My experience at the One Of A Kind Show April 26 2015
It has been almost a month since the "One Of A Kind Show" and I thought it would be great to write a blog post about my experience. In the 5 days of the show, we went from being nervous to excited and ended the week with a feeling of accomplishment. And lets not forget very, very exhausted!
We started planning for the "One Of a Kind Spring Show" at the beginning of the year. Being a first time exhibitor, we had applied for the Etsy section as it was the least expensive option. But to fit all our products on a 4' table was very challenging. First we tried to use the displays we already had but they seemed too bulky for the space. We needed new displays to fit as many card designs as possible. After searching online for many days, I finally found a local business that made custom acrylic card displays to order. We were also able to use a couple of the displays we already owned.
For our lino cut line, I carved new designs and test printed them in February. I then spent a few weeks cutting Japanese paper, printing, gluing and packaging all the cards. The art prints were a bit more challenging as I use our vintage Vandercook Press in our garage to print them. With the temperatures still well below freezing, I couldn't even think about working out of the garage. Mother nature was nice enough to give us a week of temperatures over freezing in early March. We turned two space heaters on in the garage but I still had to wear a jacket and gloves to make the prints. Ryan ended up printing a few for us as well.
The next step was to choose which designs of greeting cards I would be able to display. With so many designs, it was really hard to narrow it down to 25 designs. I printed between 20-30 of each design, scored, folded and packaged each card by hand.
We also decided to launch our new line of buttons and button cards at the "One Of a Kind Show". All the button making was done by Ryan. For the button cards, he had cut out all the circles in the cards and then punch the holes, followed by putting the buttons on. We were lucky to have my parents come help with packaging as well.
In addition to our products, we also had to prepare business cards, coupon flyers, labels for shopping bags, and labels for boxed sets. As a shopper, you'd never realize how much work each exhibitor puts into the preparations for a show like this. We spent a few hours setting up our table in the Etsy section. Some exhibitors ended up spending 2 days to build and set up their booths.
After months of planning, production and hard work, the show began on March 25th. We were very nervous and excited at the same time. I worked most of the show myself with Ryan and my cousin filling in for me on my lunch and dinner breaks. I did not realize how tiring these 5 days were going to be. We were lucky as some of our cards were chosen to be a part of the show's media kit. We were thrilled to see our cards on Global New's Morning Show and also shared on several blogs.
We met many other exhibitors and made new friends. My favourite part of participating in local art and craft shows is meeting our customers in person and seeing the shoppers smile when they pick up our cards.
I found OOAK also great for making new professional contacts. I got to talk to some local store owners who showed interest in carrying our cards in their shops. As an artisan, our work doesn't just end with the show. We have to follow up with any contacts we made during the show.
To sum it up, I would say it was a great experience exhibiting at the OOAK and I loved every part it!