There's No Place Like Home...
After 2 days of traveling, a detour in Maine to get sneakers for Nick and I at the New Balance Factory Outlet Tent Sale, picking up Wuffles from the pet store where he was being boarded and having to change his cage right away, picking up milk and bread to survive until we can do groceries and being SEVERELY TEMPTED to either mail my darling girls to Australia in a box or eat a 2 litre container of ice cream (I did neither... I blogged!) I can finally say that we are safely home!
The trip was a wonderful way to combine family fun and very necessary business. I honestly feel sorry for shops that never make attending trade shows a priority. Yes, they are expensive to do and require actually getting up off your chair, out of your comfort zone and traveling, but you get to see such a better perspective on the industry and its potential that you see staring at the same 4 walls all the time! Seeing the models from different designers and putting faces to the names (as well as zany personalities) has to be better than peering at a computer monitor to see what a new release looks like! I know that from a designer's perspective, I prefer to see store owners face to face now and then instead of just speaking with a voice over a phone or e-mail. If they deal with Hoffman during the year and never come to shows, then I never build that relationship that allows me to know who to recommend in a particular state when I get an e-mail from stitchers. I never hear about ways that I might be able to help them get new stitchers into the shops or entice stitchers who have fallen by the wayside back to the craft. I also don't get to spend the much needed time talking to other designers who actually understand what it is I try to do for part of my career!! The other Moms at the bus stop still really haven't figured out what I really do for a living, but when I share frustrations, joys or challenges with other designers, 9 times out of 10 they know what I mean or can imagine how that feels.
I also think that sharing information with newer designers is crucial to this industry surviving. There were so many designers who took the time to answer my basic questions when I first started out and I always vowed that I would try to do the same. That doesn't mean that I expect them to listed to the "Gospel of Jen"! By listening to how other designers approached things, I was able to find a path that suited ME. The more people's journeys you listed to, the better you are able to chart your own in a way that is true to your soul... and that applies to much more than just cross stitch!