After years of being in this needlework business, I have yet to make the trip to a Market or Show. I have met very few stitchers in-person, and really know very little still about how what makes this industry keep ticking.
I've stayed away from shows not for lack of desire to go, but for lack of desire to leave my kids for that long, not to mention the expense of the necessary air travel. I hear stories of designers loading up their cars and driving to Market, knowing that I could never do the same (unless I want to drive 11 hours a day for three days- nope).
So I've always known that I would most likely not be able to test the waters when I did decide to go to Market, but would have to dive in fully in order to make the trip cost effective. But a few key conversations with a few people in the industry, and I have decided to take the plunge and make an appearance at the Needlework Retailer show in Nashville at the end of the month. I can hardly contain my excitement! And I'm completely overwhelmed with all of the little details necessary to make it come together well...
Display stands for models... a gazillion patterns to print, fold, stuff... business cards and order forms and flyers... finishing two new designs and developing their covers... what to wear, what to wear, what to wear!... booking travel and a rental car... and wondering constantly what I could possibly be forgetting.
There is a lot of excited buzz about this show, being Needlework Retailer's first, and the attendance list is phenomenal. I hope I get a chance while I'm there to finally put faces to a long list of names.
Oh, and did I mention the only reason this trip has been made possible? If you're looking forward to seeing me there, you can thank Kathy Barrick, who is so generously letting me crash her show room and display alongside her designs. That's right, you'll find Heartstring Samplery and Kathy Barrick together in room 222. Come by and see us! I'll be showing close to 20 of my top sellers, including older designs that you may have never seen, and will have two brand new that will be released at the show.
The first new release is an exclusive pincushion that will only be available to those that purchase from me at the show, but will continue to be available exclusively to them until the end of March by ordering directly from me. I will then release the design to everyone else at the beginning of April. I'm still stitching madly away at this one, but here's a sneak peek (yes! flame-stitch! in bright Spring colors!)...
The second new release is an antique reproduction called "IL 1817" that you've seen a few sneak peeks of in the past few years. The antique is a gorgeous sampler that I bought from none other than Kathy Barrick a few years ago. It has taken me a long time to get its dense and faded stitches charted, and between Charity Watral and I, the model has finally been stitched.