I just got back from four days in New York helping one of my best friends pursue her dreams. Is there anything better than witnessing a friend’s hard work pay off? The week included a lot of (overpriced) coffee, pigeons inside the convention center, custom outfits created by Kim, and a lot of laughing (mostly at ourselves). We arrived at LaGuardia on Saturday morning and we immediately headed to the Javits Center.

Kim, of Manayunk Calligraphy, registered for Surtex in January and paid a hefty amount to attend. While she was uncertain about whether or not this was a good investment as she prepared for Surtex over the last few months, we are both confident that it would provide tremendous exposure for her work. I am so proud to not only be her friend, but also her sidekick.

Surtex is a B2B marketplace for showcasing original art to buyers, manufacturers and retailers from around the world. Surtex stands for surface and textile design and our booth was located in the licensing portion of the floor.

Kim has a portfolio of original designs to be used on dish towels, linens, pillows, journals, stationary, and a plethora of other goods. The biggest names in retail were featured and we had a steady stream of attendees stop by the booth to peruse Kim’s work.

The lovely ladies from Crayola stopped by and all of my childhood dreams came true. Their business cards featured a childhood photo of them and it was a fun reminder to always be a kid at heart. Neiman Marcus, Home Goods, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Target, Hallmark, American Greetings, and Tiny Prints were just a few retailers we had the opportunity to meet with.

As I took notes, I quickly realized that most of the business cards were too good to glue onto the pages. The man from Crane took the cake with the finest quality card stock I have ever laid my hands on. Even the word ‘Crane’ was embossed and had a navy blue raised edge.

It felt like the last day of camp when we had to say goodbye to our new friends. There is a camaraderie when you’ve sat staring at one another from 9 AM until 6 PM for four days, hopelessly waiting for an attendee to stop by and yell ‘SOLD! Where have you been all of my life?’

We loved an artist from the UK, Emma Shipley, that specializes in artwork on silk scarves. She has the rights from Disney to produce Star Wars images and actress Daisy Ridley (Rey in the latest Star Wars movie) recently donned her scarf. I hope to someday be half as cool as Emma.

She joined us for Shake Shack and we discussed what Londoners think of Trump and American politics. Spoiler alert: it is not good. I think Kim and I represented the Midwest well and we were known as the booth with the two ‘happy girls.’ We wrote on our little chalkboard sign that ‘We’re super nice,’ so we had to live up to the promise.

The conference could not have gone any better. I learned a lot (throw out the word calligram at your next dinner party), I used my PR skills to pitch why Kim’s work is so fabulous, I ate a lot of sandwiches (carbs on carbs on carbs), and I am tremendously proud of Kim.

We got a few looks when we said we’re from Indiana, yet neither of us would live anywhere else. There’s a reason an orange isn’t $3 in Indy and why we hold the door open for each other. I am always up for adventures and NY was one for the books.

Kim treated me to Drunk Shakespeare on Saturday night before the Surtex craziness began. It was laugh-until-you-cry-hilarious. They provide a tequila shot to you upon arrival and it goes downhill from there. We saw Macbeth, but is was light on the actual Shakespeare and heavy on the (drunken) improv.

A few of my favorite cards from the Louie Awards, recognizing the cards of the year. I love the happy birthday card in the bottom right from Rifle Paper Company. I’d like to think she is my doppelganger.

The great divide of craftiness: the orange carpet is Surtex and the pink is for the National Stationary Show. The amazing tomato, pesto, pine nut, mozzarella toast that we got at LaGuardia and Bon Appetit for my airport read.

Shake Shack lived up to the hype. I re-created the special sauce in a blog post last summer, but I had never actually experienced it until now. While I realize it is a burger place, the hot dog was unreal. I am glad there isn’t an Indy location because my nitrate intake would be off the charts. The shake of the day was red velvet and we were in a food coma the rest of the night.

Xx, Libby

4 thoughts on “NY or bust: Adventures with Kim at SURTEX

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