1. The difference between fantasy and reality;
in our fantasies; we are standing in our booth and the company/companies we most want to work with walk up to us smiling and offer us the licensing deal of a lifetime.
in reality; we are standing in our booth and company after companies walk by, some glance over at our booth out of the corner of their eye, some wait until we turn around before swiping one of our business cards, and some people actually stop to to chat for a few minutes (YAY!!! - potential licensing deal of a lifetime!)
2. Engage and interact with everyone;
You must interact with everyone. Smile, say hi, ASK QUESTIONS... "what company are you from?", "can we exchange business cards?" "what are you looking for?" "do you buy artwork or license?" Get people talking - you will find out very quickly if they are artists, designers -- or if they are in need of artwork. You as the artist know better than anyone your own work, and what you are capable of - flaunt your stuff!
(the deals I am currently working on now are with the companies I asked the most questions of during surtex!)
3. Conferences, conferences, conferences;
Surtex offers these amazing conferences (you do not have to be an exhibitor to attend them- but they do cost to attend.) As an exhibitor you are entitled to 2 free conferences. I learned SO much in these conferences. I chose "Catorgory Gurus" and "Anatomy of a licensing contract." The tricky part is the timing of the conferences - (if anyone has any suggestions on how to be 2 places at one time... I really didn't want to leave the booth at all, but thankfully I did have help!)
4. Surtex is like a wedding day;
You work like crazy for months, preparing amazing new designs and collections, come up with a fantastic booth display that really shows your work, think of some cool "give-aways" to hand out, and make or buy press kits -- so you think the show is the finale (the wedding day)- HA, HA, HA, no -- surtex is just the BEGINNING! now the REAL work begins. (just like marriage after the wedding day.)
5. Follow up, follow up, follow up;
Take the initiative after surtex and follow up with emails and artwork submissions. The few weeks right after surtex is your giant window of opportunity. Research the companies you made contact with, do not loose the surtex connection Go after those dream companies (even if they didn't make it to your booth.) Think of exhibiting at surtex like paid advertising - take advantage of the publicity! This is your time to shine.
6. A few notes about display and set-up;
I received a lot of praise and attention about my booth from other exhibitors and artists (thank you!), so I wanted to share with you what I did; It was really quite simple. I had the banners printed online from Staples (i ordered a banner in the store as well, but the quality was different, and i liked the online ones better) They were on sale too, so i got an amazing deal on them. The banners were lightweight to transport, and so, so easy to put up with Command Strips (take down was a breeze too.) Everyone's budget, style and taste is different (we don't all like brie...) and there were some very elaborate, expensive, gorgeous booths. Your budget for the show will probably set the tone for what you do - just make sure you love it, and everyone else will too!
7. You are an awesome talented artist;
and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!! MOST artists, designers, writers, actors, and creative people flip back and forth from delusions of grandeur to thinking they should give up their craft because they just aren't good enough. The truth is if you love what you do, keep doing it. Persistence, faith and determination will keep you on your path to success. Make sure to have lots of fun along the way. Good luck - and i hope to see you at Surtex 2015!