Last weekend, Anne and I had a booth promoting our book at the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children Conference at the Indianapolis Convention Center. We've never exhibited before and didn't know really what to expect. We spent quite a bit of time putting together our booth and our promotional materials.
The conference didn't really meet our expectations...book sales were really low and attendance wasn't what the promoters had promised, but it was a learning experience. I worked really hard on the appearance of our booth, which we had lots of compliments about. We both felt really good about it. These "blooming heart" potted flowers were the hit of the show. I would have made a fortune if I had been selling them to all the teachers who attended.
The intention was to show teachers an easy way to incorporate "complimenting and using kind words" into their classrooms. I made 6 of these displays. They were super easy to make, just a bit time consuming. The hearts and leaves are made from foam core, which I painted and cut out (the time consuming part) and they are attached to a painted garden stake. There's florist's foam at the bottom of the pot which the stake is in, surrounded by newspaper and topped with a thin layer of popcorn for asthetics. We actually had someone come by and scoop up a handful of popcorn and eat it! Ewwww! Everyone wanted to know if the popcorn was real. People took pictures of them and wanted to know how they were made. We will be posting the directions on our website, too.
We had a giveaway, so that we could collect some contact information from the attendees. Isn't this coffee cup planter adorable??? I hated to give it away.
To get people to come into our booth, we created a compliment card, which we handed out to everyone who walked by.
We told people to fill it out, give it to someone special and watch it make their day. People really liked it. We are going to take them to our school visits to give to the teachers to use with their students. We will also have it on our website very soon available as a free download. They really work!...Anne and I have started using them when we are together. We gave one to a waitress at a restaurant a few weeks ago. Our message said something like.."thanks for the terrific service and bottomless Diet Coke refills". We put it in the credit card folder when she came to take our bill. She came running back to our table after she opened it and was positively giddy. She had shown it to her manager and he was faxing a copy of it to the restaurant chain's headquarters. She just kept thanking us. We did it again at the convention center, where we parked at the loading docks to unload our booth supplies. There was a parking lot attendant who was super nice and allowed us to park for longer than the allotted time in the lot. We gave him a compliment card on our way out of the lot. He was a bit hesitant when we handed it to him at first because he didn't know what it was, but then he read it and just beamed and thanked us. See what a little compliment can do for a person? Give it a try! It will make your day, too!
Overall, people had nothing but nice things to say about our book. It is such a joy to be connected to and represent this book. The feedback that we get from people, that the message of the book is so needed in today's society, for people of all ages, is really wonderful. I feel very blessed that Anne chose me to illustrate her beautiful words.