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Needlework Expo in March!

Well, I have once again let too much time pass between posts. Ah, well – such is life.

At the beginning of January, there was an announcement about the Nashville Needlework Market, the once-a-year in-person wholesale shopping experience for needlework stores, with the specific focus on cross stitch. (There are other markets that are geared toward needlepoint world.) Usually taking place the first weekend in March in Nashville, it had already been postponed until May. But, as we all flipped our calendars to 2021 and began thinking about the months ahead – and in particular large scale events – the decision was made to cancel it. Even with the hopes of the world making positive steps over the next few months, with vaccines and all, it was/is really hard to believe that hundreds and hundreds of people could gather safely in one hotel in May, just a few months from now.

Nashville Market is sponsored by YarnTree/Needlework Retailer. They made the decision that they were not going to take on a virtual version of it. For some businesses, organizations, and industries, this switch from in-person conventions and events to virtual ones is what has simply needed to be done over this past year. For others, they simply don’t have the capacity to take on something so very new.

Back in the fall, with the concern that something like this might happen, Janis Note of Noteworthy Needle (her website seems to be down as I am writing this, so I can’t link, but if you google her, you will find it) proposed to a group of designers the idea of having the virtual Market experience, after confirming that this was a direction that Yarn Tree/Needlework Retailer was not going to go. She took this on and has been creating an impressive experience plan for all stitching stores come March. It is called Needlework Expo.

Like Nashville, this is a wholesale market, limited to registered stores. The idea is to mimic the experience of Nashville as closely as possible: stores will get a chance to purchase designs – many new releases – directly from the designers. This may not be the experience of being in the same room and interacting in the way that is usual. However, there have been companies around and new ones that popped up that are experts at putting on such things – a virtual shopping experience. A note: as it was explained to me, an online market would be where there is a main page with links to all designer pages and there is just straight forward clicking and ordering, really not that different from ordering from, say, Amazon. A virtual market, as we will be having, is different in that all designers will be in their “booths” and store owners will enter and have the opportunity to interact and talk with those designers using video. Yes, that means designers and store owners sitting in front of their computers for hours and popping in and out of each others video feeds, but it will allow for some element of conversation and connection.

And, yes, I’ll be participating :-). I was signed up to be at Nashville this year, my first Market experience. (If you recall, I went last year as a visitor – learned lots and came away feeling confident about being an exhibitor for 2021.) Instead, I will have Needlework Expo as my first wholesale market experience.

Like many designers, I have been planning March releases for months. Instead of them premiering in Nashville, TN, they will have their premiere at Needlework Expo. I am looking forward to interacting with many store owners and having my patterns hopefully gain a greater audience.

Look here and on my Instagram in the coming weeks for some sneak peeks and then full reveals!

And, make sure to ask your LNS if they are registered for Needlework Expo! All instructions for doing so can be found on the website.

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