Already more than one week has passed since the show ended and I feel like I am still recovering from the intense excitement and the long drive. I never walked in Surtex before I exhibited, although I walked in Printsource last year in January, so I had a little bit of concern about the overall booth setup until the first installation day. Everything went well without any major problems (even though I accidentally brought non-adhesive velcro!), however I think I will do much better next time.
Many beautiful and unique patterns at the show pleased and inspired me and the most important thing was that I received a lot of insight where I was standing, including why people liked my work and how I can grow. It is unbelievable that you can learn so many things in only three days and I have a clear mind that Surtex was a good decision. Another benefit was that the National Stationary Show and ICFF were held at the same time and I was able to walk and look around quickly. I would like to give a full day to see more in the future, because the shows are so huge and I couldn't see everything, even though I walked almost 20 miles/hr down every aisle. Also, many NSS exhibitors walked in Surtex to find their next designs, so there could be great benefits for Surtex exhibitors.
I had a lot of information from other designer's blogs about Surtex when I prepared, so I would like to share some my opinions for the prospective first-time exhibitors as well.
-If you do not have many existing clients, display your work a little bit larger. I saw some artists who's work was displayed too tiny, with too many works were on display, which can make it difficult to read your style at a glance.
-Your favorite designs will be people's favorites. People remember you through your distinctive style.
-You do not have to bring so many quantities of work.
-Many buyers ask for holiday themes.
-Many European companies ask for outright sales, so be prepared to think about that, even though you don't have to decide at the show.
-I know this is hard, especially if you travel far, but if you can bring somebody to be your companion it would be a tremendous help to not only move-in and out or carry, but also to grab lunch, go to conference sessions, look around NSS, ICFF shows and chat with your neighbors.
-Comfortable shoes (my last day I wore flip-flops).
These are my personal opinions, so please take this as one of many references.
Also my two designs, potted plants (Topiary Sanctuary) and coffee (Coffee House) were featured in Stylesight as a part of the Surtex 2014 trend report and I am very honored.
Stylesight is a subscription-based fashion/design driven content/technology company and I was lucky to have free access from the ABSPD course for a while. I don't think I can share the contents because of copyrights, but here are a few glimpses of my designs.
There are many artists also stopped by my booth and it was nice to meet them all. When I walked in Printsource last year I felt awkward and did not want to bother anybody. The only booth I had stopped by was designer Jane Dixon's booth and she was so nice to me and gave me a lot of valuable advice. I found out that Jane was also exhibiting at Surtex this year, so I stopped by her booth quickly to thank her again. It is always nice to meet some designers who support each other and I cheer them as well. My neighbors, like Mary-Kate and Brian from MK Studio from California (Brian made me laugh all the time!), and lovely Taiwanese girls, like Feng Liang from Feng Liang Design, Nina Edwards, Yu Hsuan Huang, Anais Lee and another Korean designer named Susie Lee Jin from ASNY Art Group, and lastly Kelly and John from Kelly RIchardson Images were awesome people and helped to make happy show experience. I hope to see everybody again. Also without my husband Sean, who has now returned to editing video again next to me, this amazing journey wouldn't have been possible.