Last week I had my first experience of a craft-based trade show. I took part in Stitches at the NEC in Birmingham, Europe's largest event of its kind.
My textile art, quilts and clothes were displayed on the Aurifil stand, the most popular thread on the market for quilters. I used their products in all of my projects and had made work to showcase their different threads including Brillo (metallic), Lana (wool), Floss and other weights of Egyptian Mako cotton.
My aim was to validate my idea to sell products featuring my designs, as well as other "Beautiful Tools for Creative People".
As soon as I arrived I knew that the creative world is where I want to be. I was super excited to browse other stands full of new season fabric, independent pattern designers, notions and books.
I spent three very busy days meeting shop owners, magazine editors, freelance journalists and a whole lot of lovely modern makers. I received some really positive feedback, plenty of constructive criticism and a lot of invaluable advice about how the industry works. I was approached to be featured in several magazines and to teach workshops around the country too, which I wasn't expecting!
I also had access to the free seminar programme and heard some fantastic and really useful talks by Sara Naumann, Warren Knight, and Hannah and Rosie from The New Craft House blog.
I spent each night unable to sleep because my mind was too full of ideas and inspiration and arrived home very tired, but happy in the knowledge that I am on the right track.
My challenge now is to focus on the next step and work towards having my own booth full of Jenni Smith products the next time I am there.
A very big thank you to everyone who sent me supportive messages during the show and to all the people who stopped by and talked with me.