Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fabuloid Zabala

Thank goodness I've got my sister behind me on this show. If it weren't for her many fabulous ideas and gettin-it-done-ness, I'd be that much further behind right about now. Of course, I wouldn't be anywhere without my wonderful husband, RK, who has got the technical side of things under control(*update: RK just finished designing the show postcard and my business card--which i'll post soon, but for now, just know, they are GORGEOUS!Thank you RK!) and will be the first line of printing all the product. So, between my big sister and RK, I know it'll be a hit.

Kaari, who is also the magic (with her husband, Jon) behind this might just be considered the queen of craftivity (full disclosure: i stole that word!).

Kaari and I worked together for almost ten years in NYC. We had a jewelry business, with lots of employees, lots of customers, and lots and lots of work. What we really wanted to do was lots of travel, lots of junk shopping, and drink lots of wine. We managed to find time for those things, too, but not in the quantity that we'd hoped for as owners of a business. So, we closed up the studio on 24th Street, whittled down the personnel, created new hours for ourselves and moved to Crosby Street to open up a little shop called French General. It was a good time. We traveled, we shopped, we drank wine. Eventually, we were looking for another change and that came in the form of moving to the west coast, back to where we came from (sort of). Kaari re-opened F.G. in Hollywood and I carved out a little world for myself in SF. The great thing is that we never stopped collaborating on projects. I often call her and say, "what do you think of fruit these days? is marine life all played out? i'm thinking of going with a bird theme..." In turn, I head down to FG and usually turn things upside down and try to convince her that she should try this or that in the shop.
So, when I called her and said my little card company, 8mm ideas, had been accepted to the NSS trade show and asked her if she'd work it with me, first, we jumped up and down with joy....then, we laughed our heads off. We were going back in. See, one thing we did do lots and lots of were trade shows. There are hundreds of these things, around the world, all the time. We did the same trade show, every year, three times a year, at the Jacob Javitz Center. Now, if you've never been to a trade show... how can I describe it? It's like living in a Vegas lounge (but without the free drinks or the slot machines) for four days straight, combined with a high school reunion (but you have to wear the name tag and you have to talk to everyone!). They're rough. You're on your feet, 9-6, hawking your wares and hoping for sales. The shows are a huge investment, monetarily, physically, mentally, but they can also be worth it. They can be the one giant leap that your hopeful, little business needs.
But you've gotta have something to grab the people. Kaari and I were always trying to out-do the last booth we did. It's a 6x10 booth with two draped curtains and industrial rug under your feet. That's it. That's what you get for all that investment. So, it's up to you to create a world inside those 60 sq feet. Luckily, Kar and I would like to imagine we're anywhere but in the Javitz, so we usually create a space that we could live in (if we had to) for a week. One year we had the Madonna's Ray of Light theme, another was the taxidermy/mourning theme. We brought lamps and birdcages and couches and rugs. We'd be up til 3am the night before, sewing buttons on cards to give away a 'goodie' to good customers. But we were old hats at it, people would come looking for us, we had an established product.

This time, it's all new. I've never introduced/exposed my card line on this level. So, there's a sense of excitement that we'd lost from the past. We've both got a new outlook on the show (with some of the old trade-show survival outlooks firmly intact, thank goodness!). And, when Kaari said to me, "let's show the cards differently than anyone else..." I was open, but wondered what she meant. And then, the 'sample' panel arrived in the mail. I opened the box, took out the rolled up panel and sucked in my breath! It was perfect. It's beautiful. It's gonna rock.
we'll be doing a number of these panels, with a number of these pockets
each sewn individually. We went over the details, right down to the brown thread and the zigzag design that will hold each pocket onto this fabulous old hemp. It's going to be like an old carny theme. My mom is going to paint a big ole beautiful sign that can be rolled out and hung, as well, listing: goods, wares, and wonders! Kaari's helping me plan the whole thing: the tiny clipboards we'll use, the old hemp aprons we'll be wearing, and the inspiration bits and pieces that are pinned around. And, of course, we'll be giving out goodies! If you find yourself in NYC May 21st-24th, you can find us, 8mm ideas, in booth 1973.


Anonymous said...

YEAH! You rock!


Christina said...

wow!! this looks AWESOME! i can see it all in my head but i'm sure it will be 1000 times better than i'm imagining. so glad i'll be there to see the real deal!!