Get Yourself Seen!

Last weekend I was in Vegas attending Niche:TheShow.   Luckily, this show was inside an air conditioned casino as there was record breaking heat outside and if you weren’t able to spend the day immersed in a cold pool somewhere, being inside was the next best thing.

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Niche is one of many trade shows in Vegas over that weekend geared towards the wholesale jewelry and art market.  The time I spent at the show, meeting buyers, making contacts and selling Casalinda Studio and Lila Clare Jewelry, reinforced how important it is for designers and artists to participate at these types of shows if they want to increase their wholesale business.  More and more retail buyers are attending them and it’s becoming more significant to be present.

 The more I participate at these shows the more I realize there is actually a science to doing them.  Booth display, colors used, and placement in the space are all part of this science, but the most valuable part is what you need to do before you actually go and set up. 

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Setting Up the Booth

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Setting Up the Booth

The buyers you want to reach go to these shows with a plan of what they want to buy – what they need for their stores and the priority is reordering from those vendors that they have sold well.  If you are a new vendor for them, you need to get on their radar before they even arrive.  

In my experience, the best way to do this is through marketing and follow up.  Whether it be direct mail, direct emails or walking into a store and leaving your catalog, it is one of the most important things you can do as a vendor in order to be seen through all the competition.

The other part of the trade show “science” that is important in my opinion is being consistent.  As an emerging designer, these shows can be expensive but it is important to continue to make a presence at them.  

Your budget may not allow you to do more than one show per year, but it’s better to choose one and stick with it – even if you don’t sell as much as you would have liked, than not be there at all.  

Your continual presence in front of the buyers gets noticed.  The first time they see you they might just take a look and keep on going.  The second time, they might take a catalog or information about the company, and the third time they might actually place that order you were hoping for.  The magic number is three!

I remember the show producers of the various shows I had participated in telling me that three was the magic number.  At first I thought they were telling me this just to get money from me.  It wasn’t until recently that an established designer who is well respected told me the same thing.  Since this information came from someone who wasn’t trying to get me to pay for something, I trusted her.  I’ve since then consistently done a few of the many trade shows possible and I am now realizing that the show producers were right.  People are coming back for orders and reorders.
There are lots of trade shows to choose from and finding the right one for your product could be frustrating and costly, however, the shows can be a major cash cow for vendors and provide important networking contacts and media exposure. It’s not only a place to sell but it’s a form of advertising.  No one is going to know you exist if you aren’t out there in front of them.  And well, if you think about it, it is a lot less expensive than advertising in a magazine.


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