Saturday, November 1, 2008
What's It Like, Market?
This was my first time at the Houston Quilt Market. Well, ANY market for that matter. I had always wondered what this mysterious event would be like and it did not disappoint! so here are my impressions:
1. It's enormous in scale. I have been to the Houston Quilt Show twice before and found that to be overwhelming but this has an entirely different feel.
2. It is non-stop from the moment one arrives til closing. Go Go GO!
3. Just like at the Show, if you see something of interest and plan to return for more info, consider well marking down the booth number because chances are you will NOT remember where you saw it or for that matter, you might even forget exactly what it the heck that thing was but it caught your attention and you really REALLY need to go back and check it out more fully. Yeah, good luck with that!
4. Wear good walking shoes, cuz you're gonna do some. (side note: I just bought a pair of Wolkys shoes in time for this weekend and found them to be money well spent. Just sayin') I traversed the George Brown Center I can't tell you how far in miles but let's just say I WISH I had that odometer on me. I racked up the mileage. And still I doubt I saw every aisle.
5. So many beautiful fabrics...... too many. I pity the buyer who has to make the executive decisions on what to order for the stores. They know their customers and they know their own tastes but you never know what will sell in the future. And like clothing, some lines are fadish and some eternal. The trick is getting your stuff in a timely fashion. (Case in point: Just after Katrina, the fleur de lis became the RAGE here in LA and we got around 4 bolts in and they flew out! We were able to reorder one or two bolts then nothing! And the customers kept asking for more. We'd get phone calls from around the state. It is so hard to give a negative response to a customer. What happened to all that fabric? Why weren't companies making more of an obviously popular motif? Can't say for certain but in end, we had our very own made and have bolts of it now waiting for the surge to reappear. In the meantime, customers come in, see it and snag a few yards because they remember! It isn't always available.
6. Classes. Big thing here. Now School House is the day we travelled in herds from room to room and heard shpeils from authors and tool makers and teachers on new and old things that they of course want us to buy and demonstrate in the stores. Good for sales, good for them! Some classes give away products to everyone in the room and some hold raffles. I did indeed win one book in a raffle and that was the only thing I walked away with from SchoolHouse, other than ideas. Sadly the book I WISh I had won was the one from the class just before and it was neat. The winning book was nice and well-written with clear photographs (a quality book really), has interesting blocks to make but requires another purchase of templates and ends up wasting ALOT of fabric (a no-no as far as I am concerned.) So that's 2 strikes against it and as a teacher I would not recommend suggesting this as a class for the future but I get why the publishers were pushing it.(duh)
7. Food. Is awful at the convention center. And not much time to eat so that's a wash. But the restaurants in Houston are terrific.
8. Houston is my hometown and I have not lived there for 30 years. I still think she's beautiful.
9. By Sunday afternoon, energies are flagging, people have a noticable droop to the shoulders and feet begin to take on a plodding tempo. You can see it in the eyes of the vendors as well. And a sense of panic takes over me. I have found that some booths allow the purchase of patterns and/or fabrics in small quantities and as I know there are some we will not be carrying and I rather like, I go in search of purchase and do come away with a little. I do mental calculations later that evening and determine that I need one more roll to make the quilt from one line but as we are heading out the door Monday afternoon, I chicken out in requesting the purchase of additional fabric (I figure I can find more on the Net once it's out in the public.) Why? you ask.... well I didn't want to feel greedy. I did just buy one roll and one fat quarter bundle at wholesale price and that was SWEET. ANDDDDDD the Houston Show was starting in a few days and I don't know if those unsold rolls and quarters are going to be sold a full price to someone else who will love them as much as I did the day before. It's that whole "lagom" thing I have stuck in my head.
10. Would I do it again? Uhmm.. if I had been asked the day I got back home the answer might be less enthusiastic but now with time and rest I can sincerely say, "Oh HELL YES! That was a BLAST!"