June 10th, 2007

TNNA and The Big Ooops!

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The day after the Yarn Harlot event, Steve and I left for Columbus, OH for the fall TNNA Show. TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) is an organization for wholesalers and retailers within our industry. It’s not just knitting, but also includes needlepoint and counted thread. Now, you have to understand something about me (read: here comes another abnormal quality about Kathy) I LOVE tradeshows. Yup. Most people sort of dread them, wrestle with them, etc. Not me. I’ve done a lot of tradeshows in my day. I’ve been on the wholesale side showing, the retail side buying and the retail side selling. Done it all. Before kids and WEBS, I worked in the shoe industry and did a HUGE show in Vegas twice a year. My favorite was the one in August because (here comes another factoid about me that will reveal a little more of my weirdness) I LOVE Vegas in August. I love the heat. I love that at 10pm it’s still, oh, 94 degrees. I’m the one who is grabbing a barely edible sandwich from the show concession area and stepping outside at 1:00 in the afternoon to enjoy the heat.

So despite being exhausted, I was quite happy to get on the plane and head to Columbus. Turns out that a major PGA event was also happening in Columbus last weekend. Guess who was REALLY excited? It was very sweet watching him come to the realization that The Memorial was happening and he was in the same town at the same time. For those of you who don’t know, Steve is a major, major golfer. He has golfed since he was 7 or 8 years old. The man cannot ride a bike and he’s not much of a swimmer, but give him a ball and a few clubs and he is in his element. He was an All-American in college and although his handicap isn’t what it used to be back in the day, it’s still in the mid single digits. Opportunities like seeing a major PGA event do not present themselves everyday, so with a few conversations with the staff at the hotel, he had a rental car, directions and determination to get a ticket for the second round.

Steve headed off early Friday morning and although I love golf as much as he does, opted to let him have some time to himself. We’ve been pretty much joined at the hip, even more so than usual, these past few weeks. I think we were both happy for some alone time. There was a meeting late Friday morning for all of the retailers who belong to TNNA, which I attended, then I handled a phone interview about our business with a non-industry publication. I think the writer who interviewed me ended up with more of a story than she thought she would get – that whole “represent” mentality. I think I represented pretty well. We’ll see when the article comes out. I’ll keep you posted. Oh and Steve had an awesome day. It took a little effort, but he managed to score a ticket. At one point he was 5 feet from Tiger Woods. The best news of all is the tournament and TNNA overlap again next year.

Friday night was the opening reception and fashion show. It’s great to see all of our friends in the industry and do some catching up. We stayed for most of the fashion show, which is always inspiring.

Saturday morning, Tahki Stacy Charles (TSC) traditionally holds a breakfast for their retailers prior to the show floor opening. They always put on a wonderful event and usually include editors from the major magazines who present fall trends and what we’ll see in the fall magazines for TSC. Plus, they provide a complete overview of their new products and designs. We’ve always already made our buys with them, but it’s always good to take a second look and make sure we didn’t miss anything.

Then it was off to the show. We had three packed days of meetings, appointments and some free time to walk the show floor. Again, all of our major buying is done before the show, but since we often see our reps so early, it’s good to go back and make sure we didn’t miss anything or pass on something that has turned out to be a big hit. We also look for smaller vendors that maybe don’t have reps yet and we especially focus on accessories. We found a couple of lovely new yarn vendors, one in particular that tickled us was from Portland called ShiBui. The yarns are hand-dyed and to-die-for. Gorgeous fiber blends and really lovely colors. Plus they have super patterns. We won’t be seeing the yarn until August or so, but I cannot wait for it to come!

We added some new bags and needle cases from Offhand Designs, a few new items from our friends at Lantern Moon and scored a fair amount of schwag. I was beside myself to discover a company called Walker was showing. They are a mesh bag/tote company out of San Francisco. Their products are extremely high quality and are made domestically. I actually own a backpack that I bought in San Francisco at least 12 years ago. I have used this backpack more than I can even tell you – it’s been jam-packed with kids junk, my junk, sippy cups, cameras, videocameras – the works! It has held up beautifully. So, I ordered a few bags and totes for the store. I am hoping they do well as I love selling items from companies I love and that produce such lovely items. Keep your eyes out in the store and on the website!

We also had the opportunity to attend Vogue Knitting’s 25th Anniversary party which was held on Saturday evening. Talk about a who’s who of the knitting industry. It was really incredible. I had the chance to meet the new editor of Interweave Knits, Eunny Jang. Unfortunately, I had been talking to Debbie Bliss and although Eunny was gracious, she was waaay more interested in meeting Debbie Bliss than me. Can’t blame her for that!

All in all the show was awesome, invigorating and exhausting all at the same time. Stay tuned to see some of the new finds start to arrive.

We came home just in time for the end of year festivities at the boys’ school. They have a lovely tradition of a baccalaureate service the night before graduation and then graduation itself the next morning. The school is K-9, so the festivities are truly for the 9th graders, but the whole school takes part. Both events involve processionals of all of the students and they are lined up in order of grade and height. Guess who got to lead the way for the entire school? The cutiest-patootiest (IMHO):

Don’t they both look handsome:

So now for my Big Ooops. This week was Steve’s birthday. We had a yummy cake at work for him (thanks Malea):

The kids made cards and I eeked out gifts at the 11th hour, but I neither posted on the actual day (which was this past Thursday 6/7) nor did I mention it when we recorded this week’s radio show/podcast. So, be it a bit belated: Happy Birthday Honey!



2 Responses to “TNNA and The Big Ooops!”

  1. Melissa Says:

    Mr. Wonderful wishes to know if I need a handler for next spring’s TNNA. He is a willing volunteer, and will be more than happy to spend a day with Steve, five feet from Tiger.

    I love the self-sacrifice he exhibits on my behalf.

  2. Melissa Says:

    Glad you had a wonderful time at TNNA. I would love to experience it myself, some day. I bet Steve was in his glory… Much like us knitters around The Yarn Harlot. 😉

    Happy Birthday Steve and the boys are adorable! 🙂

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