In just a few days, I’ll be stuffing my van full of guts and trekking to New York Now, the wholesale trade show formerly known as the New York International Gift Fair. Getting prepped for this show fills me with nostalgic horror thinking back on my first attempt to sell my weird wares to stores at the Pool Tradeshow in Las Vegas in 2006. It was a truly humbling and humiliating experience — and an utter failure! Ugh, just looking at my booth (left, look at the hope and optimism!) fills me with dread and embarrassment even now. I didn’t have enough stuff to sell, maybe six shirt designs, two button sets, some of my paintings and handmade plush organs that I had no way to make or sell. I was full of enthusiasm… and knew absolutely zilch about wholesaling. We got about as close to zero interest as is humanly possible. I think maybe three stores ordered from us, and we went home chastened, ready to drink away our sorrows in dive bars. The only redeeming thing about it was meeting the brilliant folks behind Crowded Teeth and Gnome Enterprises. From that point on, I vowed to never do a trade show again. I found customers and stores via word-of-mouth, street fairs, craft shows, visiting stores personally, pounding the pavement and most of all, through our amazing distribution team at DKE Toys. I didn’t do a single wholesale trade show until six years later, when I finally felt the guts were ready for the New York gift show in 2012. I have learned a lot since then, and the I Heart Guts line has grown a lot since those early days back in 2006, thanks mostly to our fantastic customers who have believed in and supported the line from the very beginning. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing all our pals at New York Now — we will be in Museum Source booth #7278. Wish me luck!