It’s a good thing that I decided to go to the NYIGF (that’s the New York International Gift Fair) on Monday rather than yesterday or today. If I hadn’t, I might be writing this as a popsicle right now. Looking outside of my window, all I see is snow covered with ice, tree branches covered with ice and my poor rhododendron, covered in ice! Today is a good day to stay inside and write a blog post.
I went to the fair at the Javitz center on Monday in search of a sales rep for me Life is Balance® line of t-shirts and to gain some inspiration. Walking through the miles (and I mean miles) of exhibit booths I was inspired by all the small businesses out there moving forward with their dreams. I want to be one of them. Soon. There was so much to look at that I needed to focus on what I came there for or I’d never make it out alive. I was specifically looking at booths that sold t-shirts. I met a few independent designers who, after I told them that I was looking to break into the business, readily offered advice. I assured them that I was not out to steal their designs. A designer myself, I would never stoop to knowingly knocking off someone else’s work. That is just low. One can get inspiration from other artists work (it’s been done for centuries) but what makes art unique is the way an individual designer expresses his or her vision. One designer, part of a mother-daughter team selling beautiful tees at Star Luna, pulled her business card away from me when I told her I was a fellow designer. She assumed that I was looking for designs to knock-off. It was only after I showed her a sample of my trademarked line (nothing like what she does) and assured her that copying another designers’ work was equally offensive to me, did she give me back her card. I am after all, a t-shirt junkie and I might want to buy one of her shirts! It is sad that there are people out there who would steal another designer’s concept rather than come up with something original on their own.
Anyway, my point here is that rather than refusing to talk to me, I found some very candid, helpful, and yes talented t-shirt designers willing to help me out with information and advice. One of them was Suzanne from Peace Love Mom. Her t-shirts represent a celebration of motherhood. The designs are sophisticated and the shirts are beautiful! Another designer who I spoke to was Supermaggie. Maggie and her husband design and print their shirts at their home in Austin, Texas. I’m going back to her booth on Thursday morning and buying one of her shirt designs!
Another t-shirt designer, Andreea Ayers (Tees For Change) has been very helpful to me as well. She was not at the Gift Fair but, I contacted her online after finding her ebook on starting a t-shirt business. Very willing to answer questions and share resources with me, she told me that is happy to help others achieve the success that she has found because she believes in paying it forward.
I left the Javitz Center exhausted but energized at the same time. I want to thank everyone who has been paying it forward by speaking to me. I intend to pay it forward as well. Go visit their shops and buy a shirt. While you’re at it, buy one of mine too. It’s just good karma. And that’s what balance is all about! Who knows maybe my rhododendron will survive the ice storm.