My First Booth at a Quilt Show

Categories: BlogBy Published On: August 19, 201948.6 min read1062 words11 Comments

Hi friends,

I thought I would share about my first time having a booth at a quilt show selling my patterns & kits.

I was at the North Central Washington Quilt & Fiber Art Festival in Wenatchee, WA.

First of all I drove with a trailer and I had to back it up :

It took me 3 times to do this in a fairly empty parking lot. *yikes* and I practiced with the bigger trailer. ( I Know) …..also my husband thought that putting a wheel on the bottom of the hitch thingy would be a great idea….in theory it is. But it was dragging on the bottom as I was driving. So I got off to a bad start. I had to drive through town to get to the local mechanic shop and ask them to help me get it off because It was so loud and dragging. So embarrassing. Rob always does this type of thing to me. He never checks anything and it fails on me. Most times. And of course he wasn’t available to fix it. *sigh*

I picked up my friend, Sabrina to head out of town and we met Sally at the center for the show. Immediately we realize the quilt hangers that I bought aren’t for quilts…and we need a different option. Sally was out shopping for everything and picking up lunch. She became our go-to girl.

I had bought a few displays and one of them is amazing and worked perfectly. The other one kept breaking and falling apart. I kept re-configuring and re making….it completely crashed and fell apart into the booth behind me and that was the end for me. One of my helpers then tried….a swear word spilled out and now we all have flashes of stress when we see any component of this display. Never again. LOL. So we got as far as we could in our time constraints. I was at Walmart late at night buying tables to just set everything on tables. That was as good as it was going to get because I ran out of time, energy and patience at that point.

I have quickly realized that I need a double booth. In 6 months I have released 50 patterns on my own…and I have 20+ in magazines that will be making their way to my booth when my contracts are fulfilled…..not to mention the other 200+ I have designed waiting to be made.

So there is just no way to get all of this to fit in. I also have 2 very different styles happening and I think I need to be able to separate them a little. Showcase them differently.

I think for my first time it worked out fine. I learned so much in the last week. Seriously. Also I didn’t sleep well….and I didn’t get much sleep when I tried. I was so stressed.

This last one is the side of my booth:

Entwine was quite the “eye catcher” and brought people in …so I was glad to have that spot.

This is Lenora. She is sideways….I am not sure why it shows up sideways when the photo was imported normally. GRrrr! anyway…she was my first customer and supporter. She is always so sweet and kind!

So clearly this show is going to be completely different than any other show because I know so many of these people. I quilt for several of them & many of them are friends. I wanted my first show to be special like that because a good experience will make me feel better about the whole thing. It’s not a HUGE show …like we see on Social medias and what not…but who wants to learn all the kinks and what not in such a big arena? Certainly not me. If I fall flat on my face I want a soft place to fall. This was a great start.

However, I am not sure if the show life is for me. I will probably test out a few more. But I realized just how much work all of this takes and I will need help. I can’t do it on my own. There is no possible way. It’s a TON of work. It’s all a gamble. It costs a lot of money and you just never know if you are going to make a profit. I am not a good gambler. So I guess, if I need a ton of tax write offs and I feel like killing my back…this might be a good venture. LOL. But I am not sure I would want to do this very regularly. I am also not a person who likes road trips. I actually hate driving. So to drive somewhere, do all of the physical labor and take a gamble for profit? I am not sure that is really a smart way for me to work? I am going to have to think about it. I strive and do my best work in a routine. This is not routine.

Setting all of that aside I did do some networking and scheduled an embroidery work shop in Odessa, WA. They are going to carry some patterns and kits…and I will be there in November. Adding that to my calendar. I also made connections with an online shop that sells kits. I also learned that there is a quilt shop in Cle Elum, WA that is interested in carrying a few of my patterns. So the networking is what really worked out well. That is something to consider in this venture.

Sunday I was pretty worthless. I was so tired. I couldn’t make myself do anything. LOL. I am not used to that….So overall, I am happy with my first experience. I just have to weigh my options. I have to figure out what is really the best way for me to go and if this is truly the avenue that is good for me.

Thank you all so much for the encouragement and kindness. It was truly appreciated. I was a ball of mess Friday morning thinking I shouldn’t be doing this and feeling very insecure…..my friends came together and pulled me up. God has a way of making that happen for me. It’s an amazing thing.

Many Blessings to all of you!

Charisma

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11 Comments

  1. Shelly Hoffman August 19, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Sounds like your first show was a real learning experience for you..Have you just thought about selling online if shows aren’t your thing?! You’d probably do really well.. ❤️

  2. Carol K August 19, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Congratulations on your 1st show – I think your booth looks wonderful!

  3. Martie Dutro August 19, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    You well a dymo a long time ago and I loved corresponding with you on QB. You were so very kind to everyone besides being talented with your quilting. You did a quilt for me way back when. I lost every one of my quilts in a wildfire in Calif and I mourn them still. I am excited for you that you did your first show. YAY for the big and huge effort. You have two boys that were learning to quilt a while back. Can they help you with the set up? And the next big question now that you are back home was it worth doing. Love you! Martie in CA now GA

  4. Kathy August 19, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    You did amazing!! Wow your first show!
    You tackled all of the problems you encountered and learned along the way!! I’m so glad you had friends with you! That always makes life easier!! I can’t back up a trailer and
    Wouldn’t even attempt it! You DID IT!!! Keep on doing what you’re doing!! I see more success in your future!!

  5. Debbie Deardorff August 19, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Your booth looked great! and it was fun seeing you and your crew! I do know how much work it is to do an event like this and understand your thoughts! I will get easier and more routine! Great job on backing up the trailer! (I have trouble with my little teardrop so I get it)! Going forward is the best way to go! :)

  6. Dee August 19, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Good job proud of you, keep following your dream ❤️

  7. Sandy keefe August 19, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    You’re right. Shows are very difficult and costly in time, money and energy. What made it worse was the glitches. When you’re used to doing things right and things are not going right, it’s a HUGE cost in adrenaline.
    If you were to just sit down quietly and go through as much as you could remember and solve the problems, in your mind you might find that a system will make all the difference. Also, recruiting one of your boys or a reliable friend to do the drive and the setup would help. I think the shows are very important from a recognition standpoint and for networking. All in all, it’s one form of marketing that really is important unless you occupy a very singular and distinguished niche.

  8. Ruth Fruhauf August 19, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Congratulations on your first show!! I know how hard it is to back up a trailer and it looked like you did an awesome job (even if it took 3 try’s). I think it would be helpful if you set down and write up every thing the went good and everything that needs more work then see how you can make it all come together easily. I agree with some others about seeing if one of the boys could help with the driving and set-up. Maybe a day out alone (to a special restaurant of their choice, or movie) with them would give them a little incentive. Anyway, I think you did great. If you ever come to SW Florida I will be sure to come see you.

  9. Laura August 19, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    I wonder if you could make contacts to be a featured artist at some shows? It was great seeing you.

  10. kim August 20, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Great booth. It gets easier. You are off to a great start

  11. Hope August 21, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Doing shows is a learning process. I did them for several years. In the beginning you quickly learn what works and what does not. I was also self employed and it took time and money to plan, setup and man shows. Eventually, I burned out and the shows became less and less profitable as the shows kept upping rates and changing rules. I wish you luck and success with your endeavors.

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