So this is me at the National Stationery Show last year. You can see my wrap up here. But there will be no cute pictures of me pretending to put up my sign this year because I’m not attending. It starts this weekend and my heart is aching a little knowing I won’t be there.
You must be asking yourself why, or at least I hope you are because that’s what this post is all about.
1. Hobnobbing with all of the other stationers out there.
2. Meeting new friends and business associates.
3. Talking one on one with store owners and press.
4. Getting my products into new stores and maintaining relationships with current retailers.
5. Spending the week in New York City.
6. Creating the booth is fun and different than my other 2 dimensional work.
There are many down sides to attending the show as well:
1. Creates a deadline for creation of new products. This may sound like it could be good but I find it limits my creativity sometimes.
2. Expensive. I could do a booth and everything that goes along with it for less than $10,000 but others spend lots more than that.
3. Creating the booth and preparing for it’s execution is time consuming.
4. It’s stressful.
5. Selling your products in stores gives me a smaller profit margin versus selling direct to customers.
6. I prefer dealing one on one with customers to dealing with stores.
So it seams that I have equal amounts of positives and negatives which is what makes this such a hard decision every year. I am attending next year, for sure but I am sitting this one out.
Owning your own business is hard. Not only that, starting your own business is hard too. And I think the main reason it’s so hard is that you work non-stop and then often don’t get paid anything or very little. I am going to be blunt. I do not make enough to support myself with Avie Designs. I do make money but it varies. Sometimes it is decent and sometimes it is nothing. I am lucky that my husband has a job and we can live on what he makes. (he’s a teacher that just got a 6% pay decrease so we are by no means living high on the hog) But his salary combined with my finicky salary is enough for us to live comfortably. Sometimes more than others. Often I have re-routed funds back into my business so that it may grow instead of paying myself. These are decisions that my husband and I make together based on where we are financially.
This is all to say that not attending the show can afford me a lot of financial leeway. I looked at my finances over the past years that I have attended the show and realized that store orders make up a small percentage of my business. For me, this year, it just didn’t add up.
I love working with my customers and I wanted to focus on that part of my business, save a little money, pay myself more and spend the entire year working on next year’s show.
Lastly, because I have not been working on the show all year, I was able to move my office. Which is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. I never would have been able to make that work and attend the show. After all, I am only one woman, for the time being.
P.S. We have tickets to see the Flaming Lips this weekend in an outdoor concert and I have been wanting to see them for years.