Advice from the experts on making the most of a creative trade show:
Begin a month beforehand with sneak peeks
Stephan Derome, president of Quebec’s Harmonie Hobby Craft, recommends sending products to influential craft bloggers and specialty media weeks in advance – previewing your line generates buzz. Your sales representatives should have access to product as well. Post teasers on your website, blog and social media pages. Early marketing ensures a “can’t miss” show booth, maximizing potential business opportunities.
Get together with other firms and host an event
Whether it’s a seminar, panel discussion, workshop or other educational mixer, you can save time and reach a large group of people in one shot by teaming up to showcase your respective companies.
Have graphics that draw people to your booth
Karen Dedman of Your Next Stamp used large peg boards to hang every stamp in her line, along with hand-made cards. The colourful display showcased how to use her products, and the artful samples enthralled onlookers.
Create memorable sales demonstrations
Hélène Métivier, co-founder of Magenta, noticed at her most recent trade show that her “make and takes” (crafting sessions where clients make a sample project they can take with them as a keepsake) resulted in concrete sales orders.
Your product may be an unexpected bestseller – be prepared for a flood of orders
“If you’re not in a position to handle it emotionally or physically, you need to build up your business first,” CHA’s Canadian representative Paula Jones advises. She recalls one company that had a surprise hit product at a trade show, the subsequent demand was not met, and a six-month lead was squandered as more established companies came out with their own version the very next show.
Special to The Globe and Mail