There and Back Again

Something about Surtex always makes me feel like I’m falling down the rabbit’s hole. It takes me a while to righten myself, dust my ric-racked apron off, and find the elixir that’s going to get me back to “normal”.

Here are some photos from my three days of bliss, business and exhaustion.

You would think two years of Surtex-ness would prep me for the sparseness of these 8′ walls, but somehow I’m always a bit shocked. Look how white they are?! Are they always this big!?

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I had the big guns step up in force this year. My set up was as painless as possible, that being said, it still hurt 😉 Here’s Tim pounding grommets into my vinyl banners. He made them shower curtain-y for me! Mind = blown.

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Sean cut the mass of foam core that went under the art that lined the walls that went up on the booth that … I sat in for three days with a line of people who came and came and came to help.

This year’s show, much like last year’s, was a celebration of friendship and goodwill. I had a fleet of friends step up and pick up my burdens and share my strife. My life is one of those rare kind that is blessed by people willing to give of their time and their support. It’s always the hardest thing to give, I am sure it is easier to write a check, to pick something up at the store, or to say you’ll be there in spirit. Yet my friends are always so willing to be there in body and to stay until the job is done. I’m the luckiest.

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Also, I would have cried and pulled my hair out and then collapsed in a heap of tears and wailing if they hadn’t been there… I never really go into this show well rested or rational. Haha.

During the show I had friends come by and take their turn chatting and helping in the booth. I try as hard as I can to keep people in the booth with me. For practicality reasons it makes sure that when the booth fills up with people I can be talking to potential clients and not lose other people. It allows me to focus on market needs and tailored expectation for each person I’m speaking with. I don’t get that ‘one bird in the hand’ look on my face because I know everything’s being tended to by my friends.
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On a *TRADE SECRET* note, when I was a struggling artist I used to pull money in at Victoria’s Secret selling my soul bras. I made a killing compared to other girls because I would leave a customer alone, sweep in and say “I’m Amber and if any one is bugging you just tell them I’m helping you. I’ll be in the PINK section if you need anything.” Then I’d ignore them and let them shop armed with my name as a shield against evil commission seeking biddies who overwhelmed and scared them. People who’d shopped unhindered by girls throwing measuring tapes around their torsos and begging them to let them get them something in their size would gush about my “help” at the cash register, splitting my work in two and doubling my take home pay.

Much of the knowledge acquired at Harrold’s Square has helped in my approach at trade shows. I don’t force people to talk to me. I let them take things in and then come to me in their own time. By keeping the booth high energy by making sure I’m not staring at them like a vulture they usually get very involved in the art before they get involved with me, and afterall, the art’s the thing. I have friends that I get to catch up with after my typical month long hibernation in my art studio prepping for the show, and I don’t make anyone feel like they are being hunted. I’m busy having fun and they can be part of it, if they just step into the booth. Of course, these are the things Surtex attendance by a Brooklynite affords. Lucky Ducky.

This year I owe cookies and a trip on the Yacht to Rachel, Jenny, Tess, Keith, Valerie, Ashton, Tim, Breanne, Sean, Jen, Julian, Scott, Annie, Ashley, Myra, Grace and my Dad.

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This year’s show was extra special because my dad flew out to see what it is that I do and to help like a man of steel. He carried and cut and planned and got everything up on the walls. He was there when I unwrapped the vinyl and there when we pulled it down at the end of the show. Parents who don’t drag you down but always lift you up are a commodity these days. Mom and Dad assure me that they will be pains in my butt in the future but for now I’m soaking up the benefits.


Dad flew out courtesy of my kid brother, Ashton, an airline benefit boy of wonder, who showed up for break down with Keith and Tess on the last day of the show. Here Tess and Ashton are working the system. They appear to be working like sweat shop children but in actuallity I discovered upon closer examination that they are in fact playing Bananagrams. This was the last day of the show, which was quiet as a mouse and afterall, Bananagrams is the greatest game of all time, so who can blame them? Not I. Especially when they contributed to the easiest break down, EVER. Three cheers for helping hands.

This year was sooooo awesome. I felt like there were less people at the show but that the people who were there were decision makers ready to wrap things up as soon as possible. There were way less people asking me to send samples so they could show them to their art director and teams and more people saying ‘I’m the art director, and I want that —>”
So that’s a tickle me pink occasion.

Yay for friends! Yay for family! Yay for art! Yay for cool new people to work with!

Just like that a year of planning and anticipation is over and like, my pal Jay-Z says, it’s “on to the next one! ON TO THE NEXT ONE!”

Word up. Follow up.

4 replies »

  1. yay, shout out! 😀 i wish i could have helped more. your booth rocked all the other booths. remind me to tell you about the mermaid sean painted the other day…

    word verification: geolythy. Study of _____?

  2. You helped plenty. Thank you for pimping out your husband. I am sorry the day didn't find you covered in scratch and sniff stickers.

    WV: I'm going out on a limb here… I'm going to guess the study of rocking. hard?
    xoxox

  3. Hey She Sure is Sketchy I Sure Do Miss you!

    Yes!
    Rabbit hole!
    I know!
    Please tell me if you find the elixir.

    I'm so glad you had a fab show girl, and that you have such a fab entourage of loved ones who show up for this stuff.
    That rocks.
    And you rock.
    And your booth absolutely rocked.
    So your show had to rock.

  4. Amber your booth looked AWESOME!!!! And how fun to have the family support.. that makes it even that much better!! Tell your mom I said hi too! I love her!
    Now start getting ready for next year – Whooooo Hoooo
    XO

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