Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rain hit Houston this morning so I headed down into the network of tunnels that run under the city that office workers use to get around.  There is a whole other city down there!  Came up to ground level to visit Macy's and buy a jacket to protect me from the cold airconditioning in the convention centre. 70% off sale wow! Spent some time shopping - need I say more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Final Day of Quilt Market

Final day of the International Quilt Market today. We were busy with shops placing their last minute orders after having collected information over the previous two days and reviewing in their hotel rooms at night. This means lots of packing once I return home which is great news for a small business trying to grow, especially in these times.

The stand has held up well over the course of market. I was a little worried as it is all held together with pins and nylon line, hanging from 8 foot metal poles. There are things I will do differently next time but it was always going to be a steep learning curve.

Each morning and afternoon we all catch a show shuttle bus between the hotel and convention centre and it is fun to listen to all the ladies gossip about their day and talk about the shopping they have done for their stores. In terms of market research this is invaluable information and has given me a few tips for tweaking the range of patterns I offer in the US.

It has been frustrating at times being on a show stand as I have been unable to wander the isles to see all the wonderful things but I intend to go wild at Festival and see everything. As I mentioned the school house series of information seminars was very informative last Friday and I have been coming in early to walk up and down the isles looking at the displays in the booths, picking up ideas and finding some wonderful new products to bring out to Australia next year.

I will have a down day in Houston tomorrow and very welcome it will be as jet lag has caught up and the brain is becoming fuzzy. Some would say that is more to do with age than jet lag as I can feel the same way on any given week back home! Houston has thrown everything at us weather wise over the past week but I need to go shopping for a thick jumper in order to overcome the chilly air-conditioning inside the show venue so I will be ready for Quilt Festival which starts in three days. But more about that soon…

Friday, October 9, 2009

Houston Setup Day

Spent a strenuous afternoon setting up the stand at Quilt Market. Kept running into fellow Aussies. Strange to be on the other side of the world and hear your name shouted out across the exhibition hall by a friend from back home. There seems to be quite a few from Australia this year, exhibitors and visitors alike.

Back to the stand. I found it quite hard to create a nice display due mainly to the face the booth does not have any walls. There are white curtains but we are not allowed to hang anything from them or pin into them. The way the system works is your order a set or poles to hang on the inside of these curtains and from these you hang your quilts - easier said than done. The quilts came out of my suitcase all wrinkled, I usually just pull out the creases when I pin them to the stand wall but that won't work here. I did the best job I could but I will have to smuggle the iron from my hotel room in the morning so I can make an attack on the wrinkles and creases.

Everyone was so busy today setting up their own stands so consequently there were no wanderers checking out the other exhibitors. Therefore I have no feedback from anyone yet as to what they think of my designs. I have Blushing Romeo at the front of the stand and I would like get a feel for what people think of him. I am worried he maybe toooooo much for the US audience, but like him or not one thing for sure you will remember a pink zebra!

I got back to my hotel at 7.30pm and after a shower I am in the lobby writing this and watching baseball on the TV. There are quite a few people checking in, hopefully for Market tomorrow. I will sign off now as I have an early start in the morning.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Houston Day One

Had a very productive day. Visited my US printer to check on progress and they have worked wonders for me. The Pattern Place catalog looks great and all of the other materials are in the process of being completed. Everything will be delivered directly to our stand ready for action on Friday. Went on from there and opened a US bank account which was also a very smooth process. This was just like we see in the older movies where the back staff sit in the middle of the room surounded my a half height ornate wooden wall, large wooden desks with green bankers lights and fantastic service. So now I am all set for customers!

Given everything went so well in the morning I had time to slip out to the Galleria shopping centre in the afternoon to engage in a bit of window shopping. No really windows shopping I did not buy anything - well hardly anything. What I did find however was my favourate icecream palour - Haggen Daz and my one weakness Rum n Raisin icecream.

From the little I have see of Houston while out and about it is a lovely city, lush and green but where are all the people, for a major city it is so quiet. There is a vast network of tunnels underground so you can walk around without having to come up to street level and contend with the heat and humidity but even they are quiet. The tunnels are great but boy is it easy to get lost, a few turns and I have no idea where I am.

Currently I am in the hotel lobby bar where they have a WiFi network and I am the only female in the room, I guess that will change when all the quilters arrive for Market and later for Festival. Well today was a great day and I enjoyed every minute catch you all tomorrow.