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June 11, 2019
PG Live '19
By Michael Davis
Well, ladies and gentlemen, the time has finally come.
The end of days is upon us.
With everything happening in the world, the surest sign is this:
I've started a blog.
Because I'm ahead of the times.
And I reckon they'll be a thing, one day.
My first trade show. Ever.
Provided you ignore the two we went to in the last year, where I walked round with a name badge saying Head of Everything and tried not to make eye contact with anyone exhibiting.
In case they thought I was a previously undiscovered wealthy buyer for a carefree gift conglomerate, about to shower them with cash and prizes.
(Because that's the look exhibitors have in their eyes at trade shows when the day wears on. I've seen it.)
But yes. First trade show as an Actual Person.
Number 1 thing about PG Live:
Not just in a chirpy, world's-best-customer-service-check-out-my-fixed-grin kind of way, but a genuine, down to Earth, warm and welcoming kind of way.
Now this shouldn't have come as a shock, because it's the one thing that everyone says about PG Live. 'It's so friendly'.
And you might expect it, given it's the only trade show in the world wholly dedicated to greetings cards.
And greetings cards being generally all about sending a nice thought, kind message or a cunningly disguised way of sending a court summons.
But the thing I forgot about is that everyone there is also running a small business. In some cases very successful small businesses, usually ones they've built from scratch themselves.
So to be doing that, it requires a certain level of dedication, and skill, and ability to learn and carry out a whole bunch of new tasks.
Plus, to do all this in a 'creative' industry.
(Quotation marks necessary there. I've met enough people in my time who firmly consider themselves 'the creative type' primarily because they own a brightly coloured waistcoat and / or think karaoke is, on balance, a good idea).
But an industry where you make a thing, and then show it to the world.
There's no right or wrong, no good or bad. Not really. It's up to individual taste. You're opening yourself up to all kinds of judgment and potential criticism, from everyone.
At a card show, there's no demonstrating how useful this new product is. There's no technology to impress punters with. Everyone knows what a card is for.
It's purely: 'I've made this. D'you like it?'
It seemed to me that the resilience this either instills or requires in the first place, coupled with the fact that everyone is in - more or less - the same boat, helps massively.
From a clueless new publisher point of view, literally every single person I spoke to was incredibly kind, and accommodating. They were helpful, happy to share advice and insider info.
And best of all, some of the funniest people I've met in ages. There were - let's face it - a few stretches of time with very few buyers anywhere to be seen.
To spend hours on your feet, with few visitors around, yet still feel like those bits were spent having a great time in the company of friends? That I wasn't expecting.
Number 2 thing about PG Live:
Got some orders.
Number 3 thing about PG Live:
Was nice to finally put names to some faces I'd been speaking to for a while.
Or faces to some names, I should say.
I didn't write names on peoples' faces. That would be weird.
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PG Live '19