Hi, Elizabeth Michael here!
Once a year, as a company, we all pull together and do something so utterly insane, it surprises us every time. You ask, “Why would you continue to do something so crazy?” The answer is you! Every year we set up a temporary store in Houston, TX at the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. And, every year we are so blown away by our customers in Houston, we come back.
Our team prepares all year long to pull off the amazing feat of opening up a 40,000 sq ft booth at the Reliant Center in Houston in only 5 days. We buy special merchandise almost a year in advance, and pour through spreadsheets and floor plans to make sure everything will fit and be merchandised in just the right way. We ship down twenty-five 18-wheelers, over 100 employees, and spend only 5 days setting up and two days breaking the booth down. Our 40,000 sq ft booth is bigger than all but one of our stores (Monroe, LA weighs in at 49,000 sq ft).
On Wednesday night, there is a preview party, where guests can shop, dine, and drink before the show officially opens. We all get dressed up and have fun with the customers. Every year this group of ladies finds Paul and takes a photo. This was 2012’s picture. Paul was really into it!
On Thursday, the crowd comes. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday bring different shoppers every day. Houstonites know how to shop and decorate! Most of the time, they forget to leave room in the car for their friends.
Or, they need dock passes to pick up their loot because they can’t physically carry it out.Every year we bring over 12 different Christmas looks, solid wood furniture, dinnerware, lamps, wall art, candles, gifts, and our exclusive line of furniture, home decor, and cutting boards made out of locally harvested wood in our wood shop in Dermott, AR, USA. Some pieces are even made out of reclaimed and repurposed antiques or architectural salvage.
Even the news came to report last year!Nutcracker Market is a holiday wonderland. Our employees always love taking a quick break to go shop around. Here’s assistant Store Manager, Kate Roane, Debbie Michael, visual merchandiser, Ashley Mayo, and I taking a quick break and photo-op to record our colored jeans collection.
I wonder what year we will look back on this picture and think, “Remember that colored jeans fad?”
When we do get a moment to go shop, our favorite booths are China Baroque, a jewelry company that uses broken antique china as jewels, Pajama Party, insanely cute, comfortable and inexpensive pajama sets, Donne di Domani, the ever-popular Italian marinara sauce, and Great Lakes Tea & Spice, selling their loose- leaf teas, spices, and tea paraphernalia.
We have been talking about doing this for a while, but this is the year, 2013…. Drum roll… We will be doing a time lapse of the set up and will be posting it after the show. Stay tuned.
To all of our Houston fans out there, don’t forget to come to the Nutcracker Market November 7th – 10th.