January 25, 2010
KTAI 2010

Susan and I have just returned from the Kite Trade Convention in Primm Nevada (just outside of Las Vegas). This is the annual gathering where manufacturers and distributors present products to wholesale buyers and store owners.

Our space there tried to focus on the basics -- entry level kites and add-on accessories designed for mainstream kite stores. We're proud of our quality, and have worked hard to keep prices slightly lower than the competition. And we offer field-tested innovations, like sewing delta spars in place so they don't ride-up into the nose and leave the kite with 'floppy tips'.

GKPI Booth

It was a positive, upbeat show -- thanks largely to the cheerful and optimistic efforts of President Elaine Leitner, and the hard work of organizer Maggie Vohs.

There were slightly more booths this year. Forty-five spaces were purchased by twenty-five firms. And there were slightly more buyers too. Thirty-five stores pre-registered for the trade-only show.

Premier International Connections Flying Wings

Major spaces were filled by New Tech, HQ, Premier, Prism, Revolution, Flying Wings, In the Breeze, Into the Wind, SkyDogs, and GKPI.

Other exhibitors offering related products were William Mark (flying toys), Goodwinds (rods and fittings), International Connections (toys), Liston Concepts (juggling), Magnum Enterprises (rubberband guns), Windspeed Pro (buggies), South Bay Sportswear (clothing) Prismatix (signs), KiteLife (web development and online magazine), AKA (our kite association), Trubite (nail files), ArrowCopter (flying toys), X-Concepts (flying toys), and Cohasset Imports (windchimes).

Goodwinds Revolution Into the Wind

Each year, members at the convention vote for industry awards in several categories. For 2010, the winners were:
Retailer of the Year: Into the Wind
  • Manufacturer of the Year: Skydog Kites
  • Best New Kite: Flip Kite - Prism
    • Best Retail Promotion: Cobra Kites Web Page
    • Best Wholesale Promotion: IQuad - Revolution
    • Best New Product: Baby Bugs - In the Breeze
  • The Checkley Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Trade: Erv Crosby - Four Winds Kites
  • Prism SkyDogs In the Breeze

    KTA presently enjoys about 100 members, 60% of which are retailers. That's an interesting contrast to the 130 Member Merchants that belong to the AKA. With annual dues at $100, why would any serious store not belong to the trade group??

    HQ Great Winds AKA

    At the same time, you have to compare KTA in Primm to the same convention held there 10 years ago.The number of buyers is down. The number of sellers is down. Booths are consolidated, orders are smaller, and innovation or snappy new products less frequent. The industry is struggling. Folks are understadably bring conservativbe in their buying and in their production. GKPI sure is! But the good news is that the sellers and buyers remaining are smart, hard working, and well organized.

    What does this mean for you? If you want to support an industry that helps sustain our kite community, then spend your kite dollars with a KTA member manufacturer or retailer.

    We're back in the office this week making big boxes into little ones and sending them to far-flung corners of our kite world. Orders leave Monday for the Caribbean, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Australia. You should see the paperwork! And of course, there are plenty of North American orders too! Thanks everyone for your support and friendship! 2010 is off to a great start!

    A year ago we opened the Show Kite Forum. Our goal was to create a place for discussion and information sharing about all things related to flying large kites.

    Unfortunately, we got bogged down. The first issue was our request that people register with real names. That met some resistance. Then we received requests from several designers that we not post photos when people made versions of their kites. And finally, we found the Forum was constantly being assaulted by online spammers who wanted to post junk ads and corrupted the software.

    Bottom line, we were never able to get the Forum to the place we wanted it to be.

    So after a year-long experiment, we've decided to take the Forum off-line and use the space for other things. We sincerely appreciate your participation and we'll keep looking for new ways to build and support the community.

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