So You're Going to a Tradeshow... 10 tips from Serious Lip Balm!
OH HEY, remember us? It's been a hot minute, and that's mostly because we have been crazy as heck trying to build and grow and survive and all of the things... you know the deal. The good news is that we are here to share what we've learned about our latest NEW THING, the tradeshow.
Trade shows are different for every...ummm... trade, but we are specifically talking about wholesale product shows where businesses design a catchy tradeshow booth, bring some of their products and set up in a giant space in a a large city and show off their sick goods to buyers from stores all over the country and world. Sounds rad, right? IT IS, but also, INTIMIDATING. Don't worry though, boo... the Serious Lip Balm mamas have got you!
We hit up International Market Centers' Atlanta Market at America's Mart and and the Las Vegas Market as complete newbies with anxiety attacks this year, and we've made a little list of things to remember if you're hitting the ground running at wholesale markets this year!
- Stay close. Air bnb if you can. You're going to be Captain Smileypants all day, so find yourself somewhere close to the exhibition center so you're not finding yourself stressed about traffic and travel times. For real, this is hard work, make it easier when you can! The added benefit of an air bnb is that you can MAKE FOOD instead of buying expensive or unhealthy fast food all week. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint - treat your body like a machine and give it good fuel. ADDED BONUS: You're going to save a ton of money buying groceries instead of meals.
- Bring food. Bring water. And snacks. Keep yourself happy, hydrated and healthy so that you can keep giving it your all... what's worse than being at a huge show and being sick as a dog or feeling sluggish from 72 soft pretzels a day? NOT TOO DAMN MUCH.
- Hide a camping chair. Yes, a camping chair. Have a place where one of you (if there are two or more people) can run away and hide behind the scenes if possible. It can save your sanity.
- Make sure there is something for the senses but don’t bring everything. These shows are A LOT. Don't bring EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER MADE EVER, but make sure you have samples of everything, even if they are just testers. Buyers want to know and try what they are buying.
- Mock products. If you want to show a larger display of what your products will look like, don't feel as if they need to be "complete" products. Empty tins and boxes can look full, save you money on shipping and won't be wasted stock when you need it!
- Give them a visual. Make some product displays of what your goods will look like in different scenarios or stores. You display would probably look different in a salon vs. a barbershop, a garden center vs. a gym, etc, so why not show them?
- Samples. This one is tricky. Have some samples, but don't put them right in the front of the booth so that sample hoarders don't just run past and snag a freebie and keep going; it's important to impress people with your awesome REAL products, but you also need to protect your business by not losing tons of your hard work to people who don't really want to work with you.
- Photos. Guess what gets the point across while is also easy to ship, store, and convenient to "freshen up" the booth between shows? PHOTOS. Make them big and arresting to make those buyers stop in their tracks!
- Have printed and digital material. Buyers have all sorts of preferences when it comes to scouting new things at shows, so have what they want. Catalogs? Sure. QR Codes that link to catalogs so they don't have to carry a book around? YOU KNOW IT.
- Make friends with vendors. Support each other. It's not easy working at a trade show, and we are all in this crazy life together, so make friends with some of the few people who understand what you're going through. Ask them if they want some of your carrots, talk about where each other grew up, learn and laugh with each other... there's room at the top for all of us and it's much more enjoyable than being alone.
And don't forget... HAVE A GOOD TIME. Tradeshows are great for sales but also for people watching, learning and growing. You've got this.
Serious Lip Balm