Earlier this year I had something amazing happen to me. I was asked to attend the 46th Annual Country Music Awards as a representative for The Artisan Group. I had months for this to sink in and yet it never seemed real, not even when I was boarding my plane (the first plane I’ve ever boarded in my life) headed towards Nashville, Tennessee. What an amazing opportunity for a small town, Louisiana, girl who grew up on Country Music. I've always thought of myself as a sort of authority on all things modern and classic country, and I would have never thought that would have paid off in any way.
Since that first day I knew, my excitement just continued to grow and grow (it's a miracle I didn't explode from excitement overdose!) I let that excitement take me over until one day, I realized that I would be talking on behalf of a group of super talented, and sometimes a little scary, artists (yes, as much as I love them all, some of them can get a little…testy.) That's big, that's intimidating (even more intimidating than looking into Blake Shelton's face!) Holding the fate of my business in the palm of my hands is one thing, being responsible for someone else's seemed like an entirely different league. I had to take a major breather and remind myself that it's been a long time passion of mine to promote products that I believe in, I could do this (and thankfully I could talk to a fence post about anything.) I also took major comfort in the fact that Valerie is a seasoned pro at these events and I would be under her tutelage!
Setting up for the lounge was stressful, which had nothing to do with nerves or jitters and more to do with what we were given. Thankfully I brought my fiancé (mostly to give him a vacation while we worked) and he was our savior. There’s no way Val and myself could have gotten what we needed done, in the time frame, without him. Anyone else would have hindered us, but thankfully he’s who he is and can do the impossible in every situation you put him in (he would also come to our rescue for the IMPOSSIBLE break down time we were given.) Set-up day was good, once we got over the “how will we get this done” part. After we set up it gave us an opportunity to check out the other awesome vendors!
The first day of the lounge I was NERVOUS! It’s so official when you’re BACKSTAGE, walking by rooms labeled “dressing room” “press room” “talent room” and then walking past THE STAGE, the stage where the country music stars are going to sing, dance, present, and accept awards. That’s a little intimidating! We got in the room, got everything together, and we played the waiting game. I was so scared the butterflies in my stomach were going to take over and suffocate me! The first person I talked to, who wasn't press or an executive, was BRANTLEY GILBERT. When he walked in the door I saw him and I went…maybe a bit too loud, “HOLY SHIT, THAT’S BRANTLEY GILBERT!” None of the vendors knew who he was so I was giving the pocket edition biography on Brantley Gilbert. When he got to us, I just knew I had to be the one to do this. I knew him, I loved his music, I could do this. I got so lucky because he's the gentleman you expect him to be. I felt like I was talking to a friend I'd known my entire life. From there on out if just came natural. I knew what I had to do, I had come up with my elevator sales pitch for the group, and I didn't feel another ounce of jitters, not even when Blake Shelton came through (and let me just say, if you think he's good looking on tv, this man is way too handsome for his own good in real life. It's a wonder his gorgeous wife doesn't just lock him away!) It was an amazing experience to get the opportunity to promote products that are handmade by talented people to a group of some of the most talented country artists ever! I really hope they each appreciate those items as much as I do! It's hard to look in one of The Artisan Group's bags and not be blown away by the craftsmanship and time that goes into them. I really couldn't mess this up because the members gave me all the tools I needed to work with!
Some of my highlights were:
- Meeting Lisa Marie Presley! She's so petite, and absolutely beautiful. She really liked the Red Pop Daisy Wristlet MadiBella gifted at the event!
- Talking to Blake Shelton. I've been a huge fan of his since I was really young! I love seeing the success he has today. Blake actually took my Rustic Keep Calm Doodle Speaker home with him! I hope he gets a lot of enjoyment out of it!
- Seeing what fans of handmade products the members of Zac Brown Band are. You see them and you really hope they are as down to Earth as they come off as, and I really think they are! Daniel de los Reyes really loved a copper cuff by Willow Creek Jewelry!
- Kelly Clarkson was an amazing presence at the lounge! Her energy was infectious and I don't think there was one person present that didn't feel it! She really enjoyed a gorgeous watercolor painting by Jody Edwards!
You can check out more of my personal pictures from the event at my Instagram, as well as official event photographs on Facebook!