I spent last weekend at the International Quilt Festival in Houston - a total feast for my senses! Approximately 50,000 people cross through the doors of the George R. Brown Convention center (it’s not your Grandma’s quilt show!), and offered me the opportunity to talk to people from Japan, Australia, Mexico and Brazil, Norway, Canada, and many other places. Everyone has a lively story to share about their journey into a world of fabrics and threads, yarns and dyes, colors and notions.
There’s no doubt that it’s a major challenge for exhibitors at any tradeshow to rise above noise (literally and figuratively) and gain the attention of attendees. Every booth has something unique to offer, of course, but imagine trying convey this when you also have a language barrier to overcome!
Here are some of the fun ways I noticed exhibitors were trying to get their product noticed.
Lizbeth threads are simply gorgeous. Their color palette is like none other. And they very smartly offer their threads in a multitude of sizes to fit just about every form of needle art. Not only was their booth a cornucopia of colors, they had their representatives at the ready with a heavenly sample for you to take home. Of course, it was neatly packaged with an insert on how to contact them. Not a new promotional method by any means, but still as effective as ever.
The Curve Master!
Ask Sandy Chandler of Just Curves what she does and she will tell you she is an inventor. How cool is that? And the truth of the matter is that she is! Sandy invented a revolutionary presser foot that helps quilter master curves without the difficulty of fitting and pinning. Check her out in the picture giving a demo to a packed crowd. Sandy is engaging, and she knows her stuff. When she speaks, she speaks from the heart, on your level and makes you want to quilt with her tool. So naturally, I had to say hi and tell her how fabulous she was at presenting her product. I asked her if she has made a video of her demo and she told me, “Yes, you can find it on You Tube!”. Wow – You Tube! I was impressed. A quick peek at her site and I also found a blog and Facebook page. Yay Sandy!
Social Media Everywhere!
I saw so many great uses of social media at The Quilt Festival. Even the festival organizers showcased a large screen running live tweets. (Search the hashtag #quiltfest to see how rabid some of these quilters are! )
There were many Facebook promos happening, as well. I saw booths that were offering a discount, free fabric, free patterns for likes, pictures with vendors tagged, etc. Here’s one I found from Fabric Fanatics.
It was pretty awesome to see all of the quilters walking around with smartphones in hand, snapping pictures, updating Facebook statuses, tweeting, etc. Clearly, the world of quilting has made an easy transition in this tech-savvy decade. There were two channels that I didn’t see used a lot – Pinterest and Instagram. I am hopeful this will change soon, because they are the perfect social venue for this group. However, some of the larger companies were using those sites effectively (The Quilt Festival, Bernina, and a few more) so my hunch is the smaller businesses won’t be too far behind.
Are you a crafter? What are your favorite blog, vendor or social sites for getting inspired? Have you participated in a fun Facebook or Pinterest contest? We are curious! Let us know in the comments below.