Monday, May 28, 2012

Surtex Show in NYC

 I knew what to expect at Surtex this time as a second year exhibitor.  The booth set up went smoothly on Saturday afternoon with my new art banners and I rented a shelf to show off some product mock-ups.  I brought samples of my fabric designs, a pillow using my Pomegranate illustration, a purse sewn by a Minneapolis artist using my fabric, mugs printed with my designs thru Zazzle, notebooks and journals, as well as my Ginkgo box with the St. Croix Company chocolates.  I bought some fresh flowers Saturday night on Broadway to put on my table and had a porfolio and iPad slideshow of my work.  


New Yorker Hotel lobby

This year we stayed at The New Yorker Hotel, a classic Art Deco landmark within walking distance of Javits where Surtex is held.  The Lobby is gorgeous with its streamlined features and huge chandelier.  Everywhere were touches of sleek graphics of the era.  The rooms were small by today's standards but contained the elegant charm of past lighting fixtures, reproduction prints and decor from the 20's.

Art Deco detail at hotel
Surtex opened on Sunday, May 20th with getting to know our booth neighbors.  Scott Church, Weller Wishes, Breyer were back and I got to know Linadona Botanica better and met KG Art Studio. There were some other Minnesota connections on our aisle.  K&K Design Studio from St. Paul, Two Town Studios and MHS Licensing were there representing artists.  We all wear badges with our names and whether we are exhibitors, manufacturers, press, students, guests, or retailers and from what country. Artist Sandra Jacobs from Holland was back so it was fun to reconnect with her again.  She shows her work in Germany and Paris besides New York.  At lunch, I sat briefly with my retail reps from Square One who were busy with clients from The National Stationery Show which runs at the same time as Surtex.  You have to have very comfortable walking shoes to get thru that show but it's worth it.  All the major players are there as well as independent card companies.  I had entered the Louie Awards as a rising star category as a new company but didn't make it in.  The champagne cupcake reception was a nice consolation for those of us who didn't go to the awards dinner.

Times Square on Saturday night
Monday started off with a huge rain storm that caused the roof to leak at Javits.  There was some quick adjustments by the crew to move a booth or two and rig up a system to stop the rain from disrupting the show. My booth wasn't in danger but I was very wet from trying to get a cab to the show from our hotel.  We ended up sharing a cab with two designers from Ampersand, also from our aisle exhibiting at Surtex who were just as wet.  You never know how you're going to meet people.

I met some Minneapolis friends walking the show- Lindsay Nohl from Paper Bicycle brought a group, and Keith Moore who took a class I attended on working with manufacturers.  Over the three days I met an interesting assortment of people from the Press covering home decor, some fabric companies who checked out my collections, home decor manufacturers, card companies and people in the business who offered their expertise to me as a newbie. I got to meet designer Kate Spain, a card rep from the San Francisco area I wanted to meet and the founder of Motawi Tile to name a few.  Sometimes contacts don't wish to be named so I'll name more as time goes on and deals are made.

I observed that many manufacturers made quick glances and didn't take the time to check portfolios to meet new exhibitors.  I'm going to make a better effort to reach out during the rest of the year to manufacturers I want to attract to my booth next year. But again, I feel I did make some connections that will further my career and am following up with them this week.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by my booth and made my show enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Suitcase Full of Dreams Ready for Reality

 I fly out with Mitch on Saturday to New York City with my suitcase full of art ready for manufacturers to view for the second year.  Surtex is a trade show where artists, agents and licensors meet with manufacturers and retail buyers from around the world. Some 6,000 people from 49 countries come to see art work for surface designs like wall coverings, bedding, stationery, dinnerware, and many more.  I purchased a mailing list of attendees to invite particular fabric, home decor, and rug companies to stop by my booth #453- the same booth as last year.

This time I spent more time drawing my designs on home decor items.  Above is a sample page of how my lotus art may be applied to dishes, pillows, totes, bedding, place mats and rugs.  I hope this makes it easier for them to visualize my art on their products.  I even had some actual 3-D products mocked up, like the two mugs in the photo.  I'm bringing my fabric samples to show fabric companies and even my ginkgo art on chocolate to show the Godiva rep who may stop by.

All this work is speculative but I have to believe something good is going to come out of this. I want to thank all of you who have been so supportive this past year.  It's always a confidence boost knowing I have you rooting for me.  I'll post details of my trip on Facebook.