Surtex re-cap, Part Two: What I've learned
1. PLAN SHIPPING WISELY. The first thing that I can improve upon is my shipping to Surtex planning. If I could do it over (and hopefully I will next year), I would ship to the advance warehouse instead of trying to ship directly to the show. You see, if you choose to ship directly to the show, you have to get your boxes there the day of move-in or the second day of move-in. If they arrive before, they'll be sent back to the shipper's nearest center. I decided to go that route, but when I got to the UPS store with my labeled boxes, I was warned that if I don't send 3day, I risk not having my boxes at all for the show. A one day delay between AZ and NY would have meant they'd arrive on a Saturday and UPS wouldn't deliver. I thus, decided to send the boxes 3day to my hotel. But the issue then was how in the world was I going to get my boxes from the hotel to the convention center? CABS?? OMG. No. I could have. And I understand people do, but OMG. No. Thank goodness for my friend Liz. She and her husband, Doug saved my butt! Not only did she bring furniture from IKEA, but they DROVE into NYC and helped us get our boxes from hotel to convention center. I was also really grateful Super Husband was with me. I could have done it myself, I'm sure. I've been there done that with Quilt Market, but was so happy to have his help.
2. SEND PROMO POSTCARDS TO POTENTIAL CLIENTS IN ADVANCE. I did this. It was a great success. Many of the people I sent cards to stopped by, and I likely have some great new business because of this. Remember to put your booth number on your card. Also... if you are making oversized cards, do check the USPS website for the regulations that show you where addresses, stamps and return addresses should go. They put a sticker on every post card at the bottom as it comes through, so you'll need to not put content in the bottom 1/4". But check out the their site for all the details.
3. ARRIVAL DAY. I did not need to get there Thursday night to set up on Friday. I could have arrived Friday afternoon and set up Saturday. It doesn't take as long to set up as Quilt Market does.
4. BOOTH DESIGN. I personally think this was something that I did really well. The booth really stood out. I knew I'd have that peacock low on the banner, and that it would need to really pop. So getting an IKEA coffee table, though it was a little more expensive (I spent $100 on furniture) really worked for what I was trying to acheive. I needed to have a good site line to that peacock as it was really central to the design. AND, having the booth look like a living room made people turn and stop to see all the details closer. Additionally, I made sure to have a good variety of art displayed. I even hung original paintings which I was actually advised not to do, but I ignored. But I'll tell you what... they got a lot of attention and I will likely have some great new contracts because of that... I MIGHT however make prints on canvas of them next time as I was a little worried about shipping originals.
5. PORTFOLIOS. This time I did portfolio books printed by BLURB. I liked them even though the color was a bit off. Next time I might do large printed sheets instead though. I think the larger format might work better for what I do. Think about what kind of art you are presenting. Mine might have been better larger.
6. PRESS KIT/LOOKBOOK. I think this was really really important. I had lots of info about my company and it gives a really good feel for who I am. I printed 50 of them, and I wish I had given more away at the show. I could have. I'm glad I didn't write SURTEX or my booth number anywhere on them because I am shipping leftovers to other potential clients. You can see my lookbook here.