This post is late in coming, but I thought it would still be fun to summarize all of the fun & success we had at the CHA Craft SuperShow at the end of July.
Here is the uhaul truck all packed and ready to pull out of our driveway. Last year we managed to only take a trailer, but this year we had to upgrade to a full-size truck! David and I spent 6 whole weeks preparing everything for the booth and an entire day packing up the truck. We got a late start and drove through the night, arriving in Chicago at 4:30am. We were sooooo tired, we couldn't wait to hit the bed at the hotel when we arrived!
We spent our first day at the CHA retailers show scoping out new products and manufacturers, but the following day was set-up day! We got a very early start because of the amount of work involved in setting a booth this size. We were some of the first people there for the day! The first thing that had to come off the truck were the large pieces of carpet that would make-up the floor of the booth. They weighed several hundred pounds a piece. See David flexing his muscles?!?!? 🙂
Here's the team hard at work. That big black stack are all the hundreds of grid wall pieces needed to make up the walls of the booth!
Here's David finishing up with the carpet. Our booth was a whopping 40' x 40' this year, quadruple the size of last years booth in an attempt to accommodate the many dedicated customers who come by to visit us!
In the distance here you can see Mish, Heather and myself chatting and finishing up the unloading process.
Mish was kind enough to help David in setting up the grid walls. Dawn & I were on the other side of the booth working our way around to meet them in the middle.
We almost have all of the fixtures set up. It doesn't look like much until all that beautiful product is added to the shelves!
Here's Jenn Ellefson & Julie plotting the best way to arrange the stamp sets on the back wall.
Heather is assembling the dozens and dozens of shelves needed to hold ribbon.
David working hard while oblivious to Mish striking a pose with a piece of hardware.
Another shot of all of the shelving & fixtures awaiting to be added to the walls. Jane, Heather & I are in the background figuring out set up options. In case you haven't noticed, there isn't any product to be seen. That's because it hadn't arrived yet! There had been an issue with our trucs delivery being accepted by the folks at CHA and we found out it wasn't going to be delivered until 8pm that night. Completely tragic since it took us hours to get the product unloaded and organized in the booth last year!
So we finished up all the fixture set up and decided to take the product delay in stride and have a feast of good ol' Chicago style pizza for dinner. It was fabulous and the company was fun and entertaining.
After dinner, we all headed back to the convention center to wait for the product to arrive. Luckily it came a bit early and we were able to dig right in. Heather brought her iPod dock, so we jammed to some tunes and worked our little fannies off until the wee hours of the night to get everything stocked and ready to go for morning.
We were back at it early the next morning in preparation for the large crowds of the first day of the show. Here are some of our helpers, Kristen, Carla & Andrea. They worked at three of our four cash registers this year. We doubled the amount of cash registers from two lat year to try to get people through the line faster.
Here I am getting a few last minute things in place within the booth.
Mish is hard at work cutting everyone's ribbon.
With the make-n-takes almost prepared, the stage is set for a fabulous how. Our booth inspiration this year was the sky. We asked each design team member to create a handmade kite to be hung on either side of the booth. As always, these girls did NOT disappoint!
*sigh* don't you just love seeing all those colors together in one place? They make me so happy!
A peek at the wall opposite the previous display wall.
The back wall of the booth showcased all of the stamp sets that we had brought along. Each stamp set had a black & white index sheet to show what the images looked like in addition to a card sample or two.
People really enjoyed being able to take photos of all the inspiration and seeing many projects from the blogs come to life.
This was our patterned paper & twine section. There were also a few $5 mini stamp sets displayed here.
The dies & impression plates were on display int he form or labeled cardstock cut-outs. There were then checklists that people could mark which items they wanted to purchase and get them at the register. It was fun to all of the shapes together like this.
As a new addition this year, David built 12 display units with glass doors to display projects around the outside perimeter of the booth. They worked wonderfully and he did such a great job with them.
