So everyone has pretty much been holding their breath waiting for my post on the very first Crafter's Expo we held last Sunday at Royal Rodale. Alhamdulillah, the event turned out to be a phenomenal achievement, and MashaAllah is a milestone, not just for me, but my country, and my crafty friends! I've always wanted to attend scrapbooking fairs and things in the U.S... but for some reason or another my travel plans are bonkers and I can't quite make it to any of them. I skipped out Maya Road's Mixed Media workshops to I could be here to host the Crafter's Expo under the Crafters' Guild.
The Guild, was formulated to facilitate crafts and crafters of all backgrounds... it's a platform that I've taken up to promote crafting to the next level with inshaAllah. As of now, we're working on developing the website, to get the listing going, we're also forming the The Guild Team, which is our design team! :D We get to put together fun projects every month for our members to take inspiration from and learn new techniques and things with. Members only content though.
Nearing the expo date, we gave our scrapbooking goodies a new home. MashaAllah we're authorized retailers for scrapbooking products in Pakistan. A Cloud 9 kinda feeling if you ask me! On the day of the expo, I launched Jugnoo & Junoon. A grown up Firefly for our fans that grew up with us... I was in my 3rd year of university when Firefly began. Today I'm a Textile Designer, a graduate, a married young woman! Just because we grow up, doesn't quite mean our tastes and palette have to. I came up with Jugnoo & Junoon to cater to our necessities for work, our evening ensembles and of course, our day to day accessories. Jugnoo & Junoon will be developing collections for accessories such as bags and scarves... and the occasional tunics and tops. inshaAllah. We debuted our first collection of clutches in jewel colors at the expo. It's been a week and we're pretty much sold out. MASHAALLAH.
There's so much happening in this realm, that I cannot find ways to thank my Rabb for His countless favors and abundance of blessings. Alhamdulillah!
Looking back now, thinking about what the Crafter's Expo began with, as a small stall after my workshop... grew into an event that brought people from all over Karachi to visit. We had over 2000 visitors on Sunday at Royal Rodale. So many of them specifically came looking for me. It was pretty neat interacting with a lot of people who actually took interest in finding out more about the Guild and the Expo itself. That's colossal! At the end we had over 55 vendors. Two of them participated from Lahore and Faislabad. One of them, Shereen Aunty from Many Happy Returns actually came to Karachi FOR the expo... That was amazing. Gave it the real expo feel! We had paper crafts, suppliers, party planning and favors, gifts and greetings, lamps, clay work, handmade accessories and jewelry, home textiles and handicrafts!
What topped this 'Sun-dae' was the fact that Die Cuts with a View and Graphic 45 had send us paper stacks to give away and use specifically for the event. How cool is that?! MashaAllah, we came up to par with international events of the sort to be able to acquire such favors, don't you think?
What marvels me is the support I've had from everyone throughout the whole expo prep and execution process. MashaAllah, our country is full of talented and dedicated people. So many of them exhibited for the very first time. I feel over the moon elated when they tell me their experience was fab or the response they received was amazing. It makes me take a breath of relief that Alhamdulillah, we worked hard to promote this, and it worked. :)
It's going to take a little bit of time to make people understand the value of crafts or the concept of crafting in general, going to pursue that through the Crafters' Guild inshaAllah. :) I may not reside here 12 months of the year, but here's my promise inshaAllah. Firefly and the Crafters' Guild will work on an expo every year, so Karachi, Expo 2013 is inshaAllah a feat we're working on. God willing. :) Super excited!!!
The venue, the crowd, the set up, the format. Everything worked. It was the first time and MashaAllah we got it right. I'm going to post my thank you's and a few 'vendor' notes so that all can follow up. Thank you Karachi for visiting us. And thank you to all the Crafters that took a leap with me on this. No one had the slightest idea this would be what it is. Allah Kareem is awesome.. and life is just as beautiful as we make it :)
We were featured in a blog by Priyank Pahuja at the Tribune :) worth a read everybody!
I request you all to keep Firefly, me the Firefly Girl and my family in your kind duas. We need them lately as my nani has been in the hospital :) She's recovering but it'll be a bit til she's a 100%.
