It was my first thought when I walked in the door. I have never been to a Stitches conference before and I understand that this one was MUCH smaller than in years past, but I was still WOWed!
I was in attendance out of the kindness of one of my wholesale customers, Suzi at knittingranch.com . She invited me to tag along at her booth and bring my ABLETs. How could I turn that down? I had considered going on my own, but couldn’t figure it out what with having to be there all day every day for 4 days and a nursing baby and no help at the booth and the expense… and Suzi solved all my dillemmas in one fantastic phonecall!
So, as many of you know, preparations began in full swing. For about 3 weeks I glued and beaded and chained and packaged whenever I could. I had many dear friends offer their help. I ended up with about 100 to bring with me.
Well, to make a long story longer…
Friday: Ted stayed home from work to watch the baby. Rowan and I drove to Hartford early Friday Morning with my basket. Suzi had said she had a display so I needn’t bring one. Folks rummaged through my basket all day. Rowan worked hard, demonstrating how to use the ABLET and even up-selling for a conversion kit. I sold a few, not a lot, but enough to break even on my expenses. Comments were all very positive and enthusiastic and everyone seemed to think it was a really neat idea. Several people liked them enough to slip them discreetly into their bags when we weren’t looking. I was a tad discouraged. I knew a nice display would help, so I plugged through my exhaustion when I got home and slapped a display together.
Saturday: I wrote up a sign “Win an ABLET knitting Abacus drawings at 12:30, 2:30 and 3pm” We had a lot of people sign on to our raffle at that point. 3 times on Saturday an announcement was made over the loud speakers
“So and So you have won an, um… AB… ABLET, um… knitting… abb-ack- oos, please go to the Knitting Ranch, booth 204 to collect your prize.”
It was great for me, because people came over to see what it was all about. I had to demo over and over (no Rowan) and my throat was getting sore, but… By Saturday Afternoon, I heard “OH… so that’s the knitting abacus everyone is talking about.” WOW.
I managed to give a birthday present to Rick, one of the editors of Knitter’sMagazine. It wasn’t his birthday, btw, but my note that I left telling him I had a birthday present for him got his attention enough to get him over to see me 😉
The editor of Moo Dog Knits came over and took my picture. She said she’d call for an interview this week.
Sunday: While the marketplace was much slower, my sales steadily increased each day. I had to arrive quite late because of dropping the kids at Sunday school. When I got there, Suzi said a bunch of LYS owners had come over asking for my card and that a sales rep had also stopped by interested in talking with me.
By now, many folks new what I an ABLET was and were bringing their friends over and showing them how to use this great new tool.
Since things were a bit slower, I was able to go around and network a bit more. I spoke with several vendors who were all so supportive and enthusiastic. They shared details and ideas for my own booth (maybe next year).
I particularly liked Mocha’s Fiber’s booth, for a small 10X10 space, which is probably all I’d need. ABLETs are quite compact. Her hand painted yarns are exquisite, btw. If you knit, you must check them out!
I met a couple who travel the world going from yarn conference to yarn conference who have gorgeous silk ribbon. I bought some to use with my ABLETs and I’ve already made one up with it. I think I’ll be switching, as long as it doesn’t fray.
I even met a charming couple who were LYS owners all the way from Australia!
When the show was ending, I grabbed what was left in my basket and ran through the marketplace handing out freebies to any LYS owners who seemed interested. I probably gave away as many as I sold. It was such a fun and exhausting weekend. And I have Suzi to thank for it. She agrees, that all in all it was a terrific show for me. She told me that when I’m rich and famous I’d have to pay her booth fee.
Well, Suzi… now you have it in writing! What you did for me deserves a good turn. I hope your business is every bit as successful as mine… um, that is if mine’s successful, cause if it’s not that wouldn’t be a particularly good wish for you, now would it 😉