Sunday, May 4, 2008

American Baby Faire


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!

3 comments:

Kelly said...

Wow, lady! You've been busy! Looking forward to hearing about the design of the booth. Good luck!

Crafty Mama said...

Good luck with the faire! I would love to see pictures of the booth all set up.

Merka said...

Great looking blog, Cindy. Best of luck with the faire :)