I was nervous about the booth because of all the videos I had watched that were about CHA. I was assured that everything with the walls of my booth were okay. Then I walk into the trade show floor and see this:
By the way, they won the best booth award. I told myself that MISTI is clean and simple and our booth would portray that.
This is my voice of reason, Lydia Fiedler. Otherwise known as Understand Blue. I really think she needs to change her alter ego to Understand Pink. She has the knack to make me see the "right way" instead of "my way".
Maureen Wong. We hand picked these two because we knew that we would mesh well together. Mel kept us laughing and Maureen was my quiet spring of strength. Let's just say Maureen rocked her MISTI skills.
First stamp celebrity I meet is Sandy Allnock. She is so sweet and so awesome! She has coolness dripping off of her. When I grow up, I want to have her confidence and her skill.
Julie Ebersole's videos. Her laugh and sense of humor have always been a highlight of my YouTube watching. To finally meet the person behind the contagious laugh was truly amazing. I also met Ellen Hutson. We have corresponded several time since then and she is an incredible business woman, so incredibly sweet. When I grow up, I want to make myself crack up like Julie.
Then Jennifer McGuire approached the booth. My mind was about to explode. There she was and she hugged me! What a class act she is. When I grow up, I want to be classy and organized like Jennifer.
CATHERINE POOLER!!!! I think we were separated at birth. If we lived in the same city, there would be trouble. She gets my humor, poor thing. She came with me to "press conference" and pretty much held my hand until I went on stage. When I grow up, I want to be cool like Catherine.
Shimelle. I was a scrapbooker before I was a cardmaker. I went looking for Shimelle at CHA and finally found her at the Heidi Swap booth. I was the typical stalker. Later she went to the My Sweet Petunia booth and put it all together that I was not crazy. I sent a Memory MISTI home with her to try out. When I grow up, I want to be Glitter Girl.
Kelly Marie Alvarez. How cute is she?!?! She is an inspiration and happiness permeates the air around her. The Lawn Fawn booth was so adorable. Kelly's dresses each day were so beautiful. When I grow up, I want to have Kelly's happiness and wardrobe.
Amy Tan came by. She said she had heard all about us. Unbelievable! She even gave me some of her scrapbook paper collection. Amy was like the most popular girl in school and she came by to see me! She took home a Memory MISTI, too. When I grow up, I want to travel like Amy.
This is an amazing group of stampers and I got to be the center of attention. If I could have a pinky worth of their talent I would be in heaven. When I grow up, I want to be stamp royalty and stamp like them.
Ilina Crouse. What a sweetheart. She said that on her first day there people thought she was me. Ilina still gets Facebook messages from people thinking she is me. Ilina helped me on the last day of CHA after my crew left to catch their flights. See why Mel kept us laughing.
Jeanne through Lydia at an Understand Blue summer retreat. We message back and forth talking about critters.
Crystal Ninja. She found a need to make her work better and invented the Crystal Katana. I met her at her booth and she walked over to see my invention.
We were to attend a presentation, where you had one minute to talk about your product. I wanted to cry. I begged Lydia to do it and she said no. How mean was that?! We practiced my spiel for 20 minutes. When we showed up they sat us at a table with the MISTIs. Lydia and I looked at each other because we were not prepared for this. I thought it was just a sales pitch I was doing to a small audience.
All the other tables were decorated by those interior designers that we knew nothing about. People kept coming to our table and we had nothing to demonstrate with. Superhero Lydia made a call to Mel and Maureen. They showed up with a couple of stamps and paper. Lydia had pulled out a distress ink that she had in her purse and we managed with that. It was perfect. Distress inks are not great to stamp with, but the MISTI showed you can stamp with any ink.
The crowd around us grew bigger and we could not see passed our table.
Finally, they lined us up to do our one minute pitch. I made one last plea with Lydia to see if she would do the pitch. Nothing.... One by one, each presenter made their pitch. Professionals form Silhouette, Craft Retail, and Fiskar's were ahead of me. It was my turn. Lydia was with me holding up the Memory like she was Vanna White. I focused on the red head in the center of the room.
I started, "Hi my name is Iliana and I am the inventor of the MISTI." People clapped and cheered. That is exactly what I needed to make it through that long minute. Just thinking about it makes me cry with joy. Up until we made our pitch the room had been quiet. I finally felt like we had a chance to win the Hot Product Award.
The Gala for the awards was on Sunday, January 10th. It was a long and tortuous dinner. I was a nervous wreck so much that I could not enjoy the convention food. Then there was the topic of, "What are you going to say if you win?" Seriously! I could not think, I just wanted to go home. I thought of something short and wrote it on a piece of paper.
Here is what I said:
I want to thank God for blessing me with such an amazing crafting community. Thank you all for creating the exciting environment that helps small businesses like mine grow a dream into reality.
I put together a video of the highlights. I sorted through a ton of photos. I can't believe how long it took to edit this video and add music. Thanks for sticking with me to read this incredibly long post and for waiting so long to hear about CHA.