New New Year's Resolution and TNNA post-mortem
So the big event in the past week has, of course, been TNNA in San Diego. My intrepid business partner Donna and I headed south in the deluxe party van last Wednesday and didn't look back. We found ourselves in a very scary hotel in Sacramento (or, rather, Rancho Cordova, on the outskirts of Sac), right next door to a Hooters. We had a very nice dinner at Chipotle, which I never get to go to due to Bill's refusal to eat Mexican food with its generous lacing of onions and peppers. Fortunately, Donna is pro-salsa so we got to eat Mexican several times over the course of the week. After surviving the night with our door firmly dead-bolted, we had a lovely drive through the central valley of California and were enthusiastically welcoming the thought of hitting San Diego by dinnertime. And then we hit LA.
After driving by my old house in Stevenson Ranch (about 30 miles north of downtown LA) and gassing up the car, we stupidly headed down I-5 into the heart of the beast. I should've known to take the old shortcut (when we commuted from Stevenson Ranch to downtown, we had a longer-but-faster circle around the horrendous I-5 traffic) but for some reason it didn't click that traffic would be pretty bad at 4:30 on a Thursday. 5 hours later, we arrived exhausted at our hotel in San Diego. Needless to say, neither of us was dying to move back to southern California, even if the weather was lovely all weekend.
Friday was booth set-up, and as this is our third TNNA (along with the two retail shows we did last year), we felt like old pros. Everyone who'd seen us at previous shows said our booth looked fantastic this year. Here's a little peek (taken with my Blackberry, so forgive the dark blurriness - high-rez it is not!):
On Friday night, we watched the fashion show and were quite delighted at how wonderful our Kiwassa Shawl looked on the stage. There were some interesting entries in the show, including a gorgeous crocheted wedding dress and a pair of knitted boxers (about which the poor model was a very good sport - the sole male model at these shows gets LOTS of attention from the mostly-female crowd, especially when he appears on stage in knitted underwear and nothing else...). After the show, we decided to blow off all social engagements and went back to the hotel to crash. I was lucky enough to be comfortable sleeping with earplugs, but Donna got to listen to the partying Marines who set up shop right outside our door for several hours.
The rest of the weekend was spent manning the booth, peddling our wares, and connecting and reconnecting with shop owners, other designers, yarn company folk and various publishers. It was very fun (but exhausting) and I feel like I've got my design mojo back, finally. Cat Bordhi stopped by to check on book progress and I was able to show her the sock I was working on. Myrna Stahman (of shaped shawl and lace fame), who is another self-publishing mentor and design director at Buffalo Gold, brought me to the Buffalo Gold booth where she and the owners shoved a pile of lovely yarn at me (including their buffalo sock yarn which is incredibly soft and yummy!). However, the highlight of the weekend was when Iris Schreier of Artyarns (who happens to also be an incredible designer) came over to our booth to tell me she was a fan of my designs and she'd love for me to do some patterns with her yarns! I just about fell over. She took me back to the Artyarns booth where she managed to show me a few things before she was mobbed by shop owners (despite the bad economy, her booth was NEVER quiet - it's good stuff, that!). Of course the problem I have in a booth like that is I can't focus because everywhere I look is something I want to knit with. It's hard to zone in on one thing that I could actually do something with in a reasonable amount of time as opposed to saying "I'll take one of everything!" and then fantasizing about filling my living room with beaded silk and cashmere so I can roll around in it while the kids are at school.
The show was relatively successful for us, considering the state of the economy. We weren't mobbed by any stretch of the imagination, but we picked up several new shops and got good reorders from some of our favorite returning customers. Now I've got to get a bunch of work done, including finishing up the last touches on the new designs, updating the website and of course the giant task of printing and shipping the new orders. I also want to send out newsletters to both shops and knitters and create our budget for next year so I can figure out where we're going to advertise. Good thing we turned off cable - maybe I'll actually be able to get something done! We also sprang for a new adult-and-kid exercise machine - it's something to keep the kids busy while I'm doing all this work, anyway!
Next up...a preview of the new designs, including those adorable felted animal purses you can glimpse in the booth pictures. Crocheters, pay attention!