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Topic TRADE SHOWS!!!?????? Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By loveplusone On 03/19/04  

i am in the begining stages of a childrens clothing line and I think I need a trade show to really get me going. I just went last week to the "Children's Club" trade show at the Javits Center and I learned alot about display and promoton from other designers I spoke to but UMM? how? where? do I go to find out about all the "fine print" about doing a trade show, all the buisnessy stuff, I the lowly designer was perplexed by terms like "Net 30" ??? HUH?
how do I properly "set up booth" so to speak, please help ladies, I need some advice on doing this right, assuming I get accepted as a vendor. all conversation on this matter would be helpful??

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/19/04  

myhusband and i used to do trade shows. they are so scary and can go two ways:

- when we had a rep we got bombarded with orders

- when we invested a house payment on a booth, we barely made it back.

butthen outr stuff is very niche-oriented (latino art). basically contact the organizers, get a vendor kit, get in touch with other vendors and see what they think.

you can also see about gettign a rep to hav eyour stuff on thier line. that way you dont have to invest, you just give a commission on your sales.

hope this helps! let me know if you have any other questions~

By ursonate On 03/19/04  

I think you are dealing with a couple of different issues here. Setting up your business and then doing the trade show. As far as I know for the trade show stuff, you should get get an application and fill it out. That will tell you pretty much all you need to know-if they supply you with stuff for your booth, i.e. tables and chairs, or if you need to supply your own. It's all there in the contract. They will not reject you as long as you pay them and have the proper credentials e.g. resale certificate which will be specified in the contract.

For business stuff, you should travel down the usual avenues, biz boks, lawyers, etc.

(What is this fear of getting bombarded with orders? I would love to get bombarded with orders. Do you think the folks at Louis Vuitton care about getting bombarded? Why don't they worry about making people wait?)

By loveplusone On 03/19/04  

yes! bombard me with orders, I too say, let em' wait! hey, its handmade!
but yeah, what troubles me is stuff like "resale certficates" I didn't see anything about that in my application? and other technical terms..
do you know about any books specifically that are good in clarifying business/trade show terms and procedures?

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/19/04  

"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...

By loveplusone On 03/20/04  

GOD !! this really is great advice because I am soooo unrealistic when it comes to the actual business part of my business. i just want to make pretty things and its hard for me to think about the taxes and shipping and hiring-- ahhh!!
I have definately tested my product and think it'll do great, thats why i want to step it up and do a trade show but I am the sole stitcher in my business so I don't know what I'd do if i got bombarded really??? but i know I want to make money doing my craft thing!! happy medium? is it possible? how do you handle your inventory and packaging/shipping-
do you do excel sheets for inventory?

By loveplusone On 03/19/04  

hey there,
is a vendor kit like the application? or is this some other document that is more general that i could pick up for info?

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/19/04  

call the place where the show is held and ask them for the contact info. then call it and have them send you a has a lot of helpful info in there :-)

By SublimeStitcher On 03/19/04  

I've been reading your posts here and on the other forum about trade shows, Kathy. It's all really excellent advice and the honesty is so helpful.

Do you have any suggestions for finding a vendor...or anyone else who might be reading this? I know they generally approach you, and I've been approached by plenty, but none that I was interested in, or who specifically did the craft shows.

By CraftyChicaAZ On 03/19/04  

i'll help in anyway i can!!

i know the two biggest gift show markets are los angeles and new york each runs twice a year january and i think august. i bet there is something in your area - call your local convention center and see if they have a gift show of any type, then go check it out. if you see a booth that looks like your stuff would fit, then ask them for a card. I wouldn't approach them at the show because they will be concentrating on luring in buyers. but you can follow up a week later and send your stuff in and do a follow up call. With all your press, you'd be a shoo in!

another way: find a cool indie boutique in your area where you are chummy with the buyer and then ask them to share info as to what reps they purchase from and if they wouldn't mind sharing the contact info so you can send samples. all retail owners go to these shows to buy their merchandise and go through these sales reps. what's good about doing it that way is that if you can find a store that carries stuff with your "vibe", chances are the sales reps will be up your alley!

as far as the craft kits, i think those would go GREAT at the HIA show. Even if I have to spare getting a root canal this year, i'm gonna save and get a booth there next year. Everyone from everywhere goes there - those articles you are reading from Scripps Howard? The reporter got all that info from the HIA show. That one week show dictates what the hottest items are in the market. The difference between HIA and a retail gift show is HIA caters to buyers/media/designers of the
arts and crafts market...

hope i didnt bore you! i live for this stuff!!

By garnish On 03/22/04  

Couple suggestions. Pick up a book designed for someone who wants to open their own retail store. I like "Retail in Detail" but there are many others. It will help you understand how "buyers" work, which will explain terms, and purchase orders, etc. Helps a lot to think like your customer. You might also think about whether you're ready for a wholesale show. It can be very expensive (thousands of $$) and you have to have production capabilities worked out. Maybe you should start with a few boutiques in your area. Some of the big shows require you to have store accounts first and give names. Lots to learn but it's all do able.

By loveplusone On 03/23/04  

thanks for your suggestions! yeah, I already sell to many boutiques in my area and since I already have been relatively successful on that account, I wanted to start something new (and bigger)
production capability is still a big question mark for me though, so I really just don't know what my next step is?
anyone with suggestions?

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