Angie and I first heard about the National Art Education Association's Annual conference from one of her professors in 2017. We checked out our first NAEA in New York as attendees and were simply blown away. The entire buzz around the convention was like orientation day on a college campus, with eager beavers running from session to session. It was all very impressive with over 3,000 attendees in total, but it wasn’t until we got into the vendor hall did we understand the professor’s description of the conference, “Disneyland for Art Teachers.” Everything related to art and education, from art material suppliers to e-learning companies were displaying their wares. Many booths were giving out free samples and hosting hourly workshops. It was an absolute frenzy and we wanted to be a part of it.
Fast forward to March 2018. Clay House Art had officially launched and we knew that the company’s first introduction at the national level would be at the NAEA 2018 Conference held in Seattle. Since air-dry clay is not a commonly taught material in art classes in the United States we knew that the fastest way to inspire teachers to use our products would be to show not tell. We had two opportunities at the Convention to make an impact, our Booth in the vendor hall, and our Air-Dry Clay Workshop for 75 attendees.
For the booth, Angie prepared artwork using all 8 types of clay we sell in order to show the range of artwork that could be created and hopefully start a conversation around teaching with air dry clay. From our experience seeing the vendor hall in New York, we prepared samples of our light clay in Red, White, and Blue to give out to teachers who wanted to try our products. We made 500 packets to give away, thinking that it would be more than enough to last us the three days of the convention.
We were wrong.
By the end of the first day, we only had about 150 packets left and began to start rationing for the rest of the two days. The art teachers who had come by our booth had been blown away by Angie’s artwork and were really impressed by the quality of the clay.
We had a similar, uplifting response from our Workshop where we were oversubscribed and had over 85 attendees.