The Big Show


Photos © 2010Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Hello!! So sorry to have been away for so long. I was the fair city of Atlanta teaching them how to drive in the snow and ice. Tee hee. Actually, I was down there for the past week setting up and opening our very first Curly Girl Design permanent showroom.

For those of you not in the gift industry or retail, a showroom is a place where a company displays it's products so that buyers from all kinds of retail stores can come and order them for their stores in your neighborhoods. Many people refer to this as “Market”. Curly Girl Design went to our first 'market' 8 years ago this May when we exhibited at the National Stationery Show. For the past 8 years, we have set up our booth in 'temporary' booths that we set up and break down each show and then ship home. This year, we found ourselves needing much more space to display all of our wares, so I decided to take a little(ok, kind of big) risk and sign a lease for a permanent showroom at the Atlanta Mart.

So after much planning and coordinating and not sleeping, we got to Atlanta early Sunday morning, got our badges, and walked up to our new home:

Basically, the floor was down and the walls were painted and we had a LOT of work to do! A few trips to IKEA and the hardware store and we got started. We worked until late at night, bobbed and weaved with a very inconvenient and unreasonable ice storm (it was a bit like the 'end of days' down there for awhile…no kidding) drank wine from a box and mastered the Allen wrench. It is worth noting that I had an expert team of “doers” with me, armed with clever, cunning and can-do attitudes. My gratitude to them cannot be measured in boxes of wine.

So after three days and three nights and a ton of laughs we got everything put together.

The goal was to create a relaxing yet totally fun space where Curly Girl customers could come and see what we are all about. We wanted them to come in, have a seat and hang out with us. Oh, and we wanted them to fall in love with Curly Girl Design and buy lots of cards so that you never have to look very far to find your favorite stuff! I have to say, I think it turned out pretty darn cute and our plan worked! People came, they sat, and so far, we have had a pretty good show!! There was even a fancy ribbon-cutting ceremony moment! I love giant scissors!

The hope is that as we grow, this space will grow with us and become a bit of a home base for Curly Girl customers. We hope to have to buy more and more cases of prosecco each year because so many people are coming to our Saturday night party and we hope to have more and more good laughs and great visits with our industry friends and customers.

My favorite part of trade show season is getting to see all of the other vendors that have become great friends over the years. It is a bit like a traveling circus. We go from city to city a few times a year and set up our little village and put on our little show. Then we pack it all up again and see everyone in the next town. You grow to love it and look forward to catching up. I loved seeing friends Michelle, Laurie, April and Luke. And I got a great little visit in with my girl Kelly Rae.

 I also spent some time at the Demdaco showroom doing a signing to promote my line with them. It is always so fun to chat with customers and hear how much they love selling Curly Girl!

My other job while I am at the trade shows is to shop for Marmalade. So not only am I a vendor, I am also a buyer. It is more than a little bit crazy and my time is always cut short. It is a lot to have on one plate and I am glad to have such a great group of staffers at Curly Girl to allow me to get it all done. I think I found some real treasures for the shop this year and can't wait to share them with you once our Marmalade website launches… one of these decades. (No, Lauren has been working hard getting it ready to go SOON!) So, that is the update. I missed the blog for sure, but it was nice to be totally absorbed with real-life things for a bit. I am glad to be home, even if it is only for a few moments. I am off to the next circus town on Friday…


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