Saturday, February 11, 2012

CHA 2012 Show Report - Part 1: Wow!

(me at my CHA 2012 booth)

Hello friends! I'm finally ready to do a CHA 2012 wrap up complete with photos and some reflections on the whole experience. In a word: WOW!!  It was an AMAZING experience from start to finish! Here are just a few of the highlights and details...

Setting up the booth on Friday and Saturday went pretty much without a hitch, except for the fact that we had nothing to stand on to hang the banners (the convention folks had not passes out our chairs yet). But our friendly veteran-exhibitor neighbors helped us with some ingenuity, namely stacking up wood palettes to stand on - not an OSHA approved method I assure you, but it worked. Here are a few photos of the booth all set up...

We gussied-up the plain sign just a bit with these cutout flowers, pipe cleaners and pom-poms...

the view looking in from the middle...



...and the left side...

...then the right...

I couldn't have been happier with how the banners worked out. We got a lot of great feedback on them! Once again, we got them from Empire Banners, about whom I cannot say enough good things!! Best online order experience I have ever had, start to finish! And we were easily able to check them as baggage on the plane in the same box they were shipped in. And for those of you who may be planning a similar booth in the future, we bought shower curtain hooks for the tops of the banners, added a strip of velcro to smooth the middle part at the top between the hooks where it tended to gap, and used 3M Command Strips with small hooks to secure the grommets at the bottom. Worked pretty well.

Sunday was the first official day of the show. Although I didn't have any set appointments that day with the VIP Art Directors that CHA invited to our Licensing/Design section, I knew that some of them might drop in at any time. I was a bit nervous, but mostly just excited. But there were couple of problems right off the bat. I got sick. Not a horrible flu kind of sick, but more of an allergy, upper respiratory thing. But the worst part was I woke up with NO voice on Sunday - couldn't talk at all. Not good. But after several cups of hot coffee and a hot shower, I was a little better, but my voice was iffy pretty much the entire show. Oh, and one more thing - DO NOT wear new shoes on the first day, or any day of a trade show. At 50 years old, I should know better. I wore a new pair of black shoes which were actually quite comfortable, which is why I bought them, but the sides of shoes were a little high and rubbed the most horrible blisters all along the back of my heel and the sides of my ankles. Yikes. My sweet hubby had to go to the first aid station to get me some band-aids, which helped a little, but by this time the damage was done. Lesson learned...

As Sunday progressed into the afternoon, I began to get a bit anxious. I hadn't had but a couple of passers by stop by and I was beginning to worry that the whole show was going to be a bust. And you know how your mind works when you start thinking that way - you think about ALL the money you just spent (which by the way was probably about double what I expected), and you begin to get insecure about your work, especially when you're surrounded by so many very talented artists and licensing companies. It's stinkin-thinkin, and if you let it, it can really wreck your whole attitude. But, I was so blessed to have the encouragement and reassurance of my sweet booth neighbors who told me that the first day is always slow and not to worry, and that our booth looked great and it was sure to be a hit. That helped a lot and I was grateful for the kind words. But then, one of the VIP Art Directors from a large home decor/gift manufacturer stopped by and we had the most wonderful meeting! They looked at the banners and then my bound portfolio and began to tell me to send them this sample and that art and that collection and those images - wow, I couldn't believe it! If any of the work I sent them pans out, it could be a MAJOR boon to my little fledgling company! I hope to have news to share on that later this Spring...we'll see...

The best part of that meeting was the great advice that this art director gave. It was wonderful to hear such helpful suggestions from someone who themselves had been an illustrator for over 20 years. They really took the time to share insights as well as encouragement to me. It was just the pick-me-up I needed. And as it turned out, it was just the first of several such meeting that I was to have in the coming days of the show. I will tell you more about that in my next report (which I will try to post early tomorrow morning).

But meanwhile, here is a sneak-peek photo of my Designer Showcase table that I had in addition to my show floor booth. I'll tell you more about the Designer Showcase experience in my next report too - it was a lot of fun/a lot of work to do, but I think is was a real success...

I will also tell you about the BEST part of the whole show for me - the LOVELY people I met - what an incredible collection of kind, creative souls! they were the highlight for sure!

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support since I first announced that I was going to do this show. I know I wouldn't have made it without it! Looking forward to sharing more tomorrow if possible...thanks for your patience as I continue to work through all the post-show follow up.
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Oh, and one more thing, on a completely different topic. My wonderful Aunt Judy, one of my Mom's younger sisters, passed away late this week after a brave 3+ year battle with brain cancer. She was a very youthful 69 years old, a delight to everyone who knew her, and she will be greatly missed. The funeral is this coming Monday. I would certainly welcome your prayers for our family. Though we know she is whole and free and in the arms of Jesus, the loss is still hard on all of us...thank you...


4 comments:

  1. First of all my prayers are with you and yours on the passing of your Aunt. The loss IS hard for those left behind but she is a WINNER. Now to your report on the show! I have been watching and waiting for a post reporting about the CHA 2012. I'm excited for you and hope and pray that you will get the jobs. Your booth looks so cute and colorful. I believe God will bless you with what you need for your little fledgling company!

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  2. Everything looks so cheerful and bright! You, my friend, are the next big thing :)

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  3. Prayers for you all...Aunt Judy is with Jesus! Lovely booth, LOVE your art! I'm a new follower!
    Hugs,
    Anne ♥

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  4. Oh Becky, your work shines with JOY!! I love the cheerful colors and warm images. What a fabulous booth! Wow, that was tons of work, worth it though. What a happy business to be in. Love that you can spread the joy of the Lord with the many talents He gifted you with.

    Thank you for being a light and friend!

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