Wednesday, May 14, 2008
So, Elaine and Merry of Art Attack picked out which of the photos I took of Ethan would be printed for the Wonder Wall part of my booth set up. Their choices are these three photos. I think they are mighty fine, but then I grew the model myself, nurtured the artist, and made all the clothes. I might be biased. I hope you like them too. To see larger versions of the pictures, go to my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cindyjoy/ . A great big thank you to all the people who commented on the photos and helped us pick out the best ones! These three were some of the most popular photos among those who looked and commented. Thank you for all your help and support.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
So, I met with Merry Schooley of Art Attack on Monday April 21st about booth design. We talked about all kinds of things, but I'm going to try to stick to the booth design for now. Merry has extensive experience in designing events and, when she designs booths, they are usually for large corporations. Her ideas were great and practical.
For the banner and back wall decoration, she suggested that her crew put together what she calls a wonder wall. Basically, it is 2' by 2' squares of a translucent white plastic, attached together with rings. You can make the wall any even number of feet wide and tall. You can print photos onto the squares. You can add vinyl lettering to the squares. You can paint the squares so that they are a different color while still allowing light to pass through them. Unfortunately, she doesn't have any pictures of this set up on her web site. She had a whole photo album full of examples and many examples around her shop and warehouse. I had seen them before, but since it wasn't something I was working on for her, I did not concern myself with it. You can either hang the wall from the same pole as the drapes at the back of the booth or hang it from a frame, put drapes over the end of the frame, and even back light it. It acts a little like scrim, if you are familiar with that product, which is used extensively in theatrical productions. In short, it is a way cool way to create and enormous visual impact while still being lightweight and being able to easily transport it and pack it in my tiny Honda Fit. So, her plan is to take up the top section of the wall with my logo. The rest of the wall would have a scattering of product photos (she thinks children in onesies is the way to go), lines describing product, and blank or colored squares. The whole effect would look like a quilt, which points to the rest of my product line. I am excited to get started on this portion of the display. It will be really cool, very unique, and very professional looking. Since we'll have a table at the back of the booth, the bottom two rows will be blank tiles, which is all good, since they are cheaper. And, really, for such a huge visual impact, the cost of this wall will be quite reasonable. The photos are the most expensive items, but we will only be starting with three or four of those. I'm adding a larger variety of apparel to my line after the show, and I'll add new photos as I create new things that I want to feature. That, of course, is the coolest thing about the wall - you can switch out the tiles as your product line changes or grows. you can also grow or shrink the sign to fit the space you will be occupying. Too cool. The wall will be the major focal point of the booth design.
For displaying goods, Merry suggested that we put a 6' table across the back of the booth, with mannequins displaying the clothing and other goods spread on the table in front of the mannequins. I purchased these two mannequins. which wound up not only be the best looking ones I could find, but also some of the least expensive: http://www.studiorox.com/display/image/Kid/201new.html and http://www.studiorox.com/display/image/Kid/203new.html - I'll put one of ediblebaby's outfits on the standing boy and one of my onesies on the seated girl. As an added bonus, the girl will hold a blanket. I will put one of Beaded Socks more brightly colored flower clips on a piece of ribbon and tie it around the little girl's hair. If that looks too odd, I'll just tie it with a ribbon and a big bow. I still have to experiment with it. Additional stock will be stored in plastic storage bins beneath the table.
For my blankets and Toni's quilts, she thinks the best option is a quilt rack. I had already been thinking along these lines, and thought I needed to find an appropriate rack. Stacey made the very clever suggestion of using a drying rack. I pulled my out of the closet and *poof* I now have a quilt rack with tons of space. I've currently got it set up in the front hall with Toni's quilts and my stroller blankets on it. They look great.
In addition to the table across the back, we will have a table at the inner corner with the things necessary for checkout - a computer, a printer, paper, and bags, tissue paper for the most part. I'll use a 20"x48" card table in that corner. We'll have a four tier rack of business cards and one more business card holder here for people to pick up cards while their purchases are processed. Extra business cards, promotional material, bags, tissue paper and miscellaneous packaging material will be stored in plastic storage bins beneath this table, but we'll leave room for legs while sitting at the computer.
In the rest of the booth, we'll have satellite tables, which will, be these stackable drawers: http://tinyurl.com/5r95ag with a tablecloth (Merry is supplying the tablecloths this time around) covering them and additional stock stored within them. Rather than the configuration shown, I will be stacking three large drawers with one small drawer, which puts the top at an easy height for adults to view while keeping it out of the reach of small children. On these tables will be displayed the rest of the stock. I purchased generic business card holders, and there will be a card holder with the artist's cards next to here display.
That about sums up where we are on booth design. I've taken over 400 photos and come up with text for Merry to print on the wall. http://www.rioosodesigns.etsy.com/ finished up my banner so that Merry could get to work on the logo part of the wall. Rather than what you see above, the little turtle lovey will be be square and take up a full tile. The name will make up the remainder of the banner. I have most of the stuff that is going to comprise the booth contents. I've sketched out a floor plan later this week, and we'll see if the booth winds up being arranged according to plan. Everything is just about ready, and I am all excited and stressed about the whole thing.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Five weeks is not enough time to get all the business things organized for a huge expo and build enough stock to last through a whole weekend. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I recruited five of my ETSY friends to exhibit with me. I got permission to publish all their names, so here are my fellow exhibitors (keep scrolling down past the pictures of these wonderful products):
- http://www.beadedsocks.etsy.com/ will be showing beaded socks and hair clips with hand made wool felt flowers;
- http://www.ediblebaby.etsy.com/ will be showing a pile of her wonderful colored onesies;
- http://www.Odannysgirl.etsy.com will be showing her patent pending dining out bibs;
- http://www.tweedlebee.etsy.com/ will be showing quilts and quilted toys; and
- http://www.zadyball.etsy.com/ will be showing mini zadyballs, zadyballs, and zadybugs.
