Friday, November 6, 2009

Trade Shows, Festivals, Conventions

During the course of my life I have worked at probably hundreds of conventions, festivals and trade shows. When I was a child/teenager my dad and step-mom set up every weekend at the flea market and at festivals around the area. It was exhausting work but lots of fun. We got to know fellow vendors who traveled around to these same events year after year. As I got older my parents purchased paints and things for me to earn money by painting children's faces.

In my 20's, I traveled one summer with my mom who worked for several years installing computer systems into funeral homes. We spent our time setting up trade show booths at Funeral Director's conventions. That was an experience! Some of the items displayed were a little too much for my young eyes to take in and it put a whole other spin on those who work with "the dead."

As I entered my 30's I was a Creative Memories Consultant for about 6 years. My mom was a CMC too - for approximately 9 years. We worked together at a number of events during that time. It was always frustrating for me trying to set up a booth. Mom likes to get dramatic and go all out...I'm into simpler, cost-effective displays. I despise using disposable items (that cost a small fortune) and then just tossing them after one event! I can't tell you how many table skirts we purchased during that time.

I wish I knew back then that you could actually purchase items - banner stands, pipe and drape setups, and table skirts - and keep these items to use from one show to the next! It would have made life so much simpler.

My dad and stepmom eventually opened several stores and got out of the flea market/festival scene. After 20-something years of running stores they closed them all a couple years ago and decided to start setting up at the flea market again every weekend. It's hard work because they have to set up and take down their products every day but the overhead is cheap compared to a brick-and-mortar store and there's no labor costs (since they do it all themselves.)

Dad just told me a couple weeks ago he is thinking about opening another store...this one will be their biggest one yet. Hmmm, I think my stepmom will probably divorce him if he continues with this plan! :-) Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens and if he opens it I'll be sure to let you all know where you can go shop.

1 comment:

MOMSWEB said...

I learn something new about you everytime I visit you. Didn't know you did CM. I've always wanted to scrapbook, but CM is so expensive. I purchased a few things, but never did anything with it.