International Market Centers announced today it has entered into an agreement to purchase Shoppe Object for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition includes the New York–based home and lifestyle trade show—which wraps its three-day February run today and is often billed as a more curated, intimate alternative to its larger corporate counterparts—and its Shoppe Online B2B e-commerce platform of Shoppe Object.
Following the acquisition, Shoppe Object co-founder Jesse James will join IMC as vice president and show director, reporting to executive vice president, chief customer and marketing officer Dorothy Belshaw, while fellow co-founders Deirdre Maloney and Minya Quirk will stay on in a consulting capacity. According to a release, the rest of Shoppe Object’s existing sales, marketing and management team will also stay on under James’s direction; IMC plans to maintain the show’s autonomy while supporting the expansion of its semiannual New York show, in addition to exploring regional extensions in IMC venues across the country and in other major cities.
“This partnership makes strategic sense because IMC recognizes the significant value in Shoppe Object’s core origins,” said James in a statement announcing the acquisition. “Shoppe Object embodies a community spirit and was born out of a need for change. IMC appreciates Shoppe Object for that, and is committed to maintaining our brand integrity, disciplined curation and forward vision.”
Shoppe Object was launched in 2018 by James, founder of creative consultancy and sales agency Aesthetic Movement, alongside Maloney and Quirk, co-founders of Capsule, an international fashion trade show for independent ready-to-wear labels, with the goal of creating a semiannual show built around a sense of shared community among boutique and independent exhibitors. The idea was an instant success—after kicking off with 100 home and lifestyle brands at its inaugural event, it quickly grew to its current mix of more than 500 design brands and makers. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Shoppe Object fast-tracked and enhanced the debut of online marketplace Shoppe Online, which allowed buyers to shop exhibitors year-round and keep track of vendors they visited during the fair’s physical markets held in New York each February and August.
As the world’s largest showroom operator for the furniture, gift, decor, rug and apparel industries, IMC’s domain inludes hosting biannual wholesale market events in Atlanta and Las Vegas, and it is the largest owner and operator of showroom buildings at High Point Market. From IMC’s perspective, the acquisition of Shoppe Object falls in line with the company’s recent efforts to place a larger emphasis on curated content and values-based commerce—a strategy that has seen IMC focus on brands with socially-conscious missions, as evidenced most recently in last month’s purchase of Dough, an e-commerce platform supporting women-owned companies. Part of James’s new role will include working alongside Dough founder Vanessa Bruce, now IMC’s new vice president of social impact, to promote diversity, equity and inclusion among buyers and sellers at IMC’s physical markets and on the newly launched JuniperMarket B2B e-commerce platform.
“Jesse has been a long-time customer and partner of IMC and we’re excited to welcome his discerning eye and cultural ethos to our team as we explore the impact opportunities of our markets,” said IMC CEO Bob Maricich in a statement.
Homepage image: Shoppe Object 2018 | Courtesy of Shoppe Object