Brand new to trade shows and expos of any kind, for those of you who don't know: we braved the sea of vintage this year at The Manhattan Vintage Show. It was quite the experience to say the least with our biggest expectations and hopes being to connect with a lot of new people outside of the world of the internet and to hopefully convert some of them to be ONH fans! We are a bit shy by nature so it was a big deal for us to go into the city, create a space from the ground up that represented our online shop, and to put ourselves out there: "here we are and hope you like it!". It was exciting and of course a bit scary but after the two days of working harder than we could have possibly imagined, we made it back to a rented apartment just in time to rock our baby to sleep and we thought to ourselves: wow, we did it, we actually pulled it off.
To say that the show went off without a hitch would be an outright lie. Getting down to the city from our humble abode in Westchester with an eleven month old baby who just doesn't do car-rides as well as a cargo van chock full of our most prized inventory was no easy task and came with some challenges (who knew you couldn't take a van on the highway? maybe you did?). Then of course we had to navigate parking for two vehicles. One that contained the baby and all of the stuff that comes with the baby when you do a weekend trip. Crazy amounts of stuff is all I can say! Next we had to shlep all of our belongings all while carrying our son and then the next morning (the day of the show) start the shlepping process all over again, to bring our inventory into the booth. Then came set up, then came fixing up, then came second guessing ourselves, then came food somewhere in there, and of course then came figuring out who would be with the baby since the babysitter was having trouble with city parking (who doesn't??), and then at some point after a lot a lot of coffee, came the beginning of the show. After that point, everything was just plain awesome. Our expectations of meeting and connecting with new people was absolutely exceeded by a million because the people we chatted with for lengthy amounts of time were just so amazing, it felt like a shame that we hadn't met them sooner.
The Vintage Show was mainly all about clothing but it was also about textiles (in come our rugs). We feared that perhaps we wouldn't fit in because our clothing collection was small (and not yet out there in the world, merely a hobby curated collection) but we had the opposite experience. While people were indeed interested in our small clothing selection, so many of them were interested in our rugs and home decor as well just as we had hoped! Not only did we connect with people about the rugs they needed for their homes, but we learned a lot too -- about clothing and about what everyone out there is looking for which was absolutely invaluable for us.
While it was a tremendous amount of hard labor and pushing ourselves beyond the depths past our pre-existing (baby-related) exhaustion, the show was overall such a great success and we enjoyed every minute of the experience! Until we do another one of these or have our first real pop-up shop (which we are getting serious about planning!), this was the last time we would see our customers + new contacts in person for awhile, so we were so thankful to have it!
**Such a huge thank you to Natalie Conn for the beautiful photographs, & Hilary and Lina for the tremendous amount of help throughout the show!