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Winter Market   Jan. 26-30th, 2020

MSA Product Tour: An Inspirational Hunt for Treasure

Karen McNeely

Curated by Karen McNeely, director of retail operations at Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, WI and treasurer of Museum Store Association.

Las Vegas Market is always one of my favorite buying trips. The greeters always put a smile on my face, so I start out with my head in a good space. I approach the market as a treasure hunt. I always start at Accent Décor. The tradition started when the coat check was down the hall, but I found that their design direction was always on spot and it gives me a good idea of color trends.  With that inspiration, my list of upcoming exhibitions and needs for the main store the treasure hunt begins. Some buyers prefer to map out a schedule to shop with specific vendors.  I'm more of an aisle walker. I start at the top of the C building and look at every showroom. Ironically, some of my best finds have been in rep group showrooms, that judging from the outside I'd never guess they'd have anything that would work for my museum. I sometimes say that I "shop like a mom." I might not look like I'm really looking, but I see everything!  Check out some of my top picks from Winter Market.

Accent Décor, C124

Accent Decor

Striking Design Direction

Amazing design direction for the season offering holiday decor that doesn’t scream Christmas, which translates well for multiple religions. Gives inspiration for seasonal themes and sets the tone for my shopping.


Abbiamo Tutto, C109


Abbiamo Tutto



Italian Pottery


Quality Italian made pottery with design that apeals to American customers. "Winslow Homer " exhibition coming, so inclined for fish and sailing themes; whitetail deer/cabin for stylized northwoods style.

American Made Collective, C1106


American Made Collective

Products Made in America


Challenging to see what’s all inside a rep group -- unless the buyer enters inside, looks in all corners and even low-level shelves: hunt everywhere for treasures!

American Makers, C1156


American Makers

Products Made in America


“When buying, I look like a mom: it may not seem like I am paying close attention, but I see everything;” shop here for handmade items that have been created.

Cheryl Stevens Studio, P1-2033


Cheryl Stevens Studio

Handmade Ceramic Dishes


Artist-made custom at an appealing pricepoint with low minimums. Artist based in MI; can translate the pattern to create coordinating hanging ornament.

Creative Edge Imports, P1-3083


Creative Edge Imports
Geometric Pashmina


Geometric designs (in appealing colors) that fits an art museum; $10 wholesale offers a great value on a pashmina with nice hand; scarves always fit customer and turn quickly.

I Must Draw at Artisanal LA, P1-4171-04


I Must Draw at Artisanal LA

Cheeky Greeting Cards


Witty, clever and fun (but clean language!) greeting cards; all are blank inside for a range of giving occasions; "friend chips" is vendor's unexpected #1 best seller.

Penless, P1-4155




Cards & stickers with QR code


Cards and stickers with dedicated QR code so gift giver can include a personal photo or video message; hip and tech savvy for younger shoppers; able to make the QR code out of your store logo.

Silk Road Bazaar, P1-1041


Silk Road Bazaar


Felted Character Ornaments


Handmade fair trade ornaments across a range of applicable museum types: founding fathers, musicians, famous artists, authors, historical figures; vendor is MSA member.

Time Concepts at Fine Lines, C1023 & C1024


Time Concepts at Fine Lines


Botanical Pen with Succulent Topper


Fun POS item for botanical garden or Art in Bloom event; faux cactus affixed on real wood barrels.

Tag: The Pavilions Fashion Accessories Gift Holiday & Seasonal Stationery & Paper Artisan & Handmade Made in USA Fair-Trade Industry Expert Tour Winter Market 2018

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