The Kids Are All Right

Rebecca Rosen Mercado (left), the Buyers Market’s new show director, should already know a thing or two about how things work. The daughter of Wendy Rosen (right), she practically grew up on the show floor. Credit: Jim Burger

For centuries, master craftsmen have passed down skills and secrets to their children, creating family dynasties of artisans. The Wedgwood family managed its English china empire for more than 200 years. In feudal Japan, the Miochin family forged elaborate swords, armor and decorative ironwork from 1154 to 1756. And the Marinelli family of Agnore, Italy, has crafted bells since at least 1339.

More than a few family dynasties have grown up around the Buyers Market, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Parents who have exhibited for decades are now watching their children participate in the show. Sometimes the kids are helping run the business, designing and creating crafts to market under the family banner, and sometimes they’re exhibiting with companies of their own. Sometimes they’re working alongside their parents, and sometimes the older artists have retired, leaving the next generation in charge.

Emblematic of this phenomenon within the Buyers Market is the recent appointment of its new show director, Rebecca Rosen Mercado. Mercado should already know a thing or two about the BMAC—after all, she is the daughter of Wendy Rosen, who founded the Buyers Market 30 years ago.
“I have literally grown up with this company,” Mercado says. Indeed, archival photographs show a school-aged Rebecca wandering the show floor, modeling handmade puppets and dancing at show parties. At age 14, she started her first job at The Rosen Group, working at data entry.

In 2009, after working in the publishing industry, Mercado returned to the company, becoming the Buyers Market’s jewelry manager. In that capacity, she helped develop the Green Exhibitor program, which highlights vendors who meet criteria for sustainability, and pioneered the newest Rosen Group venture, NICHE: The Show, held annually during Las Vegas’ Jewelry Week.

To read more about the next generation of the Buyers Market of American Craft, pick up a copy of the Winter 2012 NICHE Magazine.

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