This week for my Preparing for Trade Shows series, we’ll be exploring how to get your product ready for a large show. As I touched on in my first post, Trade Shows are for wholesale products. So the first item is making sure that you can produce your product quickly, in large quantities and for a wholesale price.
This probably means that you will need to purchase your raw materials wholesale. Finding the sources you need to produce your product can be frustrating and time consuming, so nail this down before you do anything else. You will probably need to think outside the box a little bit and do things you may not have ever thought of before. You may have certain qualities that you want your product to have, like being recycled and you need to make sure that you can adhere to that while still presenting a great wholesale price.
Other factors to consider when pricing your items is shipping, packaging and what the end customer will experience.
My first year exhibiting at The National Stationery Show, I packaged all of my bright, colorful, happy stationery in brown Kraft boxes. I felt that the boxes reflected the quality of the stationery and contrasted nicely with the bright stationery. I had also developed a hatred of plastic boxes from my days working at a stationery store. This turned out to have been a bad idea though. I ended up purchasing plastic boxes for new products and the second I slipped my older stationery inside the clear boxes, I knew what my mistake had been. The clear plastic allowed my designs to shine through, therefore selling themselves.
The moral of the story is, think of how you can help the store sell your product. That way, they’ll buy more from you. You also need to make sure that all the information the consumer needs is on the box. Is your item recycled? Is it made by blind nuns in Italy? Does it come in other sizes or colors? All of these will help the end customer make their decision to buy your product.
Another lesson I learned from my first year is that you need to present a diverse showing of product. My first year, I exhibited my hand-folded stationery in 40 designs. I felt like that was a lot, and it was, but it wasn’t a diverse enough product offering. It was just a diverse design offering. You want to be able to show as much as you can in the way of your products.
Think about it this way, if you are walking through thousands of booths and you see a booth that doesn’t have very many products, not matter how well designed and presented it is, there is no reason for you to enter the booth. Having a lot of product makes people enter your booth in the first place.
This does not mean that you should not exhibit with a small product offering but it does mean that the more you have, the more successful you will be.
Preparing your product for the show is a very large undertaking and probably the most important aspect of exhibiting so take your time and make sure you get it right. Your product is your baby and you need to nurture and grow it accordingly.
Next time (April 19th), we will tackle “Advertising and Pre-Show mailings”
– Avis Wampler, the creative force behind Avie Designs, writes the column Growing Your Business: Preparing for Trade Shows series. Read more about her on the contributors’ page.