1. The Show was slow, and it was not just me being bitter or counting people as they walked by. It was much slower than January, the traffic was just not there. However, when someone (anyone is in your booth) others always gravitate to that booth. It is really a strange thing because you will be having a very nice conversation with possible buyer #1 and all of a sudden you are swarmed and then then buyer #1 leaves, then you try to talk to #2 while then #3 walks in, by the time you turn back to hand #2 a catalog, all three have left the booth and you start to think you imagined this. This would be a time when I could really use some of my good ol' college buddies (and by buddies I mean sorority sisters) because when we rushed girls - we had this down, businesses have even added this to their interviewing processes. You need someone to take over and HELP you out - really it's called rushing girls...oh never mind another blog.
It has been almost a month since I got home from Atlanta and I am just now recovering from the trip. My boxes that were shipped back from Atlanta only arrived a week ago - and a shout out to the shipping company for crushing them AGAIN, really thanks so much! I have mixed feelings about Atlanta and my opinions are mine and mine alone - though most of the vendors I spoke with had similar experiences. I don't want this to sound like I am bashing the great Atlanta show....but I am just telling you the facts ma'am.
Coulda - I could have done a better job of reaching out to existing stores and letting them know we would be attending. I also could have sent our mailers to buyers attending the show. I wish I had set up more appointments for the show also.
2. My thought is that in July there is less time and less money than the stores have in January. We are all flush with cash in January (well if your channels pay there bills that is) and time off. No one spends money (by no one I mean stores are empty, people have new Xmas gifts and they are looking at there tax bills) in January - and the budget is wide open. I had 66 sales leads when I left Atlanta, and tonight I got one more. Let me tell you these are - these are not cold calls, these are solid in- bound leads of stores contacting me via email or phone. And as of today 4 already said they had no money, or my products were too expensive, or not now maybe later, or your products are ugly and your mama is fat......no kidding on that last one - but would not surprise me. The thing is, money is tight now, gas prices are high and it's July - tough time.
Woulda - I would defiantly have had no minimums. When you pay a huge amount of money to attend a show the bottom line is sign up as many stores as possible - do try and sell them more products later on. Opening up accounts are a good start. I would have also given something away - anything to get the buyers (even the few that were there) into our booth and keep them there.
3. I did get some stores, I did get some re-orders from existing stores that came to see me at my booth. I also sold those JPD Style Guides to all new stores and almost every existing stores. I also have a huge opportunity for a direction I would like to take my art and company in - since it is not um, well solid I can't say. However, this one thing will pay for the entire show....eventually. And it looks like I may have added two to three new showrooms that will feature my line. These are all good things - really good things. I am just not sure it is worth the cost of the booth, the cost of the flight, the hotel, the shipping , the samples made.... and a week away from my family.
Shoulda - you should follow up with leads. You should religiously set it in your calender to call them (do not harass them or annoy them), but do let them know you are interested in working with them. The advertisement helped - every lead I get has been from the ad. Even those that are not interested, I still keep them - I hang on to there information and I ASK if I can contact them in January to tell them of our new products. And react quickly, if your minimums are too high - lower them NOW! If your products are too expensive - make them attractive, throw one in for free. If your packages are all wrong - change them. Whatever you do = do not do NOTHING, do something - you are there for five long, long days. You should do something.
As of right now I have decided I will not be exhibiting at the Atlanta Show in January of 2008. I think I would rather spend my money on a few other shows, and I do not think that this is the show for me. I am happy for those artisans that found success in Atlanta -I did, honest I did, just not enough of it. Now I am not saying never, but for now - I am not so sure I believe in the whole show model - not this one anyways.