AQS Quiltweek Paducah 2018: The Good & the Disappointing

So…

now that the 2018 version of AQS Quiltweek Paducah is in the books, its time for our show report where we tell you what we loved about this show and also what we didn’t… shall we say… love!

And of course anytime one talks about this quilt show, one MUST include the town itself as one of the trip highlights, because above any other place we’ve vended at to date, Paducah always seems the happiest to have us there. And by happy, I mean the WHOLE town… hotels, restaurants, gas stations, everyone… and many of the townspeople even volunteer their time to help out at some point during the show!


And you might remember from our last post that we had a brand new booth layout planned for this show based on our experience and what we learned while at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in February, and here’s how it turned out below…

As you can see on the left side of our booth, our larger bags were displayed here on a single level of grid boxes along with the patterns to go with them (just like at the MAQF). And since we wanted all of our hardware displayed on the front side of our booth again, we increased the height in this area to three grid boxes tall and everything fit just fine! Our smaller bags were displayed in front of the hardware on the table here and the only thing that needed to be on the top of the grid boxes this time was our Pippin clone cat. The zipper display (at the right side of the booth) remained the same as it was at the MAQF show with room up on top for our Festival Pocket Belt mannequin and of course out Joba clone cat.

So what was the verdict?

We were very happy with this setup. It functions both for us and for our customers as well as any set up we’ve tried to date (that’s amazing, right?). The down-side is that it takes a good deal of time to assemble all of the grid boxes and secure them with zip ties. I’m toying with the idea of a couple of tabletop grid walls in place of the front-facing gridbox section. This would go together faster with a smaller “footprint” which would give us more table area and we wouldnt miss the flat area on top of the gridboxes since we really dont use it for bag displays anymore (except for the Pippin cat). I’ll mull it over and make a decision later this summer.  🙂

So that’s the good… and now for the disappointing.

First off, our sales were down significantly for the 2nd year in a row. It’s debatable as to why. I really don’t think it was a function of our products since we were just coming off three of the very best shows we’ve ever had (the MAQF, Road 2 Ca, and the Quilt Festival in Houston). In Paducah we’re on the 2nd floor of the convention center and for some reason the foot traffic is just way down over what it was in the 2014 & 2015. Most folks (other vendors) seem to be attributing this to the Fall Show which was added last year. (if you weren’t aware, the folks at AQS added a second show to their schedule in Paducah in the Fall of 2017). The popular consensus is that AQS may have turned what used to be an exceptional show into to two somewhat mediocre shows. It makes sense to me but who knows.

Bottom line… I know most folks just don’t realize how expensive it is to take our shop on the road for a week so far away from home. (I’ll have to do a post about this soon!) It physically demanding and sadly a bit hard to justify given the results of both this and last year’s show! I know there were a LOT of other vendors on our floor who had similar complaints to ours and I discussed this at length with the show management. Maybe some changes will be made next year, but if not, we’ll have to seriously consider the possibility of not returning to Paducah, KY next Spring.

It would make me feel quite sad to abandon AQS Quiltweek Paducah and not come back to this area anymore. It would leave a hole in our schedule that would quite frankly be hard to fill, but for now I’m going to enjoy the next five “show-free” months and then make a final determination in the Fall when we have more information about what the situation will be for us in the future.

So there you have it! And now… it’s YOUR turn!

I’d love to know what your thoughts are on this subject. Do YOU think it was a good idea to add a 2nd show in Paducah, KY? And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.

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4 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I don’t think it was a good idea for a second show. In fact, I think AQS is WAY over-saturating their market. Too many shows leads to fewer people at each show. We lost our show in Des Moines, and I think it was because they added too many shows elsewhere. I hope they reassess, and change back to just the spring Paducah show. It was great because so many vendors were there. Now, vendor booths will start to dwindle.

  2. I didn’t go to the Spring 2018 show but did go to the Spring 2017 show. I had not been to a Paducah show in many years and was not sure what to expect crowd-wise. Just curious if AQS offers vendors a recap of attendance numbers each year? I heard many people at the Spring 2017 show comment that there were not as many attendees as years past but I have nothing to compare it to. When AQS announced a Fall Show, most people assumed it would mean smaller crowds at the Spring Show and small crowds at the Fall Show, just like Carmen wrote. Of course AQS insisted it would mean TWO completely packed totally awesome shows! I wonder how long it will be until the numbers tell the real story.

    • They did release the numbers, but I honestly dont keep track of attendance numbers from year to year, and AQS didnt indicate whether the numbers were up or down this year. It would be interesting to know. 🙂

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