I am very happy to be representing these wonderful artists at the American Baby Faire Here in Houston on May 17th and 18th. Every time I get a package of merchandise from them, it makes feel like a kid opening birthday gifts! The best thing is that I get to look at all their wonderful merchandise and share it with you. Starting at the top and going down, the pictures included in this post are from:
- me at http://www.cindyjoy.etsy.com/ - Bundles of Joy,
- Stacey at Daisy Designs/Beaded Socks,
- Lisa at Edible Baby,
- Shelly at Odannysgirl,
- Toni at Tweedle Bee, and
- Alayna at Zadyball.
I have long admired all their products and am very happy to be representing them.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
With only a little over a month to prepare, I committed myself and five of my ETSY friends to exhibiting at the American Baby Faire http://www.americanbabyfaire.com/index.htm - a giant baby expo that will be in Houston May 17th and 18th. My friends all live far, far away, so I have taken it upon myself to do the business side of the booth in addition to building up stock to sell at the Faire. An exhibitor who participated for the first time last year told me that she had handed out 2,000 promo packs by noon on Sunday and sold 175 of her KozyPal Shopping Cart Covers. She was very helpful and nice when I talked to her. I will be stopping by her booth to buy a cart cover during the faire. You should check out her web site: http://www.kozypalcartcovers.com/store/Default.asp for her very useful product. The whole idea of coming in contact with that many new and expectant Moms in one weekend is both exciting and frightening. Overall, the Faire is expected to draw 13,000 people or maybe 30,000 people - I have heard both numbers. I've got a private social network set up for the people participating in the Faire, but I thought the rest of my friends might want to know what was going on as well. Seems as good a time as any to actually start posting to my blog on a regular basis. I'm gleaning stuff I posted on the private forum to pull over here to my blog. Understandably, I am pulling the financial information out. There is still a lot of interesting stuff left. This first post will be gigantic and include most of what I've done in the last three weeks. Future posts will be shorter.
If you know any new or expectant Moms in the Houston area that would be interested in attending the show, send them my way - I have ten free tickets up for grabs.
So here's what I've done so far:
- I have signed the contract and paid for a 10' by 10' corner booth at the American Baby Faire in Houston on May 17th and 18th (getting a corner made it cost $100 extra, but Corwin and I totally agree that it is worth it. Merry also concurs),
- I have met with Merry Schooley of Art Attack - http://www.artattackco.com/ - to discuss our booth design and decoration. The design of the booth is worthy of a whole separate post, which I'll do next,
- I have confirmed the Faire participants and gotten rough estimates of how much stock each person is sending,
- I have contracted with a local design team with some slack time in their workroom to make up a ton of stroller blankets for me. I've been madly cutting out blankets this weekend so that all they will have to do is stitch them up,
- After a great deal of back and forth on what would constitute an effective promo pack, we have decided to just put out racks of business cards - a rack with each person's merchandise and a group rack at the checkout area,
- We have settled on a free gift with purchase as the special for the Faire, rather than doing a drawing or some other form of giveaway. I have purchased 600 blank cards and ordered 600 photos of Gabriel's art to go on the cards. Gabriel and Corwin will be assembling the cards,
- I have ordered and received flap lock bags for protecting cards and packaging onesies.
- I have ordered and not yet received bags for sacking sales. I went with frosty plastic totes made from 100% recycled materials. Amazingly enough, this green option did not cost more than selecting the same style of bag made from new plastic. It did cost more than some other options, but not enough to make me shift away from wanting to use recycled materials,
- I contracted with www.rioosodesigns.etsy.com to revamp the look of my ETSY shop, design business cards, and a myriad other things with my new logo on them. She worked hard to get me what I wanted, and I got a lot of input from Merry Schooley about how to make the design reflect my product. I also got Sarah, Letitia, and Maggie to all look at the early stages of the design and comment on it,
- I scanned, cleaned up and cropped about 20 of Gabriel's drawings. I wasn't happy with the way they were before. Processing some of the art took a bit of a while, but would not have been possible without the help of Alayna's tutorial on removing the background from your photos in Gimp: http://alaynacreations.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-remove-background-from-your.html - I have this tutorial printed out and just put it on the stand next to my computer screen when I get ready to edit a picture. I don't need it as much as I did at first, of course,
- I made fifteen new onesies with the cleaned up and improved art. After I made the batch of onesies and took the first set of pictures, I showed them to Merry. She suggested that the shirts would look ever so much better with a colored border around the art appliqué. I felt like slapping my forehead. Why hadn't somebody pointed that out a year ago? Why hadn't I noticed? I settled on running a satin stitch around the edges of the ones already done, placing a piece of bias cut fabric underneath the appliqués that were prepared but not sewn on, and printing borders on future appliqués. Here is a before and after on one of the ones I had made up for the photos: http://tinyurl.com/5nccxs and http://tinyurl.com/55xu8w - I think it makes a huge difference. Back to the photo processor to add borders for me,
- I have taken a ton of pictures of Ethan in brand new onesies for use in the booth display. You'll just have to wait for the next post to hear about how they will be used. In the meantime, go to this place on my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cindyjoy/sets/72157604829460848/ and tell me which four photos you like the best, and
- I done a myriad of administrative things, but surely this post is already too long. Check back for the post on booth design. :)
Thanks for reading this post!