Every year around the middle of summer, yarn shop owners, designers, and wholesalers from all over the world gather at a trade show hosted by TNNA (The National Needlearts Association). A purpose of the show is for yarn shops to see what is new and happening with the vending yarns and designers, along with notions and other fun yarn-related objects. This was my second year attending, and my purpose was to see what's new and to see what new bases were out there for dyers, as well as any other useful tools. Traveling with me was Kristen, who is looking to open a shop in the next year or so, and we enjoyed sharing our goal of talking to a TON of different people.
We traveled from South Bend, Indiana to Columbus, Ohio Friday evening, and enjoyed a 5 1/2 hour drive riddled with bizarre construction and the occasional detour. We stayed at an amazing B&B called Hawthorne Park Bed and Breakfast, which was a short drive from the convention center. The architecture of the home was incredible, and our hosts were very kind, and great cooks too! We ate the breakfast they made for us both Saturday and Sunday.
When we went to the convention center Saturday, we were able to enjoy the opening ceremonies, which played into this year's theme of "Hollywood". (We don't recall there being a theme last year.) This involved some guy performing various show tunes on a stage setup along with dancers, as well as what I can only assume was a specially composed song just for TNNA. It was weird, well done, and delightful, but mostly weird.
We met up with Schacht, the creator of the Zoom Loom, which I used to create the woven samples on the Fiber Hound website. They were delighted to see the samples in person, and thought that it was an ingenious idea to use the Zoom Loom in this fashion. I was excited to see how well it was marketed across the show floor; the majority of the yarn booths had a small sign with a sample of their yarns woven with it. It was so much fun to be able to chat with the creators of many great products.
We stopped at the Ravelry booth, which had the purpose of helping store owners use their pattern sales tool. While Kristen was learning about how to use the tool, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Casey, who does the main coding for the website. I showed him a picture of Dwight, and we chatted about how goofy both of our dogs were.
One can never have a blog about TNNA without mentioning Jeni's Ice Cream, which originates in Columbus. Eating their ice cream is considered a rite of passage for the trade show, because they're made from all natural ingredients, with both common and bizarre flavor combinations that all have delicious outcomes. Across the street from the convention center is North Market, which has a number of small restaurants and shops, as well as one of the Jeni's location. There is another down the street from the convention center, and they are both often packed. Because the trade show is going to be in Indianapolis next year, I'm sure thousands of people will mourn the lack of incredible ice cream.
TNNA was a delightful amount of fun. There are many things which occurred that I am not able to mention in this post because they're surprises for later, but I'm really excited about all the people I was able to connect with, as well as having made some decisions for the future of this business.