Get Discovered! Your New MSA Marketplace
David Graveen, Popcorn Custom Products
In 2015, the MSA Conference and Expo was held in Popcorn’s hometown, Hartford, CT and some will remember the welcoming crew that included Giant Monkey Puppets and a live performance by Betty Bloomers, the Coney Island Sword Swallower at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art! Our creative team was going for Wow! -- so we “Bet the House” on MSA Hartford 2015. We had to raise the bar to get noticed at a conference packed with creatives on both sides of the expo aisles. And we accomplished our goal! Lots of good vibes, lots of orders, and lots of stage-setting for the future. This began five more years of “Leaning In” to MSA, wherever and whenever possible. We believed then and continue to believe that “As goes MSA, so goes Popcorn.”
When COVID cancelled the MSA Conference in Cleveland, we felt lost -- and wondered not only how Popcorn could pivot and survive, but also how could we stay connected and future-focused within the MSA ecosystem.
Kudos and thanks to the indefatigable MSA Board(s) for providing an answer to our worries! Their collective intelligence, their grit, and their institutional memory put into play a Strategic Plan that didn’t rely on “Giant Monkeys” or “Sword Swallowers”; their plan focused on Membership Value. The New MSA Marketplace demonstrates the MSA Board’s understanding of a Vendor Member’s needs—even in these hard times. Now MSA members can connect and do business in our digital age, at any time, in any place.
The MSA Marketplace is your Passport to over 600 museum stores without having to build a giant monkey puppet or swallow a sword to get noticed. Simply add your rich content and tags to the MSA Marketplace and you will be “Discovered.” There was lots of excitement at the Virtual “Ribbon Cutting” of the MSA Marketplace powered by Brandwise. Their Association Platform has been market-tested and is available to any Vendor Member. Big thanks to Ari Lowenstein and Todd Litzman for “Leaning In” to MSA at the right time—they and their team are available to help, but please be patient! It was thrilling to watch Ari open the doors to the MSA Marketplace and add Museum Buyers to the marketplace as we watched. I was amazed to learn that Buyers were able to search over 40,000 skus that day! This huge and ever-growing assortment shook me up because, at launch, Popcorn had only a dozen skus on our Passport—we have a lot of catching up to do!
Popcorn received one MSA Marketplace order the first day but not many more…I think that is easy to explain: COVID and not enough Popcorn merchandise. Content is both King and Queen on the MSA Marketplace! Upload, Upload, Upload…and Patience, Patience, Patience! Popcorn is committing a lot of our scarce resources to this platform in the coming months because we know the MSA Marketplace will be well-used and will soon be a member’s go-to source for innovative merchandise for cultural commerce.
MSA’s Mission “Connect, Learn, Do Business” matches our needs in this pivotal moment and the MSA Board continues to lead -- and Popcorn is following. I can’t wait to discover what the MSA Marketplace can do for our business!
David Graveen is the managing partner of Popcorn, a specialty design and manufacturing company dedicated to the nonprofit and specialty retail marketplaces. In the past year, Popcorn partnered with fellow MSA vendor Original Source to form the “Single Source” Brand, delivering an unprecedented range of services, products and best pricing to the museum store community. Over the past 17 years, David “Popcorn” has served on the MSA Board of Directors as a Vendor Advisor, he has championed LARGE group photos at chapter meetings and led several education sessions at the annual conference. David has served on the Museum Store Sunday Committee from its inception and is proud to be a founding sponsor.