Why I KNOW it’s Important
Attending Quilt Market with Generation Q Magazine in May 2014 is by far, one of the highlights of my quilting career. Meeting, and getting to know quilters and quilt pros through blogs, and on social media is one thing, meeting them in person however is another. It is that meeting in person where we solidify relationships, learn more of how our work, and the work of others complements each other and taking that work to do more things.
When I started on the journey to becoming a quilt professional (which I really will someday, seriously) Quilt Market was (and still is) the proving ground and the place to be. It’s not simply about “making it” it’s about all of the hard work, and long hours that we’ve put in to getting there. It’s about finding the right companies to work with (WITH!) and making the meaningful connections. It’s about taking the opportunity to grow.
I’ve watched, with some concern as the “numbers” have lessened. I’ve watched companies that I work with take smaller booths with fewer staff. (I really feel for the staff!) I’ve watched as this has translated to fewer people associated with the companies for various reasons. Some of this has to do with both a shifting economy and shifting marketplace. Shift happens. We can not expect everything to stay the same.
In the twenty-five years since starting quilting the numbers of stores increased dramatically, and are decreasing with regularity. Part of this is due to internet shops, and shopping. With the internet this was bound to happen as it mirrors what’s going on in society in general. Who doesn’t have an account with that great big shopping center on the net that promises lower prices, often with free shipping. I used this resource to purchase a whole bunch of seam rippers for a GenQ Test Drive because it was easier and I had limited time. If I’d had more time I would have purchased from individual shops.
Right after Spring Market in Portland what I was hearing publicly and privately felt rather grim. It’s awful. Things are bad. Sales were way down. I left Market with hope. Yes “numbers” mean something and I will not argue that.
What I will insert here is the spirit of quilt makers, the determination to enter quilts, to create new patterns, to work through ideas, to network and be there for each other. I have this deep sense that we inhaled deeply a few years ago and are anxiously waiting to exhale. When we do the Quilt Market in general, and specifically will grow again.
We’re waiting for the Next Big Thing to happen rather than taking the opportunity to Make the Next Big Thing Happen.
It’s an opportunity to be creative. It’s difficult to live in creative when doom and gloom seems to be around every single corner. There is a collective “The Sky is Falling” when it’s raining.
Yesterday as I texted with Tracy Mooney I sent the above image. She shot back, you should be writing “Micro Quilting for Fun”. And I thought “Micro Quilting for Fun and Profit.” While “Micro Quilting for Fun” might be the title of the next book (C&T keep this in mind mmmkay) it got me thinking about Quilt Market again.
I will go to Quilt Market, I purchased my plane ticked about a month ago, I have a roommate, we have a place to stay. I know I’ll be starting to make appointments with companies that I want to work with and planning to walk the floor to see what’s new, what captures my attention, to catch up with friends, and to encourage them on their journey in some way. Because those were the conversations that made Spring Market in Portland. Those were the moments that reminded me that this is hard work. Those were the moments that reminded me that the more things change the more they stay the same. If you’re in doubt about going to Quilt Market because the numbers are down, then it’s more important than ever that you show up, look for those interactions that give you life. Make coffee (or tea) appointments, make meetings, see where you can change what you’re doing in the quilting world. Go. Be present. Look for the opportunities in places that might surprise you. Go. I’ll be there and I’m happy to spend some time with you.