I walk through the Expo entrance doors and I’m already passing a couple of ladies trotting away with their bags of supplies, very happy with their purchases. They have just set the tone for my trip and I’ve gotten a tad more excited.
I’m greeted at the doors by a cheerful chap who we buy our entry tickets from. Luckily my friend Juliet who I forced to come along with me had informed me that tickets were a mere $2 after 4pm, so we may have timed things perfectly and acted out a fake surprise when he informed us of the costs.
We handed over our coins, received our stamps (quickly bought some chocolate & churro popcorn from Grizelda’s stall right by the entrance), and made our way to check out this years SENZ expo.
There is nothing mainstream here at the expo and you gather very quickly that this isn’t a walk through K-mart, the Warehouse or Farmers. For scrapbooking and craft enthusiasts this was their one-stop shop calendar event of the season.
I found home at the cul-de-sac on the far right; Artisan Boutique’s stand. As usual, the owner Anjana is helping a customer and Aroon’s spotted me a mile away, already hurrying over to give me her best hugs. Everything is on display in all its magnificence.
The best thing happened to me at this moment. As I was looking though the sea of charms on display, Aroon hands me a complimentary chain with a pre-made charm selection on it. This is the first charm bracelet I think I’ve ever had and I became curious with the process of how to make one.
Anjana tell’s me the basics of it; You have a chain, you choose a charm, and you connect it to the chain with rings. Simple.
Because although the chain I was given had charms already on it, I became curious to see what other charms they had available.
And thus began the hunt that could have lasted forever.
I began to actually look through the sea of charms to find ones that represented me, and ones that I liked.
Each charm became a symbol of meaning. I found myself individually going through every single charm to find things that were symbols of me. I got excited at the idea of a bracelet containing symbols of my own representation and already began to brainstorm how I’ll bring my charm into that night’s conversations with friends.
I wasn’t the only one hunting, a few others began subtly elbowing their way through and another couple I could hear were peering over my shoulders at the charms. I became that person that would hog all the space and wouldn’t move, so I began to help a lady find a fish charm that she was searching for and even started moving around so others could have a look to. Redemption.
There were pandora designs, rhinestones, and cute novelty’s, but I felt they gave a feminine touch. I didn’t think there would be anything for me as a male, but I found the bronze, copper and silver charms and starting sifting through them.
It became a treasure hunt, and at times ‘Where’s Wally?’.
I found an anchor charm to keep me grounded; a star charm to push my talents; a peace charm to show my stance; a heart charm to show I love; the Eiffel tower charm for romance; the globe charm for travelling and exploring; the wing charm for freedom; hardware tools charm for masculinity; and a key charm for luck.
Before now, I had never really understood how people could spend hours looking over these. I figured out why at that moment.
It had to be perfect; it had to have some meaning to me (and, it had to look good).
I felt the pressure to get it right and didn’t want to rush my selections. So much so that I couldn’t make up my mind at that time. I promptly made a reminder in my phone to book a time to go to the shop in Pukekohe and finish off my bracelet and charm hunt during the school holidays next week. My nephew and niece have been hounding their mother to take them back to the store, and now I’ll be jumping in the car when they make the trip over next week!
SENZ was great. It was a fresh dive into a community who appreciates the unique, the creative, the nostalgia of crafts and personalized goods and gifts. I had the great chance to talk to a lot of exhibitors about their products and services, and also to customers about what they enjoy about scrapbooking and crafts. Getting to meet and chat with new faces is always a treat.
It goes without saying that making (or attempting to make) my own charm bracelet was the greatest joy of the day. Who would have thought that giving a man his first bracelet was the way to charm him into charms?
Well done, Aroon. You are, dare I say it, SENZ-sational!