This display unit was at the very front of the booth showcasing what the design team had created with the CHA exclusive set, Four of a Kind. I couldn't even begin to count the number of times this cabinet was photographed!
Four of a Kind was available to CHA show-goers only as an exclusive gift with a $100 purchase. Everyone was very excited about it and even got to make a few projects with it in our make-n-take area throughout the show. (And just as a confirmation, I'm sorry to say that this set will never e available for sale.)
A few of the designers posted photos of their Four of a Kind projects on their blogs. I have listed direct links to each of them below if you want a closer look!
Mish & Dawn went outside the doors of the show shortly before they opened to see if there were any Papertrey peeps around. And wouldn't you know it, the very first folks in line were anxiously waiting to come by and visit us when the doors opened.
Here is some of the team just minutes before the show began. We are all wearing adorable aprons from Jessie Steele. Gotta love a damask apron!
Dawn wanted to tweet right before the show began, so she had David snap this quick pic of us together in our show attire.
Here's Mish, Dawn & Lori Craig from Splicoaststampers. Lori was so fun during the show and she even saved us a few times with emergency items we needed during booth set-up!
And then it began. I swear, when those doors open the first day, I feel SO overwhelmed/nervous/excited as the large crowds stampede upon our booth.
Everyone is so excited to be one of the first. Product is flying everywhere. Racks are cleaned off so fast, David & JD can hardly keep up with the re-stocking.
There was a line of people just waiting to come in and shop! Talk about dedication! We loved having all of you!!!! The day continued on in one crazy whirlwind. Meeting many old and new customers alike. Answering questions, performing crowd control. Definitely a very long day, but so worthwhile!
Here we are, back at it early the next morning for the second day of the show. This was one of THE most funny moments behind the scenes. David was attempting to vacuum the make-n–take area, but where the nearest outlet was positioned, David couldn't reach the areas that needed attention. So Mish, in her all-powerful wisdom, stuck a wrapping paper tube onto the end of the vacuum. And surprisingly, it worked great! David still needed even more length, so Mish stuck a SECOND tube on, and it worked too! It was hilarious as Mish kept adding the tubes on and David just kept vacuuming away! No…if only I could get David to vacuum at home?!!?!? 🙂
Here I am right before the doors opened the second day, prepared with plenty of shopping bags to hand to everyone to hold all of their products until they got to the cash register. I managed to get 100 of them on one arm so I would be ready to go! The second day was much like the first. Just a whirlwind of customers, smiles, friends (old & new), and so much more.
Take down went much faster this year than it did last year. Here we are after all the fixtures have been put into the truck, taking care of the carpet. Us lady folks decided to race JD & David in rolling up carpet strips.
They were pretty sure they were going to win…
but we proved them wrong! So, another fabulous CHA has come and gone! We are SO incredibly appreciative to all the folks who bopped out our way to visit us. These events are truly some of the most gratifying & rewarding experiences I have had with Papertrey yet!
Now, we know that there were many of you that didn't get to attend CHA and partake in all the fun. So we are opening up a contest to EVERYONE for a chance to win some amazing goodies! There will be 18 winners in all, so be sure to play along, 'cause your chances are better than ever to snag some Papertrey goodness!
PRIZE PACKAGE 1: Four of a Kind CHA Exclusive stamp set!
PRIZE PACKAGES 2-12: one of 11 kites created by our talented design team!
PRIZE PACKAGES 13-16: one of 4 CHA display posters
PRIZE PACKAGES 17-18: one of 2 Jessie Steele aprons, just like what we wore during the show!
To have a chance to win one of these 18 prizes, just leave a comment on this post. Only one comment per person please. This contest will close at 5pm EST, Tuesday, September 8th. One randomly selected winner for each prize will be listed here after 9pm EST. Good luck to everyone!
Congratulations to all of the winners! Please be sure to email customer service with your username, full-name & shipping address within 30-days to claim your prize! Thank you to everyone for playing along! And we hope to see YOU at our yet-to-be-disclosed 2011 event!