January is a tough month for me.
I try to pump myself up for it. I love selecting my word, and dreaming about how it will play out. I love the idea of getting a fresh start – a whole year before you with no screw ups in it, full of possibilities. I even love (okay, like a lot) getting the house restored to order after the holidays – everything dusted, all the every day decor put back up just a little differently. And of course, in January we start the countdown to leaving for our annual trip to Maui.
So with all that, how can it be such a rough month?
It is the time of year for Winter Market in Atlanta and CHA (the craft/hobby industry trade show) my very favorite time of year when I had my store, My Favorite Things. Back in the day, Atlanta was one week, CHA was the next. It was crazy.
For the better part of twenty years, these shows were a huge part of my life. These were the shows where we made the plans for the whole year.
I remember like it was yesterday setting up pages in a notebook for each month of year where we would set up the themes for each month based on the merchandise we were seeing, keep track of purchases that would come in that month and sketch out the new displays. January was the month we would decide on the themes for the 20+ trees we did each year for Christmas, and buy the bulk of the merchandise needed for them.
In the beginning, I did it alone, but as the years went by, I started taking key employees with me and we made a party of it, staying in fancy hotels and going to the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, and even “Miss Pittypat’s Porch” in Atlanta. When CHA was in Anaheim, we’d take an extra day to go to Disneyland. We worked hard, sometimes 12-14 hours a day. Over time we figured out that if you scheduled appointments late with vendors you buy a lot from, you could extend the buying day by a couple of extra hours. Few sales people wanted to pass up sales by herding you out when the show was technically closed for the day. We’d often plop down on the floor in the showrooms with catalogs all around us designing displays, making lists of the stuff we needed and dreaming up the things we could make to go with the things we bought. Then we’d get a late dinner then go back to the hotel and watch a movie while we went over invoices, poured over catalogs and planned the next day.
We got so inspired, we thought we’d explode. The ideas came fast and furious, and we fed on each others excitement. It was a great time for bonding and team-building.
Without experiencing it, it’s hard to explain just why it is so fun (sorta sounds like work, huh?) But it’s seriously like being a battery that gets drained during the year, then when you get to market you plug into an electrical outlet and get totally recharged.
There were a lot of things about the business I didn’t like – particularly the paperwork, but market? That was my absolute favorite, especially Winter Market. I miss it so much it actually hurts, sometimes. And it’s been six years since I sold the store. You’d think I’d get over it.
Now days, you-tube is FULL of video previews of product releases and interviews with the artists, so it’s ALMOST like being there. Almost. But there is NOTHING like experiencing it in person.
Mr. Tattered has suggested that I should go again, just to soak up the ambiance, and I’m seriously tempted. In fact, I got invited to go to CHA with a friend who recently opened an art store in Washington state, but the timing didn’t work out. I’m thinking I will try to do it next year.
But I don’t know. I used to get to buy the stuff. Now, I’d just be drooling. It might be a case of “you can’t go home.”
Maybe I need to do it just once just so I’ll know it isn’t the same, and hopefully finally get over it.
But then again, it may be just the push I need to come home and lease a retail spot. JUST KIDDING, honey!