My theme of the week is RESULTS.

I don’t spend the time, energy and money exhibiting at SURTEX for the fun of it.  I do it for the RESULTS I get for my business.  Connecting with current clients, meeting new prospects and of course, seeing all my fun artist and agent friends!

Exhibiting at the show is just the beginning… the success is in the follow up.

If you have never exhibited before, I’ll tell you a little bit about how it works… you stand in your booth for 3 days, smiling and trying to make eye contact while simultaneously trying to read their name and company name on their badge. (I must say, my aging eyes and need of reading glasses is making that trickier every year.)

If – no WHEN – you get their attention, you begin to ask some questions to better understand why they are at the show and what they are looking at.  As you learn about them, you figure out if and how you can be of service… what art and skills you have that will help them sell products and that will make their job easier.

You move to your portfolio and show them some things you think will work and let them wander through your treasure trove to see what peaks their interest.  You take copious notes as they say, “Oh, that could work!  Can you send me that?”  “That too, and maybe this pattern but can you show it to me with red instead of orange?”  etc.

You head back to your studio with a pile of notes about the conversations and the art requests.  Now comes the part that can make or break your show… FOLLOW UP.

There are times when a manufacturer follows up with you first… but I’d say it’s the exception and not the rule.  Remember they have talked to a lot of people and have requested a lot of art to review. It’s up to YOU to get it to them or you will miss the chance to be considered.

The same thing applies if you don’t exhibit.  You need to find ways to connect with the decision makers and follow up when you can.  Stay on top of what they are looking for and when they will be reviewing art and making decisions.  Submitting art a week after decisions were made won’t get you a deal.

SURTEX 2015 is a wrap!

Glancing over my notes, I met as many new people as current clients – many of the new look promising. It was quality over quantity but the quality was good. I even got a deal (for sure!) from a design I had showing in the Planner!

Advisory board meeting talked about lots of ways to grow and improve the show – including some new options for artists to check and see if it’s the place for them. Will give you more details as they are confirmed. Thanks to all who gave feedback for me to share.

Next year’s show dates – May 15-17, 2016!



Artists often ask for a calendar – “When do companies look for Christmas art? Or flowers?”  Unfortunately every company will have their own calendar.  Some work farther in advance and others do a lot of last minute “fire drill” style decision making.

Remember to focus on your results and if they aren’t what you want them to be, figure out what you can change in how you work and see if the results improve.  Building relationships and following up are two key ingredients to good results!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed