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CHA 2012 Show Report - Part 2: Amazing!

(My table at the Designer Showcase - CHA 2012)

I'm finally back for part two of my CHA 2012 report. The first half of the first day of the show, as I said in the part 1 report was a bit of a mixed bag what with my various health issues and such, but it ended on a very high note after a very promising meeting with an art director from a large home decor company.

I was very excited about the other art director meetings I had coming up in the next two days, but the first order of business before those was to put my Designer Showcase table together. The Designer Showcase, a venue for individual industry artists, crafters, instructors and more to display their products and designs primarily for manufacturers and the press, was slated to run Monday and Tuesday in parallel with the show. We had about an hour to put our tables together before the show opened Monday morning. I was SO grateful to have the help of my niece and sister-in-law and brother who flew into town Saturday. And of course my sweet hubby John who was so incredibly helpful every step of the way!

The table turned out pretty well, but the process was not without some heartburn. I did not finalize many of the display items before we flew in - I simply packed all the needed supplies in a huge suitcase and counted on being able to work on them in the hotel before Monday. Well, that is exactly what I did, but I WAY underestimated how long it would take to get it all done. I was up until 2:30 AM finalizing it all - not a smart idea. But all in all, I was happy with it. Here are some of the details...

(combo chalkboard and magnetic memo board made from a baking pan)

(cutouts of some of the images from my new collections)

(cutout flowers with pipe cleaner stems)

(some current and past collections from my work with Universal Designs)

(Cupcake Cowgirl and Cowboy designs made into magnets for display)

We had a Designer Showcase reception from 6-8 PM Monday night which allowed us to stand near our tables and meet and chat with art directors, manufacturers and other attendees, as well as the other designers. I had a wonderful time at the reception and met a lot of wonderful people and even got some solid leads for possible licensing work. The best part to me however was meeting the other designers and artists - what a TALENTED and SWEET bunch of folks!!

Late Monday afternoon, on the exhibit floor before the reception, I had a meeting with art directors from a large fabric company, and it went really well. Also met with another fabric company and a partyware company on Tuesday - all great meetings with promising feedback and requests to send samples!! I just couldn't be happier with the way it all shaped up!!

By the way, I bought a pair of tennis shoes at Walmart early Tuesday morning and wore them on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I was like a new woman!! I really didn't care if it was stylish, it made me more comfortable and relaxed which really helped me have a better time. Anyway, I spent a lot of my time sitting behind my table across from clients who looked at my book, so the shoes were rarely even seen. I didn't care either way though - I was just so happy to be comfy! Live and learn...

I can't possibly name all the fabulous people I met and got to know because I would surely forget someone and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Suffice to say that the people were the highlight of the trip for me - from passers- by who said the nicest things, to my talented booth and Designer Showcase neighbors, and the wonderful new clients, and the CHA staff, and manufacturers and retailers - so many sweet souls who enriched my life in so many ways - what a blessing!!

And business-wise, I couldn't have asked for more!! I have a pile of work to do to get samples out and I am cranking through as fast as I can. The follow-up with these wonderful clients and new contacts is my full time job now and it's going great so far. I hope to have good news for you a little later in the Spring as *hopefully* new contracts come my way! We'll see, but even if nothing quite works out this time, I already have my foot in the door with a number of large and small companies and the benefit of face-to-face contact with their decision makers, so that is a very good thing indeed...  

Here's a tiny sneak peek montage of some of the designs I'm working on for the partyware manufacturer...just to give you a taste of what I've been up to...

Thanks to all of you as you have encouraged me in the various creative ventures I have undertaken. I am so blessed to have your love and support, and I am so excited to share this exciting new chapter with you!

One final note - thank you folks for your prayers for my family as we lost my Aunt Judy last week and attended her funeral on Monday. The family is grieving but doing really pretty well. My Aunt was loved by SO many people and they showed up in droves for the viewing and funeral. We are a very blessed family and I am so blessed for having her in my life...

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