I'm home from my first Vogue Knitting Live NYC, and I'm struggling to figure out where to start. This experience has been like no other for me. The 10th Anniversary of this NYC event was my very first time attending, and it was my first time vending at such a huge fiber event. What should I tell you about first...the People? ...Being part of the VKL Launch Pad program? ...the Inspiration and Joy?
My Daughter Irene and I on our way to set up the booth
I guess I'll start with a little background. For those of you who don't know, I fell down the stairs on some ice outside about a month ago. Don't worry, I'm totally ok, but I did fracture one of my vertebrae. For a while I thought it might take me out and I would have to decline my spot as a vendor because of it. In the end, I decided to just give it a go and do my very best to hold my spot as a Launch Pad vendor, hoping I'd be able to manage the physical requirements of this sort of event by the time it came around. Boy, am I glad I did!
My SIL Maura and I in the booth on Saturday
Let me tell you what made it possible: the People. So many folks pitched in to help me out over the weekend, and I was completely blown away. My daughter drove down with me to help me set up the booth, because I still can't lift very much weight. (She also drove the car home after so I didn't have to pay to park it for 4 days.) My roommate Jess offered to help in the booth all weekend and made sure I remembered to eat, keep hydrated, and take breaks--all while offering support and encouragement. My SIL Maura took the train up from Washington, DC to work in the booth on Saturday, and she searched high and low to snag a chair for me so I could sit when my back started to hurt too much. She's not really a knitter, but she learned everything about my yarn, the point of sale system, and patterns that she needed to know. My husband (the Bri) and one of my sons drove down on Sunday to help me pack up the booth and bring me back home. So many people offered to help me out in the week leading up to VKL that I couldn't believe it. Dudes, fiber artists are the best people. I had offers from people I know in person, people I know only on IG, and people I barely know at all. You all came through with support in a big way, and I cannot tell you how thankful I am, and how much it surprised me! (It shouldn't have--you guys are the best) We made it happen, and I can't thank you all enough. There are no words.
Plus, I had people in the booth all weekend who would chat, take pictures, purchase yarn...and then lean in quietly and ask, "How's your back doing?" Or say, "Hey, how you feeling? You holding up ok?"
This is where I take a deep breath, and find my eyes getting watery. Ok, here goes.
I can't explain how special that was, and how surprised I was that you all remembered and cared enough to ask. You gave me energy when I was getting so tired. You gave me strength when I was hurting. You gave me joy and lifted my spirits so very much. Thank you is not enough, but I thank you anyway. You guys are the very best, and I enjoyed every minute of the weekend, thanks to you.
Another part of VKL that I have to share with you is Vogue Knitting's new Launch Pad Program for small businesses, created by their new DAC (Diversity Advisory Council). The Launch Pad program was run by Vogue and spearheaded by Diane Ivey of Lady Dye Yarns. The program consisted of about 6 weeks of webinar classes and programming (including required homework!) designed to accelerate small businesses in the fiber arts. Almost 50 different businesses applied for the program, and I was thrilled to have been one of the 20 accepted. During the course of the program, we all learned so much about marketing, business planning, bookkeeping, and more while getting to know each other and building friendships. If we completed the program, VKL gave us the opportunity to purchase vending space in the Launch Pad area for a discounted cost. This was a huge break for all of us, and I couldn't have been a vendor in NYC without it. Many thanks go out to Diane and Vogue Knitting for this tremendous opportunity.
My fellow Launch Pad Program graduates and I
The last thing that I need to mention about VKL is the Love, the Fun, and the Inspiration that surrounds all of us! The thing is, no matter if you're a new knitter, a crocheter who's been stitching for 60 years, a vendor, an influencer, or someone no one has ever heard of...at this sort of event, we all have so much in common! It doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from. We are all artists and crafters. Everywhere I turned, I saw friendly faces and made new friends. We all hugged each other and got to know each other, and I came home full of joy and inspiration. It's not just seeing the knitting, the shawls, and the sweaters that inspires. The people and the connections I made fill me with energy, and I'm not sure if that holds true for other areas outside of the fiber world. But here, surrounded by fiber and artists? Here I find my people.
"Family" photo of myself, Yasmen, the Bri, and my son during breakdown at the end of VKL. It's so hard to say goodbye!
Thank you all for being a part of my journey. Thank you for asking how I was doing. Thank you for posting pictures of yarn and of us, and sharing the love. You all made my weekend, and I truly hope you had as much fun as I did. And if you weren't able to make it, I hope we are able to connect in other ways. Follow and chat with me on Instagram. Leave a comment on the blog. Send me an email and let's get to know each other! I look forward to connecting with you.
Now I've got to get back to work. I'm loading up more yarn on the website and getting the studio back in order. I'm pumped and ready to go!