"This is me...does any of this feel like you?"
My cards and prints are the work that flows out of me everyday. The truest work I have ever created. And standing beside them at the National Stationery Show in NYC this past May was the very best feeling.
Doing a wholesale show is a really big deal to pull off. Especially if you have never done one before. A before and after for sure.
I felt like I was building a stage and doing a one person play where I act out ten characters and I sell the tickets and make popcorn. It was lots of work, time and financial commitment.
And when it was all over, I gave myself a little standing ovation. I told my story. And I told it in the truest way I knew how by using recycled materials everywhere I could in my booth and in my products. My cards are made from tree free cotton left over from the textile industry. They feel so good to touch.
Each card design begins on my sewing machine. Thread is a huge part of my work. Once I had the idea for using vintage thread spools to hold up my cards and prints, the rest started to come together.
I use string and clothespins everywhere in my studio and I loved how they looked in my booth.
All of my favorite pieces from my studio were part of my display. Not only did it "feel" like me, it felt like my creative space, which always soothes me with soft mismatching chairs, luggage that doubles as storage and my beloved half ladder filled with recycled flowers.
My logo was cut from salvaged packing plastic just like my recycled words. The "D" in the word "studio" was missing a little piece and that too became part of the story.
Inspiration and salvation are part of each card and print. And part of me too.
And then there were the people who came to visit and help out. I am so grateful for them.
And they showed up with coffee, ideas, energy, healthy snacks and encouragement.
From the left in the photo above, first up...Darice Pauselius. I simply could not be at NSS as calm and prepared without her. She is half of the creative team that created my website and does my branding.
Matt and Darice get me. For all the work that we do together, you would think we would talk more. But she just knows. And so does Matt. Darice formatted every card, created my wholesale catalog, my business cards, and all my marketing material.
Darice is part of my team. She knows what I stand for. She knows her business and injects and gently suggests other options if she feels what I am requesting will not work...or is straying from what I stand for.
And next sits my dear friend Heather Davulcu, a creative force who can talk about my cards and art perhaps more articulately than me. She debuted her work on Surtex side with her agent. Oh, she is one to watch. Trust me. Her illustrations will be coming to your home soon. And yet, here she sits with me as her agent and their team present her work just steps away to delighted companies across the globe. I am so grateful.
Did I mention she was here to put my booth up and pack it all up? A crazy good person she is.
And then Carole, who shows up when I need her. Often. I was doing an art show last fall and Carole came by at closing time to help me pack up. She just showed up. With a snack. How lucky am I to have a friend like this? Carole reps many lines successfully and I am hoping she will rep mine locally. Carole took an altered book class of mine....many of them. And became a close and treasured friend.
One of the best things about doing the NSS was Heather and I stayed with close friends I met at an art show ten years ago. Carol and Michael are two of the most amazing people I have ever met...did you click on the links? Dreamy, I know. They have two nests, one of which is in Weehawken, N.J. Lucky us! We were spoiled with comfort, love, color and creativity.
Above is Heather and I the morning of the first day of the show in their cozy home.
And this is me the last day of the show waiting for a big skid to take all my displays to the curb to pack up. Heather took this shot. Yes. So tired. But so happy.
What you don't see here are the pictures of my husband carrying my booth in, setting it up and coming back to take it all down. And there were all the times he told me "you can do this" when I was getting ready. I needed to hear that...and I always need him.
So how did it go? Amazingly. I had three products that were nominated in the "Best New Product" category, ten new wholesale accounts and counting, and a really great licensing opportunity..
But most of all, I know this is what I want to do forever...reach people with my words and art in small but powerful ways though greeting cards and prints.
I am going to follow up with another post on exactly how this show came together for me with details on how I built my booth and what I learned. My hope is that I can help someone else feel ready for their first wholesale show.
ps. My cards are in my shop. Take a peek. I am so proud of them!