So, we had a nice post planned about our time at Stitches West. It was going to include pictures of happy, interested people at our booth. We thought we’d take photos with people in their CustomFit sweaters, show off our measuring corner in action, proudly display our real-life Gallery of Awesome. I thought we’d have time to take these photos and keep notes about them … clearly I was delusional!
Instead, Stitches West was a bit of a madhouse, in the best possible way.
It began on Thursday night, during the market preview hours. Amy, Lauren, and I dashed to the rest room at 4:58 to change out of our icky booth-building clothes and into our sweaters, we emerged at 5:00 somewhat more presentable, and facing a line of about 20 (awesome) people waiting in line at the booth.
It was a crazy happy sight for us, because we’ve never exhibited to knitters at a show like this before, and we really didn’t know how things would go over. (How do you explain CustomFit to people who have never heard of it? And how come there’s no yarn for sale in our booth?) Once we launched into taking measurements, the booth ramped up into a crazy busy that never stopped.
We had planned 6 measurement hours, carefully scheduled and spaced apart for manageability. That was clearly shortsighted of us! Measurement services almost immediately turned into a constant whirl of tape measures for the full 8 hours each day, in response to the rather enthusiastic demand for them — stopping only for water and rest room breaks.
(At one point, Caroline brought us dark chocolate caramel sea salt squares from the Verb booth and I could have hugged her. It was so thoughtful, and delicious, and needed.)
Lauren and I were usually in the measurement corner, watching Amy manage a crowd of 10 or 20 people herself, and somehow also spending one-on-one time with hundreds of women giving personal consultations. (On occasion we’d switch things up and swap in and out as needed.) Even though I (mostly) saw it happening, I’m still really not sure how she did it — it seems a bit like a physical impossibility.
The line for measurements was often long, and many (very, very patient!) women waited more than an hour or two for them. Everyone was so patient, and kind, and enthusiastic, and friendly — it was a reinforcement of all the best things about the knitting community and knitters themselves. I got to chat with wonderful women, from everywhere, all weekend. And we got to connect, not just about knitting in general, but about the journey of making a sweater as clothing… and about getting a piece of clothing that fits.
It made me feel, once again, how fortunate I am to be doing this.
Want to see a pathetic, non-artistic photo of our booth? I snapped it just before the show to text to my husband:
We finished setting up with just minutes to spare.
I never in a million years thought it would be the one we’d use for the blog post. (See: trash cans in foreground. See also: empty)
Thanks to EVERYONE who came out and made Stitches West such an incredible weekend for us. It was wonderful to see so many of our beta-testers, and so many finished CustomFit sweaters from knitters who we met for the first time at Stitches West. Thanks for coming up and saying hi, and showing us your awesome work. Thanks also to all the knitters who’d never heard of us, and took the time to say, hey, what’s this booth that has no yarn in it?
It was also fantastic to see some of our CustomFit LYS stores exhibiting, such as A Verb for Keeping Warm, Purlescence, WEBS, and last but not least Yarnover Truck, who saved our hides by making copies of measurement sheets for us, when we ran out of the double supply we brought for the show! They actually had their truck on the floor, which was maybe the coolest “booth” set up I’ve ever seen.
(Also, I’m thrilled to say CustomFit LYS is in more than 30 stores now — more on that later this week!)
All in all, it was a great show (and a complete whirlwind). We’re really looking forward to seeing all the sweaters whose roots are in the conversations and connections we made this weekend — it’s definitely the best part of it all.