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TNNA Summer Market Report

A busy, productive weekend for all.

by Heather Gooch (July 6, 2009)

The National NeedleArts Association’s (TNNA’s) Summer Market took place June 10-13 at the Greater Columbus (OH) Convention Center with lots to see, do, learn – and buy.

Before the event, TNNA reached out to members to see what would help entice show attendees to make the trip. As a result of the feedback, a "reward plan" was created. Among a number of incentives, every attendee was given the opportunity to attend a class (up to $50 value), which certainly contributed to most of the classes’ sold-out status and the Market’s mere 6% decrease in attendance.

The eagerly anticipated Great Wall of Yarn display and the ever-growing Discover What’s New display were overwhelmed by attendees – even before the show floor opened.

Numerous major cash and prize giveaways were also presented throughout the trade show’s three days. Many people took home fantastic items from the Yarn Group’s Silent Auction, as well as a Chinese Auction offered by this year’s Pathways into Professional NeedleArts (PiPN) students. In addition, there were free food vouchers – donated by the convention center vendors – for anyone wanting a snack throughout the event.

The show floor itself was busy, with attendees in a buying mood. There was an enormous amount of new products for yarn, needlepoint, and counted-thread retailers to get excited about, and most vendors reported being pleased with both turnout and sales.

In addition to the trade show and class portions of the program, there were several other events of note from TNNA:

After the Retailers Luncheon and Chinese Auction Friday afternoon, retail sales and marketing guru (and psychologist) Jim Dion gave a moving keynote presentation, "Thriving in Tough Times."

Early Friday evening, in addition to the annual Sample It!, TNNA presented two new features: Teacher Meet & Greet and the Needlepoint Premiere & Silent Auction. The teachers were on hand during the meet-and-greet to speak one on one with attendees and highlight their new techniques. The auction, supported by TNNA’s Needlepoint Group, was an array of new canvases, products, and accessories enticing retailers to both bid and network at the accompanying reception.

Later that evening, the very well-attended Yarn Group’s Fashion Show highlighted the hot new fashions for fall. It was during this event that TNNA honored this year’s Tribute to Excellence in Needlework (TEN) Award winner, Carol Gantz -- a needlepoint designer and past president of TNNA. (Note: A video of the fashion show is available at www.yarngroup.org.)

On Friday evening, TNNA’s PiPN students also got their first in-person look at the industry. Several of the college interns met their hosts for the first time, and were able to, as one student quipped, "see them in their element." The classroom portion of PiPN has just finished June 19, and the students have now dispersed to work with their respective host companies from June 22 to Aug. 14.

After a busy Saturday in classes and on the trade show floor, many TNNA attendees and exhibitors enjoyed Saturday evening’s Stitch N’ Pitch minor league baseball game. The event, pitting the Columbus Clippers against the Louisville (KY) Bats, was a major league success: Three busloads carried attendees to nearby Huntington Park for all the action. The hometown crowd was let down, though: Bats claimed victory 7-2.

On Sunday, after each of TNNA’s Product Segment Groups held their meetings, Yarn Group and Yarn Market News magazine presented retail marketing consultants Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, who spoke on "Creating Connections: Straightforward Solutions for Uncertain Times." The pair is known for their entertaining interaction with the audience, and by the end of their presentation, everyone was on their feet with applause and laughter.

A Walk to WIN Against Breast Cancer event also took place throughout the Market. Participants wore the provided pedometer to record their steps throughout the Market, with prizes awarded for the most steps walked. Proceeds raised from the event this year support the Love/Avon Army of Women organization.

(Note: Future TNNA dates: The Fall Needlecraft Market is Sept. 26-27 in St. Charles, MO; the Winter Trade Show is Jan. 9-11, 2010, in Long Beach, CA; and the Nashville Needlework Market is Feb. 20-21, 2010. Visit www.tnna.org for info. Heather is an editorial and marketing specialist for the needlework and crafts industries. Contact her at heather@goochandgooch.com or visit www.positiveyarn.com.)



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