Thursday, April 23, 2015

SURTEX 2015 Here I come!

Well, I know it's been forever since I've posted so this might be a long one... I've been very busy getting ready for Surtex 2015 which is sneaking up on me rather quickly.  This will be my first time showing at Surtex and I'm beyond excited (and also a bit terrified).  I still have so much to do to get ready - printing, sewing, organizing, designing, packing, making dinner reservations (very important when in NYC) etc.  Needless to say, I haven't been sleeping much these days. But hopefully it will all be worth it!!  The really cool thing is that I won't be on this crazy adventure alone!  I have the awesome support of friends and family coming along to help me out. My mom and 3 cousins are coming too!  Woohoo!  And, a great and very talented artist friend of mine, Aimee Sicuro (who lives in Brooklyn) will be there too!
Considering there are a lot of artists out there who dream of showing at Surtex someday, as well as a lot of curious non-artists, I thought I would share a bit about my experience with Surtex, starting with the planning.  I have spent more than a year creating collections, many of which have already been licensed for fabric with Robert Kaufman.  One of the first things that I did (aside from TONS of research about Surtex) is create my portfolio books.  I used Blurb and I am very happy with the books.  They are beautiful!  The color and quality is fantastic!  I highly recommend using them.  It was definitely worth the effort. It took me FOREVER to set up all of my files (page by page) to get them into the correct scale and file-type and in order to upload to the Blurb website, so it was a huge project.  But now I will have the books for next year as well.  I will just create new books with my new work.

The other huge project that took me quite some time was designing and setting up my artwork for my banner walls.  That was a really daunting task, but I got it done and just received them a few days ago.  I used Smartpress vinyl banners and for the most part I'm really impressed by the quality and color.  (There were some colors that weren't right, but they weren't terrible) One of my banners had a bad color issue, but I'm working it out with them now and getting it re-printed. (just in time)  I found their pricing and customer service to be great, so I will likely use them again in the future.

Another thing I've been doing a lot of is creating mock products to have in my booth.  I think having some actual products with my artwork on them will help potential clients to see the variety of uses my artwork has.  It's a great marketing tool and another HUGE project!  I am bringing my own shelf (versus renting them from the Javits) which of course, I am spray painting gold.  (Leave it to me, the perfectionist to be super particular about the color of my shelf - although in my own defense I'm obsessed with metallic gold right now and many of the accents in my booth will be gold - not just the shelf)  

I'm obsessed with Kate Spade's clear acrylic and gold desk accessories.  I mean, who knew a stapler could be so gorgeous?  And yes, even my binder clips and huge paper clips are gold.

I know, I have a problem when it comes to accessories.  (whether it's shoes, handbags and jewelry or even desk accessories and office supplies)  It must be the fashion designer in me...

Anyways, I have also been doing a ton of sewing to create some fun products for my booth.  Pillows, little plush characters, little girls' dresses etc.  Thanks to Spoonflower I can have my own fabric designs printed. One of my favorites is my "Haute Fox" dress.

I can't wait for this to fit my little Elle next year!  She LOVES foxes!

Here a few pillows.  I love the linen/cotton blend fabric from Spoonflower! 

I've also been wrapping boxes, covering books, making notebooks and greeting cards.  (lots of printing and crafting here) 

 These are some notebooks in my "Fields of Joy" collection.

Another fun thing I created is a children's board book with MemoryMixer.  Their quality is amazing and it's so fun to have a little book with my foxes in it!  Elle loves it.  I really only created it to showcase my work because I would LOVE to illustrate a children's book, but when I created it I realized I had to write something so now I guess I've sort of written a children's book.  I'm thinking of self-publishing it after Surtex and selling it in the Etsy shop I plan to open this summer.  Am I crazy?

Creating this book was a blast!  I want to make more!!!

I've ordered quite a few things from Zazzle as well. I have iphone covers, melamine plates, ceramic mugs, a ceramic bowl and water bottles. My MOST favorite is the "Doodle Pop" bird melamine plate which brings me to another huge project that I've been working on...

This bird was create by my 8 year old son, Emerson.  Now, I know I'm his mom and I'm somewhat biased, but isn't that just the BEST!??

Actually, he created a whole bunch of birds.  And some cats.  And flowers.  He is very creative and loves to draw and he sees me creating all the time.  He loves to hang in my studio with me and draw and so one day he decided he wanted to create a print.  He drew some birds and I scanned them and colored them up and put them into repeat.  It turned out so cute, he kept going and created some cats and flowers.  Thus was born his "Doodle Pop" collection.  I sent it out some potential clients and it has already been licensed for product early next year!!!  Well, of course Emerson thinks he's rich now and decided he had to do more.  I could hardly keep up with him.  We now have a small portfolio of collaborative work that I will be taking to Surtex.

Too cute, right? I've always loved children's artwork and we've had such a blast creating together!  I think his work would be adorable on lots of product!

Lastly, there is of course the marketing and PR.  I ordered my new business cards from MOO and they are fantastic!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you can print up to 50 different designs on the back of your cards!  

 I also ordered stickers from MOO for give-aways at my booth. Everything they do is amazing!  They are a bit pricier, but their quality and design options are the best!  I wanted to have a few different give-aways at my booth, so I had some postcards printed as well.  I printed them with Overnight Prints because I like their quality and speed and they were quite a bit cheaper than MOO.

The other part of marketing and PR is social media (which based on my blog absence is clearly NOT one of my strengths)  I've been trying to post a lot of my designs on Instagram. Just today I was featured on THE best print and pattern blog in the world (in my humble opinion)  Here's the link where my work is highlighted.  WOOHOO!

I opted out of advertising in any of the trade publications that circulate at Surtex because they're so expensive and I'm not sure how much they help. Maybe next year.

So now the countdown is on.  Only a few more weeks until Surtex and so much left to do!  (lots of last minute artwork to create, organizing, printing, packing etc.)  I have to say I couldn't have done all this without the support of my amazing husband, Josh!  I stay home with the kids all day and I only get work done when baby Elle is sleeping and then in the evenings when Josh gets home from work.  He takes over and lets me disappear into the studio to work.  Also, I get lots of support from my mom who comes over once a week to babysit while I get some work done and she has helped (and is still helping) with the sewing and crafting etc.  It certainly takes a village to prepare for Surtex!

I will post again before Surtex with anything that I left out if I think of it.  Otherwise, be on the lookout for some posts about how Surtex is going and a recap after the show.  You can follow me on Instagram if you want more up-to-the-minute information.