If you're not familiar with Blue Print, it's a trade show for artists, studios, and agencies to sell and license artwork, textile design, and surface pattern design. It's similar to Surtex with a few exceptions: it's smaller (exhibitors are capped at 30), the venue (it's held in smaller gallery style areas vs. a large convention center so the show set-up is considerably less complicated), the up front cost (it's significantly less expensive for a booth at Blue Print), and finally, it's newer to the scene (the first Blue Print show was in 2015). You can learn more about Blue Print on their website but I was extremely happy with the show itself. I thought it had a great feel about it, the other exhibitors were exceedingly friendly and helpful, and the buzz around Blue Print seems to grow every year. That results in a higher number of attendees and a great quality of buyer - so you get your work in front of the people you want to connect with most.
We decided early on to exhibit at Blue Print (which is necessary because spots fill up fast) so we had about 9 months to prepare for the show. This gave us a lot of time to work on our portfolios (filling in the gaps, rounding out collections, doing more and more - and more Christmas designs) and do ALL the other work that's involved in getting ready to exhibit. For me this included sprucing up my website and online portfolio, printing promotional items and banners, figuring out a pricing strategy and plan, and then promoting the hell out of our collective and the show. There are a lot of great resources out there if you plan on exhibiting and I just started bookmarking everything I could find online about trade shows. Jennifer Nelson's Advice for Artists group and Prep classes were fantastic, and the Shine Circle Guest Expert Webinars from Dari Design were also helpful. I've always been someone who wants to go into something new OVER-prepared but at a certain point you just have to trust in that preparation and jump. The most stressful thing about the show was easily the anticipation. I definitely had some nervous moments, hesitations, weird dreams (!), and excitement. In the end, once I got TO the show, I was good to go.