HOUSTON … continued.

First Day of Market

Having gone to my very first market in Pittsburgh in the Spring I anticipated that the first day would be lookers, the second buyers and the third day was a few shops wrapping up orders and then personal networking.  We were pleasantly surprised that the first day was quite busy. We wrote a good amount of orders. We had people ordering who saw me at Pittsburgh. I had return customers and I had a few people from the school house presentation. It was a great day!

Second Day of Market

We had a steady stream of buyers throughout the day and again more buyers from school house. Now I was thinking – hey , maybe the melt down in school house created such sympathy that they felt connected and placed orders. We  spurts of sales all day. Overall we took more orders than day one. The Block of the Month Programs were flying out of the booth.

Last Day of Market

We had a flurry of early buyers placing orders and a lull in the middle of the day. We finished strong with several exhibitors who also owned shops placing orders. It was a great market.

During the slower times I was networking. I met a great lady from an established batik company and we have made plans to work together. She will supply all the batiks I need from her line and I will use them in my samples. In turn I will promote her fabrics – which are luscious and she will return the favor by having her reps show my patterns.

Across the aisle from our booth was a nice thread company called Wonderfil. WE will do the same thing. They expressed interest in using my florals to make samples of all of their thread lines and in turn the would supply me with threads.

Last, I am talking to a well known fabric company about printing my StateStamp TM Panels. Last market I was approached by a few of the big fabric companies and got all excited and they turned into nothing. This time I am taking every overture with a grain of salt. Last night I got a follow up email from that fabric company. That was great. So I will proceed with caution and tempered enthusiasm.

Last night I also got an email from Lark Publishing that they will be publishing a book in Spring called 500 Art quilts. I must have submitted digital images – I do not even remember doing it – but my “Batter” will be in that book. That was a real pleasant bit of news.

So market was done. It was a ton of work and Gary and I considered it a success.

Down Day One

Yesterday (Oct13-Tuesday) was a down day. The two days between market and festival are for market vendors to leave and festival vendors to set up. As I was staying for both events I was able to leave my booth up and have a day off. I dropped by yesterday and tried to scope out the best methods to accomodate the general public. I almost fainted when I heard from several vendors that the attendance for market is between 50-65 THOUSAND PEOPLE! THOUSAND – 50 – 65 thousand! OMG! It was a pure guessing game as what to bring. I had never been to market. I tried to pack 100 of each stamp and 3-4 dozen of most of the others. Having 88 different patterns adds up to a whole lot of boxes of patterns in a small 10 x 10 booth. What I learned it most of the fabric companies and batting companies and the like leave. The pattern companies stay and expand to a 10 x 20 or even 10 x 30 foot booth! Live and learn! It should be interesting to see how many patterns we can move in that small amount of space.

My Best friend from Childhood

This is an amazing side story. A few months ago my kids got me onto Facebook. I do not use it for chatting. My oldest son said many people use it to promote their businesses. So I joined the modern world and got a Facebook account. Slowly all these people who I went to high school with started contacting me. One of the contacts was my childhood friend – Peggy. Peggy and I lived 4-5 houses apart. We played together just about every day. She sent me an email through Facebook. It was very cool. I wrote her back and low and behold she lives in Houston! We made plans to meet for lunch on my down day. That was yesterday.

I was a bit nervous. It had been 30 years since we had seen or communicated. We met and went for coffee. Five hours later at the coffee shop we had summarized our lives. We talked about the “mean girls” who terrorized our lives. We talked about the crazy milkshakes we made with my mom’s new blender. We would mix ice cream, milk and any leftovers in the frig. We remembered mashed potatoes, jelly and even a dash of mustard sounded good then! LOL  We also remembered cleaning my mother’s bathroom spick and span in order to get on our mother’s good side so we could sleep over night together. Neither of us could forget endlessly playing Barbie’s and Dawn dolls. I told Peggy I was oh so jealous of her Dawn Doll couch. She had an awesome Dawn doll couch that I just loved. We had a ball and Peggy is going to be helping me at Festival Wed and Thursday.

A New Friend from Business

Gary had a wonderful long time dear friend who just passed from cancer. As it turns out his wife is a big time quilter. Gary was quite involved in his friends last few months and became closer than ever to Sandy his friend’s wife. Sandy knew of me, and me her, over the years through Gary but we had never met. Gary invited Sandy to come and meet us in Houston and even work the booth if she would like. So we met on day one of market. It was instant bonding. We decided she was my long lost sister. I really find these two stories of Peggy and Sandy some of the best things that have happened this week. What a blessing. I see that I have an old reconnection and a new friend for life. Life can be wonderful!

New Artist friends

I have met several artists here trying to make it in this business just like me. We have spent a lot of time sharing and networking.

Was it worth it?

Was all the work worth the trip to market? Yes. But It does not erase how much went into getting here and how much work is to be done when I return. I will have some pile of work when I get home. I hope we can sell a good portion of the patterns we brought and take orders on items we might sell out of. But I am very tired. Still ticking – like a good Timex watch – but tired.

The Quilts in the quilt exhibition

OMG! I was blown away! I have NEVER seen so many off the charts quilts in one place in my life! The venue is all black and dimly lit with spotlights on every beautiful quilt. It is dramatic and creates an aura of refined art. I walked away inspired and in awe. It was amazing to see how many gifted artists are in the world. The energy that these quilts emitted was powerful.

What’s next?

Today is Quilt Festival Sneak Preview. This is when all class participants get to see all the vendors and see the quilts before the Black Friday Rush of 50 THOUSAND people the next morning at 10 am. We have a bit of work to do to figure out a plan to have access to all the inventory. We open festival at 5pm tomorrow night. Stay tuned to see what happens!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Edwina (Serendipity)
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 11:53:11

    Debra, so happy for you. Take a deep breath and enjoy this time of your life. Edwina


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