First Trade Show

Okay, so 2018 I had a goal. I wanted to do a trade show — and not just any trade show — The Woodlands Junior League Holiday Market. This market consistent of over 45 vendors, lasting 3 nights and 4 days. It’s Christmas lights, clothing, handmade soups, ma and pa leather and sign businesses, etc.

Knowing I had to prepare for the show, I did a small test run. I registered for Arts in the Park in The Woodlands — a Shakespeare-themed event over Halloween weekend. I did my research (aka Pinterest) and started brainstorming how to display my work in a 10 x 10 tent. Here is what I learned.


Arts in the Park

You have to work with what is provided. I had a 10 x 10 tent and a table provided. I saw on Pinterest that you could use a peg board as a backdrop — and it actually worked really well. Just needed the peg board, zip-ties and the peg board hooks (or however you want to hang up your work).

So here are some helpful tips for anyone interested in doing an outdoor booth. Package and label everything — it will be be really helpful for set up. Also keep track of inventory and price your items. I also placed these description cards (with prices), so if I was busy talking with another customer, somebody else wasn’t being ignored.

I brought table clothes and other small decor to go along with my brand and the Shakespeare theme. And because it was Halloween weekend, I added a candy bowl for any trick-or-treaters.


Junior League Holiday Market

This show was a little different. The Woodlands Junior League Holiday Market is 4 days long — 4 DAYS! That’s a lot of planning and a lot of inventory. So after Arts in the Park, I got working. More cards, signs, blanket ladders — just more.

The set up was a lot different this go around. They provide the space and a table, but no outdoor tent. For this my parents and husband built a portable wall — 2 walls and benches. The benches were perfect to not only support the walls, but to display some of the merchandise too.

So I (with a lot of helpers), stuffed cards, sanded blanket ladders, packed up Christmas decor and set up the booth.

I learned a lot over those few days. Make sure you have enough inventory, bring a couple changers (if not for your phone, then for your customers), bring snacks and gum, take photos of your work and with your customers (with permission, of course), and reorganize your workspace as the hours go on (if I realized some cards weren't being seen very well or thought a different sign would be better somewhere else, feel free to rearrange your space).

All in all, it was such a great experience! I learned how to price my work (and use a Square) — having enough cash and some kind of payment plan is crucial. I also learned to talk to a lot of people — but not just day-to-day talk — but about my work. Besides an interview or first introductions, you never really learn or practice how to talk up your work. But when people start complementing your work or asking about your process, it started to become very natural.


Ironkid to Ironman

I wanted to write this post for a couple reasons. One, just to reflect on the past few years and how / what running has done for me. But to also keep me accountable for the races to come. So here we go!


Ironkids

I've been doing triathlons since I was little. My parents still like to brag that I was second in the Nation when I was maybe 11 years old. As many kids though, just because you're good at something, doesn't mean you really love it. So I moved on, tried other sports (like all the sports — gymnastics, volleyball, karate, etc.). But I ended up swimming and playing soccer until college.


2015

Through the college years, I played some intramural volleyball and soccer and occasional worked out, but I would say I wasn't too active. Unless you count walking across college campus and the hills in San Marcos. But a year and half after graduation, after I started working at the church, I joined their Running United club. I thought it'd be a good way to meet coworkers or members — plus I was living at home — so this was a good way to stay active. I believe we started running in the summer and by October, I ran the Ten for Texas in 1:28:29 (8:50 min/mi pace). After that, I was hooked. I really never knew I enjoyed running, until this group. 


2016

After the 10 mile, I registered for The Woodlands Half Marathon. On March 5, I ran the 13.1 miles in 1:58:44 (9:03 min/mi pace). Fun fact — my brother, who is just an active individual, started the race with me. I thought he was just going to run the first mile or two, but ended up running the WHOLE race. Later that month, I completed the Houston Spartan Sprint Race. Not for time or competition, but for fun. The Spartan (sprint distance) was full of obstacles, including jumping over fire, and was a great experience with friends!


2017

This is my first year back to the triathlon world — and oh boy, did I miss it! I started with The Woodlands CB&I Triathlon in May, with an overall time of 1:22:26. This is considered a sprint distance, of .47 mile swim, a 15 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. I definitely recommend this for any beginner. 

Later that year, I traveled to Chicago — and for the first time! My cousins, who live there, signed up for the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon (guess it runs in the family), so of course I signed up too! This was a international distance, or olympic distance, which is a .93 swim, a 24.8 mile bike and 6.2 mile run — and I completed in 3:11:26. To swim in the Lake Michigan (in a wet suit) was such a rush, but I'll be honest, those hills got to me! But again, I had so much fun exploring this city though the race and so glad I was able to do this with family!


2018

Since I got back into running again, a full marathon was on my mind. I put it on my "to do" list. So, I went ahead and signed up to do the full 26.2 miles before my wedding in March — the Chevron Houston Marathon! With all the wedding planning, my training lacked a bit, but in January this year, I can proudly say I did it! At 4:45:31 (10:53 min/mi pace), I crossed that line. 

Which bring me to my next race in November — the Oil Man Texas Triathlon! I'm trying to better prepare for this one, since it is a half Ironman and all. So before this "70.3" mile race, consisting of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run, I'm swimming twice a week, going to Orange Theory every other day, and slowly working up the bike milage every Saturday. 

I'll try to write a follow-up post on how all the training is going, but that's the plan for now! Here goes the next four months!