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A Day At IDEX
Looking for excitement? Attending the IDEX show is a great experience for dealers and collectors alike.

Christmas is over. Collectors have packed away their ornaments and the dolls and bears they've (hopefully!) received for Christmas. Dealers have finished the flurry of the Christmas Shopping season, and their shops (hopefully!) look barren, empty and picked-over. Doll and bear collectors and dealers alike feel a sort-of malaise.

The GOOD news is that there is a cure for post-holiday collecting malaise. The cure is the yearly IDEX trade show in Orlando, Florida! Held every year in mid to late January, the IDEX show is the first look at all the new limited edition and one-of-a-kind dolls, bears and plush for 2003.

For the first day of IDEX (Friday) dealers may attend IDEX and commence writing their wholesale orders for for the following year. Starting Saturday at noon the doors are also open to collectors! Collectors can attend special collector events and lectures, and also see first-hand all the new dolls and bears for the year. There are seminars geared for dealers on Thursday prior to IDEX and on Friday. AND...the highly anticipated DOTY and TOBY Award Nominees for 2003 are announced on Saturday morning. Also at IDEX, there are dealers that sell to collectors in a separate room as well as special event dolls and bears.

If you've never been at a trade show, you might be wondering what IDEX is like. Its busy, thrilling, frustrating (because there's so much to look at, you'll want to be in 20 places at once) full of camaraderie, beauty and fun! And....its the perfect trade show for non-dealers, because no matter what you do, you can't get into Toy Fair unless you're a dealer or part of the media. So, lets take an in-depth look at a day at IDEX. For our "Day at IDEX," we'll look at Saturday, a day when both dealers and collectors can attend this year.

A Day At IDEX

Saturday morning at IDEX is very exciting. On Saturday morning, DOLLS magazine announces the DOLLS Diamonds Awards of Excellence and the Golden Teddy Bear Nominees. During the prior two days, judges (retailers and others in the doll industry) have spent hours pouring over all the candidates for the awards. The announcements are eagerly anticipated, and often award winners are present and thrilled to hear they have won! Statues are given out to the award winners and are then placed with any winning dolls that are in the exhibit hall, so that collectors can see many of the award winners at the IDEX show that afternoon.

After the breakfast, the exhibit hall opens. Saturday morning is still trade-only time. During the trade-only time, retailers visit doll and bear artists and manufacturers and write many of their wholesale orders for the year. For many retailers who do not attend Toy Fair, this is their main buying event of the season, and often their only chance to see the new dolls and bears in person. In fact, many of the one-of-a-kind and small limited edition dolls and bears shown at IDEX sell out and won't even be available for Toy Fair. Also during the morning (and all day on Friday, as well) free seminars are hosted for retailers and other trade attendees. For a full schedule of events and speakers, please visit www.dollandbearexpo.com.

At 12pm the exhibit hall opens to collectors! When collectors enter the IDEX show for the first time each year, the excitement is palpable! This is the first chance for collectors to see the new dolls and bears offered by their favorite artists and companies. There are many oohs and ahs, and you see collectors with their heads swiveling in multiple directions all at once--they don't know where to look first! Also for the collectors, there are special events held where they can meet doll artists and representatives of their favorite doll companies. Seminars are also given about collecting. At many of the events, special limited edition dolls are given to attendees. Some of the events are free to all IDEX attendees, others require a fee. Events at past years have included a "Sunrise Surprise" breakfast with the Robert Tonner Company, a luncheon with Hildegard Gunzel, and a Vogue Doll Company Tea.

The IDEX exhibit hall itself has color, light and art everywhere you look--its a virtual playground for collectors! Large companies set up impressive booths featuring their latest dolls and bears. The dolls and bears are beautifully presented, with perfect lighting, fabrics and accessories complimenting the dolls and bears. There is also an area where individual artists present their dolls--their booths may be smaller, but their presentations are no less beautiful. Everywhere you look, there are new dolls and bears to see and new companies and artists to discover. Many of the artists attend the show, giving collectors a chance to meet them personally. Plus, there is the opportunity to win door prizes and receive free magazines and other doll literature.

Its smart to prepare well for your trip to IDEX. The IDEX day can be long, and you might actually find yourself walking several miles in a day as you go back and forth in the exhibit halls. So, wear comfortable shoes. Its also wise to have a small bag to put catalogs and order information if you are a dealer. If you're a collector, don't forget a pen and paper so you jot down dolls that you are interested in, so you can tell your dealer when you get back home what you would like to pre-order for the year. You don't have to worry about bringing lunch or going out for a lunch, however--a wide selection of food is served right where IDEX is held.

Finally, if all that isn't enough, IDEX is held in Orland, Florida, where there is a huge variety of amusements for tourists including Disney World, Universal Studios and much more. Plus, the fantastic Florida weather which is a special treat for collectors and dealers from colder regions of the United States.

For the full schedule of IDEX collector events, and detailed information on how attending IDEX, information on how to register, plus hotel information, trade events and more, don't miss the official  IDEX web site.

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Denise Van Patten--your Guide to Dolls
Article, Graphics Copyright © 2001 Denise Van Patten

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