I participated in a new experience this month, when I signed up for a booth at the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds‘ Meet the Teacher meeting. I had been encouraged to do this by a fellow quilter, and she was really helpful in sending me tips of what to do. In my more fretful moments, I searched the internet for more information, so I write this post to document my experience, to show what kinds of booths were there, to help others who may choose to do this. This post is picture heavy, but full of wonderful quilts.
It was held in Carson, California at the community center. The area we had of this center was one large room, with “wings” of rooms, open to the main room. You could hear all that was going on, and it was a busy, fun feeling. We entered the area at the top of this paper, checked in (we received a cookie!) and went to our booth areas, which consisted of two chairs, a cloth-draped 8-foot table that was about 24″ wide. I was on the left side of the above diagram, next to a really lovely woman who did embroidery. The people on the other side didn’t show, so we used that table for eating lunch, as did others.
What to bring? Here’s a listing of what I would suggest (you can get more ideas from the pictures that follow this list:
• 1 or 2 quilt stands. We strung a pole (one of my HangIt Dangits) between the two so I could show three quilts.
• A sign for your booth. They did provide a sign, but mine had migrated and was two tables over (I found it later).
• Quilts that you want for background atmosphere and backdrop. You can see I draped the table in my basket quilt.
• A book showing classes you’ll teach. Keep it simple. The Guild Board Members always seemed to be in rush, so they don’t spend a long time at your booth.
• Quilts that are samples of classes you will teach. These were invaluable, as people want to see the class samples. Many took photos of the quilts to show to their Guild.
• Bowl of wrapped chocolates. I went to the store and bought two bags of foil-wrapped chocolates (Dove Mixture and a Reese’s peanut butter candy). These were a hit.
• Fliers showing a brief bio, a photo, one of your quilts (if possible) and contact information. I did 100 half-sheet fliers which yielded 200. I put some out on the Flier Table in the front hallway, and offered up chocolate and a flier to everyone that came by. Because I had too many fliers, I wasn’t worried about running out.
• Decorative items for your table. I brought my Tiny Quilts, showing what was available on my blog for free. (I am not a pro on this one, but you’ll see other booths who had more.)
• Lunch will be a rush. While I did buy the offered lunch, I only ate about 1/2 of it. For us, it might have been better to have brought small grazing items, for when we were hungry, I think. We brought a small cooler that we tucked under the table, filled with three bottles of water (could have used four), a soft drink and some snacks and grapes. They had iced tea and water with lemons in it in the main welcoming area, it that interests you.
• I also brought a cushion to sit on, not knowing what kind of chairs they had. They were fine, but it was helpful to be a bit higher in my chair when I was doing business.
• Put an app on your phone so you can take a photo that will scan the contracts you sign. They carry away the copy, and you’ll probably want to know what you signed.
• Printed out calendars, with the dates you aren’t available blocked out. Most of these Guilds are working two years out, so bring three years’ worth of calendars.
• A helper. I brought my husband, and he was invaluable. They do have booth sitters that come around and can give you a break.
Here’s my Instagram post, with videos, showing bits of this day. We arrived about 8:15, and set up; we were ready to go in 30 minutes. At 2 p.m. it was all over with, and we packed up and left.
You’ll also be asked to give a 3 minute talk, and they are serious about 3 minutes. I wrote mine out, using one of my blog posts as the basis, and showed only two samples of things I could teach. Others brought oodles of samples to show and talked mainly about their classes. They have two helpers onstage to hold up your items while you talk. I’d suggest timing your talk so you know how long it will take, but they do have a woman at the front with signs, telling you when to get off the stage (they run a tight ship). I’m guessing the Guild board members basically want to see what kind of person you are, and if you are coherent. It can be a mind-rattling experience, so be prepared. Because I was, I thought it was fun. The talks go on throughout the day, with breaks in between every so often so the guild members can get to the booths.
Here come the photos. They are meant to be helpful, if you are planning to do this, so draw from them what might work. For the rest of my readers, have fun looking at the quilts!
We drove home through intermittent LA traffic (part of life, here), arriving home tired, but happy. I put this photo here to let you know you won’t be cooking–go out and enjoy a meal after all your hard work!