Trade shows are a great way for business owners to meet potential buyers, partners, and customers. You’re able to meet very important people face to face and show off your product. The main goal of tradeshows is to make wholesale orders to get your product out on store shelves. You really want your product to become well known and gain positive attention, so that hopefully you get some sort of a following. Trade shows are different than craft shows because you don’t sell your product right then and there, but rather meet buyers and retailers who want your product, so you then write orders and ship these orders out when the show is over. Your booth plays a major factor to gaining attention, since you want to attract people to walk over and talk to you. If your booth is slacking, people are going to walk right past you. Being in the greeting card industry, the biggest trade show and place to network is the National Stationery Show. It’s held every year at the Javits Center in New York City and attracts over 10,000 buyers from all over and about 300 members of the press. This year is even more special since they’re celebrating their 70th anniversary, and we’re excited Happy Goon will be attending for the very first time! The show begins Sunday, May 15th and going on until Wednesday, May 18th.
Ever since we were first accepted into the show, we’ve been researching a ton of successful businesses from previous shows to see what they did in order to make the most out of their experience. It’s not good to go into something like this blind, so we wanted a few tips of the trade so that we had some guidance. A couple of blogs that have been especially helpful are @creativehive, @stealpetalpress and @sycamorestreetpress, they’re all experienced businesses that know what they’re talking about and have amazing designs as well!
From everything we’ve been researching, it seems that this industry is a very supporting and welcoming one– which is rare to find these days. As intimidating as the trade show appears, it also seems to be a very creative and fun community that we’re extremely excited to be a part of this year. We want to bring our best to this show and so far compiled a list of the top 5 tips to having a successful trade show:
- Be PREPARED with your products
This may be obvious, but the most important aspect. You want to be able to advertise your product and really be able to promote it. The goal of all trade shows is to make orders, so you need to show up focused and determined to get your product into shops.
- Make sure your booth stands out!
Really make your booth a reflection of your work, this is the time to show off and stand out. Most of the money in your budget should be going towards the set-up of your booth and making it look as nice as possible, you want to attract as many people to it as you can! This is both a timely and costly aspect of the show, but worth it in the long run. You may not break even with the amount of money you put into exhibiting with the amount of orders you make, BUT if it’s your first time attending the show it’s a must. First impression is everything!
- Offer a special discount during the show.
In doing this you’re promoting your product and people will be more willing to buying it if they know they’re getting a deal. Giveaways are also a plus but not the most important aspect, just something fun to give people as a thank you for stopping by your booth that doesn’t need to be an expensive item – candy can be a great option because who doesn’t love sweets!
- Reach out to people pre-show.
Do your research and see who’s going to be attending the show and what companies will be surrounding your booth, and start sending emails before the show even happens! This gets your name out there and allows you to start introducing yourself and making connections so that the day of the show, you’re readily prepared to meet people face to face that you’ve already contacted, and they already know of you and about your business so you’ll already be creating traffic to your booth.
- Meet as many people as possible, but make these conversations count!
You don’t want to mindlessly be talking to people since these are your potential buyers and customers. In order to form a good beneficial relationship, make sure you’re being genuine and show how interested you are when speaking and meeting new people. Be aware of everyone around you because you never know how someone will be able to help you out. The major part of all trade shows is the connections you make- so be on you’re A-game and be prepared to talk to a lot of people! Gather a list of contact information from the show and after the shows over, follow up with everyone you’ve met, it’s almost equally, if not more important to do this and could really benefit you to stay in touch!
At the end of the day, our goal is to make as many wholesale orders as we can, but we also are happy to just be able to be a part of this great community and meet the talented people that are involved. If you’re attending the National Stationery Show make sure you stop by booth #1111 and say hello to Happy Goon!