Indeed, I'm back. Still trying to process it all and recover from the extraordinarily long days we put in while in Houston. So much happened in the six days I was there! Here's what I've got:
Quilt Market: I’m afraid I have very few photos to show you; it was too busy for me to take pictures. I took a few shots just before the show opened, and after that it was such a whirlwind that I just never had a chance to use the camera. But it was great! But I am hoping that someone else will share their photos, since I’d love to see more, myself.
Here are some of the people I met:
Amy Butler: even sweeter in person than all the wonderful things I had heard about her. So kind and thoughtful.
Anna Maria Horner: where do you get all that energy, Anna? And so nice!
Donna Wilder, former president of Free Spirit fabrics and a fount of knowledge about the quilting and fabric industries.
Eleanor Burns: lovely, soft-spoken, and generous
Gina Halladay: fun, fun! Gina, I wish we had spent more time chatting!
Heather Bailey: hey, Heather and Anna Maria are both tall, too! Great to get to know her and to learn a bit more about some of the many projects on her plate right now.
Jan "The Apron Lady" Lutz of The Threaded Pear: very generous in sharing her own experiences and knowlege. What a sweetheart!
Kathy Miller of Michael Miller fabrics: my hero; she came to our rescue with a replacement mannequin when ours was lost/stolen, and I am eternally indebted to her. Plus, she was just generally so enthusiastic about the booth and our patterns. Thanks, Kathy! Have you all see the new Michael Miller organic line? Very cool. I can't wait for it to hit stores.
Laura Gunn: so nice and fun. I really enjoyed getting to know her a bit and hope to spend time with her again sometime.
Laura Serna, who lives in downtown Houston and was phenomenally kind in receiving and keeping all my packages in advance of Market. Laura, I can't thank you enough!
Linda of Craft Apple who had some samples at the Michael Miller booth and was very kind to drop by and introduce herself. Laura, let's get together for lunch next time!
Marianne Fons: You know, Fons and Porter? She totally “gets” the younger generation of sewers and quilters, and I’m so excited because she has an apartment in NYC just two blocks from my studio. Hoping we can have lunch or something the next time she’s here.
Moda and United Notions; what a great crew! In addition to their general friendliness and enthusiasm, they are open to lots of ideas and threw an unbelievable sit-down dinner on Saturday night for something like 1,000 people. Whoa.
Nancy Zieman of Sewing with Nancy: I nearly fell over when she dropped by on the first morning.
Sandi Henderson: a lovely, perfectly eclectic fabric line with Michael Miller, and very sweet. Can’t wait for her fabrics to be available, and she has a line of children’s clothing sewing patterns in the works as well!
Tina Givens, with a gorgeous line of fabrics from Free Spirit.
Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool: so kind and fun; she shared lots of advice from her own experiences and was just as warm as could be. Verna also has a new line of fabrics with Free Spirit.
And I'm sure I've missed some equally amazing people. I came home with an enormous stack of business cards and even more memories of conversations, so please excuse me if I neglected to mention you in the above list.
Everyone was so nice. Store buyers, distributors, exhibitors and press contacts stopped by the booth and were so complimentary and enthusiastic, gushing about the line and the booth, sharing their own experiences, and generally showing an amazing amount of enthusiasm. Despite insanely long days in preparation for the show and during the show itself, I kept finding more energy than I knew I had as a result of all the excitement and enthusiasm around me.
Now, before I talk about the launch of the company itself I need to tell you that you’re getting a preview here. The patterns themselves will not be ready until late January, so don’t get too excited and rush off to your local quilt shop to purchase them yet, ok? Actually, I'd love it if you would ask for them at your local shops, but I just want to be sure you know that the patterns won't actually be in store until early February. We launched the company at Quilt Market so that buyers could place their orders in advance of the actual printing, but the retail launch of the patterns themselves will happen in 2008. Just a little warning.
The booth: Brooke is just so good; I never would have thought to look for those adorable little cabinets (Ikea) or to frame the pattern envelopes. The giant banner was an adventure in itself, since our original artwork was small enought that it fit entirely onto an 8 1/2" x 11" paper but was successfully blown up to 6' x 8'. In the end, the booth came together beautifully (not without a few challenges), and we received a wonderful response from everyone who visited. It just made me happy every time I rounded the corner and saw it: our own little candy box in the middle of Quilt Market. Oh, and it's difficult to tell from the photos, but the carpeting matches the walls! Love that.
Next, the handout. Every pattern envelope will have a heavy cardstock wrapper with a paper doll printed on it, which can be removed for framing or playing. Isn’t she sweet? We hired a wonderful illustrator named Dan Andreasen who, it turns out, has done many of the American Girls books. He based the doll on my own sweet Tsia and painted each of the patterns as her clothing. Each new collection will include new clothes for our “S” doll or for one of her friends, who will be added as we progress.
The paper doll idea started as a simple packaging concept and quickly evolved into a “look” for Oliver + S. The paper doll with all her outfits is the line list for the patterns, and everyone who visited the booth received their very own “S” doll to take home. And don’t worry; we saved a few for people who couldn’t attend Market!
The website. Once the patterns are printed they'll be available via quilt stores as well as on the website itself. Feel free to browse around; we'll be adding much more over time.
And I think I need to write a separate post to thank all the people who made the launch a success. I've been thanking for days/weeks/months now and truly could not have done any of this without them: Todd, Brooke, the Gibsons, Mom, Judy, every member of our families, Laurel and all my other friends who have listened and made suggestions, Joelle and Jen and all the folks at Purl, Hemant, Yun Joo, all my students, and every one of you readers, without whom I probably would never have actually had the guts to do this. Thank you so much.
It's good to be home again, and I'm actually looking forward to cleaning the apartment, shopping for groceries, etc. Yesterday I did five giant loads of laundry; it feels nice to be getting caught up on life again.