Lesson #4: Make new friends.
Our favorite part of Surtex is meeting the people who live around us for four days. Not only do we learn trade tips and tricks, but we have made life-long friends from our trade show seasons.
A new friendship at Surtex might start like this: “Oh my goodness, all of my artwork fell in the night, do you have any tape?” “Here are some Command Strips, they are much better.” “Will you watch my booth while I just grab some coffee?” “Disney came by while you were away, and we signed a deal for you … is that okay?”
No matter how the friendships start, they are lasting. Here are some of the new and old friends who were living near our Little Big Top this year, deep in the heart of Surtex.
We were delighted when we arrived to see that the Surtex staff had moved our neighbors from last year to the very same corner to which we were moved. Right across the aisle were Elliott, Sherry and Debbie of the Debbie Taylor-Kerman team. Not only did we get to hear Debbie’s wonderful Scottish accent for three days, but we loved being near her husband, Elliott, who still makes us feel starstruck because … well, you will have to read about him here!
When we first saw Debra Jordan Bryan walk in, we were in awe … she was wearing high shoes! We are so very impressed with artists who can stand in their booths for three whole days with high shoes. Then it turned out that she was not only fashionable, but very talented … and adorable. When clients weren’t clamoring to meet both of us, we were able to visit and learn that we had so much in common … well, except trade show shoes.
Across the aisle was Sheila Meehan, who is an agent for a great group of artists, and lucky for them, because Sheila is one of those people that you just want to be around. She is fun and funny. Sheila has also been in the design licensing business about the same amount of time as we have … which is basically since it began, so it was fun to compare notes and reminisce about the old days now that we’re both so wise.
The team from Roaring Brook Art was catty-cornered across from us, which really made our corner feel upscale and elegant, because their booth had the feeling of an inviting living room. I hope they weren’t concerned when they saw that a bunch of loud circus clowns were moving into the neighborhood.
Ed Miller, who was new to Surtex, was across from us and his booth was as cheerful and fun as he was. We knew we were going to love him, when he stayed for booth set-up as long as we did (which was loooong) making awesome paper garlands from his great juvenile patterns.
And last, but not least, a fellow Austinite! Samantha Stevens is the licensing agent for Terri Puma Design. When we were introduced, we learned that (1) Samantha was from Austin and (2) Terri has a child at Colorado State where we have a child. And then it turned out that (3) Samantha has a child that played lacrosse against my child. We were both lacrosse moms! It just doesn’t get any small-worlder than that.
So these are the new and old friends that lived near the Little Big Top, USA for three days. During those few moments between signing big deals, we were able to share photoshop tips, copyright info, organization ideas, and even camp stories.
We feel very lucky to be part of an industry full of artists and agents who are so willing to share and support each other, and also just so ding dang fun. (See! I learned that great expression from our booth neighbor and dear new friend, Debra Jordan Bryan. You never know what you might learn at Surtex.)