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Surtex: On the Surface

Official Enewsletter VOL 5 Issue #3

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Just a Word of Advice....
By Liz Crawford, VP Emerald Expositions, SURTEX Director


I hope that all of you out there are doing something that you love. Work can be hard, and stressful, but if you love your work, it can also be very rewarding…which is what makes us keep doing what we’re doing.  

Sometimes I think about what got me where I am in the first place.  I know it involved a lot of work on my part, but I also remember some great conversations and nuggets of advice that have helped me along the way.  

Alright, to be honest, some of that advice made me angry – like the time one boss warned me, “You can’t have it all.”  I remember thinking then, maybe she’s right?  That was a long time ago, and I was adapting to being a new mother, working, traveling, and building my career.  

As time wore on, I realized that she was wrong.  I could have it all, but it would come with challenges, some regrets, a lot of work, and, sometimes, guilt. My guilt came from having to leave my child to travel for business.  Still, looking back now, I can say that the path I’ve taken has been very rewarding. And my children turned out just fine, thanks for asking. 

What about some of the advice you have gotten during your career? Did it inspire you to do great things? Or, like the unsettling piece of advice I got those many years ago, were you inspired to prove it wrong? 

People give other people advice all day long. Sometimes it’s heartfelt, sometimes it’s a casual suggestion that there’s a way to do something better.  Whether or not I have acted on it, I’m thankful for all the advice that’s come my way through the years.

Legal advice, personal advice, advice on how to conduct your business…any way you slice it, it’s up to you to choose what to do with it all.   Heed it?  Ignore it?  Either way – take my advice  it’s all good.   



What’s the best business advice you’ve ever gotten? Are you still thankful for it? With gratitude in season this month, we asked a few professional friends in the surface design business to look back over their careers and pass their best professional advice on to you.

TARA REED, Tara Reed Designs, Inc., Portland, OR: 
“The best business advice I have ever gotten came before I exhibited at my first art licensing trade show back in 2004.  I was trying to decide if I should take the plunge, and the SURTEX show rep asked if I would like to talk to someone who had exhibited before and get some advice.  

Well, of course, I jumped on that!  It was an agent  I can't remember who  and he told me this:
 "If you are not ready to commit to exhibiting for at least 2
- 3 years, don't do it.  It takes time to see how things will work for you in art licensing and you can't judge it by one show."  

This advice helped me set my expectations and shaped the way I still look at my business.  I wish I could remember who it was who gave me that advice… but I am forever grateful for it.”

CALEB GRAY, Caleb Gray Studio, Tampa, FL:  
“Over the years I’ve received some great advice and support from fellow artists, for which I’m enormously thankful -- especially as I was starting out.  

Even though I worked in-house at a giftware company for several years and actually attended SURTEX to buy and license art, I still had a lot to learn when I decided to go out on my own.  There are so many questions when you’re new, and having other, more established artists take the time to not only answer questions but give reassuring advice was so helpful. That camaraderie has even turned into some great friendships today, which I’m thankful for, too!”

NANCY FIRE, Design Works International, New York City:  
“The best advice I have ever been given was ‘to stay true to yourself’ and ‘believe in your talent.’ 

That’s important advice because when you are in an industry that is ‘hyper creative’ you can really lose your sense of self.  If you lose these qualities, you lose your passion, and without passion, I feel that my day would be about just existing, not creating!”

SUZANNE CRUISE, Suzanne Cruise Creative Services, Overland Park, KS:  
“The best business advice I ever got was from industry pioneer, Kay Yearick. I was new to agent-ing but I knew Kay a little bit. (When I found myself) standing in a line in front of her, I turned to ask her questions about negotiating some contract points that I was clueless about. 

My heart was in my throat as she had no reason at all to answer them. Without missing a beat, she answered every one. I could have kissed her. She put her hands on my shoulders and said, ‘There's plenty of business out there for all of us.’

What a class act that was, and that she was. From that day on, I have always taken the high road in my career as a licensing agent. It has served me very well, and for that I am quite thankful."



Not to ruin your Thanksgiving feast, but we’re about to update culinary history and unsettle a great American myth: The Pilgrims were late to Thanksgiving dinner

A year or more late!  Some 12 months before they even docked the Mayflower in Massachusetts, the first Thanksgiving had already taken place at Berkeley Plantation down in Virginia. 

The date was December 4, 1619, the day Captain John Woodlief and 38 men landed their ship The Margaret at Berkeley Hundred on the James River upstream from Jamestown. Captain Woodlief ordained that the day of arrival “be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” 


Some 344 years later, in 1963, President Kennedy officially proclaimed Berkeley as the site of the FFV (First Feast in Virginia), and those tradition-loving Virginians now gather every autumn to re-enact the historic party  deer, corn, Indians, and all.

It’s all very annoying to citizens of St. Augustine, Florida, who claim that the First Thanksgiving feast was held there on September 8, 1565.  The host was Spanish settler Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who allegedly stepped ashore with a slew of followers and immediately held a mass of thanksgiving.  And, yes, there was also a feast, Indians included, around a table that groaned under such victuals as wine, sea biscuits, and garbanzo beans.

So with all this thanksgiving feasting going on up and down the East Coast, why did the Pilgrims get all the credit?  Historians like Dr. Michael Gannon (aka in Massachusetts as “The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving”) offer a simple 21st-century answer: they had better PR.



Still Time for designext® Entries  SURTEX is still accepting last-minute applications for designext, the 2015 International Student Competition, reports Michelle Daniels, Program and Event Marketing Manager. Entries may be received through the first week in December.

The 29th annual competition is open to third and fourth-year design students at colleges around the world, Michelle said, and “Everyone seems to be excited about designext 2015 and its theme: The New Urban Grunge.”  Four winners will be chosen by a prestigious panel of judges drawn from various aspects of the design industry.  They will be invited to attend and show their designs at SURTEX 2015 May 17-19.  In addition, one student will be awarded the Grand Prize of $1,000.

Exhibitor Alert – Applications are being accepted for booth spaces at the 2015 edition of SURTEX.  While there is no deadline for applications, SURTEX execs remind potential exhibitors that assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Booth space has sold out in the past, so it’s smart to submit applications as soon as possible.  For more details and/or register, click here.


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