My decision to attend Quilt Market was kind of a quick one. After last Christmas it was announced that Heather Ross would be teaching a fabric design class at PNCA. Now, I have harbored a secret desire to be a fabric designer for a couple of years. I hemmed and hawed over the class and finally called to enroll...
....and I was promptly told I would be number nine on the waiting list. I gave hope on the class.
Fast forward to a week-and-a-half before the class, and I get a call that there is space for me! Now you might remember that the trip was too expensive on short notice. I was bummed, but I had a conversation with a friend of work that was kind of a turning point. She asked, "You know how to use the software and hardware used in this class, right?" Yes. "And you have an advanced degree in design, right?" Well, interface design, but yes. "So why do you need this class?"
RIght. So I though I would save my pennies for Market instead, which, with some advanced planning, would be a less expensive trip. But it's a trade show -- to the trade only. So for those of you who have commented or tweeted about wanting to go to Market...
...it's actually not difficult to get into "trade only" shows. You can approach it a couple of different ways.
1. Ask your local quilt shop if they are attending, and if you will pay your own way can you go on their credentials.
2. Go as an independent designer. This is what I did. I emailed my business card and had no problem.
3. Go as press. I'm not sure how Quilts, Inc. deals with bloggers, but I know a couple of bloggers went as press.
Then comes the cost. Here's the breakdown.
The show itself costs only $15.00. This is amazing, I attend "trade show" type conferences for work and they are a lot more expensive than this. I am guessing the cost is low because they want quilt shop owners to come and buy. I also paid $10 to get into Sample Spree. Now, you can go to Sample Spree without paying entry, but you have to wait an hour to get in, and then they let in smaller groups of people at a time. They also have classes and school house sessions you can attend, but I didn't pay for these.
My airfare was covered by our credit card points. I think I paid a $10 fee for this.
The hotel was by far the biggest expense. Any major metropolitan area is expensive. I chose a hotel based on proximity and price. With tax and fees my hotel bill ran $500 for three nights. Ouch. Next time I will make a friend! I will say this -- I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. It is only two blocks from the conference center. Breakfast was included in the cost, and they offered us a free "welcome" dinner on the first night. The staff was helpful and friendly, they had free Wi-Fi, and even though the hotel wasn't on the conference shuttle bus route, they offered us a shuttle van for transportations to and from! I highly recommend this hotel is you are going to be in downtown Houston!
Meal prices added up, the conference center offered an over-priced food court, but you could find other less expensive options in town. I had a great Vietnamese meal at Kim Son, which was a short walk from my hotel.
The only other cost was the shuttle van I paid for to an from the airport and hotel. This is well worth the cost just for the people I met! More in that in part II.