Bye-Bye Portland


Spring Quilt Market (the quilt industry’s semi-annual trade show)  is over and early tomorrow morning I’m traveling cross-country from Oregon to Long Island, via Dallas Fort Worth. My last Quilt Market was interrupted by Hurricane Sandy.  I’m hoping I make it safely through Tornado Ally tomorrow!

Back to Quilt Market … once again I was overwhelmed by the talent and dedication of the (mostly) women in our business. This Market I had the opportunity to assist with Schoolhouse, which is an all-day series of 30 minute presentation about vendor products. I also helped a friend with her booth so that she could sign books and do some photography. Can I just be honest? This convention stuff is VERY hard work.

First of all there’s the stress of coming up with new products (gadgets, patterns or fabric) to launch. Then there’s the stress of making sure the products are manufactured and show up in time to sell. Plus there’s planning out the booth and getting promotional materials together.

These ladies arrive on Wednesday to set up their booths, which is a very physically strenuous job. On Thursday, many take a break or two to give  Schoolhouse presentations. Friday, Saturday and Sunday is booth duty, which is also not easy. I only stood for an hour or so … my back was already sore. Plus some of the vendors give “Make and Takes” — which are instructional classes throughout the day that teach shop owners how to use their products. Then there are early morning and evening lectures that many vendors attend. And of course there’s booth tear-down on Sunday night. Clearly the vendors have far more stamina than I do!

I didn’t see any amazing new trends. There was more garment sewing patterns, especially for 20-ish women and little girls. There also seemed to be more craft-oriented projects such as making stuffed animals. Wool was again very popular. The Amy Butler-style fabric was very evident, and there seems to be a definite movement to attract the younger sewist.  Handbags and tote bags are very popular. There were also lots of beautiful new patterns.

I’m guessing there were around 500 booths. It is overwhelming to see so many items available. I can’t imagine how shop owners navigate their way through and decide what to purchase.

As always, I met many cool people. One of my favorite parts is sitting in the lobby with a coffee, and chatting with the buyers, vendors and authors who come out for a break.

As someone who has been gluten-free for a dozen years (due to celiac disease), I have to say that Portland was a pleasure. All of the restaurants I went to had gluten-free bread, and the servers were extremely knowledgeable. The room service department at my hotel phoned me to offer me gluten-free choices, and to assure me that they would wear gloves and make sure my food was safe to eat. This made up for the rainy weather and made me seriously consider moving to Portland!


One response »

  1. Thanks for the great insight into quilt market. I feel your pain! I have to admire the vendors for the stamina and guts it takes to keep this up and stay excited about it. The gluten-free experience must have been a relief to you as well. Great report!

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