Brooks and I returned yesterday from 5 days at the International Decorative Artisans League’s (IDAL) annual convention. We had such a fabulous time seeing old friends, making new friends, and learning new painting techniques and tips that we think every decorative artist should make this a “must attend” event. Here are my Top 9 Reasons to go the IDAL Convention.
1. It’s an inexpensive way to take classes from the top Artists in our profession.
Where else in the world can you pay travel expenses once and benefit from the instruction of the top talents in the decorative arts and faux finishing field? Brooks was able to take 3 different classes over three days and came home with about 10 new finished sample boards. The classes ranged from fine art ornamentation, to wood marquetry, cabinet refinishing, glitz and glittery wall finishes, to painting on canvas. There was something for everyone and most all were under $300. That’s a bargain in my book.
2. Learn about new products in the Expo.
The Expo is definitely my favorite part of the week. This is where Studios and Product Manufacturers display and sell. It’s a great place to learn about new products, see beautiful samples and watch product demos. The BIG exhibitor this year was Metropolis Ivas. They are launching their paint, plaster and texture products in the U.S. and they have recruited some of the top instructors in the industry to teach and roll out their products.
3. Add Samples to your Portfolio without taking classes.
I thought this was genius. We actually bought three gorgeous ready made sample boards from the Expo with detailed application instructions to add to our portfolio. All you do is follow the recipe to recreate the finish. Love this idea and also think it is a great revenue opportunity for the studios to sell these on their websites too. We picked up samples from Sheri Zeman and Kathy Carroll.
4. Meet your Facebook friends In Real Life (IRL)
I have made some great artist friends on Facebook over the last 5 years and it was amazing to meet them in real life. This happened over and over as we went through the week. Brooks Tucker was amazed at the number of people who knew us from our blog and through Facebook. Especially since he had never even been on Facebook (or read our blog) until this week. Guess who has a Facebook account now? Oh, and he also wanted me to make it clear that I (Dana) don’t do any painting. I am only the business/marketing person. Brooks is the sole artist in this operation. He said, “all those people think you paint”. Nope, never, nada. Never held a trowel in my life. Glad you guys love me anyway!
5. Sharing trade secrets over lunch and cocktails
I loved my artist lunches and cocktails during the week. I got advice on growing our business. Brooks got advice on how to turn cabinet jobs quicker. I was able to share some marketing advice with a few folks and Brooks was able to give some furniture and cabinet painting tips. Valuable connections were made over a grilled chicken salad and glass of chardonnay.
6. Being on the “inside” of the “inside jokes”
Lots of fun times and inside jokes were shared throughout the week. Loved being able to connect and laugh with this fabulously talented group.
Luca- AKA BORAT
7. Add Credibility to your business by being associated with IDAL
Being able to showcase new products and having the professional affiliation of our national organization adds credibility to your small business. By attending and participating in IDAL you are making an investment in the future of your business. That investment says, “I am NOT a fly by night operation” and “I am driven to bring you the best finishes our industry has to offer.” You are a part of a whole in a large internationally recognized group of brilliant talent.
8. You can deduct conference expenses from your taxes.
Get more info on allowable deductions HERE.
9. Next year’s IDAL Conference will be the biggest and BEST YET!
In 2014 IDAL is teaming up with the Concrete Decor Show and offering a dual conference. It will be held in Ft. Worth, TX September 29- October 3, 2014.
Brooks and I will be there next year. Will you? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.