Trade Show Series (cont.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If you talk to someone who has met me, most of the time the first thing they might say is - she's funny! The second thing is a tie: smart/intelligent/driven. When I was younger (last year?)  - I would have been offended, if someone didn't say "pretty, good-looking, sexy, hot or other physical descriptors"?
I spent the entire 4th of July weekend at my computer; 15 hours on Saturday, 9 hours on Sunday and 8 hours on the 4th...Where am I going with this? 
Kelli and Michael Burns
Laura, Kelli & Sabine B&B 2011
At some point in my life, I became more flattered with being funny and smart than pretty and I don't know when it happened? I honestly like being called "smart and funny" better than "pretty or beautiful", even though it's nice to hear pretty every so often?  And how does it relate to our blog post? It doesn't, I just felt like typing that thought.  

Continuing along the same path as our last post - the last of Stephanie Haussler's - Stephanie's Blog personal questions, posed to yours truly!

How many years have you been doing "BIG" shows and what made you take the leap to doing them?
We’ve been doing bead shows since we opened in 2005. We started attending them as buyers in 2003 and moved into being a vendor in 2005. We were the first “bead shop” to attend shows as a vendor in Oklahoma. We did it solely for the advertisement. We used our entire advertising budget to attend shows. Now, we only attend shows that are “invite” or “juried”. Even though, we’ve discovered that the invite/juried shows are pretty much the same as others. 

What amount of cash do you start with in your cash box?
We used to bring copious amounts of cash to shows. Now we just bring a few hundred or so and we can either get more cash from local banks or even other vendors. We feel carrying less cash is better when traveling. 

Where do you put your inventory once you get home with the left overs?
We have a storage room at our store. We decided last year that we’re not going to try to put show inventory back into store or web inventory any longer. The only time we do so is if we’re no longer bringing that style to shows.
We are also thinking about using our show inventory to begin offering TRUNK shows to bead shops. That way, the show inventory does not sit stagnant and works for us, even when we’re not attending shows.  At night do you take down inventory or just cover it and is there a guard?
Every show we attend has a night guard. And we cover our inventory with “sheets” once we leave for the evening.
A tip: buy a few KING size sheets from a local discount retailer OR discontinued or reduced materials at local cloth shops (We bought ours at Hobby Lobby and Walmart) If your booth has a theme, it’s easy to buy matching materials from local cloth shops and most offer reduced/sale pricing.

Which Big shows do you do and how did you decide which ones to do?
Right now we attend 5 shows in a year – for some that is a small amount but since we own a retail shop, have a website and own pets – it’s a heavy load. Our annual investment in bead shows is as follows (rounded numbers) for 2010:
Show fees (electric, booth fees, tax permits, etc): $7000
Hotels/Gas/Food: $4000
Inventory/Incidentals (business cards, equipment upkeep, packaging, etc): $10,000
I feel it’s a small amount in comparison to other vendors, but may show the amount of investment needed – for only 5 shows.
Our decision to attend shows as a vendor is based upon many variables.
1. Location
2. Time.
3. Budget/Fees
4. Competing vendors (i.e. if you’re a lampworker, how many lampworkers are already attending)
5. What is your customer base in that area – prior to attending the show.

For example, we’ve considered attending Seattle/California shows because of our client base in the region.

Next blog post - Guest Michael Burns, Owner of The Hole Bead Shoppe answers more questions about trade shows. 

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


Carol Dean said...

What a wonderfully informative series! Thank you. :)

The Hole Bead Shoppe said...

Thank you Carol. I'm looking forward to lots of feedback, comments, suggestions, topics! And it won't all be so technical. I am hoping to do some FUN posts too! haha

Pixybug Designs said...

Kelli, you ROCK! Thank you for not only using my questions, but for actually answering them too! I hate when you write a question and the person skims over it! Your are providing EXACTLY the kind of info that is useful to "small" companies looking to expand their client base. It is wonderful to have the specifics and to read your "behind the scenes" knowledge.

Pbeads said...

I think the challenge with trade shows is how you want to represent yourself. In Kelli's blog she mentions she has a store and website but her trade shows are promoting her website( i believe).
One can go to a big show like Tucson and offer many "one time" deals but that is counter productive cause you hope you are attracting repeat customers (to your web). People want to come back for what they bought or saw at the trade show and Kelli does a good job doing that with her lucite!!

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