Well, this post is a bit late, but the after show work was just as busy as the final days before the show! It feels like its been 24/7 for the last 6 weeks. Yes, Surtex was great this year. Fun, lots of meetings with good companies, great dinners in NY, and time with my east coast based niece and nephew. I saw some licensees again or met them in person for the first time, and met lots of new people from companies with very cool products. That is the thing about Surtex. It may be a lot of work and a lot of money, but every year I realize again, that no amount of my own research would have unearthed some of these companies and contacts. More importantly, if people stop at your booth, that means that there is interest already in your work or style, unlike blind submissions.
So this year I had Jack, of course, and also designers Caitley Symons and Kim Andersson helping out and learning the Surtex ropes for their possible Surtex future. They are both very talented! It sure made it fun having so much help and support. So here is the white box of the booth when we first arrived for set-up. I ordered shelves and an extra counter and chairs which were all there for us.
And here is our motley crew when we arrive for set-up.
Then the work begins! I made small mock-ups of the banners which we put on the wall for a final check and group-think about the placement of the banners. We tried to set up the products and prep the booth before we take out the banners, and then put them up last.
And voila! Here it is all done. We did a chevron concept for the booth design. I was torn though–I know it is still trending but I was worried that people in the art and design area might be totally sick of chevrons, but in the end it was still my best idea so I went with it. Hmm…what should I do next year? I go someplace else to print the banners, but all the art on the counters and thin panels I print myself. So I have to splice some things together. It looked fine.
So besides the booth cost and extra furniture, my only other costs were the 5 large banners and business cards, and lots of command stripes and gaffer’s tape. I also printed up my takeaway piece myself, along with the hard copy artwork, tear sheets and folder covers. Luckily since Jack is a frequent traveler, we were able to check 5 bags between us for no cost (including the banner tube) And we used miles for the flying and points for hotel. Hey, it allows me to justify the 10×10 corner booth! (which I love!)
All was good on our little corner… and we thoroughly enjoyed our neighbors, Josephine Kimberling, Caleb Gray, Kate Spain and Lucky Day Studio, all of whom we have been neighbors with either the first year or the second year also. It was a good time in our neck of the woods, and it seemed like we all had steady traffic to our booths. Though one never knows the success of a show until months later even more! Its all in the follow-up.
I was also invited to speak in one of the Surtex conference sessions, “An In Depth Look at Art Licensing Basics” along with Ellen Seay, Director of Licensing at Cruise Creative Services. It is great to share information and I love to do it. And I learned a lot myself listening to Ellen! I walked Surtex in 2009 and went to some of these seminars myself. We had a full house and some good questions. I was itching to get back to my booth though! This year I didn’t want to miss anything – and its so hard to do follow-up when you actually never met the people! So I spent very little time walking the show myself or even the National Stationary Show, which I have walked the entirely of in years past. This time I only went over there to visit a few potential licensees who asked me to stop by.
In the next couple of months I do plan on adding a page to my website in the “For Artists” section on Surtex to answer common questions they have. I already have ones on fabric design and art licensing. I have no plans to offer consulting or other services to artists, as I think there are already plenty of good people doing so, so I just point the way back to them. When you are exhibiting it IS difficult though, when so many artists come by and want to ask questions. I am hoping to do my part sharing information in other ways than talking with artists at my booth. Every second at my booth I want to be available to potential manufacturers and retailers.
Now to really pack everything up that I will use again and store it safely. See y’all next year!