Stationery Show Tips: Behind the Scenes

Here's a great article about different people who exhibited at the show and their advice. Lot's of great photos too:




Excerpt:

When it came to the money, most of the exhibitors I interviewed had budgeted roughly $5000-7000 for exhibiting. Some were spending as much as $10,000 and one as little as $3000. The discrepancy in costs often is attributed to where you stay (with friends vs. nearly a week in a hotel, if you have to travel far to get there and even the costs of getting your display to the show). These costs also don’t include the expenses involved with developing and manufacturing their lines.

So how many products do you need to have at a show like this? Obviously the more products the better, with more choices for the finicky buyer to choose from. But a large line also means that many more designs you will have to produce. The number of items available at these ladies’ booths varied from around 50 up to nearly 150 different designs. Some of the larger companies had designs running in the hundreds of items. While hundreds of products may be a little out of your capability, it is important to have realistic goals. letterarypress told me, “If I take enough orders to cover expenses, I will be thrilled. My main goal is to open as many new accounts as I can, meet with reps, and maintain a presence in the industry.”

According to albertinepress, “Participating at NSS or any other trade show is a huge endeavor. Don’t go in unprepared, and don’t expect to be a huge success overnight. Spend a lot of time to make sure that you’re reflecting yourself and your work in your booth display. Buyers are visiting over 1000 booths (or rather, walking by over 1000 booths). You need to give them a reason to stop at yours. Then you need the products to keep them there. But have fun!”

Article Continued...






TRADE SHOW BOOKS


How to Design a "Wow!" Trade Show Booth Without Spending a Fortune

Simple tips for your first tradeshow booth.

Tips and Tales from the Booth
Avoiding Trade Show Mistakes


Build a Better Trade Show Image
Professional recommendations for doing a tradeshow. Advice to take before you attempt one.

~

Stationery Show Tips: The Booth

Here's one artists tips on setting up a booth at the stationery show:

Exerpt:

+ Flooring: If your booth decor has a really industrial feel to it, you could go with the bare, beat up, black cement floors of the Javits Center. We bought some carpet tiles at Flor (and took advantage of a free shipping promo). They were easy to install (no need for the adhesive dots even) and we can use them again and again. Plus, they held up great and still looked like new at the end of the 4 day show. (We made sure to get tiles that are made for heavy traffic.) A lot of vendors used these. I did see some vendors using those interlocking foam tiles, which were so comfy and nice to stand on. The ones that were printed to look like bamboo flooring were pretty convincing unless you stared at them up close.

+
Lighting: Whatever you do, don't think that the regular lighting from the Javits will be enough. There was a really nice booth on our aisle that didn't have any extra lighting. Even though it was decorated thoughtfully and the products were cute, the booth was so dim that it was difficult for the products to stand out. We decided to go with a parcan light from the Javits. It's a strong light -- the kind they use on Broadway. The problem was that it spotlighted the back wall, but didn't get the side walls very well. I saw some other vendors who were able to attach some arm lamps to the metal frame behind the foam core walls and were able to get much more controlled, even lighting all around their booth this way. Next year, this is what we want to do.

+ Furniture / Display: Like many other vendors, we relied on Ikea for the furniture in our booth. The cubby shelf and stools are from our office at home. Sitting with our knees crushed against the dashboard, were able to barely squeeze the shelf into the back of our little hatchback, along with our bags, products, etc...It didn't make for a very comfortable drive to New York, but at least we didn't have to pay to ship the furniture.
I liked the way the shelf and stools looked, but next year we decided that we'd like to try a taller counter or table with bar stools or chairs. That way, you can sit down and rest your feet but still be on eye level with people who come into your booth. We got this idea from other vendors around us, and let me tell you, it's a winner. Our feet/legs/hips/lower backs were killing us at the end of each day of the show. Even though we had stools in our booth, we didn't feel like we could sit on them because they were so low and made it awkward to converse with people walking into the booth.


Article Continued...




TRADE SHOW BOOKS


How to Design a "Wow!" Trade Show Booth Without Spending a Fortune

Simple tips for your first tradeshow booth.

Tips and Tales from the Booth
Avoiding Trade Show Mistakes


Build a Better Trade Show Image
Professional recommendations for doing a tradeshow. Advice to take before you attempt one.

~

Stationery Show Tips: For First Timers

Here's a great interview of a company who exhibited at the show for the first time (last year)


Excerpt:

What were some of your biggest challenges for prepping for the show?
Prepping for any tradeshow is a lot of work, but fortunately I’ve been to tradeshows in the past and had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. This being the first time that my products and ideas were going to be on display and the fact that the company was so new, I did struggle with some basic business concepts when getting ready for the show — making my branding consistent, where to set pricing and how much product do I need to bring?

The other struggle is a pretty obvious one, but tradeshows are expensive! From the exhibit space, electricity, your actual booth components, pre-show marketing, prepping your products… it really starts to add up (and all of it needs to be ordered separately)!


Any tips/advice for anyone wanting to exhibit at the National Stationery Show?


- Booth: When designing your booth choose light weight, easy to ship and install materials, that still reflects your brand & style. And, if you can store your shipping materials behind your booth, do so. It can sometimes take hours after the show for your empty containers to be returned to you.

- Networking: Bring lots of business cards and don’t be shy about asking people that stop into your booth for their business card if they don’t offer it — you can’t follow-up if you don’t know who they are. And, of course do make time for follow-up after the show even if its just a quick email.

