surtex 2011...

All that planning - and it goes by soooo quickly!  Surtex 2011 is in the books, and now the real work (well...more of it begins) As you have heard many, many times now, doing the shows is ALL about the follow up.  So this is what I have been doing and will continue to do for the next few weeks.  However, after that Niki and I are cooking up some fun new adventures, so stay tuned!

So last year, there was Confessions, and now the Updated version.  This year I would like to share with you a few things that I chose to do a bit differently after my first time experience of 2010

1. Enlist Help!! I did.  I could not have reached all my goals this year without the fabulous Niki.  Let's face it preparing for a show is a ton of work.  Add to that one (or in some cases all) of the following: maintaining current clients, creating new (tons) work, working a full-time job, raising young children, etc etc., and one can very easily and quickly reach a boiling point.  Luckily for me I am doing this full-time, and have no young children.  Yet even still - the lists spawn lists in the early spring, and it is really difficult to keep up.  Don't be afraid to ask for help!  Husband, brother, kid next door, an intern.  If there is anyone available and willing to help, take them up one it!  You don't have to be Shiva or a martyr. The people around you love and support you, so take advantage!  You can always hire help as well.  Maybe this is not feasible yet for your business long term, but think about swinging it just for a couple of weeks before the show.  Just thoughts...

2.  Don't under estimate the power of physical collateral. I know it is an email, paperless world, but we are all still human right?  There is nothing, and I mean nothing that beats getting a hand written personal note.  Along the same lines, it really can make a big impact to get a physical piece of collateral into an art director's hands.  They then have something to show others, take to meetings, put on a bulletin board to remember. You want them to think - "we MUST be sure to make it to this one".  I did not have the time to execute this last year, and I am so happy I did this year.

3.  ABC is good, but ABL is better. Have you ever heard about the number one rule of selling dubbed ABC - Always Be Closing?  This is a great rule for sales, but we are in the relationship business, and ABL - Always Be Listening is a much better rule.  Although I am very proud of my first showing last year, there were definitely some holes in my catalog.  I listened well, and made sure to have these bases covered this year.  My collection was much more complete for the types of manufacturers who are interested my work.  I took the constructive suggestions, and made it work for me.  AND, it dosen't stop there.  This year I learned even more ways that I can stay true to myself, and continue to push things forward.  I already have tons of ideas for new work.  Listening to the client and really hearing their needs is one of the most important things you can do to take advantage of the face time you get at the show.

Well, that's that.  Whew!  Until next year...happy creating!

***All images courtesy the always fabulous Tara Reed!



fresh off surtex 2011...

Over the past months, Khristian and I have been laboring over SURTEX prep work; banners, press kits, giveaways, layout, logistics...holy moly. I can't even believe how quickly those three days came and went. Luckily, we have some bits committed to memory thanks to our very smart phones.

That's Khristian. I have my invisible cloak on, so she can't see me. Or can she...

Little labors of love for our wonderful booth stopper-byers; giveaway swatches.  Yes, they were all assembled by hand with minimal casualties.

One of Khristian's friends made some really awesome boxes out of Ivory Coast, a licensed collection that hit stores earlier this year. They turned out really nice. Perfect for keeping our booth table tops organized and pattern chic. For the record, I could really use a blouse with this Nolita print [see below; bottom-most book cover] on it. No lie.

Many many thanks to everyone for a successful second year [first for me!] at SURTEX.


new for anthology fabrics!...

Wait not longer...well you will have to wait to get them, but at least now you can peek!!  I can finally show you my latest collections for Anthology Fabrics! The team is in Salt Lake City right now at quilt market introducing the new collections.  I hope you will love them!

Remember this??  Well, I just could not stop thinking about this color inspiration.  Here's the result!  Moroccan Mirage is about my love of color and culture.  The blue colorway is called Casablanca and the warm, red/orange colorway is called Marrakech. I'll share a bit more of the story behind this collection after the craziness of SURTEX!

Next up - The Woodlands!  Something a little more playful for me.  It's fun right?  I had to dig up my old kidswear days at Nordstrom for this one - so much fun!

Last up Rendezvous - this one is for the true modern romantic. I am so thrilled with the color story, and the modern feel of the traditional ideas of the rose, damask, and stripe.  

howdy, hello, nice to meetcha.

Thanks to a weird twist of fate, I found myself staring at an email from Khristian in late January, and the rest, as they say, is history! This post may be long over due, but better late than never, right?

So, howdy. My name is Niki. I am Khristian's design assistant and beyond thrilled to be here!

No, really.

Aside from working with Khristian, I am an avid photo-taker-maker, coffee consumer, and cheese-a-holic. I play tennis too, it keeps my arms strong to support my hands which carry my fingers that are used to key urls and cmd+c/cmd+v for my intraweb obsessions.

Music makes my world go'round. I talk to myself a lot. And I really believe that anything can happen.

I'm working with Khristian, and I look forward to working with you too!

Photo Cred: BP



surtex 2011 AND moving madness...

Hi everyone! I know, I have been a baaaad blogger. If only you knew the pure mayhem that is happening over here right now you wouldn't be mad at me. SURTEX is finally around the corner AND I am moving AND my hubby is starting a new gig! Crazyland - and I am the queen!

All that being said, I am actually having tons of fun, and I am so excited to see what this week will bring!  Are you headed to the show?  Please stop by and say hello.  I love it when my online friends, can become real friends!  yay!

I am still taking appointments so click here to make yours, or drop me a line at info@khristianahowell.com and we will get you all set up.  What is this "we" business you may be asking??  I am working with a fabulous new design assistant!  Her name is Niki, and she is fantastic!  She will be making her bloggy debut soon, so everyone be nice to her!  She will also be in the booth keeping me sane.  Hooray for Niki!

See you all in NYC!