Trade Show Series (cont.) Guest - Michael Burns

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Today's blog post begins our Trade Show Series, Guest appearances. Some might say I'm biased when it comes to this GUEST - however, if you've spoken with Michael for any reason, you might say "he's smart, funny and very easy to get along with" and I would agree and add - he's my husband of 11 years, friend for 15 years, business partner and all around jack-of-all-trades. Don't know what the heck I would do without him.

The Hole Bead Shoppe welcomes our first Guest - Michael Burns, Owner of The Hole Bead Shoppe.

Please list your name, website and any other information that will help readers locate you in the world: Michael Burns The Hole Bead Shoppe - Wholesale Manager/Web Designer
Michael Burns

1. What brand do you fall under (if any): Independent Jewelry Artist, Business Owner; Artisan and/or other: Business owner
2. What type of Trade Shows do you attend as a vendor (not buyer) and how many shows do you attend:
2011: To Bead True Blue: Tucson AZ, Bead Blast: Kansas City Mo, Bead and Button: Milwaukee WI, Bead Fest Arlington TX
3. How far in advance do you plan for each show (i.e. inventory, advertising, hotels):
Once again, planning depends on attendance of year prior and distance you must travel to attend each show. If it’s your first time attending the show – ask the show coordinator what was the attendance of the prior year? Look at the vendor list – contact a vendor and ask them how they feel about the show’s attendance and how many years they attended and if they plan to attend again.
New Inventory packaging took 3 months for B&B 2011

4. What type of advertising do you use, if any?
Word of mouth, magazines (featured as a designer/project), blogs, networking at shows with other vendors, cross promoting products that you do not currently sell, Facebook, show advertisement, and business cards.

Our design on cover

5. Do you have any tips to prevent loss/theft at shows:
Only you can watch your product the best. Your neighbors will as well keep an eye out for you. Always greet customers when they walk into your booth and let them know you are there. Put your higher valued items within reach – closest to your register or where you’ll most likely spend most of your time.
6. Do you have a timeline for when and how to apply for tax permits or certifications for other states? And a good way to keep up with multiple permits and tax payment deadlines: The earliest time you can apply for tax info per location is the best since it can take varying times for local and state government tax agencies to get paperwork back to you so you can be prepared for show day. It is your responsibility to collect the taxes and report them in a timely fashion (usually best right after the show to keep from slipping your mind). It is also your responsibility to see if someone is "tax exempt" usually by showing their tax resale permit that is "relevant to the trade" which we have seen is not always shown. We take a folder with the tax permit and other pertinent info for the show. Then the tax forms given at the show go into that folder for safe keeping.
7. What suggestions do you have for display ideas that meet both convention center guidelines and fire marshall specifications: Make a sturdy design for your products sales and keep your products organized. Keep your transportation packaging out of customer's sight and neatly concealed and hide cords, garbage cans, light bars, surge bars or other tripping hazards. Check the labels of materials and table drapes for a flammable label. Make sure you have surge bars and that all equipment is newer production rather than old, possibly broken electrical equipment. (more technical side of setup that decorative side of setup).
8. Can you share tips for increasing sales:
Suggestive sell items that a customer might have not looked at to go with items they have selected. Never hesitate to say to a client “Did you see this, it’s NEW or we just got this and I’m so excited about it” OR “We’re going to be published in Bead & Button with this exact bead”. Network with other businesses to have your product used with their products. Make sales for both of you in a mutual way.
9. Outside of shows, how do you market yourself or your brand:
Website, Magazines, Blogs, FaceBook, Customer's wearing your product.
10. Do you use a standard setup for every show you attend or do you adjust your setup for each show:
Our setup varies slightly from show to show due to the restrictions on the vendor per show. The design can also change to work around your neighboring booth. Booth design must always be flexible but planned for in advance.
11. OPTIONAL: What reason would you give your clients for attending shows as a buyer, even if you were not a vendor:
Even if they are a designer, business owner, hobbiest – attending local shows is a viable part of their business/hobby. Meeting OTHER hobbiest, taking a class, seeing “new” products, talking to vendors about their market (if silversmith – ask silver vendor for forecasts in silver pricing?) Future contacts is another very important reason.
12. Optional: What makes you continue to attend shows as a vendor – i.e. money, marketing, social networking:
Having your product in front of a potential customer and showing the customer what your products attributes are is invaluable. The money part is always nice but the contacts and advertising you do for your company and the long term relationships are what the show will give you over any other marketing media. You are in front of the customer.
13. Additional remarks: I am anxious to see what others have to say.

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment. Check a box.


Pixybug Designs said...

Great coverage for the questions! There are so many things beaders/sellers/buyers don't think to ask, don't think anyone will answer if they do ask, and I completely agree with #11. Meeting others in your field of interest is really important. It is wonderful to meet the "internet" people you work with, learning new techniques through a class, and even just visiting with vendors and showing off your beading, you just never know when that "magic" moment of contact will happen where you are in the "right place at the right time" and have something totally fantastic happen! Great answers Michael, you and Kelli ROCK!

MAKUstudio said...

Awesome!!! Sharing this series for sure! You guys are fantastic!

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