Staying true to myself (planning for my first Quilt Market with 3 months to prepare).

(This is the 2nd post in a series about my exhibiting at my first Quilt Market. Be sure to read the first post.)

August 2016 was all about learning as much as I possibly could about Quilt Market, what exactly goes on there and what I could expect. Craftsy had reserved my booth, set up the initial logistics and then passed along all of the paperwork to me. The space was rented, it was up to me what was going to be in it—super exciting, but also a bit scary.

The first step was to learn as much as I possibly could about Market. I scoured the internet for photos and blog posts. I made a list of anyone I knew who may have been to or exhibited at a Quilt Market. When the time came for me to have specific questions (specific being key here), I reached out to them to ask if they had advice about whatever question I had. I am so grateful for how open and helpful those individuals were.

I spent the month of August thinking about what I wanted to convey in my first booth at Quilt Market and what I wanted it to look like. Planning for how I was going to make it happen came in September. While there are first time exhibitors at Market, there are also designers that have been doing this for years (or tens of years) and I would be among large companies with much larger resources. There’s a lot to look at and I had to think about how I was unique and how I was going to stand out.

floor plan of Quilt Market 2016 ::: see that little red square—that was my booth
floor plan of Quilt Market 2016 ::: see that little red square—that was my booth

The thing I kept telling myself is that I just had to stay true to myself. What is my story/style? If I was an attendee , what would I gravitate towards? Through the entire process, those were the questions I asked myself, especially when I was stuck on something.

At the beginning of August, I had three self-published patterns, with one about to released. I knew that those four patterns were going to be the focus of the booth. I challenged myself to get two additional patterns (that were already in the design phase) finished up. This would give me six patterns to promote at Market.

I thought about overall look and feel of my brand. My style is very clean and graphic and I knew the booth should represent that. I wanted my quilts to be the focal point. I started thinking about which quilts would have the most graphic impact and which represented me best as a designer. I did VERY rough schematic mockups of the walls like this one:

very early schematic of the walls for my booth
very early schematic of the walls
wcs_roughquiltmarket_layout2
early draft of wall layout for booth

I knew I needed some furnishings, but again wanted to keep it simple and uncluttered. The booth was 10’ x 10’ —not large at all, especially when you think about traffic flow and two people (myself and Jason) standing in the booth most of the time. Display space for patterns and collateral and storage were the must haves.

By the end of August, I had a good idea of what I wanted the booth to look like, but details like exactly how I was going to show six quilts with only two display walls and what 3’ table I was going to use and how would I get it to Houston from Connecticut were not yet determined.

September was all about honing in on design details and logistics (and a few minor panic attacks). Next week, I’ll be posting about how deep breathes, lots of Excel spreadsheets and good friends with excellent taste in furniture helped with these preparations.

(If you haven’t already, be sure to read the first post in this series.)


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