Sometimes there is nothing that can be said without any negativity on an experience, especially when money and time is involved. For the past week I have been trying to find the best words to describe my attending the “MyTime Women’s Show” last weekend and still have angst about it. For now I am going to write the facts, and add my opinion in bits.
I discovered about the MyTime event while driving from the Tidewater Southside area back home during heavy traffic. I caught the highway’s billboard’s flash of “MyTime.com Women’s Show, January 28th, Hampton Convention Center” before I could look away. I was surprised not to have seen any other advertisement elsewhere. My guess is that the desired genre was for women who fit a certain customer. Unfortunately for me, I have no television, nor wish to read a daily paper, and I should have listened to the feeling that I was not the customer type they sought. Understandably I can see that the folks at the Daily Press did their best to reach all audiences.
First and foremost, as I must disclose that my mother-in-law works at Riverside Hospital, I have huge applause for the services the hospital staff offered in their section of booths. Various types of health screenings such as glucose and blood pressure checks, plus information on elderly, youth, and pregnancy programs were refreshing to see among the crowded booths of salespeople on the floor.
From my past experiences at shows and events such as these, the deduction that if you are arriving 2 hours after the show’s opening, and folks are flooding out, chances are the show is not worth attending for the 5 hours it is open. Fortunately parking was free even though driving through the convention center lot was not easy with its one-way directions.
Out of the list of exhibitors at the show, there were very few that dealt with hobbies and activities that did not cost tons of money. Most of the booths were comprised of vendors offering big ticket home improvement projects, food/drink that was unfriendly to diabetics or not gluten-free, costume jewelry, cosmetics, fashion accessories — basically already made items that could be purchased any time or any place. I was pleased to find some activities like martial arts, dance, and other self-improvement were represented. Since “my time” is oriented around crafting, creating food, health, and frugality, there were only a handful of booths that came near the mark. The demonstrations on the stage were fun to see. Farm Fresh held one on cake decorating.
The variety of charity organization was large and admirable. The first booth I spotted as I left the ticket area was the Junior Women’s League who creatively made high-style bags for a charity auction. I enjoyed seeing and hearing what Habitat for Humanity, the cancer groups, and military organizations offered as information about themselves and the work they did.
All the way in the far back wall there was a single quilt shop that had on display some of their finished items, but it seemed the women there were only interested in chatting with themselves. When I tried to strike up a conversation with them and mentioned the Spunsters group in Blacksburg, I was given a handout of their classes and sent on my merry way. My disappointment was furthered by not seeing any other craft shop in the whole show, unless you call this one booth that had acrylic scarflettes for sale among their commercial wares.
Towards the end of my walk around the floor I found one other booth with handcrafted items, and the women there were wonderfully nice to boot! Mary made all of the items in the following photos. See those clothes on the booth wall? She had sewn them herself, and the hems are *handsewn*! As I watched folks their purchases, I noticed the care the items were wrapped in purple tissue paper before being put into their bag. It was a nice boutique touch from the usual sloppiness seen these days when vendors hurriedly shove the goods into the bag. By the way, I ended up buying a couple of keychain fobs to give as gifts. One will be in the recipient’s hands along with some cookies very soon! 🙂
So what did I do after spending $8 at the door when the website said $7, and I found myself frustrated at finding few things that I would do at that show with my time? I took delight that I was able to see my MIL at the show, and decided to make the most of the situation. I found a spot just outside the convention doors and began to knit on the Clapotis I was making as a gift for my friend Lisa. As I stood there, knitting in public, I stewed over what I had experienced and wanted to make the most of the time and money I spent. During that time, I met some wonderful women who paper crafted, knitted, crocheted, or wanted to learn. We all were in agreement about our disappointment, and felt relieved we were not alone. I even saw one of my Knitting Therapy friends with her mom and sister too (Hi Anna!!).
Later I was able to vent my concerns to the folks from the Daily Press. They were empathetic over how I felt, and promised to contact me for next year’s event to have actual crafters demonstrate in discounted booths. In fact, two of the folks I spoke with will now be attending the “Learn to Knit” class I am teaching at the Poquoson Public Library this Monday. I only hope we can build on this new relationship because this initial one with MyTime was a downer. Will you join me in crossing paws for a better show next year? =:8