Over. Whelmed. That's how I felt for the first two hours of my very first 'trade only' show at the Dallas World Trade Center last Friday. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! But I am glad I didn't, as I might not have gone had I had a clue as to what was involved. It was all so worth it; I had a great time and met so many new vendor friends!
I didn't make the trip to Dallas from Austin specifically for this show, but rather I was in Dallas for a teacher professional development conference (little shout out to the awesome program I teach, AVID!). Coincidentally, the conference was only a mile from the World Trade Center and the show was in its second of five days when my conference ended. How should I decompress after 'critically reading' and discussing 15 articles and new reading strategies with a roomful of teachers for 2.5 days before making the drive back to Austin? By shopping!!!!!
But this kind of trade shopping is very different - the worst kind of shopping in my mind. It's when people spend lots and lots of money yet go home empty-handed. I am more of an 'instant gratification' shopper; I want the items now! I don't even like online shopping. If I was your typical Dallas Market buyer, I would have dropped thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars on new products and left with nothing. The store owners go to order their fall and winter merchandise, and usually there is a rather large minimum order. Guess it feels like Christmas when the shipment arrives a few months later? I was most certainly not your typical Dallas Market buyer, on so many levels.
Lucky for me, there is the 'cash and carry' segment of the show, and that was why I went to the Market. It only took me about two hours to get there from the time I pulled into the parking lot.
Here is how those two hours broke down:
-parking the car (in what felt like Fort Worth): 15 minutes
-walking to the shuttle pick-up spot: 10 minutes
-riding the shuttle bus from the parking lot to freeway back to the WTC: 15 minutes
-walking into the WTC building, thoroughly confused at how all these people got badges: 2 minutes
-standing in the registration line hoping this was where I got that badge thing only to learn I needed to go to the 'application' room: 5 minutes
-talking to the application desk clerk and filling out an online application: 5 minutes
-going back to the clerk in hopes of obtaining the coveted badge after app and learning I needed to have: a business card (check), photo ID (check), original state sales tax ID form (check), a copy of my lease (um, no), plus a company credit card or canceled company check (don't have either): 5 minutes
-panic setting in: 30 seconds
-nice clerk lady searching for my business and lease online (where on earth would that be?): 1 minute
-calling the antique mall to see if they could fax a copy of my lease (like, now): 2 minutes
-waiting for lease to come through: 5 excruciatingly long minutes
-doing an internal happy dance when the fax came through: 30 seconds
-composing myself and walking to clerk with lease, hoping this would be my golden ticket: 30 seconds
-printing of my badge with instructions to fax a copy of the credit card or check in the next 90 days: 1 minute that felt like eternity - but I was IN!
My badge as an official buyer
The next wasted hour was spent eating lunch, trying to get on the express elevator without loosing an appendage, and finally realizing I had no business whatsoever being in the WTC part of the show. I studied that map like a tourist in Europe trying to navigate busy city streets filled with residents who knew exactly where to go. I wanted to get a taste of the real market, but then was anxious to get to the vintage.
I stopped to take a picture of the sign, as I love the concept of Karma - and then realized I loved their fabrics too! I even saw a Karma Living pillow in a boutique this week.
After making my way through two buildings and across a street, I finally see:
I really saw "VINTAGE," but was so excited to be here I couldn't even waste a second trying to get a decent picture. Good enough, right? All that mattered to me was that I was here with my little badge.
At this point, there were only three hours of shopping until the show closed at six. And of the three hours, I probably spent two hours just talking. I met some of the nicest people and saw amazing displays with unique finds. Luckily for you, I remembered to take pictures of most of it.
Perhaps the greatest part of a show like this is that you know all the vendors are going to be good - this is no antique mall with all the leftovers from Great Aunt So & So's house thrown into a booth. No, these are vendors who probably had to be thoroughly vetted; I can only imagine the selection process! Whoever doing the selecting did a great job, as there were so many talented designers.
A few of the spaces I didn't get pictures of happened to be the businesses that promoted the show on their blogs and the reason why I decided to go. The very first booth I saw as I entered the building was Ella Elaine. She was voted the 'Best Booth Display' for the vintage section of the market, so make sure you visit her site so you can see why! Just seeing her space made me breathe a sigh of relief after the chaotic few hours trying to get here.
I then walked across the aisle and was so excited to see The Seed Box. I showed a few pictures of Brian and Meloney's space back in my Warrenton posts and I think they had all the body parts as well. They are super talented and I bought some decoupaged baseball and softball guts from them. Special thanks to Brian for helping me carry a table to my car!
She had a few good men to keep her company!
Connected to her booth was Stephanie with 'Fluff.' She had some great items that I hadn't seen before and I got some French vocabulary cards from her - plus a gift for my sister but I don't want to spoil it so that's all I can say!
I then spent a good 30 minutes talking with Maggie from The Veranda; she was so sweet to give me some tips on displaying items and getting crafty. Her tips were so simple that I even tried a few this week! I bought a whole bunch of stamped spoons from her and think they look great at the booth.
The space below was a medley of four ladies who do only this show twice a year. They do a great job stocking up for it and were constantly busy! The group includes Lisa from Cut and Paste, Kelley from the Hidden List, Gloria from a modern glo, and Dana from Tattered Style. I will let the pictures do the talking for their great space!
This rack would be perfect for hanging clothes at my future garage sales!
I bought this great industrial table!
Next door to the girls was J. Hill Designs. Though Judy wasn't there when I stopped by, I did talk with her sweet husband Billy for awhile and we talked Cross Country, as his granddaughter is headed to Arkansas in the fall to run for the university. I will most definitely have to make it to their sale at their home in the near future. Check out some of their creations on their Facebook page.
And finally, I adored the displays that Barbara from the appropriately-named "Display" created. You can find her goods at White Elephant Antiques in Dallas.
I really enjoyed my time in her booth. One of Barbara's friends, who just retired from teaching (congratulations!), was having fun with the above flashcards. She had one lady draw a card, and she drew a picture of an airplane - quite fitting since she had just been talking about flying. Then another lady drew a picture of a table, which was appropriate since she was selling tables. Then she asked if I wanted to draw - I drew this card:
It was so perfect that I had to have it! This would also be a fun activity for students - have them draw a card and then write a story about the card they picked. I had so much fun talking with these ladies!
What a great picture to end this lengthy post. I might have started clueless when I got to the Market, but I left with great stories, great finds, and new friends. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!