its time to tell you all about the Mountain Quiltfest, which you might remember was our very first retail show since the MAQF was held in late Feb 2020.
First of all, the LeConte Convention Center is a magnificent facility and the entire staff & volunteers were wonderful hosts!
The MQF is a much smaller show than we are accustomed to vending at, but we’ve always heard good reviews about it. One thing I was impressed with immediately was the incredibly WIDE aisles which is a huge departure from the narrow aisles of other shows which easily become choked with customers. We had a steady stream of customers, but at no time did we have long lines of impatient customers waiting to check out.
We used a for this show for which I had created copious notes and I’m glad I did because we only had one day to load in and set up & that was after a late start due to horrific thunderstorms which soaked us to the skin! I was however new & different setup plan REALLY pleased with the new setup and there’s very little I’ll change as of right now when we go to Houston in October!
And because I had FOUR new designs to highlight for this show, I placed them all on the display table closest to my sales area which is a total departure from past shows where I tend to place my smaller bags & here’s what I noticed… for some reason, this area stayed remarkably neat & tidy. There were honestly very few times I had to come out of the booth and straighten bags up. (And also*** Please notice my hanging mannequins on the back wall of the booth wearing our & ErgoMatic samples. This worked out excellently!) Side Slinger
Because of this change, I placed my smaller, older sample on this long, low, side display area where they were continously in disarray (which is normal), but since this area is totally accessible to me from INSIDE the booth, it was SO much easier & less aggravating to maintain order! I’ll try to capitalize more on this in the future!
And normally our zipper display area has zippers in it & that’s all, but because we’ve cut back so much on the variety of separating zippers we offer, we now have room to “bonus” area in which to display other items. This worked out GREAT!
The MQF is really a rather small show consisting primarily of vendors selling quilting supplies… ie: fabric, backing, batting, rulers, & other things folks use to create quilts. Out booth was one of the few exceptions to this lineup and that may have given us a decided advantage. In addition, the expenses involved with this show was WAY less than other shows we normally vend at. The show fees & hotel costs were amazingly low and this really improved our profit margin & this was quite fortuitous for us. Our bottom line was in dire need of a good show! Another thing I thought was a great idea about this show was that the customer lounge area was in the center of the show floor which had the effect of keeping the customers closeby where they could “show & tell” their friends what they had bought & discovered. There was also a really fun musician in front of our booth playing a Mountain Dulcimer throughout the show. I’ve seen others play this instrument, but I particularly enjoyed the fact that this guy added selections from the likes of artists like Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd & Gun n’ Roses to his repetoire!
The Quilt entries were quite modest as you might expect, so I won’t be doing a separate post about them but I really did love this particular entry by Margaret Solomon Gunn. It’s called “ Taking the Unmapped Road“.
And before we knew it, the show was over & it was time to pack up & head back across those beautiful mountains to go home! We left very pleased with the show & very grateful for the “shot in the arm” it gave us after such the long, dry spell that the past year has been! Will we return to Pigeon Forge & the MQF next year? Well… it seems unlikely since the show format is changing considerably next year. For starters it’ll be a three day show, in the middle of the week, in June. That seems like three strikes to me right now, but… only time will tell, right? And now, it’s YOUR turn!
I hear tell that the attendance was down considerably for this show this year… if you’ve attended this show in the past, (probably due to residual fears about Covid) do you think this is true? Which makes me wonder… in what way will the pandemic situation need to change before you’ll be ready to attend a quilt show?
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