TNNA is a Trade Show, but it is sooooo much more. I took a few photos backstage at the fashion show, but they are blurry so I have no photos at all.
I arrived in San Diego on Wednesday night. I was lucky to get a 25th floor room with a sweeping view (I love views of anything–even someone’s apartment). Although I love going off on my own, as soon as I am gone I miss my husband; that’s what happens when you have been together for 30 years. The next few days will be so busy I will barely have time to call him, let alone spend any time pining for him!
Thursday I was able to laze around until meeting with Jeane deCoster of Elemental Affects at 10 am for breakfast and getting ready for our class and a variety of TNNA responsibilities. By laze around, I mean work, but focusing on planning which is the thing that is always getting shoved aside in favor of producing things. I got a ton done! Yay. 2014 is going to be exciting! Jeane and I always have a lot of discussions as small business owners in overlapping but different segments of the Knitting/Yarn world. Thursday was no exception and a concept that literally popped into my head as she was talking proved to have some legs. More to come. Totally Top Secret right now.
Our class, a Professional Development class for Designers/Tech Editors in Knit and Crochet went really well. We had to rework it a bit because we had just a handful of students instead of the 22 we’d had the first time we taught it. Lucky students got a lot more hands-on practice. Jeane and I are both passionate about fit and the importance of having it be a component of hand knit garments because they take so long to make. Our class finished up on Friday morning. Thursday night I ate dinner with Sara Lucas at PrepKitchen. We were so busy talking on our walk home that we walked an extra 6 blocks. Or maybe it was the two huge glasses of wine we each had!
After our class I participated in the Professional Development committee of the Yarn Group. This arose from the Yarn Group Strategic Planning meeting I attended in Las Vegas in late October. Because TNNA is a member-run organization, change must be planned and it takes a while. This is hard for a bunch of entrepreneurs and means way more meetings than I can usually tolerate. Jeane brought me a wonderful chopped salad and went off to set up a booth.
I then went to trouble-shoot on the fashion show. The lovely volunteers had taken care of garment collection and other associated duties so I went off to check on the stage, lighting, backstage, etc. The San Diego convention center is very long. I walked a lot of blocks over the course of the next few hours. We do model run-throughs, lighting checks, dresser training, set up the dressing room, and handle a myriad of small things between 3 pm and the start of the show at 7 pm. We complicated the task by adding prize drawings with 30 of the 67 garments submitted. These were kits for the piece being shown submitted by the company/designer. 30 retailers got prizes. Before the show there are several other things going on, but I always work the show and haven’t participated in them. Lots of compliments on the fashion show. I like the backstage more than the show itself; the models were great and they drew names for the prizes which made it more fun for them!
Backtracking a bit to about 2 pm, it became clear that no arrangements had been made for setting up the silent auction and I was the only person not setting up a booth, so I did it. The women who work for the management company took care of all the details–I just set it up and then they made it look fabulous.
Post show was off to dinner with two friends and a shop owner who had been a dresser. A cab back to my hotel was necessary because I just didn’t have another mile in my feet.
I walked down to the Convention Center to kick off the day by manning the return of fashion show garments (which is nice, because you get all the compliments, and this time there were no complaints). By the time I had completed this job it made more sense to go get breakfast/lunch than to go directly into the show which opened at 10. So it was probably noon when I got inside the show. I had a couple of things to do and a 1 pm appointment–which was shoved ahead a couple of times to about 3 pm. I checked in with all my friends with booths, then walked the show to see what was what. Making connections with yarn companies, magazines, friends, other designers is what this show is all about for me. For someone who works solo these meetings–planned and spontaneous–are fabulous. I had many meaningful conversations but was ready for a glass of wine by the time the floor showed at 6 pm. Five of us went to the Hilton to unwind then go off to separate events. Jeane, Sara, Tina, Barbara & me. I learned from Barbara that “light ice” will get you a couple of ice cubes. I tried it on the plane home and it works!
I had agreed to go to a meet up that Tara Swiger had organized. I got there late and everyone was just getting food, but I was squeezed into the table and got a glass of wine and ordered food. Spent a delightful couple of hours getting to know the Yarnover Truck women and India Hart Woods (Market Researcher) which was an excellent and entertaining way to spend my time. India is very funny and entertaining. Again, a cab up to the hotel.
I get up early, which turns out to be really good when I realize that my class starts an hour earlier than what I had in my head. Fortunately I get to my classroom early and the class goes well, so what could have been a disaster wasn’t. I was definitely patting myself on the back for printing my handouts out the night before! Following the class I met with Tara Swiger for some “business counseling”. I am not a marketer and seem to always get caught up by that aspect of things. Tara is a wonderful leader of creative women to marketing places we didn’t know we could go. She always makes it seem possible–and her hot-pink person is always a pick-me-up.
I am mostly done with responsibilities so Sara and I leave the floor for lunch. Sara is so talented, but like most of us, finds it hard to market herself. We walk around and I introduce her to people with interesting products and opportunities. I put together a project for a magazine, look around more and do some catching up. I work up a dinner plan and coordinate meeting at the restaurant after the Designer/Teacher meeting. Dinner includes Tina, Sara, Valerie, and Paige. Plus me. We order way too much food, but every bite is delicious.
Is for tying up loose ends. Checking out of the hotel, checking on yarn to be sent, getting to the airport to get home.
I’m always energized and excited after TNNA. It is so easy to forget, while there, that I am only able to do a certain amount–and that regardless of my good ideas and good intentions, I can only do what I can do.