Thursday, August 28, 2008

ABC Kids Expo...Vegas, Here We Come!

The countdown has begun. Only 8 days left before we're headed to Las Vegas for the largest tradeshow for anyone involved in the children's industry, the ABC Kids Expo. It's a great way for children's vendors and manufacturers to meet with the independent retailers, mass merchants, online retailers and interior designers as well.

I attended this show last year as a "new exhibitor" and it was quite an eye-opening experience! I have been in business for quite a while, but had never wanted to tackle the task of preparing for such an event, not to mention the huge budget that has to be set aside for 8 days in Vegas. I learned so much through that first time experience that I'm taking with me this year. My booth will be bigger and better and I now know what to bring and what not to bring. I'm excited about the opportunities that could come about. Even being a first timer last year, I was still able too catch the eye of the Sears who knows which buyers I might meet this year!

I have to admit, though...I'm really concerned about the effect our current economy will have on the tradeshow. While the list of registered buyers is up from last year by over 400 attendees, I'm not sure they're all in the position to make a lot of purchases. Several of my current retailers have told me they won't be attending. But I'm trying to think positively and hope that those who have spent the money to attend, will be ready and willing to spend money on new merchandise for their stores.

I'm also looking forward to seeing some of my friends in the industry. There are so many great people I met last year that I'll enjoy catching up with this year. Another highlight is meeting retailers who, up until now, have only been a voice on the other end of the phone line or an email correspondence here and there. It's great to finally have a face to go along with the name and voice!

Once the show is over, or one day thereafter, I plan on telling you about all of the crazy, behind the scenes planning that goes on for such an event. There are so many rules and regulations that have to be paid close attention to (fire codes dealing with all of your display items, for example, has been quite an issue!). Preparation for a trade show can be a huge headache, to say the least and has sent me into a tail spin on numerous occassions. Let's hope all of the planning pays off! I'll keep you posted and in the meanwhile, keep your fingers crossed that my booth walls pass the inspection by the fire marshall...we jumped through quite a few hoops to find that flame resistent paint! (Not as easy as you'd think!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is "modern" nursery design here to stay?

I've been painting wall art for children for quite a long time. Creating murals and canvases of traditional themes have always been easy for me, and fortunately they have always been in style. If a client tells me they want a princess theme in their girl's room, I can whip up several ideas with little thought or effort. Cowboy theme or pirates for a boy's room, piece of cake!

However, there is a strong modern design trend in the home decor market that started sneaking into nursery design just a couple of years ago. Recently, however, this modern design trend has taken center stage and is all the rage in nursery design.

How does a very traditionally minded artist adapt? I've been doodling and painting a lot more than usual recently, just trying to come up with a twist on modern nursery art that hasn't already been done. I've created a few modern nursery canvases, but have certainly not taken the nursery design world by storm with them!

If you haven't noticed, there is already a lot of modern children's art on the market. Much of it, however is done with a computer graphics program where no artist's brush is needed. I don't think I'll be going back to school for a computer graphics degree anytime soon, so I'll be sticking with my paint brushes, thank you! However those perfectly straight, clean lines produced on a computer are hard to compete with when you're painting by hand!

Do I need to adapt, or is this just a passing trend? I once thought that Shabby Chic was just a passing design trend that was only going to be around for a few years, but after more than a decade, it's still holding strong.

What are your thoughts on the modern nursery trend? Should I really be that concerned and focused on trying to create a modern line of children's wall art? Can I compete with these computer graphics artists who have some very cool modern art already in the market? Or should I just stick with what I know best and have faith that there will always be a market for my traditional designs?

I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. And if you do believe it's a trend that is here for the duration, PLEASE share some of your inspiring ideas with me! If you make a suggestion that is released in our next collection, you'll receive a free signed canvas!