We're back from H+H Americas and boy howdy was it a whirlwind experience. From Streaming on the show floor all 3 days, to making new friends and business connections. H+H was unlike any Industry show I've had the pleasure to attend.
What Makes H+H Americas different
H+H Americas is different in many ways to
that of other US industry shows. For one, it is an umbrella of the fibers industries as whole. As you walk the floor you'll meet
your typical quilters, designers, and publishers. But you'll also meet industry professionals from both the yarn industry and threads industry. I was able to talk with other designers in these fields and see the similar challenges and paths they face compared to my own. It has also opened collaborations with other professionals that I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to meet.
Secondly, H+H is not at all a new name in the fibers Industry. They've held H+H Cologne since 1979 and have become a major Industry standard for what an international show should be. This being H+H Americas second show makes it a prime time to get equated with the show before things get more established. This year even saw more of the big fabric providers coming to the show. With big names like Moda, Free Spirit Fabric, and Andover, there was plenty of beautiful fabric to fondle over.
Another key difference that makes H+H stand out is it's embrace of content creators as a whole. One of the major draws for me personally as a creative live streamer, was the fact that H+H Americas had a dedicated creator studio. I have been a quilting live streamer for close to 7 years now. When I would mention that to companies, I would get the same confused look that screamed that they had no idea what the hell I was jabbering on about. Fast forward to post pandemic era, and you can't throw a stone without hitting someone who has had to get comfortable with web cameras and streaming work meetings. At this event I was able to proudly boast to industry professionals on the floor that I was streaming from the Creator Studio fish bowl and not be greeted with blank stares.
Honestly I was surprised and happy to see how many companies are taking their social media presence to the next level and many are developing (or already have developed) platforms that are set to have streaming capabilities as well as video on demand style classes.
One small thing I noticed during the show was the care H+H took to make both the attendees and booth attendants feel at ease at the end of the day. Around 4 o'clock every day there were several happy hour trollies making their rounds. All open bar. I will say sharing a pinot noir with people from Brewer and Ruby Star made for an interesting, yet casual experience. The last day they even had ice cream for those still there on the floor near the close of the show.
Why H+H Americas is good for the Industry
Simply put? It's just more accessible and casual than any other American Industry Show. I may be a long time streamer and quilter, but my following and business are still in the early stages. That didn't seem to have much pull however when it came to reaching out and talking with professionals at the show as well the the folks at H+H as a whole. I was able to give my input and impressions of the creator studio and the equipment being used. I felt heard and respected.
That says volumes to someone in my position where these types of events are a big financial investment and not a trip I decide on lightly. Everyone on the floor was exceptionally warm and welcoming. Even the large distributors were more accessible than I've experienced in the past and as such I was able to talk with and gain great feedback on my patterns and how my business is doing.
I'm not expecting Quilt Market in the fall to change how they run and operate. It's still the big dog as far as US quilt industry shows go. Many of the big fabric companies make their years sales at that show. However, I won't be all that upset if spring market decides not to return and H+H takes that spring industry show slot. I know I will be back next year, and if you're a fibers industry professional, I highly suggest you consider attending as well!
H+H was an amazing show, and I have so much more to say about the things I did and the people I met. If you'd like to hear more make sure to check out my Instagram .
Till next time Quilty Crew,