Saturday, October 29, 2011

:: nss recap, the five months later edition ::

lately i've been making - and talking about making - some small and less-small changes to how this little business of mine works. i'm cutting out the greeting cards, for one thing, because i need more room.

more room in my studio. more room in my schedule. more room in my brain. more room to make other things happen for up up creative.

so this morning, in response to some chit chat about some of the still-to-come changes, brian asked me if we're doing NSS again in may (of 2012). 

i said i let my spot go for now (they wanted my commitment long ago already and i wasn't ready to give it - or my money) and i need to think about it, but that i'd been thinking no.

the thing is, i feel really resentful about attending NSS this year. despite the good feelings i had at the time and all the stuff i said about already thinking about next year's booth and all, when all is said and done i look back at that experience and i'm mad. (for more reactions to the show, see this thread of posts here on the blog.)

right before my crazy name-your-price experiment was first conceived, i sprawled out on my belly on my studio floor (i wouldn't advise this, friends. i'm really not sure when this carpet was installed but i'm positive it was too long ago for anything good to come of sitting on it, let alone lying face-down on it) and i made a little mind map to try to explain to myself why i feel the way i do about NSS.

it's all in cursive and therefore difficult to read in a photo, so i've recreated it for you and made it nice and big. if you click on this small photo (below) you should be able to read the whole big thing (you may have to click on the link and then click on "see original" and THEN once the image opens click it once more to make it full size).

basically i feel conflicted but mostly i feel mad and frustrated. my gut keeps saying NO NO NO even though there are parts of me that feel like it deserves another chance.

brian thinks we should do it. do it differently, but do it. i'm still undecided.

at the end of the day (what a weird saying that is for an event that lasted more or less one week) the event cost me $5775 including hotel and travel (we were lucky that we lived close enough to bring everything ourselves and we also used points to cover about half of our hotel expense, and we totally scrimped and saved as much as we could on things (i.e. fabric walls) but excluding food (no small total in NYC, yo). the week of the show i wrote $1176 in orders, or about 20% of the cost of exhibiting, which is decent for the week of the show for a first timer, or at least i'm told it is.

but i haven't written a single wholesale order since then. 

i've tried, i suppose. i sent follow-ups to over a hundred individuals and shops that expressed interest at the show. i've offered incentives and such. i've been getting good industry press (the editor at stationery trends sends me individual requests for specific images she'd like to include in each issue, for example, and there have been others - a few magazines and such). and oh! i had interest in my calendars from kate's paperie.

but the stars haven't aligned and my heart hasn't been in it. i don't like that i get sales leads emailed to me weekly as a result of my appearances in stationery trends. i don't like adding those names and contact info to my now extensive list of retailers. i don't want to call them or send them anything. i'm a designer, not a sales rep. i like doing certain kinds of marketing directly to the people who will end up with my things in their homes, but i don't like all this sales work trying to convince other people to want to do additional sales work on my behalf. it doesn't feel right. 

so i've got time, still, to decide. i'm sure that in january there will still be spots available for the may 2012 show, just as there were last year when i signed up. but it's hard for me to figure out what could happen to change how i feel about the 2011 experience enough to make me want to give 2012 a go.