Oh faux!

booth sketch After deciding that I was going to be a vendor at the Johnson County Home and Garden show, I knew that I was going to have to step up my game when it came to my display. With HGTV stars rolling around the place, I couldn’t have my booth be anything but top notch, so I started researching – hours and hours spent on pinterest (follow me here!) and other sites looking at booth designs. It took a good 10 or 15 different key words until I finally started seeing stuff that I could emulate. The magic words were “bridal show” or “wedding show”. I especially looked at photographer’s booths because they have a similar need to display large flat items (in their case, photographs; in my case, artwork). View my inspiration here!

Knowing that I had many of the materials on hand already to make something similar to the display by Ink Blot Paper Design helped me to decide that it was the one. I happen to have a collection of antique wooden doors, and I also have a stash of bead board that I pulled out of the neighbor’s burn pile last summer (seriously almost 2 full sheets). I was going to make the wall out of four individual panels that would be bolted together on the back side with bead board along the bottom and painted paneling along the top, plus two of my doors flanking either side. I started by first measuring the back part of my SUV to determine how big of panels I could get into the car. I could go as long as 80” and as wide as 43”. I knew I wanted the wall to stand around 8’ high, and since my booth was only 10’ wide, I settled on the wall being 82” wide (so that 41” wide panels would fit into the car) and I would have room on either side to angle the doors. I had enough bead board on hand to make the bottom portion around 36” so the top portion would be 60”. Have I lost you yet? Here’s a diagram to show you my basic idea.

boothwalldesign

Booth wall design from front

booth wall design from back

Backside of booth wall

Four panels all bolted together to create a faux wall. I figured that the simpler the design, the better, right? Wrong! After several frustrating days of building the four panels, trying to make sure they all work together and come out to the right specs, I finally had the panels done. (This is what happens when you try to make what you have on hand work instead of all new materials.) Now it was time to bolt them together. I figured it was safest to drill the holes and bolt them all together while they were laying flat on the ground (front side down). And then came the moment of truth, the first test to stand it up. Obviously, I knew that the wall wouldn’t be able to stand on its own at this point with no supports or braces, but I was fairly confident (read: naive) that the wall would be solid enough so I could stand it up and hold it. Not so much. While each panel was fairly solid, the whole thing was a wobbly, unstable mess. There was so much give in the middle that I thought the 2x2s might break or the wall might come crashing down on me, so I quickly laid the whole thing back down. Keep in mind that it was a chore for 5’5” me to pick up this nearly 7’x8’ wall alone in the first place! So back to the drawing board it was! Let’s fast forward past several more frustrating days of trials and failures, disagreements with the husband, and finally losing all hope – only to have an “ah ha!” moment where it all suddenly came to me how to make the wall stable. I needed to keep the wall from giving at the seams, so I designed a “cap” to go along the top, a “H” to go in between the top and bottom halves, and a base piece. Each of these pieces would slide over the wall panels snuggly, adding much needed stability to keep them from giving at the seams. Here’s a diagram of what I built:

booth wall design

Side view of wall and components

These three pieces proved to be crucial to the wall’s stability and success! A few pieces of triangle supports on the back and the wall would stand on its own without tipping backward. Once I accomplished that, I knew that attaching the doors to either side with fixed hinges (welded at the correct angle) would keep the wall from tipping forward. So…. After all that hard work and ingenuity, came the fun part! I did a full practice set up in my living room even measuring out a 10×10 space. It took a little over 5 hours to set up the wall and to decide what furniture, accessories and art to display. Overall, I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out and I can’t wait to share pictures of the final display with you next week! Not only was this a tutorial on how to build a faux wall (because who knows, you might need a faux wall some day), I hope this was a lesson to never give up on yourself or your projects! Sometimes you just have to take a break from something to gain clarity – to have that “ah ha!” moment that will solve everything. And it never hurts to ask for help either!

No reward without risk, right?

When I started planning my marketing for 2013, the first thing I did was look back at the previous year and try to determine where my success was. It was clear that the majority of my TYPOGRFX orders came from two sources: shows and referrals/repeat customers. With that in mind I researched various arts and craft shows around the metro trying to find ones that fit within my budget and calendar. The thought of spending every single weekend at shows was not appealing, but I know that meeting people face to face and being able to show them my artwork in person is very valuable. I also knew I had to find the “right” shows to do, so that I wouldn’t have to sacrifice my personal life.

A good friend and business mentor suggested that art shows were not the right fit for me. I needed to be in front of people looking to decorate their homes and to purchase meaningful gifts. I needed to be in front of people with purchasing power. I needed to think bigger than any show I had ever done. My friend suggested that I try the Johnson County Home and Garden show. With an anticipated audience of more than 15,000 people and guest speakers like HGTV’s Taniya Nayak and Food Network’s Tom Bury, it seemed like it would be a great fit.

Home and Garden Show

Johnson County Home and Garden Show

Let’s just say that being a vendor at this show isn’t exactly what I would call cheap, but I figured out how many pieces I need to sell to break even, and it seems totally doable. So it was with a great deal of nervousness that I signed up to do the show. I figure no reward comes without a little risk, right?

Now I’m busy building faux walls (more on that later), printing thousands of brochures and business cards to hand out and trying to figure out how everything is going to fit into the GRFX wagon (a Taurus X crossover to be specific). Cross your fingers with me and wish me a successful show!

What big risks have you taken in your personal life or business? And what was the outcome?

Meet me and my family

 

Tosha and family - Christmas 2012

Tosha and family – Christmas 2012

As you probably already know, my name is Tosha. I have a wonderful husband Jeremy (who I call Jackson, long story) and a ornery 3-year old Ryker. We live in a barn house on 20 acres just north of the KC metro area. We LOVE living in the country, where we are free to ride our four wheelers, drive our tractors and have bonfires to sit around with friends.

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved being creative, and I am so fortunate to be able to earn a living doing what I love. To be honest, I never envisioned myself as an entrepreneur. Of course, I had always had a strong drive to succeed and thrive on being involved in everything so it’s not been a stretch by any means. When I lost my “real job” while four and a half months pregnant with Ryker, I knew that I was at a crossroads. I had been struggling with the idea of sending him to daycare so I could go back to work after he was born. However, the LAST thing I wanted to be was a stay-at-home-mom. Don’t get me wrong, I fully admire and appreciate what SAHMs do each day, but I knew I’d go crazy if I didn’t have something creative to do. Plus, like most families, we depended upon my income as well. So I made the decision, literally within hours of being fired, to start my own business. And it was the best career decision I’ve ever made!

After Ryker was born, working at home with him was easy. He would just lay on a blanket or in his swing next to my desk while I worked. Of course, once he became mobile those days were over! But I still get to enjoy many “Ryker days” and the freedom to set my own schedule. It’s a luxury I try very hard not to take for granted.

These days, we enjoy working around the house as a family. I especially love DIY and decorating projects and look forward to sharing some of those with you in the future. Jackson and Ryker love spending time in the shed, working on tractors, trucks, go carts, or pretty much anything with an engine and wheels. And we look forward to taking our ‘new-to-us’ camper camping more this year (last year was a disaster when it came to camping trips!).

So what do you look forward to this year?