Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And We're Off! - My first year at One of a Kind

Today, at the Chicago Merchandise Mart,  I set up the best indoor booth I've ever put together.  One of a Kind begins tomorrow and we are participating!

This event costs more than 5 times the average fee that I will pay for a show.  What do you get for that much money?  After setup and before sales here is what I think I paid for:

  • A 4 day show (I usually do two day shows)... so that is worth at least double my usual fee
  • For 2 of the days we get a venue filled with working people who actually appreciate the uniqueness of hand made gifts, who don't have to leave their office building to attend.
  • Really nice, careful dock workers who unload your vehicle and magically transport your entire display and stock to your booth
  • A 10x10 space with 6 lights, carpet and a garbage can
  • Amazing advertising - my Mom saw an ad in the opera program a month ago!
  • walls with drywall that you can nail into, glue onto or use in any way you please
  • Storage space for extra inventory and packing materials
My usual setup (including building the canopy) takes about 4 hours. I was at the Mart today for 10 hours, but that was partially because our booth was restructured after we started to setup.  This restructure was to our benefit so I am definitely not complaining.

Because of the high cost and great opportunity I set the goal of coming to this show with at least 4 times my usual level of stock.  I also weeded out nearly half of what I have been carting around because it no longer fit my continually refined displays.  Those pieces will go into my next set of tie dyes (assuming that they sell as well as I think they will!)  I ended up with 12 boxes when I can usually pack in 4 and these boxes are packed more efficiently.  I think I made it!  To do this I fused EVERY DAY that I was in town from September 1st to December 2nd.  Not all of the results worked out, but I did get a lot done.  And I am ready for a short vacation from my workshop.

I'm tired and I need to get some sleep for tomorrow ... check back and see what I think after the show!

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