This past weekend (September 16 & 17, 2017) was the very first show that Colette and I have ever done. It was a lot of fun, very exciting, and very, very, VERY tiring. We sold a little more than we expected (but not as much as I had hoped), and we got our name starting to circulate.
Overall, I was very happy with how it went. We had things MOSTLY thought out, and, for a first show, it went about as well as could be expected. I did, however, learn a lot. I mean A LOT.
So, some things to remember for the next show (and for other first timers to learn from our mistakes!):
- ALWAYS test your set up before going to the actual show! I had a really good idea about how I wanted it to look, and how much space we would have. But there were so many little things that we had to improvise:
- The poles for the banners weren’t long enough – Dad had to use a pen in the end of one to make it work! (As an aside, this led to my favourite comment of the show – my friend Chris, who volunteered to help us set up, looked at me and stated that “this is the most aptly named company EVER.”)
- There were no prices for right with the items, which led to me using my sister-in-law’s business cards (SORRY TRINA, I’ll pay you back, promise!) to write up little tags with prices.
- No plain white notepads led to having to use whatever I had on hand – such as Trina’s business cards….
- DISPLAY IS EVERYTHING. It doesn’t matter how cute your models are (and my teddy bears were ADORABLE) or how easily accessible your catalog is, people want to see the actual items and be able to look at them, feel them, and see what exactly you are selling. Once we figured that out, things went splendidly.
- Make sure you rest the day before. And the day after. The days of the show are fun and action packed, and you can spend a lot of your time on your feet. And, if like me, you are an introvert, you’re gonna want to be prepared for way more people interactions than you are used to. It helps to have the ability to rest on both sides of the show so that you have the energy for that.
- KNOW YOUR PRODUCTS AND PRICES. People get annoyed if you cannot answer their questions quickly. Seriously annoyed. And you’d think, after three years of teaching customer service to new employees at my full-time job, I’d KNOW THAT. But I wasn’t prepared for the realities of it. Of course, when you’re new and you’re still figuring stuff like “how much does a special order cost?” it can be hard. But it will come.
- Lower price point items will go more than others. So have lots of them. And be prepared for questions. Some very silly.
- Do not be disappointed when people say “I’ll be back” and then never do. Shows like this are usually impulse-buy orientated. They may truly intend to come back, but by the time they’ve looked at all the vendors, chances are that they won’t.
Overall, it went very well. We had a good time, talked with a lot of people and got a lot of ideas from potential customers, actual customers, and fellow vendors.
Next time, we will be better prepared, and maybe we’ll even make a little more money!!