It’s the time of year when Pinterest fans may abandon computer screens for the tactile experience that is Pinners MN. The second annual Pinners Minnesota Convention and Expo will be at the Minneapolis Convention Center Friday and Saturday.
Nearly 7,000 attended in 2018. This year as many as 10,000 are expected at the Twin Cities stop on a calendar that includes Ontario, Calif.; Atlanta; Dallas; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Salt Lake City.
The inaugural Twin Cities event was very successful, said Kendall and Roxanne Bennett, They are the CEOs of Utah-based Bennett Events, but don’t call them that. “We don’t really believe in titles. Since I had to pick one, I picked Grand Poobah,” Kendall said with a laugh. Roxanne’s handle is “Pretty Much in Charge.”
While I was shooting a video last year, Roxanne observed that I seemed acquainted with some of the 160 exhibitors. (More than 200 are booked this year.) She said she wanted me to teach a class at the 2019 expo. I thought she’d forget, but no such luck. So at 6:30 p.m. Friday, I’m scheduled to teach a class of 27 how to sew my version of a clear vinyl stadium bag with zipper, water-resistant fabric and a strap.
At the spur of the moment — with materials in my sewing area — I made a stadium bag in blue and orange for Auburn alums (family members) who flew in for the Final Four. But other pouches I’ve been sewing as practice for the event haven’t come together as easily as the original. I’m already nervous.
Here’s a recent conversation I had with Kendall.
Q: How did the idea for Pinners come to you?
A: We were doing some other shows including a women’s show. It was just kind of lame. There are a lot of women’s events out there, but sometimes not a lot of good ones. We were just trying to figure out how to make that show better. That’s when Pinterest was really coming.
I was actually saving boards mostly with jokes — memes and GIFs that I thought were funny — and stuff on it. Nothing to do with crafts, really. I was like “Man, if we could do a Pinterest show, just teach all these things that people save, it’d be new every year because things change every year.”
Q: Are you crafty or artistic?
A: I’m the most artistic one of me and Rox, but I don’t know if that’s saying much. Oh, yeah, easily. [Breaking up laughing.] I do all our designing for the shows.
Q: Am I sexist for being shocked a man came up with the idea for Pinners Expos?
A: [Long laughter] No. We try to keep that under wraps because I don’t want to ruin the cool women’s vibe we’ve got going.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I’m an ex-all-conference college D-1 baseball pitcher, so with any spare time not directed by Roxanne — ha, ha — I’m usually coaching on some level or another, or on our houseboat at Lake Powell, Utah. Our oldest grandson is only two years away from starting his baseball career. He’s 2 years old now.
Q: How long have you been married?
A: Ohhh, we’ve been married … I’d better get this right. I think we’ve been married 30 years this summer.
Q: Your wife is very charming and persuasive and insistent. What have you found yourself doing because of those characteristics?
A: Everything I do. [Laughter.] I don’t know what my life would look like if I wasn’t fulfilling some request [from her]. She’s great, though.
Q: And a beauty.
A: Yep. She is the cutest grandma I know.
Q: What did you do for a living before Pinners Expos took over your life?
A: We started a magazine here in Utah with my brother. It’s called Utah Valley magazine. Then we started doing business magazines. The Parade of Homes magazine from here. We were publishing magazines, and from the magazines we started doing a few shows in connection with those and that’s how we got into shows. The business magazine got us into doing the business shows.
Q: What’s easier, publishing business magazines or pulling together Pinners conferences?
A: [Laughter] I’d say pulling together a magazine. You know how that’s going to turn out before it’s published.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.