I did it! I finally took some time out and attended a major scrapbooking event!
It was a busy week overall for me. I had just gotten back from another conference for my “real” job and then poof! I was off to spend time at the work I really love to do.
Because of my job, I knew that my time at the CKC would going to be limited. However, with a game plan and a few pre-determined goals, I would make the best of my experience. And now that I’m less of a newbie than I used to be, I would love to share some tips to help the less experienced get exactly what they want out of the time that they spend at a conference.
Gotta have Webster's and Graphic 45. Embellies by Crate Paper.
Tip 10: Begin with the End in Mind
What’s the point? What do you hope to get out of your time at your chosen event? While it may sound like it is easy to answer, there is a ton of things to do at an event like CKC. Of course there’s lots of shopping and classes, but there are also demos and make-n-takes and cropping opportunities. Sometimes your budget determines what you can really can take advantage of but the key is figuring out exactly what it is that you want to do. Me? I wanted lots of crafty professional development.
Tip 9: Bring Provisions and Stake Out Necessities
What’s your plan for taking care of yourself between class time and shopping time? If you decided to spend most of your time in classes like I did, it really doesn’t leave a lot of time for lunch. For me that wasn’t a big deal–I rarely stop for lunch on a regular day–but for others, that’s an absolute non-negotiable. While I wasn’t terribly hungry at the end of the day, having a snack or two would have been a good idea. The hotel had plenty of water stations available, so that was a big help; and, I tucked a jacket away in my bag which was a lifesaver in the chilly classrooms. But if you need to use elevators or often need bathroom breaks, then you should absolutely find out where these facilities exist before you get your day started. When in doubt, ask a fellow participant or consult the information desk.
Tip 8: Mind the Gap
In preparing to depart, you should know all the finer details of what lies ahead. For example, since this event is about an hour and half away from my home and I planned to drive, so I was prepared to spend the extra money in gas. But, I had no idea that I would be spending almost $20 total in tolls. (I was expecting about half that amount.) I did, however, take time to read the fine print that is provided when you register for the event and I knew beforehand that I couldn’t take my rolling cart onto the main shopping floor. I also had to make sure my laptop was fully charged for my Adobe Photoshop Elements class because I may not have had access to an electrical outlet. And even though I wasn’t enrolled in a traditional scrapabooking class, I was glad when I bought my basic kit to my Copics class because I needed ink and adhesive. It always pays to read the fine print. (I sound like a commercial…HA!)
Some cute clear stamps and a CD of digi templates
Tip 7: Create a Game Plan
Here’s where you really get to personalize your experience. Once you figure out exactly what your schedule will look like, the next thing to review is a list of the vendors. While many of the vendors may be local to the area, large events will draw quite the gamut of sellers. Some vendors have only one product to sell you; others have a little bit of everything. If you already know what you are looking for, then you can focus on where exactly you want to go and maximize your time. It is also a great opportunity to get up close and personal with a national company. Or, you can get finally get a first-hand look at those new product lines you’ve been eying.
The New Authentique Line
October Afternoon's Rocket Age
Tip 6: Don’t Forget the Extras!
Lots of vendors will have demonstrations throughout the day and some have craft stations where you can try some of their products or simply get inky or glittery. However, the most fun are all the raffles. I think I spotted about 15 – 20 or so different giveaways going on all at once! And if your are lucky enough to stay towards the end of the event, lots of vendors put things on sale just to help product move out the door. If you’ve been eying something, a motivated seller might be willing to make a deal. You could walk away winning something for nothing or getting something for half price.
Tip 5: Make Friends!
Besides the classes, I have been wanting to make more crafty friends, especially ones that live nearby that I can crop or attend events with. So one of my other reasons for going to the convention was to connect to people. I had only been there 10 minutes and I introduced myself to a couple of ladies in a booth shopping. We all were interested in some unique clear stamps. (Yes I bought a few….HA!)
There really is such a camaraderie in this industry and if you’re into sharing the love of this craft, then it will be super easy to make friends. If nothing else, it’s nice to be around others who “speak your language.” Isn’t that so refreshing? I don’t have any other scrapbookers in my family and friends circle, so although they appreciate my affection, they can’t really relate. Nor can they understand why I have to buy that new trimmer, or ribbon, or pen, or cutting mat, or polka dot paper or…..you get the point. But I digress…
This is also a good time to have a few business cards on hand. It actually doesn’t matter what they look like really, they just need to have your contact information on them. (Although I have updated cards, I only remembered to bring older ones–doh!–but they still worked.) And in my second Copics class, I made good use of the them–one for the teacher and one for Julie who sat next to me in class. We had a great few hours in class together and now I have someone to meet up again with next year.
Tip 4: Stay Awhile
Because of my “real” job, I didn’t spend as nearly as much time at the conference as I wanted or really needed to. In the one day I attended, I took three classes and had very little time to do anything else. I did get to do some shopping….
Ink, paper and stamps from Studio Calico.
Stamps and dies from Clear and Simple Stamps.
but there was a lot that I couldn’t take advantage of. While I met my goals for the day, next year I hope to return and spend at least one more full day at the conference. That way I can maybe spend one day in classes and another day on the main floor. The other reason why this might be a good idea is because since we weren’t allowed to bring rolling totes onto the main floor, I ended up carrying my class supplies and anything else that I either purchased or was given on my shoulder…all day. And even though I went out to my car once to drop some stuff off, my shoulder is killing me today. Ouch!
Tip 3: Bring a Camera
This little tip might be the best of all. I brought my camera, almost as an afterthought, but it came in handy in several ways. I took pictures of samples,
Copic class samples
and a quick picture with Vee Jennings, a member of Studio Calico’s amazing design team,
and generally got some visual insight into what people are crafting these days. Your camera will remember long after you forget. And remember, inspiration is always free.
Tip 2: Expect the Unexpected
Remember that tip about reviewing the vendor list? While I wasn’t surprised about many of the vendors, I was surprised that there would be a few direct marketing-sellers like Close to My Heart on the main floor. If you are a loyal customers of CTMH, then you can stock up on your favorite supplies. I spent time shopping at a vendor that sold nothing but Spellbinders dies and accessories and another that sold only Fiskars products. There were vendors that only sold pre-assembled page kits and laser die-cuts. One vendor only sold software–all of the product was nothing more than a medium-size bin of CDs. One of the more interesting booths was for Scrapbuck, which boasts selling products for as low as a buck. Think of it as a dollar store for scrapbooking supplies. Kinda genius…
Tip 1: Everything is not for Everybody
Or in other words, if it isn’t fun, then why do it? There is a lot to do but that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything. So pick and choose what you end up doing. At the end of the day although I was exhausted from the driving and the walking and the hauling, I had a fantastic time. I left feeling fulfilled and happy. The energy was great. The people were fabulous. And so yes, I had fun. So. much. fun. And while everything isn’t for everybody, I will definitely be going again next year.
So what are you waiting for?