Saturday, September 23, 2023
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AAFP Conference Weekend

convention display
Me in my booth at the AAFP Conference.

I was pretty excited to be at the American Association of Feline Practitioners conference this past weekend, here in Pittsburgh, my hometown. This convention hosted about 800 in-person attendees who were veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and others who practice feline care and medicine. Most of the exhibitors were sharing products used in veterinary settings and cat care as well as a few cat-specific organizations and a few veterinary clinics.

My main reason for attending was to feature my Custom Pet Memorial Votives and market them to animal professionals in addition to regular retail customers on my main website and at events. As a complement I also had samples of my sympathy cards, feline fine art cards and other feline note cards, several paintings and sketches, a selection of handmade gift items, and my commissioned portraits.

custom votives display
Custom Pet Memorial Votives display.

The feedback on my votives was absolutely positive, they are beautiful, unique, wonderful idea, never seen anything like it. I probably handed out 200 brochures and business cards, and some practitioners are planning on getting one or more for themselves. Also lots of interest in portraits. And met so many nice people. I can’t wait to follow up and get to work.

Just last week I finally finished designing my brochure and then designed my business cards and had them printed. I designed a brochure for retail customers early this year but I just couldn’t settle on the text for it. Usually these things come easy for me, but I think I had to get closer to this event to really finish it. The Monday before the Thursday setup was a little too close for comfort, and I may still make changes, but it looks beautiful and went over well. Probably because Bella is a serious editor and feline critic.

black cat looking at computer screen
Bella checks my work.

(Eastside Cats, look who’s on the cover!)

I was concerned about looking professional instead of kind of funky and fun which I didn’t really achieve, but everyone knew my booth and this morning, the last day, I was mobbed when I got in with people who’d been trying to find the time to get there to buy things. I actually hadn’t anticipated any sales, I just had the cards, artwork and gift items there to provide samples of other things I make, but I sold as much as I typically do at a regular vendor event. The animal sympathy cards and other cards and the Great Rescues Day Book, Feline Style Sampler and Creative Cat Coloring Book combination were especially popular.

I thought I might get to sit in on sessions to learn more about cat care. Ha! But I will get the chance to watch the recorded sessions later and I’m really looking forward to that. I visited about half the other cat-focused exhibitors and found some interesting new products, mostly medical and care products, that I hope to share soon.

Mr. Sunshine was so helpful the night I was organizing the cards I’d take with me and packing them into displays.

black cat with boxes
Sunshine helps me sort cards.

Sending me on a guilt trip. She learned that from Mimi.

tabby and white cat on bags
Mariposa sends me on a guilt trip.

I had all my bags for the first day ready to go by the door. I’m sure Mariposa doesn’t want to go with me, she is a bold former feral but I don’t think she wants to spend her day among a bunch of strange humans in a strange place. Some of my other kitties, on the other hand, when I have short days indoors, sometimes one of them does come with me.

I am really grateful to Denise for taking the time to help me set up on Thursday, stopped in Saturday afternoon to help in my booth and came in with me this morning and stayed all day to help tear down and pack. My displays are always going to be complicated and time-consuming, and having someone who understands trade shows and conferences as well as my stuff is wonderful. I love to do these shows, but I’ve gotten a little tired of doing them alone.

All in all it was a great opportunity to introduce my votives and the rest of my work to somewhere around 800 veterinarians and veterinary technicians, all focused on CATS!

And got an awesome photo of the sunset, the Three Sisters bridges, the lights at PNC Park and the Allegheny River reflecting in the glass wall of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.



All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!





From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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