By Callie Weldon, Awamaki Sales Manager

We are always trying to open up new markets to our cooperatives, so this summer, Resource Development Director, Anne Marie Toccket, and I traveled to the west coast this summer for two trade shows, the California Gift Show and the San Francisco International Gift Fair.

The July 18-21, 2014 edition of the California Gift Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center attracted thousands of attendees from throughout the Southern California marketplace, as well as Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and other parts of the Western US. Drawn by the show’s expanded focus on all things ‘new,” these attendees had the chance to explore new resources unique to the California Gift Show, attend educational keynote speakers full of new marketing and sales strategies, and take advantage of a number of new buyer services and show promotions. The San Francisco International Gift Fair, which took place August 2-5, 2014, was held at the Moscone Center North. Buyers from Nothern California were the main audience, although attendees from Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming also walked the show. This show featured a huge Fair Trade Federation Platform where over 100 FTF members displayed their goods.

Awamaki is so excited to have participated as a first time exhibitor in the ‘World Finds’ and ‘Handmade’ sections, alongside over 5,000 vendors from all over the world. The goal for these shows was to expand our geographical market into the West Coast as a recent Fair Trade Federation Member. We presented our new Holiday 2014 collection, which includes new styles of knitwear paired with a brand new color palette as well as a newly redesigned ipad mini case and laptop case. These products will also be featured on our online retail store beginning in October.

Over 15 new retailers from the West Coast will be carrying Awamaki’s products this fall. For more information about our retail partners, please visit www.awamakistore.org. We also want to thank the United States Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues for helping fund our participation in the trade shows.