…there are no fat quarters (or pigs) at market, but here is what you will find.
You might have known they don’t have fat quarters at market. I, on the other hand, had no idea. I just thought that when quilt market was this close to home, I had to go. I wanted to try to figure out how this enigma called the quilting industry worked.
So I got my credentials and signed up. My plan was to talk to book publishers, fabric manufacturers, and magazine publishers. I also signed up for a blogging lecture by the fabulous Ebony Love (Love Bug Studios). After downloading the market phone app and seeing the exhibitors list, I had 5 x 7 cards of my designs printed up to hand out in an effort to catch the eye of industry reps. I rehearsed my “lines” on my drive up.
So I arrive, check in at the marvelous Magnolia Hotel (thanks, Merle), and made my way to the entrance.
With my buyer’s guide in hand, I stepped into the business side of quilting. And, I kid you not, I forgot my name…and couldn’t think of a single thing I was going to say! But I pushed through, made very awkward introductions to industry professionals and pretended to be more than I am. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I was totally out of my league and painfully aware of it!
I was thankful to meet up with friendly faces from The Golden Needle for lunch before I continued my quest to conquer market. Then I was happy to meet The Hubs and DashTwo for a Cardinal game that night.
By day two I had betters bearings on why I was there, what I needed to accomplish, and how to go about it. It helped that I started the day with the blogging lecture where I got a boost in confidence because realized I wasn’t alone. There were others there -who were not shop-owners- also trying to connect the dots. So I just started talking to people in booths. I observed some “big (REALLY big) names” and listened to them lament that it took 20 or 30 years in the industry before their ideas really took off.
I learned there is not just one way to get the job done and that everyone there is taking a risk, especially the shop owners who are trying to out-guess their customers’ future buying whims. This is free enterprise at work. It is scary. And it is fun.
I found that most of the people there are very friendly, especially those who are newer in the industry and they are happy to tell their story and give advice. I just needed to be myself and tell them I was a newbie, just trying to figure this all out. One gal, Kristyne Czepuryk (Pretty By Hand), who was debuting her first line of fabric, shared a lot about how she got started and gave me tips for how to start a fabric line. A gal in a booth nearby at Blackbird Designs gave me tips on book publishing. By Saturday afternoon, I decided to see if I could sign up for another of Ebony Love’s (Love Bug Studios) lectures and I was in luck. Just before close of the day, I ran into a friend/merchant that I see every year at the show in Paducah, Tina, of Turtlehand Fabrics and we had lots of fun talking about possible future projects. I finished the night with Ebony’s lecture on independent publishing and the day was done.
It wasn’t my intention to return to market on Sunday, but I had a few more connections to make and several more questions I for which I needed answers. I was made more rounds and really enjoyed meeting people and learning from them. (I almost wish I’d kept my mouth shut the first two days, but you live and learn!) And if I could only tell you one thing about my trip to market is that I learned a LOT!
Now the work begins. Real life is waiting at home and outside of quilt market…it was a fun gig, but you know how it goes…
…home again, home again, jiggity jig.
In my next post, I’ll share some of my faves from market–sign up to follow my blog and I’ll send you an email when a new post goes live.
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