Resuming our Trade Show series blog with Andrew Thornton’s responses to questions posed by Tamara Allison of Vanishing Pearl and Stephanie Haussler of Pixybug Designs. If you missed the beginning – catch up now!
I often think of the quote from Maya Angelou when I think of Andrew Thornton:
People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did,
But people will never forget
how you made them feel.
5. Do you have any tips to prevent loss/theft at shows:
You can't watch your table every second of the day. There will come a time where you have to get something out from under the table or behind the booth and in that fraction of an instant, someone can come by and steal your work. This shouldn't be too off putting, because generally our community is made up of really honest and caring people. However, to reduce those moments of temptation, I usually put the most inexpensive stuff at the corners of the tables and keep the more pricey items closer to me. If something is really pricey, I'll tape or wire it down to the table. Vendors usually stick together and will flag each other if a known shoplifter comes in.
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:
I try to do as little paperwork as possible! I don't usually do much of the tax work. I will say, for the limited amount of stuff that I do end up doing, that each State usually has a information available online to help keep things straight and a good old fashioned large calendar, where you can write in it and add Post-It Notes is invaluable!
7. What suggestions do you have for display ideas that meet both convention center guidelines and fire Marshall specifications:
When thinking of displays, I try to think of pieces that will be lightweight, durable, work as storage and protect other pieces from damage during transit. Having decorative travel cases is nice, because they meet all my criteria and can be moved, stacked and changed easily to accommodate any space AND it gives it a sort of ambiance!
8. Can you share tips for increasing sales:
I actually try not to think about this too much. I know that when one is attending a trade show as a seller, one of course wants to sell things and make a living off of what they are doing, but the best sales are usually made through a genuine connection. We don't sell things that we don't believe in and on that fundamental level, I can be an advocate for what I'm doing and trying to sell. We put a lot of ourselves into the work, so it's not so much a question of selling as it is of sharing these parts of us with the world.
9. Outside of shows, how do you market yourself or your brand:
I think you sort of have to create a way for your customers to connect with you outside of the shows. So "marketing" is definitely something that has to happen consistently and constantly.
Like what you've read? Tune in September 13th for the conclusion of Andrews' answers to our Trade show questions.
In the meantime - find Andrew at Andrews' Blog
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