Because needlework markets are not open to the pubic, they often seem mysterious. We see our local shops closed for market, we see the new products on all kinds of platforms, we read the coverage, and we see the sales. It almost seems like instant stash enhancement.
In reality shows are lots of work for the designer who exhibits and for the shopowner who attends. Designers do their hardest work before the show. They need to paint designs, often months in advance. If the canvases will have stitch guides, they will need an extra copy to go to the designer. Models need to be stitched and finished, pushing these dates even further way from the show.
When a show allows cash sales the designer has to decide what products to feature, how to package them and how many to bring for sale. There are many places sales can be done. At hotel shows, such as Dallas, everyone that exhibits is selling. TNNA didn’t allow sales for many years. Now they offer two places for sales. Sample It! on Friday night has exhibitors allowing sales of specially packaged featured products. These could be a group of items packaged together at a special price or it could be a kit of a new design. Often the first part of this event is a feeding frenzy. Exhibitors work hard at this event.
The second place for sales is the Cash & Carry area. Once again it is a limited number of products for sale. Exhibitors that do this are in specific areas on the show floor. Not all vendors do this.
Beyond these two sale areas, exhibitors can also feature some products on the new product table or they can participate in the Galleria where they can show off particular items. They can also sponsor or teach classes.
Deciding what to do can be hard for a vendor. Beyond these things, the vendor needs to copy literature, pack up decorations for the booth, and be sure they have something to indicate what products are new. Because most shops and teachers order at the show they need order forms, clipboards, and plenty of pens. They often bring along extra people to help staff the booth and may need to train them.
Preparing the Booth
Before the exhibit floor opens on Saturday morning, exhibitors need to put their canvases up in the booth. TNNA booths aren’t fancy, but a designer may have hundreds of canvases that need to be put on the fabric walls of the booth. Staff need to be familiar with the layout. Exhibitors often work late into the night on Friday and are back early Saturday to add finishing touches.
The Show Itself
TNNA happens on three days, Saturday through Monday. The exhibitors greet friends, take orders, and try to get away from the booth to see the exhibitors they use, such as thread companies.
Attendees take different approaches to the show. They might go through once, seeing what is interesting, then go through a second time to purchase. If several staff people attend, they may split up, each taking part of the show floor. Other folks might use the information sent to them by exhibitors and other sneaks to visit certain booths first. Still others may have shopping lists, or may use the show book to review where to go.
No wonder folks feel tired after the show. It’s a marathon run for everyone, but the chance to see so much great needlepoint in one place can’t be matched.