(Above: My booth ... trial set up ... here at Mouse House! Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
Steve and I are both more than a little nervous about the upcoming Buyers Market wholesale-only trade show of fine American crafts at the Philadelphia Convention Center this coming February 16 - 18. We've never done anything quite like this. The expenses and risks are staggering. The contracts, paperwork, union rules, insurance, travel arrangements, and logistics are mind-boggling. I've sat through a great on-line "webinar" presented by the show's organizers, talked to other artists who sell through such events, and read everything twice. Tri-fold brochures and plenty of business cards are packed. I even have a "sign" ... with my name ... as a form of "branding". It announces one of my pieces as a finalist in the Niche Awards and the fact that I won this award in 2011. The "webinar" was so in depth that it reminded artists to select professional attire. I've got my wardrobe selected too!
(Above: Space on our first floor ... cleared and ready for the booth set-up.)
The only thing we could possibly do before picking up the rental cargo van and packing was to conduct a "trial run" of our set up. After all, the ProPanel booth is brand new. So ... Sunday was the day. First, we had to move my sculptural door units, print bins, and several other pieces of furniture out of the way. This took an hour!
(Above: Steve sweeping!)
I don't think we've seen this much free square footage at Mouse House since we moved in over fifteen years ago! Steve insisted on sweeping. I have no idea why. It isn't as if these linoleum squares actually are as "black" and as "white" as they appear in the photo. Whoever eventually ends up owning this building after us will have no other choice than to replace the flooring! This is a "work area" ... a very well worn work area!
(Above: Steve and the unrolled carpet.)
Finally, we unrolled the carpet. It was purchased at Bill Mishoe's auction. Originally, it was bigger than 10' x 10'. I hand cut it outside ... on the parking lot. So ... yes ... we basically swept an impossibly damaged and dirty floor in order to roll out a carpet that had last covered a parking lot! The carpet does show some signs of use ... but nothing that will prove problematic in the under-lit convention center. The place almost requires vendors to bring their own, professional lighting systems.
Fortunately ... we bought lights!
We also purchased matching "flaps" that velcro onto the bottom of the walls ... hiding the support legs.
(Above: Our Booth ... set up at Mouse House!)
It took only an hour and a half for us to go from unrolling the carpet to having the entire booth set up. Now that we know what we are doing, I'm sure we can manage it in less time. With luck, this is how my work will be presented later in the week ... in Philadelphia ... for gallery owners, interior designers with store front locations, museum gift show buyers, and other high-end wholesale buyers. Once I've secured my "photo badge", I'll be allowed to snap photos of my booth! We are excited!
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the assistance of Max and Shadow who have adopted the booth as their current favorite spot for sleeping! Anyone in the Columbia area is welcome to visit Mouse House to view this "booth" in the middle of our sales area ... until Wednesday when we pack the rental cargo van!