Oh my goodness! Well that was a whirlwind of a week! I’ve just gotten home from my very first Quilt Market (an international market event for businesses in the fabric and quilting industry). I always dreamed that some day I would have a reason to go (it’s not open to the public) and I finally got a chance with the publication of my first book, A Quilter’s Mixology.
I was able to make it to market for the entire event from Set up to Take Down, so I really feel like I got a feel for what the event looks like from beginning to end and the chaos on each end…to the beautiful booths that come together row after row after row. I’m trying to remember…I think that there were over 200 rows. But maybe it was 2000….does that let you know what kind of a blur this was? lol
I had a school market event on Thursday morning to promote my book. This is when you have a classroom and multiple school houses are going on at the same time. And all of the buyers are deciding what event they want to attend…and you just pray that you are not slated at the same time as one of the HUGE names there. lol I had a decent attendance at mine and managed to easy chat away for a 1/2 hour about the quilts I made and my book concept to anyone willing to listen. I was especially grateful for my fellow blogger friends who showed up to support me and took pictures like the paparazzi. I felt very loved and supported. And for one of my editors who helped me hang up a bunch of my quilts ahead of time (a luxury you don’t normally have with 5 minutes between classes but I managed to) so that I had a lot of my quilts displayed the whole time.
I did a book signing a couple of days later and was again soooo touched that people showed up for that. (It helps that the book was for free but I felt like they would have come regardless) I had blue mason jars for all of the people who came and also passed them out to people around the market as a promotional item that hopefully no one will toss. 😉 Who doesn’t want an awesome blue mason jar?! (and remind me to tell you the craziness behind what my original vision for that was and what it became…sometimes you have to roll with the punches and take the easier path).
I went around Market introducing myself left and right to all kinds of wonderful people (and made many of them take pictures with me teehee!) It was nerve wrecking but I made my little introverted self do it and found most people were very receptive to chatting with me. I’ve got to admit that I pulled out my copy of my book too many times to remember. My friends could definitely have given the book spiel by the end of market as easily as I could because they heard it so many times.
All in all, I had a great time and am excited for future opportunities with companies. It was utterly exhausting and I’m still not unpacked…started the laundry though. That’s a step right? I found that market was a lot overwhelming for a first time attendee and I think if I were to go again I would have a level of comfort that isn’t there for a first event. I really think there should be a guidebook for people attending the first time. lol
My tag line for the weekend was “oh I’ve never met him/her in person!” So with the help of gracious friends and some putting myself out there, I managed to meet so many of my quilting/designing idols and fellow bloggers for the first time. And you know what? They are all pretty darn awesome. I’m really excited to be part of a community of supportive companies and designers who want to help each other and grow the industry. Quilting is cool and we need more people to get that. You all are a step ahead already!