The Really Big Show

Well we’re back from St. Louis and we managed to survive the show with few problems. Although Steve was bragging on my packing and organizing abilities I did manage to forget my shampoo and the replacement parts to the display. It was a test for both of us to learn to go with the flow.

We left Springfield on Thursday night so we could arrive at 9 a.m. to the gardens for set up. I was really glad we’d planned to leave the night before because it was a busy morning! The first “issue” of the show involved a giant tent pole right in the middle of our space. Steve discussed it with the organizers who told us we would just need to work around it. We did and the display ended up being just fine but it made us a bit crabby for awhile! The other thing we battled was the wind. It was cold and blustery which wouldn’t have been a problem except volunteers were going around opening the sides of the tent which created a wind tunnel. We didn’t have many problems when it came to our display set up, but I know some people with walls were having issues keeping them up. A couple of hours later we had the whole display up, except for the skirt, and decided to take a break for lunch and a little retail therapy. I needed some new foundation, that I could only get at Saks, and I wanted to make a quick run to the Gap. We ate lunch at the food court (I love Subway for lunch), went back to Sally’s for the display skirt and returned to the show to put the final touches on the booth. It looked great and we were ready for showers and a nice dinner out.

Saturday morning started very early with a 4:30 a.m. alarm. The show opened at 7 a.m. and we needed to be there at least an hour early to put out the jewelry. We arrived at 6 and Steve went off to find coffee and a parking space. I thought I’d be ready in plenty of time but one vendor decided to ramp up the crowed with announcements of how many people were waiting to get in so I became a little frantic. My stress was all in vain because I was ready when the crowd arrived. It was non-stop all day! I have never seen so many people at an event. At one point I left the booth for a break and could not walk through the other tents. I did very well the first day and was optimistic day two would give me enough sales to meet my goal. At the end of the day we were dead tired, but still some beer and white chili at Sally’s gave us enough energy to enjoy an evening with her and the family (more on that in another post).

Sunday the weather was warmer and the crowd was a bit slower to form. I didn’t have as many sales and fell a bit short of my goal, but I still think the show was a success. An artist friend of mine gave me some great wisdom when she told me that I had proven to myself that I had what it took to get ready for and attend a large show. Very true. I didn’t think I had it in me but I did. Of course, I had a lot of help. My studio assistant Stacey was amazing and I could not have done the show without Steve. He loaded the car, helped organize the display, lugged all my crap around, put up the display, listened to me bitch, got up at the wee hours of the morning, worked all day with me, tore down the display and drove home late on Sunday night. What a guy. I’m really lucky to have him.

Will I do it again? I don’t know. I have to be invited back, for starters, and I’d have to see what my situation is next year. I made contact with three potential retail outlets so I think the show will be well worth my time. I also pushed myself to create a lot of stock and do a show that’s out of my comfort zone. The potential for future sales just from the contacts I made at this show is amazing. I gave out hundreds of business cards! Right now I’m just glad we had few mishaps and a safe trip. I’m going to spend this week getting organized and relaxing but it’s back to the bench soon. Christmas is just around the corner!

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