Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, May 2014.
I started with this picture for two reasons – I love the theme of this booth, especially those big quilt “blocks”, and Pittsburgh just might be my favorite convention center because of those big windows.
A lot has changed over the twelve years since I went to my first Quilt Market in October of 2002. One thing hasn’t, a cool-looking booth gets a lot of attention. And Moda has always had one of the best booths there.
I always knew it took a lot of planning, teamwork and woman-hours to build – I just had to consider what I did on my own for my single, low-tech, not particularly imaginative “booth design” and multiply it by a thousand. Make that ten thousand. Still, I was a tiny bit surprised to learn that planning the booth for Market generally starts the day after the prior Market ends.
Whether it’s on the last day in the convention center or back in Dallas a few days later, booth planning essentially begins at the Market “Exit Meeting.” One of the primary topics is the booth – What worked? And what didn’t? What should be changed – what can be changed? The idea of adding pockets to the table-covers so the sales reps would have someplace to keep orders, pens, candy bars, etc., came up during one of these post-Market meetings.
Tiny mock-ups are built… okay, not really. Let it suffice to say – souvenir, meeting, playing with the tiny chairs.
The first thing to keep in mind – if it’s in the booth, it was shipped there from Dallas.
And before it could be shipped, it had to be designed, built, painted, sewn, counted, organized and then finally, packed into crates. New crates have been built and will be used for the trip to Minneapolis next month – these are more “user-friendly”. (That’s a nice way of saying they’ll be more easily packed and unpacked by women.)
Fall Quilt Market, October 2013. Make a Splash!
The theme and concept for the booth come from a variety of sources – sometimes from a single image from a book and sometimes it’s the result of a combination of images, products and ideas from a wide array of sources. A single fabric from a designer’s collection can spark an idea for the theme, or a trend in the color palettes of several designers might be what starts the development of a cohesive idea that will include, enhance and showcase everyone.
Every step of it is collaborative – if you’ve got an idea, speak up!
That dresser? Shipped from Dallas. It’s easier and less expensive than trying to find “just the right one” in a day, get it to the convention center, assembled and filled with “whatever” in a day. And yes, the drawers often serve double-duty by storing “stuff”.
This is the Moda Photo Booth at Spring Market in Pittsburgh. (Yes, we love those Ikea carts too.)
The bushel baskets were purchased and painted to coordinate with the “skinny bolts” of Bella Solids. And the same Bella Solids were laser-cut into leaves and stitched together to make streamers. Whether it is stitching the leaves to making the paper-mâché octopus, everybody in the office pitches in to help in the months and weeks leading up to Market.
It looks like fun, right? Would you still feel that way after painting 1500 of them – and drilling a hole in the end so it can be hung?
So what gets shipped when Moda goes to Market in Minneapolis?
- 5400 square feet of flooring. That’s enough for the main area where the sales stations are location, the “designer row” booths and the United Notions booths
- 110 chairs – and the chair covers that go with them. That’s enough for the 40 sales stations with chairs on both sides. One for the sales reps and at least one for the shop owner being shown the new collections
- 40 table covers for the tables used by the sales reps
- Catalogs / sales sheets / order forms for the sales stations
- Quilts / props / furniture / quilt ladders and such for the displays in the Moda Booth and the Moda designer row area
It will take two 18-wheelers fully loaded with “poundage” to haul get it all to Market and back. (It goes without saying that it’s just a tiny bit more neatly packed going than coming-back.)
As for people… there are 27 designers attending, 21 of whom will be in “designer row”. The 35 Moda/United Notions sales reps will be there, as will people working for and with the many overseas distributors. There are more than a dozen people from the offices in Dallas attending. All totaled – more than 116 people representing Moda Fabrics will be there.
I’m pretty sure I won’t be allowed near the power tools or cutting implements. But I have lots of recently acquired expertise in unpacking and packing so I’m sure I’ll be kept busy.
I’d best make a note to pack some stretchy pants and sneakers.
And my camera. I’ll take lots of pictures – I promise.
(I’m sewing this weekend – I hope you get to do the same.)