14 May 2009

unique los angeles;

Can you find my booth?

The photo above was taken the morning of May 2nd, before doors opened for Unique LA's first annual spring show. When the picture was taken, the only people on the Penthouse floor of the California Market Center were the 275+ vendors that had dragged their products up the elevators to set up for the weekend event.

I didn't know what to expect from the event, but found myself more excited about finally having an awesome blank canvas to dress up in my products. With the corner booth with acrylic walls and two tiers of shelving, it was the closest I've felt to having a "boutique" at a show. Hey, a girl can dream, right? And being the nerd I am, you can bet I was uber excited.

The blank canvas I had to work with:

And the final outcome:

The white acrylic walls acted as a nice backdrop for the booth, and the ability to play around with them and dress them up was an added plus. I rented two shelves to display my original artwork and mounted my prints up into a collage for better viewing. I finally found a rug that matched my set up (yay for Goodwill!), even set up my very own "check-out" station, and the colorful lanterns added a nice splash of color. It was nice to get a taste of what my set up looked like without the huge canopy and random outdoor backdrops... so while I will return back to you for Renegade, oh, I will still miss you so.

While I didn't get to spy on Jimmy Kimmel (who was there, apparently) or Oprah's LA editor (not that I would know if I had seen him/her...), I did get to meet some pretty awesome people at Unique: new faces in the indie community, photographers, and even got video-interviewed by Discuss Apparel. While being at Unique was both intimidating and inspiring, the people that make my day the most are my sweet customers! I didn't get as many photos in this time around, but here's a few snapshots.

1. Zac in the "I Am A Ninja" tee in heather grey. 2. Cheryl with her new "I Am A Ninja" tote in bright blue. 3. Anna with one of my last "Panda Face" zippered totes! I actually just printed a whole new batch today.

The other people that make me happy? The other vendors I run into at shows, the friends that come to continually support, and the few "OMG-WHAT-ARE-YOU-DOING-HERE!" run-ins.

1. Kristina and I; She actually attended the first Unique LA and made sure that I applied for the spring show. A best friend of one of my close friends, is a good friend in my book... thanks for supporting! 2. Danni, Amanda Lockrow, and I; Chit-chatting with familiar faces in the handmade community is probably one of the best things to do during a long day. 3. Sabiy, me, and Sabiy's sister; First time seeing me in action! It was good to see her face again, as always. 4. Jennifer Chung and I; Never failing to support, and even came dressed in her "I Am A Ninja" tank. Niiice. 5. Jennifer Chung, me, and Colin; Sandwiched between an amazing singer and a new friend. 6. Me and Belinda; Ah, someday she will be doing these shows with me as well! You can look out for her at our upcoming show, Patchwork. 7. Kristen and I; Haven't seen this girl in so long! We go way back, and us randomly running into each other at this event was a nice unexpected reunion.

For more photos from the show, check out the Unique Los Angeles Flickr album.


And a moment to collect my thoughts...
Unique Los Angeles was actually the best way to finish off my mega-week of shows. Starting off with UCI's vendor fair was a good way to bring it back to my roots... where it all began, on familiar grounds and with familiar faces. Driving out to LA to finish off the week at Unique LA was my way of stepping out of my boundaries, looking towards the future, and no longer 'playing it safe.' Being alongside vendors who have made a name for themselves--vendors who I idolize and used as a model when I was first starting out--was, like I said, intimidating, but oh-so inspiring. I know I still have a tremendous amount of growing to do. But sometimes it takes me to stop and observe to realize that I've experienced so much more than I thought I would with barely a year of doing this on my belt. Barely a year. "Barely a year" ago, I had such a lack of confidence in myself that the one thing stopping me was, well... myself. To this day, it's still a test of how much I want this and how far I want to take it.

Let's just say, the passion's there and the drive's there... and hopefully, that's enough to keep this going.

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