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What type of pointers are you looking for?

Although I don't have trade show experience in the apparel industry, I’ve done my fair share of trade shows for other industries.

The biggest challenge is drawing attention to your booth. In a male driven market, or show, the number one technique for drawing attention is “Booth Babes”! Hands down! Works so well, the organizers of this years E3 show have banned the use of Booth Babes.

Beyond that, giving away something for free works pretty good too! If you can afford it, and get away w/ it, I’ve found that small bottles of COLD water is the best. However, some places will not allow you to do this as it completes with the $4 bottles of water the show sells. Chocolate is the next best thing. However, if you’re shipping a few thousand candy bars, be sure they’re going to be stored in a cool place. Been there… done that.

The next biggest mistake or miscalculation is dealing w/ Union porters and electricians. Most shows require Union people to do EVERYTHING! This means carrying all your show stuff from the entrance to your booth, and in most cases, setting it up. One show I couldn’t even carry my own personal shoulder bag to my booth! It can get pretty wild and expensive if you really don’t plan everything in advance to the finest detail.

Most shows will figure in a set “set-up” cost in your fees. This is usually adequate unless you need a lot of outlets, or have a large display booth, etc. But you really need to read all the fine print.

Also, depending on the type of show, don’t figure that you’re going to sell a lot of anything at most shows. Practically all your sales from the show will follow 30 to 120 days after that show. If you’re ever going to a trade show that allows retail/wholesale selling, go the last day at the end of the day. You’ll see everyone that shipped too much practically giving the stuff away so they don’t have to deal with shipping it back.

There’s a ton to learn to be able to do an effective and successful trade show. But nothing beats just getting out there and doing it! Go to Google and type in “trade show tips” and that will keep you busy for a while.

That’s my rant!
 

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As I'm waiting for Jake from threadless to get back to me with his interview, I should hopefully be interviewing Aaron from the agenda tradeshow next week. One of the questions will definitely be concerning tips for new exhibitors.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. I guess the whole set up thing has me wondering.
The show isn't close by me. So I'm trying to figure out where to send my merchandise. What do I do with it? I can't bring my whole set up on the plane with me.

Also, I will have posters to give away that will of course come with a business card and stickers of a toy figure that has the company name and address on them.
What else can I give them to walk away with other than cheesy pens.
 

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I think most places allow you to get shipments at your hotel for convention type stuff. Hotels are used to that sort of thing, especially if they have convention clientelle.

Sometimes you can have stuff shipped directly to the event, but that's something you would work out with the convention.
 

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Most shows have a shipping location. This is the way to go as it’s usually in the same building. The Hotel can work, if it’s right next door, but still… depending on how many boxes you’re shipping, that could be another whole logistics problem. Trust me… DO NOT ship a lot of product. You’re only going to be stuck shipping it home or giving it away.

It’s extremely difficult to move product at a trade show. People are in the information gathering mode, and not a buying mode. I’m not saying you won’t have any sales, but it’s always far less than what people imagine. Furthermore, you typically have to seriously discount at shows to move anything.
 

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CoolHandLuke said:
Most shows have a shipping location. This is the way to go as it’s usually in the same building. The Hotel can work, if it’s right next door, but still… depending on how many boxes you’re shipping, that could be another whole logistics problem. Trust me… DO NOT ship a lot of product. You’re only going to be stuck shipping it home or giving it away.

It’s extremely difficult to move product at a trade show. People are in the information gathering mode, and not a buying mode. I’m not saying you won’t have any sales, but it’s always far less than what people imagine. Furthermore, you typically have to seriously discount at shows to move anything.
I have not attended any apparel shows. But from the information I have been able to gather about some of them, normally you aren't allowed to sell any products at the shows. You can take orders and make arrangements for sales, but that's it. Selling product on the premises is forbidden. So that cuts out the worry and hassle of shipping too much product.

As for where to ship. If you have a booth, most most trade shows have a company on site that will receive your shipped cargo (booth) and put it together for you at your booth space (you have to pay for this, of course). Or you can get your own company.

This is just some info I gathered from researching shows like MAGIC and the like.:)
 
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