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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Business as usual: my first bridal show

Source: via Leona on Pinterest

I am now four days away from my very first bridal show. Last year when I started this blog, I said I would document the little things of starting a business. Fanciful Ink became official in August of last year. I set up shop to sell Christmas cards at a market in Corinth, MS and was approached in December by NFocus Magazine to be a part of their Bridal Brunch January 22. Starting out a business is exciting but there is one aspect of it that is scary and very real: money. It cost a lot for me and my itty bitty business to be a vendor at this show, but I felt like it was something I really would benefit from, even if it is getting over my fears of not succeeding. I felt like if I met brides face to face I could learn more and show them first hand what I have done in the past and what I can do for them.
As I have been carefully (and sometimes frantically) preparing this past month, the best part has been reprinting several designs that I have done. I ended up having more than I thought I did and I am happy to say that I love each one of them. What I especially love is that they are all different and when I look at them, I see each one of the ladies that hired me in those invitations. I have been fortunate to know each one of my brides and even more fortunate to call them all friends. I am so happy they were the initial brides to help me launch this business. Now I am ready to meet new brides and make beautiful invitations for them and get to know them on a design level.
Enough of the mush...I said I was going to document what was going on. How does someone who has never done a bridal show prepare for it? The answer: No clue. I have no idea if I've done anything right, but I just went with it. My first problem to tackle was a way to display my work. Since my designs are all custom and specific to each couple, I didn't want to have "ready made" invitations to show because that meant that the invitations were not unique, which is what I strive for in my designs. So once I reprinted everything I had done in the past, I knew I had a nice base and good variety to show. How to do that? Well, I scoured Pinterest for ways to display anything at all and put bits and pieces of what I found together.
The result was to display everything on small walls. The problem was that I live in an apartment and having a long wall there to make and then store proved to be a problem. When I approached my boyfriend about it, he suggested making two separate walls that can be stored and transported easily. He graciously built the frames for me along with his dad and those two frame have now taken over my office/guest room. They have been painted white as well as a small part of my cat's fur because she apparently derives crazy powers from plastic drop cloths and is inspired to attack a moving paintbrush.
I bought gray felt and stretched it around the frames like I would a canvas and then nailed a piece of white paneling on the bottom half of the frame, finished off with a white chair rail. To display my samples, I bought cheap white 8x10 frames and removed everything but the actual frame and added velcro to the back so that it sticks nicely to the felt. I am going to do the same to all my paper products as well so that they are framed and arranged nicely on the walls.
The Bridal Brunch is providing me with a table that I am covering with a white cloth and a beautiful topper that has gray rosettes all over it. I want to kept the table simple but elegant. I have some low rectangular vases to fill with flowers for a pop of color amongst all that gray and white, two candelabras that are acrylic and two chairs that are acrylic as well.
Photos to come very soon, hopefully as I finish up all my details and most definitely once my booth is set up. I still have several things to do...and even though I'm not sure that I'm doing it right, it feels right. My first big endeavor is hopefully a big step in the right direction.
I challenge you to tackle something you are afraid of.

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