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Getting Prepared for a Trade Show

Ralinda Harvey

Trick of the Trade-Designers Get Ready for Your First Trade Show

Let’s face it. Trade Shows are expensive. By the time you finished making samples, shipping product and building a booth you could have purchased a Mini Cooper. If it’s your first trade show be advised that just because you build it…that doesn’t mean they’ll come. You have to put a fierce marketing push behind this special event to get the type of results you want.

We’ll start with the basics. Popular belief is that most trade show traffic is by appointment only. That doesn’t mean eager new commers are destined to selling out of a car trunk…They just have some extra work to do. You have to start somewhere, and if you’ve visited a show with good traffic and comparable product you should seriously consider attending.

As a designer creating and producing samples it’s easy to become overwhelmed as you prepare for your first show. You want the stitching to be flawless and the draping to be just so. The samples have to be as good as humanly possible so the buyers fall head over heels for your product. On top of the that the booth must be beautiful, “where will we get the flowers from, what will we put on the walls?” Decisions…Decisions… Although booth presentation is extremely time consuming I caution you with letting these details distract you from the goal. The buyers have to know about you in order to get to your booth and fall head over heels. So you have to prepare…promote and promote. Did I mention you have to promote?

So, I’ll get to the point already. The best way to get ready for a trade show starts months in advance. Waiting till the last minute can resulted in missed opportunities, wasted cash and in short a total fiasco. Show dates are often listed months in advance, and since they pretty much run on the same schedule it’s easy to guesstimate when your trade show of choice is coming back around. As a side note, if you can’t afford to do a trade show and you’re launching a new product, its best to coincide your launch with the timing of the show you would attend. That way you’ll be bright and bushy tailed around the time when buyers are ready to spend.

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