Quilt Market & Festival 2016- Two CRAZY Weeks in Houston

So…

now that the 2016 version of the International Quilt Market & Festival is in the books, here’s the low-down on how the shows went for us!

houston16

The big news of the year is that we actually DROVE to and from Houston this year. And just to be clear, Houston is 1115 miles from our home so this was a BIG decision for us, especially considering how much my husband dislikes long road trips, but between the freight charges which are always considerable, and the union fees for cartage between the loading dock and our booth (which were astronomical last year), we both felt we had no choice but to drive this year.

So how did it go? Actually… and surprisingly…. not bad! The weather cooperated and we somehow got it all loaded into our car without a trailer. We stopped for the night in Gulfport, MS and drove into Houston ~130pm with optimum traffic conditions. The skyline was definitely a welcome sight (above).

grbrown16

Upon arriving we found Houston in MUCH better shape than the muddy, flooded mess we left it in last Fall which was the good news. The bad news was that the much anticipated completion of the GRBrown Convention Center construction improvements (pictured above), which were to include new restaurants and lots of other fun stuff was in fact, NOT complete. They’ve got less than 100 days until the Super Bowl, and from what I can observe, quite a lot to accomplish in that period of time.

booth-fall-2016

Here’s how our booth set up looked for the opening bell of Quilt Market on Saturday morning. No big changes this time except for the addition of the two video cameras which you can see on top of the opposing corner poles. I’m grateful to report that our samples all returned home with us safe and sound. Can’t say that the video cameras played a part  or not, but I can say one of my fellow designers lost not one but TWO thefts during the course of Market & Festival. So sad & disheartening.  🙁

sneekpeek16

The “Sneek Peek” area was located in a new (and better) location this year out in the main lobby area of the GR Brown Center and here’s how our display looked for it. Since we didn’t attend Spring Market in Salt Lake City, both the Everyday Attache AND the Walkabout Wallet were new for us.

1031160939And as scary as it sounds, a Werewolf was seen in our booth on the last day of Market (which coincidently was Halloween) and was also reported to have been terrorizing several vendors on row 1100. (And here I thought we left that wolf head at home!)

houstonfamily

As always we had a complete day off in between Market & Festival shows and this year I was REALLY pleased to be able to get out of the downtown area to visit a favorite aunt, uncle & cousins! Since we had a vehicle this year, our original intentions were to drive to their house, BUT we reconsidered that idea once we saw that  1) the traffic in Houston is pretty darned scary almost ALL the time, and 2) we had a superb parking situation in terms of vehicle safety and load-out convenience and we didn’t want to lose either, so…. I am proud to announce that we “Ubered” our way there! Yep, we are the newest Uber converts and we highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet! We had a fun visit with my relatives and came back rested and refreshed for 5 Festival shows!

gitteaAnd of course my absolute favorite thing about vending at these shows is getting to reconnect with old friends and to meet and get to know new ones.

In the photo at left is Gitte Andreason. Gitte has a patchwork shop in Denmark and literally sells more of my patterns, zippers and hardware than any other shop in the WORLD (and I swear I am not making this up). We’ve been communicating for several years via email and I was super thrilled to finally get to meet her and her hubby! I tell her all the time that I’d love to learn and bottle her secret so it could be taught in a schoolhouse series at Market, because she is a completely amazing entrepreneur!

So there you have it!

Another Market & Festival is in the books. I hear that the preliminary numbers for Festival were down about 30% this year, but I also heard from the old-timers that this is a common election year phenomenon and given the tumultuous nature of this years election, not entirely surprising. We were pleased with this years show nonetheless and arrived home safe and sound spending one night in Montgomery, AL on the return trip. Now we’ll regroup, celebrate the holidays and then turn our eyes toward sunny southern California in mid-January. Will we see you there?
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And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

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