showtime, which had been a January and July show, will in late 2005 begin on the first Sundays of December and June.

Voting on the timing of the New York Home Textiles Show will close on March 1. And please note: The Web site will accept just one vote per company.

Here's the industry's chance to correct what many have complained about for years. Make your vote count.

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