Tackling NSS Solo - Reflections
Wednesday May 2, 2018
This is the first year, since our NSS debut in 2015, that I feel like there’s solid teamwork at play to get us ready for New York in just a few short weeks. It seems odd that this would be the case, as Donna is still on maternity leave and I’m heading to NY alone until our Studio Manager flies in the next day. Last year was the first time Donna and I got to be in the booth together as business partners and it was a big adventure with both our husbands there to assemble the hard wall booth they built and Charlotte experiencing travel for the first time. The year before, I was just about to pop so Donna was there without me. It seems this back and forth is what we can expect for awhile as we navigate how to mama well and work well.
an 1100 lb crate off to new york.
NSS 2017 booth prep
With a team of eight, the sheer number of things that need to get done is entirely mitigated by the number of hands we have to prep, the ability to lean on one another to mark things off our checklists and delegate larger scale projects that have been in the works for months on end (catalogs, packaging, products, partnerships). I’ll be talking more about that next week, but as I feel the buzz of NSS approaching, it’s made me pause for a moment and think about all the different stages of booth planning that I’ve gone through the past few years and what it looked like to put that together without a solid team. I initially thought that this would be a good time to share a few tidbits learned along the way, but the essential to-do’s seemed so obvious (e.g. MAKE ALL THE CHECKLISTS), and others so subjective that they wouldn’t be helpful at all - the things that worked for me may be entirely clunky for you.
So this will be a short reflection on the past few years, particularly back to our first show in 2015 when Donna, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law (who also happened to also be living in New York at the time), and my husband stood in the 8x10 booth we had committed to putting together and got those shelves up, the cards aligned, the prints framed, the gifts wrapped. Our wall was nearly caving in one corner, but I promise you, not one person noticed. Little did we know that NSS would far surpass our expectations and we’d come home to find a new studio space, new hires, and an absolute mess of a home. Looking back at my living room the week after NSS still makes me want to cry tears of complex emotions.
If this is you right now, I hope this is an encouragement that year after year, it gets better and better. Like hopping back on a bicycle, the physical stride becomes more mechanical, but the paths you take that much more intentional, more exciting.
As the flow eases, I hope we never forget where we started. Every envelope mailer lettered, sealed, and stamped, every suitcase Donna and I packed, every letter in our catalog typed, every image shot, every product designed, every stroke of paint brushed, every order form written, every contract signed, every bit done alone, done with Donna, done with a few giving friends along the way - all of these details have prepared us to do NSS with our people, the team that allows us to do everything better. If there’s something we reiterate over and over again, it’s that a team is the best investment you can make. Planning NSS alone is an incredibly exciting venture that can absolutely change your business. But the things that we’ve been able to do accomplish as a collective whole has made my work that much fuller, more engaging, and purposeful. Next week we’ll talk specifically about how certain aspects of the planning process have been delegated to make us run more smoothly, so come on back if a little dose of practicality is what you need. Thanks so much for walking alongside us, for rooting for us. You allow us to do what we do.