January 11, 2007
Back in 2004 I attended my first trade show, The ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. It is a show for the Juvenile Product Industry. Even though we had only been around about two years we (that would be me and my husband, he came along for the ride) decided to take the gamble and branch out.
Doing a trade show can be very exicting and educational.
There is nothing like writing up your first order either. It is exhilarating and exciting. We went to the show with rose colored glasses on for sure. We picked up 35 new accounts, which was good even great for a brand new vendor……before the show we went to Kinko’s and printed up 1000 order forms. Ya, I kid you not – we thought we were going to do REALLY well.
You realize who your friends are, well I did. We sold our products in a high-end boutique; the owner had just started her own line of products. I was excited to see her there and view her new line. I went over said hello, tried to talk to her – she had always been kind at the boutique. She never once would say hi to us, she came by our booth, well I should say practically sprinted by every time and never made eye contact. She never placed another order and we never heard from her again. We had only been to her boutique a month earlier and things were fine.
It can also be very exhausting, demoralizing and competitive.
You are on your feet for 9 hours straight for five days straight. Our booth design was slick and smooth. We were such novices our designer said that we did not NEED chairs; we would be writing orders the entire time……ya not at this show. Everyone had chairs. By the last day I would sit in the corner of the booth with my shoes off.
Some people would come by over and over and not order a thing. Other times some buyers would stand, stare, point and say, “I don’t like that” or “What is that?” After the second day my stomach settled down and I developed a very thick skin.
Competition is fierce. One other ceramic company came by our booth every day passing us by and checking us out. I only realized when I took a trek around the exhibition hall and noticed her standing with her arms crossed and legs spread in front of her booth. Truth be told I didn’t even know who she was… I met two other artisans and struck up conversations, even emailed after the show. After one came out with a very similar design as mine the um, friendship floundered.
Doing a trade show is EXPENSIVE! Let me repeat that again it is EXPENSIVE! Well I can honestly say what happens in Vegas…..people spend lots of frickin’ money in Vegas! (and I don’t even gamble)!
• Pot of Coffee in hotel room $25.00
• Bagel $5.00
• Red Bull $5.00
• Water $3.00
• Bad convention show burger $8.75
So….now 2½ years later we are on to our second trade show, we are at the Atlanta Gift Show as I write this. I will keep you posted on all the good, the bad and I am sure the ugly of the show.