I spent three busy days in Chicago last month where I flew to attend the Housewares show for my work with Keena, and visit my friend Deborah Boardman's family, and memorial art exhibit that her friends curated after her death in November. Catharine Keena was in Spain for her husband's 60th birthday celebration, so her partner, Adriana Mello and I walked the vast expanses of the McCormick Place together, visiting our vendor's booths and meeting customers from Cost Plus World Market and Williams-Sonoma.
I've just returned from 10 days in Las Vegas where I had my very first trade show booth for 12 Small Things at the World Market Center. I actually had two booths thanks to my work with Keena Co. who has a large showroom there, and helped me test a micro showroom on their floor, in addition to the space I had secured in the temporary Pavilions. Many of the artisan groups I work with exhibit at NY Now twice a year, and some also show at the Atlanta Mart, but they don't really have a west coast presence.
I found myself exploring Southern California last month after attending my daughter's Family Day at UC Santa Barbara. I borrowed my in-laws spacious Camry and cruised further south, while the rest of the family returned north to San Francisco. I now represent lines from KeenaCo to 56 SoPac Whole Foods Market stores, in addition to the 40 NoCal stores I already sell to. I also wanted to see if there's opportunity to sell some of the fait trade products I represent through 12 Small Things.
I can't believe I've just been to Guatemala and back in under a week's time, but hopefully I can process and savor all the memories over the next couple months. I was invited by Karen Gibbs of By Hand Consulting to attend the New World Crafts Expo in Antigua, Guatemala for two days, which fortunately happen to be free on my calendar. Lucky for me, my friend Katarina Rost was also free and asked if she could come with me and help translate, as she is fluent in Spanish.
Flying home from New York City where I attended NY Now for my work with Keena and 12 Small Things, I can't believe I was only gone a week. I managed to cram so much in, from walking the show to visiting vendors, to meetings and dinners out with fellow sales reps and finally seeing a couple of museum shows before leaving, I am impressed with all I accomplished. And I'm not really tired after all that, thanks to a couple nights of sleeping nine hours straight!
Back in the air, heading out to New York for the summer gift show NY Now, at the Jacob Javits Center, for my work with Keena and 12 Small Things. I just returned from a lovely week in Lake Tahoe with my family, after having been in Las Vegas for the home and gift show at the World Market, which followed the San Francisco Gift Show at the Moscone Center. And during the San Francisco gift show where I help set up and sell for our Keena booth, I also double booked myself to show 12 Small Things at the De Young Museum's Fair Trade Bazaar. I felt a little like Hermione in Harry Potter when she time travels in order to take two classes that are scheduled at the same time.
My friends have been busy, and I've had a fun couple of months trying to keep up with them. It started with a small butterfly on San Bruno Mountain, just a few miles south of San Francisco. My Pilates classmate Gail Mallimson, who helped me edit video for 12 Small Things, made a film called The Edge of the Wild, about saving the Mission Blue butterfly on San Bruno Mountain, from extinction due to housing developments.
My first blog of the new year and it's April already! That just goes to show what a few months I've had, with the Las Vegas Market in January, New York Now and San Francisco International Gift Show in February, and the Chicago International Home and Housewares Show in March for my work with Keena, plus life in between. It's been a busy few months, but then I wouldn't want to have it any other way. The challenge is to keep in touch with all my artisan connections for 12 Small Things.
We all do it, it's part of the sales game, and some of us are better at it than others, but it comes with the territory. At the beginning of October I participated in the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center's 30th Anniversary gala at the City View on top of the Metreon. As an alumni of the Ren Center where wrote my business plan for 12 Small Things, I accepted the invitation to to sell my goods along with other recent graduates.
San Francisco is such a great city, I always feel so lucky to live here. After such a busy summer traveling, it's particularly nice to be home and discover treasures just around the corner. This city is definitely booming with new companies, restaurants and shops, and it's near impossible to keep up on everything, so I appreciate when someone shows me their finds. After working at my computer for two weeks straight, I needed an excuse to get out, and asked my fellow Keena rep, Katie Gaertner, to show me her store Whistle out in the inner Sunset.