Saturday, July 21, 2012


Hi everyone. Liz here. I haven't quite fallen off the planet - but if you keep reading you'll find out what the Artfull Crafts Team has been up to. SENZ is the NZ Paper Craft Expo and we had a wonderful weekend running classes, selling product at our stall and catching up with customers.

SENZ is a HUGE exercise for us. In reality it's one weekend - but practically for us it's a 3 1/2 week event! So here's a little look at what it takes for stores to participate in SENZ.

Back in May we had to design the classes that we wanted to run. This involves deciding on tutors, choosing new products and coming up with original class ideas. After creating the prototype we write inviting descriptions, load them on the SENZ website and then on our own site. Then we pretty much sit at the computer for the next 4 days while the classes steadily fill up! We print them, record them and try hard to keep track that we don't oversell them!! (Ladies - you only turn 21 once...)

 Classes on offer - 3 cards, tote/aprons and travel smash class.

A month out from SENZ it's time to order the class products. We ran 8 full classes this year and so we had hundreds of packs to make up. The classroom became a whirlwind of activity. I was fortunate to have Tanya (a local) give up hours and hours of her time to pack the kits. It was just as well as I felt ill with a throat and chest infection and needed a few days off work! After the products were kitted up, I took all the photos, created instructions, tutorials and templates and popped them in the kits.

Then it was time to collect all the tools and products to share for the classes, write lists, name the products and pack them together. This took a whole day!

By now we've spent upwards of a hundred hours in prep for classes!

Our attention then turned to the stall design. Betsy and I had been away for the weekend at the Kaisercraft retailer event and arrived home on Tuesday night 3rd July. (Were we mad going away so close to SENZ?!).

 Melissa, Miss Betsy, Christina and Liz

On the plane I was busy designing the stall on paper. No time to sleep on that flight! I got home at 9pm and by 9:30pm Graham and I were down at the shop setting up a mock stall! It's such an important thing to set it up first so that you don't waste space taking extra pieces of furniture. It's just as well we did it too. I totally underestimated how little space we had this year. We opted for a 6m stall - which isn't exactly big...

Mock Stall

Wednesday morning was spent making sure all the kits, class tools etc were packed and ready to go. And organising last minute things - flights, accommodation, car hire, eftpos, till hire and the list goes on! Wednesday night was a quick dinner and back to the shop for a late night. It was time to get the stall fittings packed onto the pallets.

Thursday - the clock is ticking! Juanita and I swing into action, packing up products for the stall. We had to keep in mind that the shop back home was still open and so we couldn't really take eeeeeverything...! We pulled all the banana boxes out from the back room and worked hard all day packing the pallets perfectly. You have to make use of every spare little bit of space.

The foyer and classroom looked like a BOMB site! After a quick dinner Graham and I returned to work to do the final shrinkwrapping of the 3 pallets.
Graham checks out the pallets for comfort...

Friday morning - a week before SENZ. The freight company arrive to pick up the 3 pallets. After a problem (of my making) they got all the pallets out the door without having to repack them! I had put the bookcase the wrong direction and it was too wide for the door.. So after some forklift use, spinning and 30 mins of effort we had success! I was only slightly nervous... The pallets got loaded onto the truck and headed off for a train ride to Hamilton.
 Push, heave, ho...

After a few more hours of work Graham and I headed home to pack our suitcases. All the hard work was done (for a few days) so and so it was time to go on holiday! We have two lots of friends up in Thames and Auckland and it was nice to rest up for a day or three.

Wednesday arrived and the staff and helpers arrived in an hour late from their Jet Star flight. We stopped off for Miss Besty's first ever McDonalds, drove straight to Hamilton, picked up more product that we had shipped directly there, priced it up and collapsed in bed very late...
 Ella and Juanita lead Miss Betsy astray (middle)

Thursday the mayhem started. It's a whole day job to set the stall up. And it didn't help that only 2 of our pallets were delivered to the venue by 9am... The one pallet they didn't bring until 11am was the one with the stall fittings on it. BRILLIANT!! So we did the best we could - but it's really best if the stands arrive first! We worked tirelessly until 7pm to set up the stall and classroom. Tiring stuff indeed.

 Stall set up - Miss Betsy organises Lindsey

Friday it ALL started! At 9am the customers came running through the door for their first bit of shopping before classes start at 9:30am. Juanita was in charge of the stall, Ella and Lindsey were her able assistants, Graham was the gopher (go for...), while Betsy and I were in charge of the classroom with help from Aimee.

Juanita is overwhelmed with customers!
 Liz, Juanita, Lindesy, Betsy and Ella

We got a phone call at 9:10am to say our house in ChCh had confirmed as being sold. We jumped for joy - then promptly forgot about it! From then on until Sunday evening we barely sat down. Classes were fun and busy, the stall was full of lovely customers (old and new) and I got the chance to wander around a few times saying hello to the other retailers. There are some lovely shop owners at the show and we loved catching up with them.

 Apron/Tote class

Friday night we were invited to Paper Zone's shop for drinks and nibbles. What a treat and a lovely night was spent with them.

 Spot the men-to-women ratio...

On Saturday night there was a dinner and quiz night and we sat with the Scrapaholics girls. Well, okay, some of our team sat with Paper Zone and they got a better score than us in the quiz. No more mention of that!!
Fiona runs a fun quiz/dinner night

At the end of Sunday, we had an hour to clean up and pack up the classroom products. And then it was time to tackle the stall. At this point everyone was exhausted and I wasn't sure where I was going to get the energy from! But with Miss Betsy supervising we couldn't afford to slacken off!

Pack down time!

2 hours of high octane effort, and we were done. The pallets were wrapped and we were ready to collapse at home!
 3 pallets wrapped and a few tired workers!

Spot the pink luggage!

The next day we headed into Auckland for a look around the outlets before our flights and the 2 hours drive back to Timaru.

By Tuesday and Juanita and I were in at work by 9am! Tuesday night I was planning the next day's card class and by Thursday the pallets were delivered back into the store. Tanya came back to help us unpack. It's now Friday night and my eyes are drooping to the floor! My back and legs are aching. I've been up and down the stairs with boxes for 2 days and I just can't bring myself to finish off the last of the unpacking. So I'll be back in tomorrow...!
The mess in the foyer today while we unpacked

I can't quite believe it was over 2 weeks ago that we first packed up the pallets, and now SENZ is over for another year...
Hope to see you at next year's event. It will be in Auckland at the beginning of July. Plan on being there!


  1. Oh Liz, no wonder you are exhausted - I'm tired out from just reading it! It was a great event though, your stall looked great, classes were well prepared, great kits, and good fun. Looking forward to next year.

  2. Thanks Beth. So nice to catch up at SENZ :-)

  3. Liz & Co
    That sounds like a marathon effort!!! When you say you are exhausted I'd lke to hear how the others were as you are on high octane batteries usually!!! Good on you for your enthusiasm & a great team behind you sure helps.