AHA - after breakfast with the group yesterday, I figured out the internet and well here I am - able to post.
I haven't traveled on business in a long long time and I forget the paperwork shuffle. I don't want to be carting everything with me every day so I have to go through what I brought to see what is needed for that day.
We had a meeting yesterday morning where I got to meet all the sales reps. Interesting meeting - brings back loads of memories of past trips. Different product, same process!!
Then it was off to the Convention Center (which I can see from my hotel window - did I say that yesterday? Probably). Everything was exactly where we left it - no set up faeries came in the night to hang quilts. Drat!!!!! We did spend the first part of the morning getting school house organized. Our time slot was 12:10. Then we loaded up the quilts and we were off. Now if you have never been to this convention center before, you have no idea how vast it is. Seriously - the walk from our booth to the school house area is a hike! And up two floors. The place is gigantic. So many places are familiar as I remember from 1999.
Schoolhouse presentation went very well. A good crowd for us and I let Patti do all the talking. Just better that way rather than splitting the speakers. We only have 1/2 hour and no time to waste switching out.
Then we trundled back to the booth with all our quilts. More stuff needed to be set up - we have signs along the top of our booth, squares of fabric that are hung, then drapes and at last the quilts. A very slick system for hanging the quilts which is amazing. Too bad it can't be used by guilds to hang quilts, but there is a cost involved and I'm sure it isn't cheap.
Since I had a badge to attend other school house sessions, I checked the schedule and picked two that were back to back. No way was I running up and down from the booth to schoolhouse twice!!
The first one I attended was about selling to the younger crowd, although many of the tips were applicable to just any customer. There are a number of stores that I know that could have learned from that presentation. Although I do have to say that it was a slide show and the lights were dimmed and OH CRAP - I think I closed my eyes once or twice! But it was dark and since I didn't fall off my chair - no one noticed!
These school house sessions run ON TIME. So we were out the door and on the way to the next one which for me was ROW by ROW. Yep - I wanted to see the new fabric. We got a commemorative license plate. YEAH!!!!!! There was Debra and Janet and a HUGE room for this School House session. I think they had 500 license plates. Not sure that all were given out, but it was a big crowd. There were two sessions back to back - the first was the presentation of the new fabric. Very cute with houses on it - an all over print with houses, a border print with houses, a map (more cutesy than last year - it was hard to see that one), license plates but side by side with some of the cute sayings from last year. Those were the four main ones. There were smaller ones that said "row by row" I think - I can't remember what was written on it - but tone on tone words - my favourite!!!!! The main prints have an eye spy component to them. There are little hidden objects all through the fabric. I didn't get a chance to see it up close - again - we are NOT looking at real fabric, but just art work. Try to get pictures today is possible, but I would bet that it is going to be posted on Row by Row or Timeless Treasures web site.
This fabric is produced as SOUVENIR fabric and all the PARTICIPATING fabric companies then produce a shade card for people to make their rows from, although you could include the souvenir fabric in your row. From the crowd and the response in the room - there were many many happy shop owners because of row by row. The second half of the presentation was WHY is this so popular and while I should have stayed -- I needed to get back to the booth. My guess is the souvenir aspect of it, the map (without the map- row by row would be nothing) and the novelty. But it will not last - it is a fad and I predict three more years and it will drop off. Many people went crazy last year as we all know, but they can't afford to continue. Row by row costs the consumer LOADS of money which is what the fabric companies and the quilt stores want, but well - I don't want to be the naysayer - I just think it won't go on forever.
Back to the booth to finish hanging up quilts and then I think by 7:30 PM we were out of there. So think twice before you say you want to be in my shoes. It is very physical, tough work to set up the booth. Up ladders, moving stuff around and just constantly being busy - it's hard work.
However today is the first day of Market. This is the exciting stuff. While I have about 6 meetings with various people, I also get to walk the floor. Now I am not really shopping. This isn't the place for individuals to shop - that comes later and I think I better send my credit card home with the crates!!!! Nope - this is the business part - meeting with potential designers, getting ideas for stuff and inspiration. Oh yes - the eye candy - well it would blow your socks off to say the least. I saw the cutest buttons - bike buttons obviously. Cute teeny embroidery designs - oh my!
We sat in the lobby bar and had dinner and watched the Blue Jays game, although I had my back to the TV - I couldn't watch!
Today is going to be exciting - I have been taking pictures and posting them on Facebook. Will try to do a few more today but we have to be very careful. Photography is a serious thing here. Appropriate credits must be given or I think I'm out! I"ll see what I can do.
Oh yes - so we are staying in the Westin which is a very nice hotel. Nice big bathroom with the toilet in a seperate little space - no door to the little room, but it is tucked in beside the tub. With a VERY BRIGHT light over the throne. I guess that is for all the men folk who spend hours in there reading!!!! I got a chuckle out of that.
On that note - I am out of here to get ready and pop over to the convention center for 7:30 AM. Taking a short class before Market opens this morning and I forgot to get the room number so got to check that out before I can get to the class. Yep - I'm wearing my running shoes.
Forgot to mention that there are "famous" quilters all over the place. Saw Marti Michell yesterday - I know Alex Anderson is here - just haven't seen her yet. And I've seen many booths I recognize, but not necessarily recognize the quilter's face. I'll see what I can do to meet them all!
Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!