Vending at shows is both a lot of fun and very busy!
All fall, whenever I’ve found a moment I’ve been preparing for CreativFestival, which takes place in the spring and fall at the International Centre near Pearson International Airport.
It’s more than a sewing and quilting show, although those are the enthusiasts to whom my booth appeals. It’s the premier sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, beading, embroidery, and quilting show in Ontario, and if you like to make things, you owe it to yourself to go at least once if you live within traveling distance.
This year I did both spring and fall shows
The spring show is the one I usually vend at, but this year I decided to do both. The venue changes during the fall to a larger hall within the centre so I need to put a lot of thought into the booth location, layout, items to stock, hotels, meals and things like lighting, flooring and the furnishings needed to display everything properly.
Some finished bags are always nice to stock for those who do not sew. This year I brought in a selection of Laurel Burch Bags with cats on them. After all we do have a cat theme going with my business!
What to bring to the show?
What exciting extras to bring into stock for this event is also of concern, as I want to sell out rather than carry things over till the spring show. Of course, I have to remember to pack all of these items since home base is a few hours distant from the show. It all has to fit into my Dodge Caravan or be strapped to the roof rack.
We sold out of a lot of our zipper colors. They did look nice on the old shabby chic dresser I brought along.
Those are lot of details to be rattling around the old bean. My mind tends to jump from one problem to the next without solving the first problem. Sometimes all the issues are interrelated and it’s hard to find the right solution. Plus, I have events to contend with prior to the show like teaching and speaking. Can you imagine that I have trouble sleeping?
Kathy is the master of the cash register and also does some modeling work with a Homeward Bound Bag.
Usually the sleeping issue starts about 2 weeks prior to show time. I get a short reprieve the night before I set out, when I can at least see that all the product and displays fit into my vehicle. This is such a relief I generally sleep through that night. But the alarm sounds shrilly at 5 am on set-up day. It’s an early start to to pick up my sister-in-law and booth-pro Kathy so we can set up our 15′ corner booth.
Booth setup the day before the show opens
We have till 6 pm to get our carpeting in place and stuck down, our lighting attached and wired, our quilts hung, our grid-work for hanging bags and hardware assembled, our spinner racks built and stocked and the product hung. I always think this should take till about mid afternoon but the little details like hanging signs, making sure all the bag zippers are stocked properly on the pegs and the minutia that goes into doing a good display keeps us there later than we should be – until 7 pm.
I can’t quiet my busy mind to sleep
We eat and then check into our hotel. It’s a lovely comfy suite but this does not sooth my overactive brain. My habit during the 3 day show is to awake around 3 am, move into the living area of the suite, read for several hours and then fall into an exhausted sleep on the sofa to awake wide-eyed at about 6:30 am. Poor Kathy, I hope I didn’t ruin her nights…
Time out in the lunch ‘zone’ – that being the demo area across from our booth.
Not normally being a caffeine drinker I use this to my advantage to ‘drug’ myself awake and alert during the day. Kathy cuts me off at 2 cups a day as she thinks I am ‘overmedicating’ and that’s the reason for my sleeplessness!
Gosh, it’s busy!
The show may be over but the sleeplessness isn’t
With a very successful show behind us I look forward to my last night at the hotel. We have a nice dinner and settle in. There’s no hurry to get back in the morning – all’s right with the world until…
The hotel fire alarm goes off at about 3am and we spend a half hour outside in the cold. Then we file back in after the all clear. Somebody has been smoking in a stairwell. And you guessed it – I read my novel for a couple of hours, fall into an exhausted sleep and wake wide-eyed at 6 am. The universe and I are in tune with the hotel’s smoke alarm and all’s right with the world once again.
My comfy corner.