SURTEX, before and after…

It’s all I had been talking about.  “I’m getting ready for SURTEX”, “I’ll do that after SURTEX”, “When I go to SURTEX, this could happen”.  SURTEX, SURTEX, SURTEX!  MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA! This 6 letter word had consumed my life, by dictating sewing projects, both at home and at out of town workshops, and by creating a stress that until now I had avoided most of my life.  Yep that’s right, I am an AVOIDER!  If you ignore it, it will go away, right?  NOPE!  Don’t even try.

So as this blog’s title states, this is about before and after SURTEX, so let’s talk about before, shall we?  Many, many errands and projects (not sewing or design related) were put on hold until after this event.  You know, like house cleaning, laundry, folding and putting laundry away- let’s just say that my house was in desperate need of some TLC and so was my entire family.  Almost every waking moment was spent on preparation for this event.  Luckily SURTEX had some great webinars. These were key for us first timers that opted for the “telephone booth sized” booth.

They talked about banners, lighting, trash cans, backdrops (heights and widths), podium sizes (which was impossible to actually get the correct measurements) and last, and my favorite, PRESS KITS! These weren’t really my favorite, especially since we came home with over 100 press kits that nobody wanted.  I say my “favorite” because Jim, Will and I put 200 of those little devils together, which we were told to do in one of those informative webinars. I even asked if we were new to the industry and haven’t any clients yet, will we also will need 200 press kits? Yes- we were told.

Well, I am here to tell you now- DON’T DO IT!! 75 would have been a very nice number. WE were told to make and bring way too many.  WE spent countless hours assembling these kits, not too mention, Aaack I hate to even think of it, but the money that was spent on these- I haven’t done the math- and I don’t think I am going to.

This was how the kits were assembled

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200 Kraft paper folders were purchased.   Dum Dum lollipops were used as a closure for each folder. I think this is a genius idea, clever, and if you would like to borrow this idea I would be flattered.  All folders needed to be punched twice (through both front and back of the folder) for the lollipop insertion.

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I created a special coloring booklet just for SURTEX 

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I printed 300 Coloring Booklets and each was packaged in a vellum envelope with a box of 12 colored pencils, (not 8 as it stated in the photo above this photo).  The extra 100 booklets and pencils were to give out at my booth.

It’s The Little Things That Make a Difference

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In the photos above you see a bunch of embroidery hoops and a custom stamp I had made in my logo from Tailormadestamps on etsy.  I highly recommend them, the quality is awesome and they are quick! I used the stamp to put my logo on the embroidery hoop backside and the backside of the swatches.

On to the “Phone Booth Sized” booth.  The Floor space, was a mere 5 feet x 5 feet.  I couldn’t get exact measurements of the shelving that was offered through GES at the Javits Center, so I opted for these shelves…. Actually- they are shoe racks, but they were light weight and they fit the space nicely!

IMG_9575These were purchased from The Container Store, they were cheap, they came flat in a box and they didn’t need any special tools to set up! This photo was taken in the container store- this was not them set up in my booth.

The Booth

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This is my by booth before!  I know! RIGHT?!  It is SO roomy and spaceous!  I wish I would have opted for the next size up- It would have cost more, but this space was so small that I couldn’t even change my mind in it!!! Also, there was no privacy, those on either side of you could get in on your conversations, and dare I say it??? I’m going to- steal your potential client!  Yep- it happens, and did!

That tiny space to the left of my booth is where I put those stackable shoe shelves. They fit perfectly!! You can see them in the photo below.

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Here is the booth during set-up.  My banners were AWESOME.  They were done by Production Resources of Boston.  I put mostly characters on my banners and with the black background they popped!  People came around the corner and saw my pig on a vespa and couldn’t help but laugh!  That made my day!

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A shot of my amazing and handsome husband (my BUMBLE) Jim, hanging my banners with care, he also helped many others hang theirs!

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Setting up in progress! I am holding a spring-loaded curtain rod- this was put on the backside of my podium and was where I would hide my handbag and other things that I didn’t want to be seen.

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I had these items I sewed with my fabric printed from Spoonflower represented in my shelving unit. You can see them in the photo above in the shoe rack    shelving unit.

The Sewn Items

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This wallet, pattern is by LR Stitched-THE PERFECT WALLET, fabric by me, Granny’s Rock Garden Collection.  It is the perfect wallet! I love this wallet, and I have made scads of them!

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This little clutch made from Noodleheads Rainbow Clutch-(pattern from her book), The fabric is from my Lily Pond Collection.IMG_9784

This skirt I also sewed from my Lily Pond Collection, the pattern is from Colette Patterns The Ginger Skirt.  It is super easy to sew, but I feel like it never feels right when it is on- like it rides up or something- I wore it to SURTEX anyway.

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This is also a pattern from Noodlehead.  The divided basket, sewn from my Lily Pond Collection

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The blouse above is the Biscayne Pattern from Hey June Patterns – the fabric is from  my Splendor In The Grass Collection and the large pouch and small change purse  were sewing projects from Sew South. The fabric is from my Granny’s Rock Garden Collection.

You all know that I really want a fabric gig, so I really put that medium to the test to show what my collections can do for a plethera of patterns!  I really think they work well with clothing and bags- and quilts of course.

Since my characters were mostly represented on my banners, I put my design repeats into a portfolio I had printed through Shutterfly.  It measures 11″ x 14″.

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Over 100 of my design repeats were represented in this lovely tidy book.  It made for a great display on my podium.  I purchased a book holder to keep it upright to catch peoples eyes.

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Here I am on my second day.  Wow, look at that, I am having a good hair day!

What I learned and what I would/would not do again

  1. If it is your first time doing SURTEX- don’t do the smaller booth. This was only a one time deal for new exhibitors to get their foot in the door, at a lower price which was great, but you give up privacy, space, room for others to help you and I think status.  Attendees just weren’t educated enough on what the Designer District was all about. If you can afford to spend more for your first time- do it.
  2. Advertise in some of the special directories.  There is a SURTEX directory and there are a couple others, and apparently the cost is minimal.
  3. Make sure you have some holiday designs.  People came to my booth asking for Christmas designs.  This was a big “I dropped the ball moment” for me.  I should have had a whole portfolio book dedicated to Holidays! All holidays should be represented.
  4. 75 Press Kits- Tops.  Make them a special representation of you, but downsize and economize.
  5. Listen to the SURTEX webinars but don’t be afraid to reach out to some of your exhibitor friends before the convention.  If you are inexperienced at exhibiting (like me), don’t be shy about asking those who have been before advice on certain things you may be questioning.
  6. Be friendly and chat with everyone you can, you never know where it may lead. DON’T be glued to your phone.  It doesn’t look professional and you are missing so much!
  7. Have FUN

I may do SURTEX again.  Now that I got that all out of my system, I feel like I am ready to start planning for next year.  I did make many contacts, I learned from others and I got some really great feedback from folks.  I am also working on a contract with a company, and this happened because of SURTEX.  Things are moving ahead- I’m pushing forward and it feels great.

Thanks for reading and visiting.

Stay Well and Stay Crafty