- Catalogs vs. Line Sheets: Suggest handing out one page line sheets rather than bulky catalogs — again, less to carry and/or ship, and cheaper to print. You can always send a catalog as follow-up if someone really wants one. Also, don’t forget to put together some press kits for the press room. We dropped off 25 small kits which included a press release about us being at the show, our line sheet, our pre-show marketing postcard and a business card. Each piece had our complete contact information on it. By the second day, we only had 5 kits left in the press room… so I’ll likely prep more next year and I might include some samples in the kit.

Article continued...





TRADE SHOW BOOKS


How to Design a "Wow!" Trade Show Booth Without Spending a Fortune

Simple tips for your first tradeshow booth.

Tips and Tales from the Booth
Avoiding Trade Show Mistakes


Build a Better Trade Show Image
Professional recommendations for doing a tradeshow. Advice to take before you attempt one.

~

Stationery Show Tips: Nuts & Bolts

Here's a great list of tips for to prepare for the stationery show from Smitten Kitten Blog.

Here are 9 of her 22 tips. Read the rest on her blog

1) Flooring - the trade show floor is essentially a concrete floor. Yeah sure you might dress up your booth flooring with some kind of carpet, but after standing on that floor for 10 hours, your feet aren’t going to know the difference. The only thing they’ll know is just how badly they hurt. Bring a spare pair of shoes. No no I don’t mean another pair of high heels, I mean flats. Yeah you might be a couple inches shorter in the afternoons than in the mornings, but your feet will thank you.

2) The hall is lit but you should get lighting anyways. If the booth across from you has lighting an yours doesn’t, it’ll make your booth look even darker than it is.

3) Lighting makes the booth hot. Make sure your outfit looks cute with or without a sweater.

4) Sweaters, jackets and purses can get bulky and look messy hanging on the back of your chair. I usually keep an empty box (a nice decorative box not a busted up moving box covered with packing tape) on a bottom shelf somewhere, out of sight, so I can store my random stuff during show hours.

5) Buy your coffee / muffin on your way to the trade show. Last I checked an extra large coffee and fancy muffin cost $9USD at the Javits.

6) Yes we are sensitive artist types. I mean why else would we be doing this? But remember that trade shows are the time for you to sell. Get that old cheezy used car salesmen image outta your head! It took me a long time to realize that selling is not a dirty word. If it makes a difference don’t think of it as selling, think of it as introducing your products to someone who doesn’t know anything about what you make. Kinda like introducing strangers at a a party.

7) Alright if you’re not convinced, if you are painfully shy and the thought of talking to strangers hurt more than a hot glue gun burn, then maybe it’s best to pass on the selling duties to someone who’s more comfortable. Otherwise you may end up hurting your business.

8 ) You can’t talk someone into buying your products. And why would you want to anyways? The buyer knows if your product is or isn’t a right fit for their store. Talking someone into buying something that isn’t a good fit just means that your stuff will end up sitting on the bottom of their sale shelf. Not a good impression. The right store will find you. And if they don’t find you this time, they will the next…

9) … which reminds me, you’ve gotta do the same show more than once. I can’t tell you how many orders we got at this show, came from buyers who just picked up a catalogue at the last show. You can’t judge the success rate from any show until you’ve done it at least a couple times. For me, three is the magic number. If the show sucks three times in a row, cut your losses and move on.

Article continued...





TRADE SHOW BOOKS


How to Design a "Wow!" Trade Show Booth Without Spending a Fortune

Simple tips for your first tradeshow booth.

Tips and Tales from the Booth
Avoiding Trade Show Mistakes


Build a Better Trade Show Image
Professional recommendations for doing a tradeshow. Advice to take before you attempt one.

~

Stationery Show Tips: Preparation

Here's a nice blog article by the blog Ink and wit, about preparing for the stationery show:

Excerpt:

So, how do I stay on top of the game? I have tried to keep my designs as original as possible but no matter what someone has done it or will... originality will only go so far. I think the key is to keep your style fresh and evolve your imagery. If you start to see a style becoming trendy it can be a curse of death sometimes and may be time to look for new angle to capture the audience. Customer service and integrity also goes a long way. And, in the end, visualization of your goals. Where do you see yourself? What do you really want out of the business? It cannot all be about money or press. And, when it is the road ahead is often dark even if you end up rich. Happiness, for me anyway, must come first. In preparation for NSS 2010, my intention has been to create a fun line that makes people smile and inspires them to stick with written correspondence and sentimental gifts. And, to put love into all of it with the best intentions realizing that every action has a reaction.

First, accept that everything has changed. Americans are spending less and saving more. They are going to the cobbler instead of buying new shoes. This recession is not the end of the world, but it is the end of a long boom, and it requires us to re-think everything about our business.

Second, ask yourself some hard questions about what is working, and what is not. The danger is in underestimating how much change is necessary. Under-responding could be fatal to your company.

Third, accept responsibility for making the change. No one else is going to do this for you. You didn’t make the mess, but no one else is going to bail you out or make everything alright. Not the government, not your customers, not your mom.


Article Continued...





TRADE SHOW BOOKS


How to Design a "Wow!" Trade Show Booth Without Spending a Fortune

Simple tips for your first tradeshow booth.

Tips and Tales from the Booth
Avoiding Trade Show Mistakes


Build a Better Trade Show Image
Professional recommendations for doing a tradeshow. Advice to take before you attempt one.

~

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