Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Suites at Market Square

One of the many dazzling show rooms at High Point Market
High Point Market (April 21-26) is now behind us, it's Saturday Night and I'm sitting in my bedroom watching a re-run of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. My legs hurt, may bags are still not unpacked, I have four large boxes of all of my show samples in my living room downstairs and my night stand is covered in receipts from diners, lunches, gas stations and dozens of other places I spent funds on this past week while we exhibited our hand-made signs in High Point, North Carolina.

We crammed as many signs as possible into Booth #4038
Just getting there was challenging enough. High Point is only a three hour drive from our studio in Snow Hill, NC. We opted to not rent any trucks or trailers and simply take our own two POVs filled with our samples, our walls to display them on and ourselves (Me, Susan, Greyson & Tate).

Our Beach and Coastal walls had many new signs
All was going well when about an hour into our drive I lost my battery and my alternator and had to leave my truck on the side of the expressway near Cary on Thursday night. We then all climbed into our other truck and went on to High Point with only the booth. After getting my wife and daughter safely in the hotel in Winston-Salem, my son and I drove back to Cary and picked up the samples from my truck and brought them back to High Point. My son and I never slept that night. Then at 8 a.m., we went over to the dock and started unloading and setting up our booth.

This amazing building looks like a ship hull split in half, it has a mote too
High Point is an odd town in that it has a population of just over 100,000 and twice a year it hosts The High Point Market which brings in another 100,000 visitors each time. And it's crazy. You can tell just by walking down the street that everyone is from out of town. They dress different, wearing clothing that you've never seen before, at least not in my little town of Snow Hill. The eye wear, the shoes, they are just fabulous. And every person you see is a character, you can almost see their trade written right on their face and clothes. And they are all here, decorators, architects, designers, business men, blue collar workers, food service folks, artists, salesmen, gift shop keepers and the list goes on and on. There are so many people here at once that all of the hotels are full, many people, including us have to stay in neighboring city's. We stayed in Winston-Salem. As the show winds down you can switch hotels closer to High Point as some folks start to leave.

This guy played jazz guitar in the IHFC lobby every night, he was a true artist!
The first 3 days are the best, lots of parties every evening, outdoor concerts, jazz bands playing in all of the bars, show room girls walking around in sexy outfits, people handing out brochures and flyers to entice you to come to their showroom open houses. There are lots of free drinks after 4 p.m. in the show rooms, lots of free things to do and see. As the week gets longer though, things begin to wind down, people start leaving, the parties get fewer and by the end of the week it's like just going shopping at Target, you go in, you see things you grab lunch and you just go back to your hotel room and do it again the next day. And you start thinking to your self... I really need to get back to my studio, orders are piling up.

New Fresh Crabs Sign from Slippin' Southern
So what did we accomplish at Market Square's six day long market? We picked up many nice new customers, wrote lots of orders, and embarked on some exciting new opportunities with a couple of large retailers that we are really excited about. We also had fun meeting many other great exhibitors including Steve and Donna Hayden, Sabrina's Chair Apron from Grace and London.

Samantha of Grace & London was next door to us at the show
Donna & Steve Hayden brought some awesome signs too y'all.
Want to meet us at our next show? We'll be at the Atlanta Gift Mart (July 11-18).
And this time we are shipping everything... no trucks y'all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Flamingo Coral & Keylime Pie: Two new colors added to our palette

Next week, Slippin' Southern will be setting up our booth at Market Square in High Point, North Carolina (April 21-26). We've been feverishly making many new signs to roll out at the show. In the process of making the new signs we're introducing two new colors to our palette bringing our current color palette to 24.

Slippin' Southern's color palette.

Our color palette has grown quite a bit from it's humble beginnings last year. I think I started with about 12 when I had only a dozen or so signs at the opening of my
 Etsy shop. Throughout the year as more signs have been added I've had the need for more colors. During Christmas I added silver and gold. My great customers have also helped me in suggesting and requesting great colors for many of my signs.

The first new color is Flamingo Coral. I wanted to call it flamingo pink but it's really more coral than pink. I've used it on a new scallop shell, a medium sized whale and a new star fish.

The other color is Key Lime Pie. It's a bright, sassy, yellowish green. I used it on a new supper-sized "Barrel of Monkeys" Monkey wall sign, a Minnow School set and a small Rooster.

Along with new colors my Beach and Coastal section will have several new signs including new fish, new star fishes and new shells. I also have several new farm stand styled signs that feature vegetables like tomatoes, artichokes and carrots. We also have several signs that are English themed for the 2012 Summer Olympics! All-in-all, it's a lot of new items, I just hope we can get it all done by this weekend y'all!

We will be rolling out all of these items in our Etsy shop and on our wholesale site soon after the show so stay tuned for more. And to our Retail Shop owner friends if you can make it, stop by and say "Hey" to us at Market Square, High Point y'all.

Slippin' Southern at High Point:
Building: Suites At Market Square
Space Number: M-4039

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yes, I do custom signs...

Yours truly gluing letters to a Wrangler 20X custom sign in my studio for The Working Guy's Store.

My custom signs usually start with the question... "Do you make custom signs?" I always get this exciting feeling inside when I'm asked. The feeling of endless creative possibilities, what great graphic adventure am I about to embark on? What will this new customer want me to create for them? Their company logo really big? A famous cartoon character for their family room? A giant animal... you just never know.
I usually never ask what some custom signs are used for.
Many times it's simply taking one of my existing signs like my "Hey Y'all" sign and writing another word like "68 Chevy" or "Snooze". Or it's as simple as taking my Labrador dog sign and flipping him in the other direction. I've also matched custom colors as well as Pantone colors. My signs can also be made to go outdoors in harsh weather with my "Coastal Core" protection option.
Custom sign for a family game room.
Sometimes customers do want their logo for their office lobby to impress visitors. Sometimes they want a sign for their trade show booth. Sometimes it's for their game room. Or sometimes it's for their child who is now off to college and needs the team mascot for their dorm wall.

Hat from "Cat in the Hat" for a family game room.
Whatever it turns out to be, I approach my signs two different ways. The first is to simply cut the sign from plywood and carve any needed details right into the wood. I offer 22 colors and I can also mix custom colors if needed. All of my signs are usually feature a distressed finish that really makes them look aged.
Custom sign for a therapist's office.
The second approach is to cut letters and shapes from a thinner, 1/8" plywood and attach it all to a larger backboard. Most shapes I hand cut in my shop, however, sometimes I send them out to a laser cutting service if the shapes are too small or too detailed for me handle. With either approach it takes about 3 weeks for me to complete a sign before shipping it.

A very large custom sign for a farmers market in Boston.
If you have a special sign you'd like to have made, I'd love to hear about it and I'd be happy to give you a price for making it. There's really nothing that I can't do. When you're ready to pop me the question, please let me know your requirements on these points too:

- How large would you like it to be?
- How do you plan to display it, i.e. hanging or attaching to wall, etc?
- Are there any special colors needed?
- And, where is your sign shipping to (city and Zip)?

Just pop me an e-mail to:

Here are a few more signs that I've recently completed.
Wrangler 20X retail dispaly sign.
Sign for a Carriage company.
Logo sign for Vungle's San Franciso office.

My Gator tricked-out with sneakers and cap for Gator U-Haul in Florida.

Florida Gator's Logo for a gift to an alumni.