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Having just wrapped up the prize drawings for the statewide shop hop, we always learn so much about the impact of the Iowa statewide event. The goal of SEW IOWA (AKA: All Iowa Shop Hop) is to help people to experience all the rich sewing inspiration being offered by the many independent businesses in Iowa.
Perhaps the best part of the whole event is the journey. The beautiful lush landscapes of Iowa are soul-nourishing as travelers journey across the hills and plains. The tour provide great times to embrace the many paths that make this mixture of 99 counties and all the little villages and towns so inspiring. It is little wonder that so many creatives find a bit of home in Iowa.
Wrapping up the 8th year of the statewide event (held every June 1-30), we collect passports of visitors to the event. The passports are a collectors’ item that we have found some people don’t want to give up. Many times, we know there are groups of people who hang onto their passports and forego being eligible for the prize drawings. This likely underlines the greatest prize of all for SEW IOWA: People simply relish the tour and meeting up at the creative sights throughout the state to collect fabrics and explore the Iowa Creative Landscape.
With the Sew Iowa Journey, we mapped out a prize-awarding platform that makes many people eligible to win a prize. Visit as few as 5 shops and be entered into our main drawing. We also hold drawings that focus just on people that complete the regions in the state. Finally, a prize was given to every participant that finished the WHOLE state, visiting all of the participating shops and getting their passport turned in to us in a timely manner (as specified on the passport).
We gave out a massive 566 prizes!
People completing regions in the state received additional entries. Yes, that means we had some friends winning MULTIPLE prizes. The more regions completed, the more chances to win!
We had close to 400 visitors from outside of the state of Iowa, visiting us from 22 states from California to Florida and Oregon to Indiana!
Of the participants that finished regions, 44% of the region completions happened in the 3 least-populate regions of the state! There were many miles of landscape between the stores in these three regions, encouraging people to travel far and wide. The reason for visitors to be motivated to complete these regions certainly had to do with the pleasure of visiting along the highways of the Iowa’s landscape and enjoying the good hospitality in the communities.
The morale of this tale is that whether you visited a handful of shops or scoped out every spot in the state, you are a WINNER even if you didn’t capture a prize! Keeping creativity alive and stirring is about supporting independents that do a terrific job of providing guests a reason to reach inside themselves and stir the fires of inspiration and stitch it out.
As we prepare for 2020 for the event, you are in for a completely DIFFERENT palette of fabrics and themes. Take the time to send us a note about your adventure in 2019. Reach out to shop owners you know not (presently) participating that they can be part of the adventure in 2020. Every corner of Iowa deserves to be celebrated. Small towns and cities benefit greatly by the many visitors from throughout the regions and crossing the state’s borders to invest in Iowa’s tourism offerings.
We are grateful for the many participants as Sew Iowa has grown over the 8 years and look forward to more getting on board in 2020.