Industry News

¡Viva Las Vegas! At MacPherson’s Dealer Workshop

We returned to Vegas this year for a Dealer Workshop that was bigger and better than ever before! Tradeshows are sometimes referred to as marathons—but this Dealer Workshop was a healthy sprint from start to finish, a sprint that actually left people rejuvenated and ready for more. One retailer messaged us shortly after, “I’m pretty re-energized coming back from the show, which is a wonderful halo effect!” A first-time vendor said, “The format is great, we felt it was well balanced and organized. I look forward to participating again next year!”


The team from Art Supply Depō in the Bob Ross Booth, a first time vendor at Dealer Workshop!

 With the goal of improving the DWS experience for everyone involved, we:

  • Added 10 extra booths totaling 40 vendor partners ready to engage with fresh hands-on experiences and demos, supported by amazing brand ambassador artists 
  • Introduced our new and expanded Children’s and Gift Categories
  • Introduced 3 new vendors: Micador, Hahnemuhle and Uni
  • Launched our first ever Art Dog Live!, an educational series or panels featuring industry leaders and various topics; this year included best in-store event practices, social media strategies
  • Welcomed 4 new vendor partners to DWS vendors and six vendors who had not yet experienced our new DWS format
  • Had 87 stores attend from all over North America for a total of over 330 attendees
  • Celebrated and connected during fun-filled evening events giving everyone a chance to catch up, meet for the first time and chat about the day’s events.


Dave Schofield’s opening remarks on day one, kicking off Workshop and welcoming attendees!

Focus on Connection

Last year, we made a big push for more hands-on experiences with creative materials. This year, we continued with that strong hands-on approach, infused with a focus on connection. Our objective: facilitate an event where introductions, product education, demos, panels, ordering, networking and strategizing could all function in concert, between all parties. 

We were pleased to see that our focus on connection became a reality! The constant chatter from the show floor, the buzz of excitement and crowd of people flowing through the Children’s and Gift booth, the engaged audience raising their hands with questions and input for our panelists, the razor sharp focus of retailers, guided by an art expert learning how to engage consumers with their products. Not to mention the evening events, which included several toasts, reconnections, new friendships and a fierce game of foosball.

We are confident this year’s Dealer Workshop impacted our community, and how we will be building on this experience for next year!


Luke from Endeavors, Cassie from MacPherson’s, Rachel from the Duck Store and Howard from Binders at an In-Store Event Best Practices panel.

Art Dog Live! Education Series

With the growing readership of our Art Dog blog, we wanted to inspire engagement in real time. Enter Art Dog Live!—two retailer panels about social media strategies and best practices for successful annual events. As the morning went on, more and more people poured in. Not only were audience members taking notes, when it came time for the Q&A they were waiting with hands raised for the microphone! The conversations sparked from the varied perspectives of the panelists as well as retailers in the audience were inspiring. 

“I really appreciate being included as I’m not a ‘mainstream art store’ and sometimes college bookstores are forgotten about! It was really nice to get to know the other panelists.” Rachel DeWitt, The Duck Store

“We got quite a few comments and folks who wanted to chat with us throughout the week, so that was great. I really enjoyed the “peer experience” aspect of all the Art Dog Live! Panels; having opportunities for retailers to talk to one another about cool things they are doing well and learn from each other is always good.” Chris Nolt, Wet Paint

Special thanks to Chris and Kristina with Wet Paint (St. Paul, MN), Howard with Binder’s Art Supplies & Frames (Atlanta, GA), Rachel with The Duck Store (Eugene, OR) and Luke with Endeavor’s Art (B.C., Canada) for sharing your expertise. We will most certainly be doing Art Dog Live! next year.

Some of our fantastic merchandising team: Jeanine Davids, Cathy Denny, Lacey Elia and Lisa Allgeier

Children’s & Gift Launch

Our Category Management team launched the new Children’s and Gift category with an amazing booth experience that was chock full of on-trend, traditional and impulse, children’s and gift items, all aimed at the creative child and artist. Cathy Denny and her team also hosted an Art Dog Live! Panel detailing the “Why” behind the expansion and curation of our new Children’s and Gift collections. 


Some notable feedback from retailers as they walked customers through the booth.

Thanks to everyone who put in their pre-book orders by July 18th!  Our Children’s and Gift collections are LIVE on MacPhersonArt.com. Stock will arrive in September—just in time for the Holidays! Stay tuned for children’s and gift product updates on MacPhersonart.com.  Also, be on the lookout for Children’s & Gifts related content on Art Dog to support our community as retailers add to existing children’s sections, start from scratch, expand gift offerings and tune into the trends our team has identified.


Anna and Hilary from Art Coop during Don Colley’s demo with Faber Castell

Not Your Ordinary Demo

For Dealer Workshop, we wanted the demos to go above and beyond. And our vendor partners truly went the extra mile, featuring new products, mixed media techniques and step-by-step processes that customers were excited to take home and turn into classes, demos and workshops. Well-attended and varied, the demos at DWS were packed with tips, techniques and generous samples for retailers to take home and expound upon.


Some highlights:

  • Golden’s demo showcasing the wonderful variety you can see from an elegantly simple printmaking project
  • Winsor & Newton filling us in on the rich history of their new single-pigment colors
  • Speedball demonstrating how seamless a screen-printing demo can be
  • Chartpak’s special DWS paper sampler cleared up any questions
  • Legion Paper’s in-depth exploration of their new Aqua Black watercolor paper utilized a handful of different mediums and antiques
  • Customizing shimmering tote bags from DecoArt cheered us on (Don’t Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle!)
  • Detailed hand-lettering instructions from Jeshy Park gave us all a Vegas sunset to take home
  • Discovering STABILO’s Woody 3 in 1 isn’t just for kids with lettering artist Emilee Rudd
  • Artist Don Colley’s intriguing mixed media approaches (and his spontaneous sketches of attendees throughout the event!)

These hands-on, forty minute experiences, in combination with the generous goodie bags provided, inspired retailers to head home and perfect their techniques, train staff and kick-off the activity with their own customers! Special thanks to participating vendors Golden, Faber-Castell, Winsor & Newton, Legion Paper, DecoArt, Fila Group, Chartpak, Speedball and Stabilo for the time, energy and effort your teams invested into the demos. Our retailers were so appreciative!


George Bethurem from MacPherson’s sees how something is thiiiiiiiis big, with David Eiland from Just for Fun in San Francisco

Brand Conversations & Business Objectives

In addition to hands-on experiences, demos and panels, we made an intentional shift this year to emphasize brand conversations and ordering. We allocated time for vendors to connect directly with our team and our customers, to both educate, inform and have strategic conversations to support store assortments and growth. We also designated a comfortable space for retailers to take advantage of DWS promos in real time and review ordering strategies with the assistance of their specific account manager.

Ophelia Staton, the artist from the Derwent booth, demonstrates InkTense to a few happy students

Join Us For An Incredible 2020 Experience!

Thank you to everyone who made Dealer Workshop a success: the energy you bring to the table and the passion you have for the arts is what makes this industry so special. Next year we are excited to take what we learned from this year and make Dealer Workshop even better. In addition to a firm commitment to hands-on experience, top notch product education and deep dives into new products, we will be expanding the Art Dog Live! Panels to ensure more people can engage in the conversation. Potential topics of discussion? The ins and outs of educational programs, gallery spaces and out of the box collaborations, social media strategies and more. Do you have feedback for us from Workshop? We want to hear about your experience. Let your account manager know or email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonsofficial.com.


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