Monday, July 21, 2014

Countdown to CHA ATL 2014, Day 9

(To follow the entire saga, view my blog archives...this is my Quest to get into the Craft and Hobby association trade show in Atlanta...and yes. I'm going!)

Saturday, I attended the Scrapbook Expo in Duluth, GA.  My scrappy friend Nancy asked me to go and I had to think long and hard about it.  NOT! 

This was the perfect opportunity to do a little networking.  I knew Spellbinders was going to be there and so was Richard Garay, who I'd been tweeting with recently.  I stalked that booth like a Mountain lion ready to pounce it's prey, until the ever fabulous Mr. Garay made an appearance.  When I finally spotted him,  I parted the crowd, shoving old ladies and their tennis ball enhanced walkers out of my way, running in slo-mo with my bags flapping in the wind. 

The less dramatic version??  Ok, ok, yes, I did perform a bit of Crafter-azzi, with minor lurking, but no old ladies were harmed during the impending meeting with Mr. Garay.  A short but professional conversation ensued with parting comments about the upcoming CHA show.

Guess who else I met?  Wendy, the illustrious owner of Queen and Company!!  Many months ago, while searching for sponsors for Mountain Plains Crafters, I had emailed Queen & Co a couple of times, but never got a response.  I am well aware that there are only so many crafty blogs you can donate to or sponsor, so I left it alone.  While chatting up a gentleman working that booth, I thought I'd make a final inquiry and stab at sponsorship, when this sweet lady turns around and hands me a piece of paper with her email written down.  It was Wendy!  I knew she looked familiar.  Good grief, I've been to their company website so many times, follow them on Facebook, have posted my own projects to their site....but never expected to see Wendy herself.  Can I say she was lovely, sweet and funny with this Crafter-azzi?  I love her!  My design team went nuts when I told them.  Of course, I stocked up on bubbles and polka dot washi tape.  I seriously wanted to scream to all the shoppers nearby, "hel-lo people!! Do you know who this is??!!" 

Me and Wendy 

Me and Jenny

Another crafty guru that was there?  Jenny Bowlin!  Wow, I never expected to meet so many crafting designers that I love, follow and adore.  I got to meet her super sweet family too.  They are precious folks.   While making my puchase, the power in the entire building went out.  Complete and utter darkness fell. You could hear nervous giggling, oohs and ahs from every direction.  What to do?  Whip out the cell and turn on the  flashlight app so Mr. Bowlin can complete my purchase.  Yeah......we bonded.

 Being at the Expo was the perfect time to practice my reporting skills on a few store owners, and they were gracious enough to consent.  I learned a lot about the economy and the blow that small store owners have taken;  the merging of companies, the lack of supply in some products...and so on.  A busy, fun-filled, interesting day.

One final shoutout to my sweet niece who whipped out matching t-shirts and a tote bag for me and my friend to advertise my blog.  They definitely garnered a lot of interest.  Thanks Anna at Little Mann's!