"whats the fear of being bombarded with orders?"
my husband and i said the same thing - until we got a stack of 300 of them in the mail one day from a trade show. Because everything is handmade, it was pure stress like i've never felt before. Our quality went way down becuase we had to speed up making it all, and even then it was taking months to fill, buyers were getting mad, calling us on the phone, in th emeantime the orders we did get out, as soon as they got their order they would place reorders. we tried hiring people it just got so out of hand so fast.
my point is, before you play with the big guys, make sure you are READY. Test your product, have a game plan to be able to fullfill all the orders. are you ready to hire, pay wages, do the taxes, pre-order bulk supplies, shipping, packaging, inventory, etc - all while filling the orders? These are things to prepare for before paying the cash and getting a booth. On the other hand, we've had instances where we were the newbies onthe block and in a huge trade show, we were like a dixie cup in the ocean and barely made our entry fee back.
one quick story - i met a lady at one of my signings. she was in her 70s and told me how when she was in her 20s, she and her sister put an ad in a catalog for sweaters they knitted. they got 1,00o orders the first week and their husbands had topay money to get the items removed from the catalog. she and her sister made all the sweaters - but she said she has not picked up a set of knitting needles since!
sorry to sound negative, i don't mean to, it was just a bad experience for us because we wren't prepared. if you wantt o chat email me and i can give you my phone number. there are good things about it too, i just think it is better to start small with local accounts and work your way into it instead of coming right out of the gate into a show...