I’ve been known to take on a little too much…try to do things a little too well and over-extend myself. This holds true of almost everything, working, playing, exercising…you name it. I don’t seem to be terribly good at balancing myself. This past month I decided to do 3 consumer shows, one basically after the next. Normally this wouldn’t be my choice as they are lots of work, but unfortunately for me they were all scheduled to fall one right after the other each weekend in May.
The first show was Paris, only an hour from my house. By far my favorite show since it seems to be the easiest to do and I’ve gotten to know the people around the area quite well after 3 years. It’s a tiny remote area but people come prepared to shop and it always has a good vibe. I only managed to forget half of my inventory at home on the first day…it’s a good thing we drove back home that night so I could have the rest of it for the Saturday show. Can you tell I’m not used to doing consumer shows? Normally at trade shows you never take product, only signage. I was so happy looking at the booth displays after we had set up and then started to put out the products to actually sell and wondered why I didn’t have any boxes left…ah…yeah…not good.
The next show was in Novi just outside of Detroit, the Mega Meet. I decided to teach at this show since most people go there to take classes. Classes take tons of work and preplanning and is normally why I stay away from them. My classes sold out in less than 24 hours though so I was pumped about letting people in on the great ways to use PDQ.
In the class after my little introduction I wanted to get started on the actual project, 4 pages from An Album in an Afternoon and I asked everyone to take out their photos and only I think 4 or 5 people out of 30 student brought photos. It turns out that although it was mentioned in the class description, most people only read the list of items to bring.
Now I have taught before…but having to "wing it" for an hour because we basically couldn’t complete the project without photos was a little stressful, even for me. The classroom was extra hot and I was wishing I had brought something that wasn’t going to show my underarm sweaty pits every time I lifted up a layout to show to the class.
Having your own business teaches you to think quick on your feet so I decided to focus on tips and tricks and basic design principles for the remainder of the 60 minute class since most couldn’t do the project. Stuff I think is very simple and obvious but that most people aren’t aware of (except for that one woman in the front row that was bobbing her head, rolling her eyes and yawning…seems she knew everything). Most of the students were really good about it and stuck around to hear what I had to say even though I’m sure they were thinking…"who is this chick?". A few people who did bring photos were able to complete their pages beautifully without any instruction during class…a true testimate of just how easy it is to work with the PDQ.
Some people didn’t want to cover the PDQ papers…of course that doesn’t work. You need to cover some part of it otherwise you can’t put your photos on. Some other students had already worked with the PDQ and were fantastic to have in the class since they were able to explain to everyone else just what you can do with it. Sue Pazur was one of them. She brought me by her album after the show to sign and I was delighted how she had done such a fantastic job. I’ve done a layout with her with one of the new lines I have yet to name…
Of course the other manufacturers that were in the same booth as me…Art Declassified, Memories in Uniform, Croppin’ Companion and Timeless Touches were lots of fun to hang out with after the show. Eating, laughing, drinking and having a great time…it was so much fun to reconnect with them all and see how each one is doing something different and unique with their company. We have a great synergy between us all, but best of all we can laugh. In fact we were laughing so hard when we went to the Melting Pot one evening the management decided to "not-so-causually" close us off from the rest of the restaurant. Ah…we can take a hint guys!
I’ve taken some candid shots of almost everyone in the group showing off one of the newest lines that I’m hoping will be ready for Sept release…it’s called Tag.