Listen, I don't know exactly where the time has gone but I'm going to tell you about the Unique LA event from July.First of all, if you're unfamiliar with Unique LA, then, become acquainted: it's an independent design show that highlights Made-In-America products and I honestly feel like the event's in a league of it's own. A little back story - this rad chick Sonja Rasula had the concept to help local small businesses have a space to show their goods to the masses. Her and the Unique USA team have grown so much in the last few years while putting this concept into action. And the reason why I feel like they're different than any other type of design show is because of the way they market the shows and become directly involved with their vendors. Also, not just anyone can exhibit at these events - the Unique USA team hand picks each vendor from a field of applicants.
Anyway, I first checked out the Holiday show that was held in Downtown LA last December and at that point I was in the process of developing 16th Colony. I sort of figured that I would eventually showcase my collection at one of the 3 annual events - I just didn't think it would happen so quickly. I'm actually pretty excited/amazed that I've already designed 3 seasons since that December and how fast things are moving along.
There was definitely a lot of prep that went into that weekend - I went into the show with basically zero sleep since I ended up hand-making extra ponchos the days prior (and good thing because the Obsidian sold out!). It all came together though - even with new hang tags and finding the antique clothing rack of dreams. Oh, and of course I added an extra project and printed up 50 tabloid size flyers and littered the streets and palm trees of Santa Monica with styled photos - duh.
Anyway, I think the part that sticks out most in my mind when reminiscing back to that weekend was all of the feedback. The comments I received about the product, the branding, etc was seriously beyond rewarding. Sure, it's definitely great to sell the ponchos, that's rewarding too, but to hear such genuine words - which echoed a lot of what I already felt all along - made me feel pretty great. Starting a brand isn't easy and it doesn't just happen overnight - so a lot of times all I'm left with is my own personal intuition and that I love what I'm putting out there. At the end of the day I'm doing it for myself first anyway.
By the way, the next Unique LA event is in December so mark your cal's.