I’m hanging out at the Moser Visuals booth at Knoxville Fashion Week during a down period of the day, so I walk across the aisle and start a conversation with Scott Murphy, the husband of one of the custom children’s clothing designers (Heidi Murphy, Keoni Fashions) who is manning the booth while she’s preparing for her runway show.
We talked about a variety of things, including photography, but nothing really in particular. He was a great guy and it was nice to simply pass some of the time with good conversation. The last runway show ends (I was shooting it) and I returned from my booth to begin tearing it down. Unfortunately, their booth was already torn down and they had already left—and I wasn’t able to even say goodbye.
About a month ago, I got a phone call from an unknown number, and it just so happened to be Scott. He was calling to let me know about an opportunity to photograph for Urban Expositions at their huge expo in Gatlinburg, Tenn.: The Smoky Mountain Gift Show. Many thanks to him for referring me to the gig, and it just goes to show you that it’s really important to be genuine and friendly with everyone! You can always pay it forward to that someone later when they aren’t expecting it.
The Smoky Mountain Gift Show
I don’t know anything about these large trade shows, but I have to imagine that this is one of the larger ones in the Southeast. Three extremely large convention center spaces were overflowing with merchants for souvenirs, trinkets, jewelry, and just about anything you’ve ever seen in a tourism shop.
I was able to visit with a few of the vendors and one even gave me a free pair of camouflage house shoes (I can’t find them anywhere…). I had a great time capturing their event and working out my photojournalism training (I did get a degree partially in Journalism, after all). I was able to meet the YUUUUP guy from Storage Wars, the ReadeREST guy from Shark Tank, the Zoltar Machine from Big, and many other wonderful people. A full list of vendors that shared their business card with me is at the bottom of the post.
The team at Urban Expositions was fantastic to work with, as were almost every vendor I encountered. You can view the entire event gallery here, and if you’re interested in purchasing photos from the event, there is an easy-to-use shopping cart built into the gallery link above. As a bonus, all images and products are available at our extremely affordable Event prices.
A special thanks to Amy Dufour from Marsh Meadows Marketing for helping me do my job well!
- Keith Elliott, American Gift Corp.
- Kim Briggs, The RGU Group
- Cindy Watson, Gib Carson Associates
- Paulette McClease, The Lipco Group
- Betsy Chernin Vereb, The Beachcombers International Inc.
- Elmer, Hip E Beads
- Travis Maier, Wheeler Mfg. Co., Inc.
- Rick Hopper, ReadeREST
- Ben Glime, Jaag
- Monica Patino, Ecobela
- Olaf Stanton, Characters Unlimited, Inc.