boston gift show 2013 recap

The Boston Gift Show was a flurry of preparation and participation. Last week at this time I was knee deep in black paint and styrofoam – adding the final touches to my booth display – my samples all polished and packaged. I was so intimidated by the 32 page set up manual that the show coordinators had provided I was afraid for sure I was going to upset a Teamster somehow and get booted out of the show for violating union rules.This did not happen of course. People couldn't have been nicer. On Friday night we brought my booth walls to the Boston Convention Center and built my surroundings. It went up fairly easy. The following day under a blanket of exhaustion mixed with hesitation we finished our set up. Oh sure, we had our moments. The silhouette  heads that I had so carefully engineered to display my necklaces and had secured on the walls kept getting caught on sleeves and ladders and dropping down like defeated warriors. Thank goodness for glue and double sided tape. On Sunday morning Debbie (my Booth Buddy) and I were excited by the crowd of attendees outside the doors of the Exhibition Hall – were some of them here for us? The doors opened and they poured in. We were two booths from the door - good or bad we wondered. Good - I guess. We had our fair share of questions and interested shop owners - many had come expressly to see our owls which had been featured on the cover of the show book. And we took orders! And accepted challenges for future projects and special theme motifs requested by shop owners and museum directors with niche markets. That's the beauty of creating your own product. I'm alway open to new inspirations for figurative canes and happy to conquer a new image! On day two out of the gate we were greeted by a couple of gentlemen representing a well known magazine - seeking out new prospects for their catalog. They asked lots of questions and took notes and business cards. What a great way to start the day. A visit from some friendly gallery collaborators prompted an invitation to participate in an event they're hosting in June. We chatted it up with shop owners galore.Towards the end of the day a buyer from one of Boston's prominent museums' gift shops paid a call - noting interest in may of our flower themed pieces to complement an upcoming exhibit. Tuesday brought a mixture of rain and snow and as anticipated put a huge damper on the attendance level. There were a few die hards that came in but I used much of the time to network with my booth neighbors and do some online research on some of the leads we had picked up and scouted for potential new accounts. Wednesday the traffic had increased. "Vultures" is the term I coined to categorize a selection of the mornings visitors – It seems it's common practice for some folks to come in on the last day to seek out show samples as cost. I'm not talking about other vendors with whom you share a camaraderie having spent the last four days together - I'd gladly share my wares with them. These are people who don't actually ever intend to place orders nor do they actually own shops or businesses most likely - just looking for a deal. No thanks. Breakdown began at 1. The Convention Center literally turns the overhead lights out while everyone dismantles. Many have hours of work but luckily my booth broke down quickly. Once again those damn silhouette heads gave us a run for our money as the wind would catch their light weight and send them off into the air as we headed for our car. We tracked them down and stuffed everything in the car - had it expanded somehow? All in all I had a blast. I will probably do it again next year and am considering sharing a booth with another vendor in another major venue as well.
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