Trade Show Series (cont.) Guest - The Indomitable Sara Aho Lukkonen

Friday, September 23, 2011

Our last installment of Trade Show Series with Guests: Pat Riesenburger, Kate McKinnon, Andrew Thornton, Wendy Baker, Yvonne Irvin, Michael Burns, Marianne Kasparian, Nikia Angel and Marsha Hedrick.

First, I would like to thank Tamara Allison of The Vanishing Pearl for her help (well, she wrote them all? so help is not a very good description?) and Stephanie Haussler of Pixybug Designs for her suggestions. . . without them, we would not and could not have done this series.
Secondly, thank you to all of our guests – even with the wonderful questions and suggestions by Wendy and Tamara, without the answers of the guests – there wouldn’t have been anything to read? They took time out of their extremely busy schedules to try and shed some much needed light on the bead trade industry – we got answers – we got hope – we got humor and we’re done!
So here is our last guest – Sara Aho Lukkonen of C-Koop Beads!

The Sara I know. . . 

8. Can you share tips for increasing sales:

Always greet your customers.  Not only does this start a sale but it also helps make them aware that you are watching them. I always try to have new products at each of the major shows.  It brings the regulars back to see what is new.  I don’t want them walking by because they have seen everything before. 

9. Outside of shows, how do you market yourself or your brand:

I wholesale to stores.  It gets my product out there to the everyday beaders.  I started my business by going to stores and getting my products out there.  I think that it really made a big difference for me because then people recognized my products when they come to shows.  Also I have been really blessed by the designers submitting their designs to the magazines.

10. Do you use a standard setup for every show you attend or do you adjust your setup for each show:

I pretty much set up the same way every time.  The returned buyers recognize the display and they always think something is new. It is also an easy set up and take down.  It is all about getting out of the show in a timely manner!   I try to be efficient because my time is worth something too!

11. OPTIONAL: What reason would you give your clients for attending shows as a buyer, even if you were not a vendor:

There might be something new out there you just have to have.  Going to shows can bee inspiring!

12. OPTIONAL: What makes you continue to attend shows as a vendor – i.e. money, marketing, social networking:

Some sows are going to better than others.  If I continue to make money at a show then I am going to come back.  But mostly I attend shows to get the new accounts.  Stores are going to buy at the show and continue to buy through the year. Getting new accounts at a show makes it a success.

13. OPTIONAL: If you hire outside help, how do you find them - any info would be appreciated.

I do most of the shows by myself.  But when I am at some of the bigger shows I bring my Mom.  In fact she is the reason I go to the shows out west.  Other vendors look for her at the shows….she is the best Mom in the world and I feel blessed that she wants to spend time with me too. Also the show promoters or someone in the staff that knows you may have a list of people that want to work.

14. Additional comments:

Keep true to yourself.  Don’t let other people tell you how to run your business.  Believe me they will try. Try to stay one step ahead of the designers. Make things that they don’t know they want yet. Smile and have fun!

And with those words of wisdom - we end our series on Trade Shows. Thank you again - to all our guests and Tamara Allison and Stephanie Haussler. 

Find Sara and all her wonderful gadgets at C-Koop Beads.

Stay tuned. We're working on another series and we've got some FUN in store - like prizes and trivia and more! 

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