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Friday, May 08, 2009

Back from World Tea Expo

I am back from World Tea Expo. I arrived home late Tuesday night because I opted to stay an extra day to pack and ship my display stuff home at a leisurely pace. Arriving at home at 10pm was a killer, though... I am still feeling the effects of the time zone changes and stress of participating in my first trade show. But, enough about that. I know that you really want to hear how the show went.

My best friend, Kathy, went with me to help man the booth. We flew in on Thurs. to allow time to make sure all the boxes arrived ahead of us and have time to plan around it if they didn't. Thankfully, we found our boxes waiting for us at the hotel. The exhibition hall opened for set-up on Friday at 8am and we arrived shortly after that to get an early start. Good move--it took us all day to set up the booth! Thank God for Kathy--I received some unsettling news from home that morning and my mind was not focused on the task at hand. Fortunately, we had spent time planning the booth decor and had at least a general idea of the look we wanted. We got it done by late afternoon (with many prayers from friends) and it didn't even look "cheesy"!

A bonus: Make Mine Pink friend, Erica of Meadow Street, had sent her beautiful line of tea-themed jewelry and hand-painted silk rose pins to the show to add another dimension and interest to the booth. She had coordinated her colors to match my line of products and it was a stunning complement! We scattered her roses around and they added that touch of class that made the booth look put together. (Everybody that saw her line raved about her handiwork!) Thanks, Erica! I could not have done this without your wise counsel, support and prayers. Though you weren't there physically, you were with me in spirit. (( ))

Another MMP friend, Lori (Katie's Rose Cottage), flew in just for moral support. But, I think she did some shopping while walking around, so keep your eyes peeled for some beautiful tea time treasures in her shop! Thank you, Lori--it meant the world to me having your opinion and just knowing you were there. (( ))

The show attendance was lower than expected. According to WTE staff, Swine flu and the recession both played a part in the lower numbers. Many who had registered to attend (and a few exhibitors) just did not come. In any case, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who stopped by my booth and told me that they had seen my ads in Tea Time magazine and had been waiting to see my product in person. It was thrilling to know that my name is out there! :)

Another thrill came from the booth next to mine. The banner was labeled Susan Rios Editions, but I assumed it was a dealer. I nearly fell over when I saw Susan walk in on Friday! I have been a fan for a long time and could not believe she was there in person! She and her assisant, Beverly, shared a booth with Glory International, the company that will be producing her beautiful new line of tea sets. They were all so friendly and down to earth. A treasured moment: Kathy bought a print of one of my favorite paintings and had Susan sign it for me! I will treasure it always...

Fun-loving Beverly thought we should wear my tea cozies as hats for advertising. I think she really got a kick out of Kathy and me on the last day--she thought I was too serious to do it--ha!
Speaking of attention-getting advertising--I had my mannequin, Annabelle, set-up at the entrance to the booth. Kathy and I had great fun watching all the reactions as people walked by and saw her. The men were especially amused. She had her photo taken more than any other display at the show!

Now to answer the $64,000. question--did I write orders? Yes. Was I happy with the outcome? Yes. Did I learn a lot? Yes. Will I consider doing it again next year? I don't know. It's a lot of work. The traveling is hard on the body. I hated Las Vegas (just not my cup of tea...). Ask me again in about 2 weeks--after I recover a bit more. ;)


lisa said...

Karen ~

I so enjoyed reading your post about WTE. I thought about you the entire time and just knew that you were having the time of your life. I love the pictures, especially the one of you and Kathy wearing the tea cozies as hats. Congratulations!


Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage said...

Karen ~
Yayyyy I am so excited to see your post about the tea expo ~ My pix came out really bad since I was not supposed to take them anyway ~ Your booth looked amazing and it was fun to see the result of many months of dreams and work ~
I got to meet Susan while you were a busy gal ~ that was a neat surprise to see here right next to you ~
Your hats are quite cute by the way ;)

Nancy said...

Karen, Your booth is so beautiful and elegant! Just the way I think of Tea! I am so happy for you and being the first, it does get easier! I hope to see future show pics right here in the future!
With Love & Huggs, Nancy

Roxie said...

Love the pictures Karen. Thanks for sharing your first show experience with us. I have been on the edge of my seat since you left. I can't wait to hear about the new orders that will be pouring in over the next few months.
Way to go girl! You are a true inspiration to me.
Love ya!

gail said...

Karen, what a lovely post! Your booth was just beautiful. You did an outstanding job. I am so happy to hear you are happy with the results. I am so proud of you for doing this and hold on for the ride,,,, its just the beginning for you! Have a lovely Mothers Day weekend and relax. (())

EileenandKaren@forgetmenotdreams said...


Your booth disply looks amazing! Thanks for sharing your journey with us! It's been fun to watch your growth as you take this leap of faith! I'm so proud of you Karen! Congratulations!

Joyce Lucas said...

Thanks for the fun and inspiring update on the WTE. You looked beautiful and your display was fabulous. Congratulations on this huge leap Karen. I know this was a long time coming and you did it with style. Oh.. and talent of course!


Patricia said...

Your booth looks absolutely amazing, Karen. I'm so glad it went well for you. So nice that your best pal was there with you and how great that Lori showed up. We were all with you in spirit. Glad things have turned out well with the homefront as well.
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings

Susie said...

Hi Karen! Thanks for telling us about your WTE experience. Your booth looked exquisite. Glad you had your BFF with you. Making money and memories goes hand in hand. :) I am so proud of you, now rest up!