WOW. That's all I have to say. WOW.
I had no idea what it was like behind the scenes at a scrapbook convention! I mean, how complicated could it be? Just bring some stuff, set it up, and then sit back & let the mad scrappers come buy it, right? WRONG!
In my quest to cotinue to learn more about this crazy industry of ours (and to make a buck or two), I decided to work the CKC Charlotte show this past weekend for my favorite craft organizer company, The Scrap Rack. (Yes, I really do love my Scrap Rack and yes, I will tell more about that in a future article.)
Having "worked" previous shows as PaperCrafter's Corner, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I mean, for Scrapbook Expo Atlanta, I showed up on Thursday afternoon, spent approximately 1 hour futzing with my giveaway items and signage, and then waltzed out. I showed up right at 9am on Friday and was outta there by 5:05pm on Saturday. No biggie, right? Hah!
As a rabid paper crafting consumer, I have a new appreciation for the WORK that goes into these shows that we love so much! How to explain? Let's see….
*Cramming huge boxes of hundreds of pounds of product into a rental car. More than most would think possible J
*Schlepping hundreds of pounds of product into the convention center. Yay for the unclaimed pallet rack on wheelsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
*Sweating immediately and for hours during Thursday setup, as the convention center only runs the air conditioning during the actual showÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
*Shouting over the hum of the extra loud industrial ceiling fan that was position RIGHT above our boothÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
* Understanding the COST involved with having a professional schlep your product for you to each show. (Wow, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot!)
*Hearing about the GOSSIP that goes on between & about the many vendors who do use those 3rd party vendors to schlep their stuff. Those vendors? They are called the Ã¢â‚¬Å“pod people.Ã¢â‚¬Â Hahahaha.
*Erecting grid wall using zip ties, skipping lunch, opening boxes with box cutters, running out to Office Depot for last minute copies, ignoring a rumbling tummy, and wiping sweaty, grimy hands on your shortsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
*Seeing that for most of the booth owners, many very long hours are involved in setting up all of that scrappy cute product in eye-pleasing fashionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
* Discussions of booth placement and descriptions of "good" and "bad" spots on the floor…
*Showing up Friday morning, hotel to-go cup of coffee in hand, and hearing the pre-show warm-up music blaring throughout the show hallÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
*Hearing shouts of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Trash Pick Up!Ã¢â‚¬Â demands from the booth vendors, seconds before the early bird attendees were to be let into the show at 9amÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
*Being RUSHED by several of those 9am early bird attendees who had clearly been dwelling on a Scrap Rack purchase since this time last yearÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
*Quick! What is 8.25% sales tax on $12.00?
*A delicious choice of over-priced meatball sandwich or over-priced grilled chicken sandwich for a late lunch from the food court. YumÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..
* Watching a young, booth-owning couple trade Ã¢â‚¬Å“baby bjornÃ¢â‚¬Â duty for their newborn son throughout the showÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. Seeing another family working the show together with mom, dad, daughter & sonÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. And realizing that for some, the scrapbook convention circuit is a way of lifeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
* Feeling the Ã¢â‚¬Å“itchÃ¢â‚¬Â to start tearing putting away booth items by 4pm on Saturday, as show attendance wanedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. But knowing that exhibitors are FINED for openly starting the break-down process before the show officially closesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
*Feeling absolute amazement at how QUICKLY the various booth owners were able to break-down their booths on Saturday at 5pm, as compared to the painstaking setup just 2 days priorÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
*Enjoying a great sense of satisfaction at a job well done…
*The overwhelming fatigue I felt as I crawled into bed Saturday nightÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.before my 4:30am alarm set for my 6:15am flight…
*And the sense of relief I felt in knowing that I would not be responsible for doing it all over again in just 10 days in Virginia Beach, whereas most of my compatriots from my weekend would be doing just that.