I'm writing this from the Embassy Suites Hotel in Nashville TN where
TNNA is hosting the Needlework Market. Hundreds of wholesalers and
buyers are here, and the air is filled with excitement.
I just came upstairs after having spent a little time at the Meet and
Greet, and can tell you, people are interested and engaged . . . The
room is filled with people eager to talk and see . . . and, of course,
The hotel shows are really different from the large convention
shows. They're more intimate, with people exhibiting their needlepoint,
cross-stitch, embroidery, yarns and other supplies and accessories in
their hotel suites. I must say, the first time I came to one of these, I
was a little taken aback. All the newest patterns, threads, and more
displayed right in the rooms . . . sort of like visiting someone's home,
or more precisely, stepping into their bedrooms.
But at these shows, needlearts retailers come to buy and take right
back to their shops. Not that you can't place orders, but these shows
are considered "cash and carry" which is very different from the "orders
only" approach at the convention shows.
And, of course, there are classes, as well. I had the privilege of
teaching two marketing classes today which, I hope, gave the class
participants a good overall idea of what marketing is all about, as well
as some specific ideas they can use. The "students" also shared their
own ideas, which I think helps create those amazing bonds which tie the
industry . . . and more specifically, our TNNA members together.
When I asked them why they came to the show, they all agreed . . .
it's not just the products or the classes, but the opportunity to
connect with others who share their passion for fibers. They come away
rejuvenated and refreshed, and knowing they're not alone but are,
rather, a part of a big, welcoming and comforting community.
You simply can't get that through any other means . . . no matter how
much time you spend online blogging or twittering . . . Nothing quite
compares to getting a real hug from a true friend and colleague.