June 1, 2008.
So it was not all walking and note taking at the Surtex Show. I actually got to do some socializing with some good friends, and I was able to meet a few artists from back home and a few new artists. My feet are just starting to feel better after all of the walking I did in New York. I have to admit I did forget about the whole walking everywhere, and then you walk the trade show's too. I packed boots - with heals, only boots. I had to go and find some comfy shoes for my last two days there, hence giving my poor feet a much needed break.
It had been a long time since I visited Vicki Bodwell, owner and founder of Warm Biscuit Bedding. Almost three years ago I flew out to be (well not me) part of a Warm Biscuit Bedding photo shoot for the Christmas Catalog. My daughter was going to be on the cover....then the camera broke and the film was all ruined and she missed her modeling debut. It was actually a fun trip, and we did have to convince Abby to do it....not really her thing actually. That same summer I also walked the New York gift show and was able to meet a few new artists and vendors I had admired from afar.
If you get a chance to spend some time with Ms. Vicki you will know her mind never turns off, I mean never. She is one of those people who has more ideas than time, or energy to take it to the next level. She is by far one of the most creative people I know and she never stops. She is always calling me (or telling me at 7:34 a.m. in the morning as I wake up at her loft), "So, what do you think about this....?" Then she proceeds to rattle off some amazing idea.
Her take on the show was similar to mine, though I think she found some great new products for her catalog. It was interesting walking with her because she is looking for items to sell, I am just brainstorming and taking it all in for future products, or future booths.
The Night Life
Another highlight of my trip was finally meeting Shelly Kennedy of Drooz Studio in person. I could go on and on about her being a pioneer in the children's industry, or her new line with Demdaco. It was great fun to walk the show with Shelly and to also eat some food and talk shop. I love being able to talk to other artists on the phone and via email - but nothing beats sitting down for some great eats, drinks and laughs.
Which brings me to a debate that I have been having (with myself) for the past few weeks. I have always had this idea, or this vision of what I thought I should be, or more importantly my brand should be. I thought that the cartoon, whimsical look was JPD, it was Jamie R Lentzner. I have written about it in great lengths how everyone needs a style, and if you have a style that is YOURS, it would be harder for others to copy you. Well, um they can still copy you but everyone knows it was a knock-off. So, when talking with Shelly over lunch I was discussing the "look" of an artist I saw at Surtex that did not look like her style, I could not tell it was hers, and then I started my big speech about how it should look like her. Shelly said, "But what if the styles are changing? Don't you need to be changing with the current look or stay ahead of the trends?"
So, with that I am sort of sitting and mulling over my new designs, contemplating the look and I am starting to wonder about my designs. I am okay about this, every business (or artist) changes at some point, nothing stays the same....I know, I get it. I have just been examining my product line, my art and sort of looking at it in a whole new way. It is a good thing, I am thinking it is good to go over your designs, your look, taking a step back is always good.