Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Annie Fix in New Orleans

Amy Chalmers and Annie Sloan
New Orleans April 2013
Well it was more than I hoped for~once a year the stockists convene in New Orleans, Louisiana for a four day event to come together with Annie Sloan and our American CEO Lisa Rickert of Annie Sloan Unfolded.  This would be my first time attending and I brought my son Justin along for the experience. It was fun to be sure, but on top of that I learned so much about my business and the Annie brand.  Justin and I made new friends~including our favorites which came from out of the country~the European stockists.  But no one is more special to me than Annie herself.  I adore her.  Adore her in the way that I love all she stands for, all she is and how she lives her life~now in the middle of a huge boom in popularity in the USA, she continues to provide inspiration, real connection and support to the little people that have their independent shops selling her fabulous Chalk Paint®.  This montage was taken with me holding my iPhone.  Justin and I were coming in from a dinner out in the city and we were beckoned back to the hotel by our french friend Claire Chalkley. As we strolled up to the hotel Annie was outside with the pack of Brits (as we called them).  One of the seminars involved photography and I joked to her let me practice my new skills by capturing us together.  The always affable Annie indulged me, and this is one of my favorite keepsakes from the trip.  We spent another two hours chatting away in the midnight hours and until we dutifully went to bed to get ready for an
 other day of seminars, luncheons and dinners. There were many special times in store ahead.
After a scavenger hunt on Royal Street which is the fancy
 antique shop and art gallery, we were treated to a
 fancy dinner event at a museum where we grabbed another photo with Annie. 
Justin was enamored with this lady and 
I was so glad he got to meet the lady behind the paint.
This is what greeted us as we entered the ballroom for our registration and classes.
Bits of Annie were everywhere in a stylish way~
We had days of classes and learning cool stuff which will unfold over time
right here on the blog. 
Claire and I were busy taking a few pics and scribbling notes furiously.
Justin was pretty camera shy so that's why you don't see much of him.
Anyway Annie and her son Felix were delivering big time~
Much of it is covered in Annie's new book~like this 
new amazing thing you can do with Chalk Paint®....
you can die fabrics!!! Oh yeah~its true, I will have
 a very cool project coming up next week 
showing how to do this for yourself.
This grainy pic shows her black and white toile and how it looks after
being dyed with different colors in her palette.  
They were truly soft and beautiful and color fast.
At any rate, after the last class Annie signed books for the stockists~
I felt bad she had to sign so many so I didn't get mine signed~I had
a lot more of Annie that came home with me and it was plenty!
yup, its a line...
After the books were signed we off outside to the
 cobblestone plaza to be wined and dined yet again, 
courtesy of our boss Lisa Rickert! 
Here is Lisa running the show with the hotel catering and hospitality staff.  
I thought it was so amazing~ this young diminutive blonde power house
 running a big successful company and doing it with aplomb!
First class treatment all the way~it was incredible!! 
The food and entertainment and event planning was second to none. 
Lisa made sure we all felt appreciated and really special.
 So the last official party began at the bar of course~
Justin chatted up the amiable bar staff.
 Food stations were dotted around the courtyard~
Louisiana style cooking!! 
The Crawfish Alfredo was marvelous!

 In one corner of the courtyard was a small brocante set up by the European stockists.
Brocante is a flea market~they brought vintage treasures to sell to us and we wiped them out!
We bought vintage linen frocks from Annie's table~this is Lizzie Brown.
Lizzie is Annie's son Felix's girlfriend and together they work in Annie's company.
They did a few presentations, which really struck home with me and Justin.
Here is our new dear friend Claire, from France.  
You will be hearing more about Claire as we have struck up 
quite a friendship that was both natural and alarming!! hah!
I may be visiting Claire soon and reporting back to you all from France!
 Justin shows off the mail sack we bought from Claire~
this with our linen frocks will be used in store displays at Maison Decor~
as well as serving as memories from a special moment in time.
The eating and drinking continued out in the courtyard until a brisk
 wind blew us all back up to the ballroom where we
 unraveled into frenzied dancing and partying!!
It was a chance to get down and let loose 
and we took notes from our fearless leader Annie.
The night was winding down~
Annie would be packing up and leaving soon as would we all...
So long for now New Orleans~
you might just have claimed the title to being the 
City of Light
for this one night.
 The next day we said goodbye in the hotel lobby~
goodbye Annie!~goodbye Claire!
(Did you know Claire is a florist and did 
all the beautiful flowers in Annie's new book?)
But that is not the last chapter...no, not at all.
Next time I blog I will take you to the
most incredible antique French antique shop!!
How can you resist windows like this?
And interiors that dazzle like this???
I'll take you there next time~


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