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Designer’s Guide to TNNA

Wow, TNNA is next week (Feb 2-4)! Time flies, all that. This will be my third winter TNNA, and my fourth TNNA over all.

I often get questions from other designers who’ve not yet gone to TNNA regarding what’s okay/what’s not okay.

There are several threads on Ravelry worth reading.

What NOT to do

It’s against the rules, as well as etiquette, for you, as an affiliate walking the floor, to actively promote yourself and your patterns &/or book(s). Wholesalers spend a ton of money on their membership, booth, travel, etc. There’s no fair or legal way to do business with LYS folks on the show floor unless you have a booth. If you make a contact with a LYS, get their business card and contact them after the show.

If you are affiliated with a wholesaler who has a booth, you can carry around a copy of your book, samples of your patterns etc, but the place to do business is really in your booth or area. Note: If you are a wholesaler, you’re not supposed to go into other wholesaler’s booths. Ask first, and respect their wishes.

Keep in mind, this is a small industry, and everyone seems to know everyone. If you behave badly, word will get around.

How to Act

  • Be professional. Be polite. Don’t interrupt. Don’t hover. Don’t block entrance to the booth.
  • Identify yourself immediately as a designer and what the purpose of your visit is to the booth. Don’t waste the exhibitor’s time – don’t make them go through their sale pitch!
  • If a buyer comes up to the booth, politely excuse yourself. Quickly. And leave.
  • Only take yarn or samples if you genuinely can use it. The day to ask is Monday.
  • Keep in mind networking occurs all over, not just on the floor show. Convention center lobby, hotel lobby, hotel bar, elevators, etc etc. Yes, Big Brother may be watching you.

What to Do

  • Meet other designers.
  • Meet yarn companies. Check out their yarn. See what’s new. Inquire about their designer program/ yarn support. Source yarn. Compare colors, textures, blends in real life as opposed to on your computer screen. Emailing ahead of time is a good idea.
  • Source other things: buttons, beads.
  • Meet publishers & distributors. I’d definitely recommend setting up a meeting.
  • Scout out booth layouts, that sort of thing, if you’re interested in becoming a wholesale member or will get booth space via your distributor.

What to Bring

  • Business cards. Don’t shove them at everyone.
  • Pen. Use to take notes on business cards you collect.
  • Portfolio: You can bring a portfolio of sorts, but don’t expect to show it that much (if at all). I have mine on my iPad.
  • Proposals: Hm. If you’re seeking yarn support, I think the best thing to do is to touch base with the yarn company and then, if they were interested, follow up with an email with your proposal.
  • Namaste badge holder. I got mine a couple shows ago and love, love, love it. Room for business cards, a pen, lip balm.
  • Bag/purse. The less you have to carry around in it, the better. Do bring a bottle for water. Bring a few snacks.

What to Wear

  • Your handknit designs. But don’t be obnoxious about them.
  • Comfy shoes.
  • Comfy but professional clothes*.
  • *Are you working on your marketing/branding? Your clothing is part of that. Keep that in mind. You can tend towards artsy/quirky as a designer.

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