Better Late Than Never - The Maryland Recap
Wow, what a trip. Success came in waves, and on many levels. We sold quite a bit of Jacob's Reward Farm inventory; I didn't have to haul much back at all - in fact, the Jacob Sheep Conservancy booth grossed more on Saturday than they had ever made in an entire weekend. And it went up from there on Sunday. Success financially: check.
Met tons of great Ravelers who were kind enough to stop by the booth. Many used the coupon I had put on our website and enjoyed a 20% discount on JR stuff. But it was so fun to put faces and Ravatars together. Had fun being booth neighbors with Carl and Eileen of Bijou Basin - the Yak folks. What a classy product! Yes. I brought home a skein. It'll be a gift, OK? The knitted item, that is - not the skein. I also had a blast (as usual) with my Jacob sheep breeder friends who worked the booth with me and peddled their own unique wares: fleeces, felted cat toys, ornaments, yarn, roving, pelts, woven shawls, and more. Success in friendships: check.
Got to sit on the front row when Susie Gibbs spoke on adding value to and marketing farm products. I'm not exactly sure what the title of her presentation was - she was a last-minute addition to the schedule and put her talk together pretty quickly for them. She rocked. She shared a bunch of what we had talked about over coffee back in January, and she reminded me of some things I haven't gotten to in the process of marketing the Jacob's Reward Farm and CSA. I'm not sure how much sunk in with her audience. Not many of them seemed to be very computer savvy, or quite sure what to make of this young gal who gave up a TV job in Manhattan to raise goats. ;-) I got to finally meet her farm manager, Erin, who originally went to bat for me and convinced Susie to arrange our coffee meeting in Fort Worth. Thanks again Erin! Success in continuing education: check.
Of course, I was really looking forward to the big party at the Hilton sponsored by Susie, WEBS, and Tactile Travel. I had Priority-mailed a couple of my sparkly alpaca/Jacob batts as a door prize, and was anxious to get a little more exposure. The atrium lobby of the Hilton was littered with knots of knitters in little seating groups. Even several spinning wheels showed up. The lights were low which threatened to put me to sleep, but I managed to stay alert for any opportunities to hob-nob. I saw lots of people there whose blogs we enjoy or who are known fiber Rock Stars: Svetlana (of the incredible sweater a month blog), Ysolda - a lovely Scandanavian designer whose hat patterns I covet, and the Rav founders, Jess and Casey, and Mary-Heather. More details about the party later. Success in networking: check.
Squeezed in a nice dinner Friday night with my niece and her husband at a nearby Thai restaurant. Excellent Pad See Ewe. My niece Alyssa is a meticulous hostess and my stay at their house is always as comfy and stress free as an old slipper. That's a good thing. Then on Sunday evening, my cousin, Cathy, who I hadn't seen in a LONG time, was driving from PA to DC and stopped to have a soda with me outside the fairgrounds on her way south. Very fun. Success in family: check.
The trip home was uneventful - my favorite way to travel - and I managed to even knit a bit on the plane. Finished my navajo-plied Jacob mobius, and kept clicking away on the seed stitch "brainless knitting" scarf.
There is just a huge pile of stuff to tell you about the trip, but I decided that the story would make a very good Inaugural Podcast. So, you've got the highlights, and the link to my flicker set about Maryland to hold you a day or two while I work out Audacity and Libsyn. I made a bunch of notes and will have them in front of me while I talk to you out loud - whooo, cool, huh?
Big announcement and Calendar Alert: May 23. I just found out that Susie is planning a Texas meet-up of her shareholders and friends here in the DFW area. Guess where she decided to have it? Uh-huh - Our Farm!!! So, I have a bit of cleaning and tidying to do in the next couple of weeks. But what amazing fun! Put it down on your blackberry if you possibly can. I'll let you know the time later. And, remember, this Saturday we go down to Kim and Garth's farm to pick up our 3 other Gulf Coast Native lambs. Pray the storms go around us tonight. We don't need any more rain, thank you. The sheep's hooves are beginning to web.