I’ve been trying to find a nice way to describe sock summit for us, as vendors. The long and short of it is that it wasn’t all it was hyped for the vendors, and we came back with not only a net loss, but a loss in business because we had to push our lead time for our winders out so far. We stood on concrete floors for 4 days (Thursday to unpack, then Thursday night for students, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).
We weren’t the only unhappy vendors there, and everyone (who wasn’t involved) who I’ve told about our experience has said things like “Oh, but you got exposure”… except we haven’t made a single sale since Sock Summit based on our going there.
It was a fun show, and we enjoyed going and exhibiting. We got to meet people we knew online (like I tried to get Amy from Knitty to buy some cotton, and we met Creative from Creatively Dyed, and I got to meet Syne Mitchell from Weavezine), and got to meet new people who are involved in yarn (like Mama Llama, as she was our next-door-neighbor), but all in all, it wasn’t worth us driving to Portland.
I understand all the students got loads of excitement and learning from it, but there just wasn’t enough time for them to shop (and to get to the far aisle of vendors near the sock museum where we were), and there were too many vendors for the numbers of students.
That said, we’d probably do it again, given the chance. Especially since some of our products are specifically marketed to indy dyers, specifically our winders and heavy duty swifts. If everyone had done just a little better, we’d have come home with more orders for winders, I’m sure of it.
One of the wholesale vendors said he usually sells completely out of his undyed yarn at the end of a show, because other vendors come up to him and buy the rest of a box of yarn to dye and re-sell. And he just didn’t this show. Even vendors he knew looked forward to shows like this said “maybe next time” and “I wish I could.”