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. ;)