To Market and back again – what a blast it was! This was my first time there and I’m really looking forward to going again. Our industry really shows itself off well in such a venue, and there were so very many pretty things to look at (this image is an iPhone Pano shot that covers less than half the floor).
A few quick thoughts…
If ever there was a place that required comfy shoes, this is it. And to the booths that had wonderful, soft, padded floors – my feet adored you!
The vibe was different from a “vendor mall” show… lots of business to discuss, appointments to keep, etc. Not the crushing crowds either. It was quieter and more intense.
No one warned me to pack an empty suitcase – the brochures, samples, stuff and swag available is quite overwhelming. I ended up just barely at weight on my checked bag, and hauling a bunch of heavy books into carry-on (and more stuff in my pal’s bag…) And I wasn’t really working hard at the swag.
Stuff is big in Texas, and the Houston George R Brown Convention Center wears it proudly. Twenty-four aisles of industry goodies and half the space again in quilt exhibitions. Almost too big to comprehend. I managed to walk about half the floor each day.
Volunteering to work for Kim at TrueUp.Net was a smart thing to do because not only did I meet her and the rest of the cool team, it gave me the opportunity to meet so many new folks – which translated into opportunities to introduce myself and what I do – I gave out handfuls of business cards and Sassy Buttons.
Swag… I had no idea how much swag was available to collect. If you want to be a swag hound and know how to work it, you can hit all the schoolhouse sessions and free book signings and such and bury yourself in a mountain of cool stuff. And then there are the product samples, brochures, pins, magazines… I barely had the swag thing figured out and managed to come home with five new books.
Because the shopping is all at the wholesale level, there’s not a lot of general shopping to be done until the last day. On the last day, anyone not staying for the Festival (retail show) sells off the stuff they don’t want to pack, and I found myself a little drunk on finally being able to BUY FABRIC. Half a suitcase full of it! I came home with several towers of Kaufman solid FQs and a squeal-worthy pile of 1/2 yard Echino cuts.
Quilt people are KIND folks. Every single person I met was enthusiastic and in good humor – and there was a noticeably higher level of sweet humanity evident in all the instances where people are often tense and tired at this sort of thing.
And so – to share some swag… please leave a (not-anonymous) comment here to win a 21 piece Jelly Roll of Riley Blake’s Puppy Park – I will draw a random winner on Tuesday morning :-)