IN HOUSTON! update…Shoot for the Moon 28

Day One, Thursday: Anxiety

We (Gary, Dee and I ) flew down on Southwest and flight was on time. I was anxious about the fact that my whole booth and all my quilts had been checked into baggage. It was a huge relief to see them roll around in the baggage carousel in tact in Houston.  Once we collected our checked luggage Gary rented a Suburban and went to pick up our pallet of patterns we had shipped to a friend’s  local warehouse. We met at the convention center and decided to set up that night even though we had all day on Friday. We got 90 percent done and had made a list of last minute items.We darted around town to get the last items.

We checked into the Residence Inn. These hotels have a small kitchen, a sitting room with a pull out bed, and a bedroom and one bath. Because of all the huge expenses we could not get two rooms for 11 days. When we checked in they had us in a studio! Yes – it was cozy – three of us in an open room. So Dee took the sleeper and we took the bed. I could not sleep because I was stressed because both Gary and I snore – really loud! I woke up at 4 am and went to the front desk and told them I was here for 11 days and I could not deal with the studio! So at 4am – the clerk found an open one bedroom cancellation with walls! Thank goodness. We moved in the morning and it was much better!

Day Two, Friday: Disaster

This was the day of our presentation to wholesale buyers. There is a event at Market called “Schoolhouse”. It is an opportunity for vendors (me) to present new and unique products in a lecture room that can hold about 100 people.  We paid to participate in this event.

Gary and I decided that we would use a projector and make a presentation. We had gotten interviews and pictures for the past few months in preparation. Gary tested the whole set up in the room one day one – all was A-OK.  The presentation was on day two/Friday at 3:45pm.

I got up on day two and went into the booth around 10 am to finish up the lights and last minute details. I finished around 11 and spent 11-noon walking the show as vendors were setting up. I met Gary at noon to review the presentation. He printed me the presentation outline and we were ready to go. After lunch Dee and I went to the booth and we went over the procedures we would follow for taking orders.  I realized I had left the tape in the room and I called Gary and asked him to bring it when he came.  That was the last moment of calm for the day!

Dee and I went for a quick bite to eat, then Dee went to visit some friends on the floor and I went back to the booth to wait for Gary. Now it is 2:30 and I was getting concerned we would be cutting the time too close to get all the samples and presentation materials to the lecture room. I decided to call Gary and see what was up. Then – disaster number one….NO Phone. I knew I had used it just before lunch in the booth less than 20 minutes earlier. I retraced my steps – nothing. I turned the 10 x 10 booth upside down – nothing. I borrowed someones phone to call and listen for the ring tone – nothing.

Now, it is close to 3:00 and no Gary, no Dee and no Phone. I needed to go up to the third floor and walk totally to the other end of the convention center. THe convention center is HUGE! (3-4 big city blocks) Gary was supposed to come to the booth for the dolly to haul the heavy computer projector – so I did not want to take the dolly.  Freaking out a bit about my phone and the time – I decided to hall up the patterns, two albums, three-four quilts in my arms. I went about a half  city block and – my arms were breaking. With no way to contact anyone – and a load full of stuff- I looked around and grabbed a chair. I loaded the chair with all  my cargo and dragged it across the hall I was in, up two escalators and down to the furtherst possible room in the center. (No exaggeration!) Now it is 3:15-3:20 and still NO ONE IN SIGHT! Now I realize I left the outline for the presentation in the booth along with the extra supply of calling cards. I run back across the whole center, down three flights of escalators – and get the cards – but cannot find the outline – which matches the visual program Gary put together. Now paniced – I borrow a phone from a passer by – and Gary does not answer. I RUN back to the hall – sweaty and out of breath and it is 3:40! No Gary, No Dee, No outline and no phone. The class in seesion let’s out and here comes Gary running down the hall. He left his copy of the script in the hotel room. We had the computer but no way to print it again.  Gary gave Dee a copy on a stick and she went to the inhouse copy center and made a copy.

I speak in front of groups all the time – so I can easily wing it. Gary sets up the projector and turns it on and a horrible loud screeching noise bellows from the back of the room. The sound was fine yesterday when he was alone. Now – no outline and no projector – it is me and a few samples. Then Dee runs in the room with the outline she had gotten reprinted. When I wrote notes I wrote  short bulleted topics. Gary had revised the notes and they were long paragraphs – and I basically froze- I was disoriented. Finally being very flustered I threw the script over my head and said – the heck with the script and the projector – I am just going to tell you in plain english what the program is about. I had two of my great MD customers who were there jump up and start giving live testimony. By the end  of the program everyone was jazzed and interested in my Block of the Month patterns.  It was a terrible presentation – but the points got across.

Being the new kid on the schoolhouse block I got one of the last time slots. Buyers started attending Schoolhouse sessions at 10am. By 4 in the afternoon – they were fried. I only had 16-20 people attend. I left feeling totally spent. I rarely, if ever have bombed like that! Of all the lectures and workshops I have given (over 30 in the past few years) never has anything gone so wrong. Why did it have to happen in Houston? I left the hall and just needed to be alone. I still had to deal with no phone.

I was really doubting my decision to come to Houston. I was doubting my whole line and what I was supposed to be doing. I felt like a jerk.

We went back to the hotel then out to eat. After dinner Dee and I wanted to go to another event called “Sample Spree”. This is a chance for buyers to purchase all of the newest fabrics released in fat quarter bundles. It is a huge event where buyers line up for hours to break through the doors and get samples.  It is something like Black Friday after Thanksgiving at wallmart at 4am!I had heard about the event and being a vendor I was able to enter early. Dee and I cruised around. I was shocked – It was like a big flea market. The prices were not great – and there were weird booths selling jewelry sprinkled in amoung pattern makers and fabric companies.

Dee caught up with a few friends and I was exhausted and disappointed from the day and decided to go back to the hotel. The hotel is about 4-6 blocks from the center. It was  dark but not too late. I started walking and suddenly this creepy guy is walking toward me in the open parking lot I was passing. He asks for money as he is 100 feet away and tells me his daughter is in a car and he is out of gas. I knew he was homeless and a bit nutty so I pretended to take out my phone (mine was lost earlier) and pretended to call police. He started walking faster and finally started jogging toward me. I took off on a fast stride and someone came around the corner and he left.  So what else could go wrong?

I need to post and tell you the rest tomorrow – It is 1am on Tuesday and I need to go to bed! Stay tuned!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sandy
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 00:37:40

    Hi, anxious to hear the rest of the story. Take a deep breath, and relax. I know you will do well. Sandy


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