Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's time...

Surtex! That's right!!
Today, it is exactly two months until Surtex 2011, which takes place May 15-17 at the Javits Center in NYC. Believe it or not, for about six weeks after AmericasMart I was quite consumed with correspondence and follow-up from the show ( I am not complaining! :) No complaints here, nope, nope nope.) But now, the whip-lash is setting in— it is a mere eight weeks from my Surtex debut! (Wasn't last week January?)

I'm very, very excited for Surtex, I have to tell you. I have had the goal of exhibiting there for over five years now (I first discovered its very existence in mid-to-late 2005). To be in the position I am in today, about to exhibit at Surtex, *and* already having had my first art licensing trade show exhibition earlier this year, what can I say—it is a great feeling. I'm confident, I am proud of how far I have come, and I'm looking forward to the show BIG time. (Fun fact: Who knew I would enjoy the 'people' part as much as I do? Who knew? I love it!) You never know until you try, and when I decided to show at Atlanta, and finally exhibit, just exhibit, PERIOD, and break my streak of "dreamer-dom" into "doer-dom" when it comes to art licensing trade shows, it was very much like being at the end the diving board of a very large, very deep swimming pool... Now, throw on a blindfold.

It is cool what happens when you step up to your life that way, with conviction, belief and a never say die attitude... You certainly gain a better sense of yourself and what you have the power to accomplish... Doors open. And from a more practical perspective, sometimes you just have to dive in to see how you measure up, period. Also, there is no better litmus test to see where your work best fits in the market, or doesn't,  than to gauge who and what companies are attracted to your work.

We are lucky to live in the age of information and easy communication. Studying web sites is great. Email is great. What would we do without it? But if you want to row in the boat, you have to be in the boat to begin with... and to be in the boat, you simply have to exhibit, or have representation, at an art licensing show.  Hey, it's not easy, and why should it be? It's a business like any business. And nothing really worthwhile is ever easy anyway. You gotta want it pretty bad to commit to starting an art licensing business, especially in this day and age. Hopefully potential future exhibitors will study the markets very well, and come into it with lots of preparation and a fairly defined vision for their brand and their place in the market. This will help their own success and will also help to elevate the industry on the whole.

I am sure I will get more palpable nerves as the time comes closer. I feel much calmer and more stable  about Surtex than I did about Atlanta, even though in terms of exhibitors and visitors, Surtex is so much larger a space for the art licensing exhibitors, though on the whole, Atlanta is behemoth. (It's hard to describe AmericasMart in words.)

The situation in Atlanta was so different— it was my first show, sure, so that adds some stress by default. But it was very unique because of the logistical hurdles we encountered. I had to actually get on a plane and not just a train.. And what with the huge, gigantic  snowstorm, the flight cancellations and then delays, the storm snowballed the trip in every direction— one big storm mixed with one big trade show in one city unprepared for said snowstorm is one potent and unpredictable cocktail!

Anyway, Atlanta was amazing and great, and I certainly plan on exhibiting next year. I am so glad to have it under my belt right now, but something tells me that down the road in the next few weeks I will still have my share of stress, hurdles and hoops to jump through to get myself ready for Surtex.

Atlanta was also my first time putting up a booth, and I was content with how it came out for my first show (nothing is ever perfect!). I had plenty of time to study my booth during the show and decide what I felt was working and what wasn't, so I made a detailed list of Trade show booth Do's and Don't's for "Next Time". Well, "Next Time" is right around the corner now!  I might even take a whole different approach this time, but I'm glad I've already done this once before... and I am gearing up for the merry-go-round once again... Okay, I've already boarded it!

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