Til a day before the expo, everything was disoriented for me. I had no bed to sleep on as every where I stepped there was inventory, packing, wrapping or something or another. I had actually left my inventory at home on the day of the expo. -_-; The floor plan I issued the venue was pretty well followed except for our Hall One, which was a disaster when I walked in that morning. We gave booth numbers to all our vendors... we issued badges/passes for all of them. Our event backdrop never went up :( but oh well, our wall of crafty thoughts was awesome!
My thoughts on The Expo, the day after:
Allahu Akbar.. all praise is to Him Alhamdulillah! What an out of this world experience!!! In a state of Euphoria at this point...For every person that said Congratulations or Thank.you... I want to remind everyone that this event would be nothing but a dream without amazingly talented people being on board. I thank each of you that participated for leaping forward with me on working towards an event of this magnitude not just for crafts, but Pakistan. I am humbled by the love, support and overall appreciation.
I want to send out thank yous to Hera, Erum, Noveen, Anaum and Ghazal Api for being with me when this idea was just a little hatchling... I want to thank my biggest support system ever, my husband Zaiq for believing in my whimsical adventures and being there for me round the clock. My parents, aunt and uncle for bearing with the madness. My baby sister for being my little assistant... My brother Ali who leaves for abroad on Tuesday and dedicated his time to Firefly. My sister Sheena for putting in her day off to help out! Nivy I missed you heaps during this one month! My printer, uncle thank you SO much! Ahmed Ilyas, for working out our bags for Jugnoo & Junoon. Saud, for working so hard on getting cushions done for launch time. Royal Rodale management for being so so accommodating and cooperative. My best friends, for coming out to see me and be ng th me! A big big thank you to my volunteers, my super stars. This bunch of young people did an outstanding job! Namely Sabita and Rabbiya along with Iqra and Ramsha's group of friends. Rahat Bhai, thank you for looking into matters for the last ten days and helping me out all the way! My photographers, Rija, Fahad, Shaykh Yusuf, Wahaj at HocusFocus and Nadeem Bhai!
Thank you to Handmade Memories for sending heaps of wishes and offering gifts for the draw. Thank you to Many Happy Returns that flew in from Faislabad to participate at this event! Thank you to Craftaholics and Fancies & Flutters for being ever ready to participate in Karachi!
I cannot leave out the 2000+ visitors and fans! It was wonderful finally meeting so many of you!!! Thank you for coming with your loved ones. :) especially Shahrain and her family who visited us from Hyderabad!
This Crafter's Expo was the first... And mashaAllah it was great! We hope to carry it forward every year! InshaAllah. Congratulations Pakistan... At the end of the day it really isn't about a match won. We have tons of victories to celebrate... Like yesterday... When over 50 crafters united on one platform to share with the world what they are most passionate about, when international manufacturers sent items for an expo of this sort! Thank you Kelly at Graphic45 and Ashlee & Chuck at Die Cuts with a view!
The Firefly Girl and her journal thank everyone for a chapter to muse and write about. Alhamdulillah! This is all due to prayers of my Shaykh and the Great Favor of Allah Subhanau Ta'la upon all of us. May Allah Kareem grant barakah to all, and may He give us the hidaya to promote good and be a means to support efforts of all deserving.
The Firefly Girl
(Founder of The Crafters' Guild & Organizer of Crafter's Expo Pakistan)
My fabulous participants:
Kaghaz Kay Karnamay
Simplicity by Sumaiya Yahya
Zee-Handmade With Love
Rung and Craft Bug
Butter Cup Creations & Baker's Studio
Many Happy Returns
Glitters & Swirls
All That Sparkle
Creative Party Favours
Favors & More
A Craft Greetings
SAJ Design Store & Candyz Creation
Fizy's Art & Arty Crafty
Life. Twinkles & The Junkyard
Everything That's Creative
Ghazal Pirzada Creative Studios
Tints and Flints
Artel by Bina Ali
Sadia's Clay Jewelry
Lil Lady Bug
United Youth of Pakistan
Special Children's Educational Institute
Handmade & Madiha Raza Accessories
La Maison by Atikeha Adnan
Thardeep Rural Development Program
Al Falah Village Embroidery
Rainbows Hair Accessories
Flutters & Fancies & Craftaholics
Shine with Zaini's Creations
Kapra by Fawad Beyg
Love in a Basket
Rangeen & Zaa’s Collection
The Wall of Crafty Thoughts