Last week I exhibited at my first tradeshow - Pool in Las Vegas.
Pool is a very cool, cutting edge indie design show and branded as "the place to find emerging art & design driven trends".
The cash and carry section where most jewelry makers exhibit was full with jewelry when I applied, so I ended up in the next most affordable area called CO-OP (although, it is the most expensive per square foot piece of real estate at the show). My space was 6'X8' and really a challenge for me to work with.
I didn't have my space assignment (since CO-OP spaces are not numbered) until set up and was stoked to find I had an 'end' location. Although, the next day when the food area was set up my 'end' disappeared and I bordered the buffet line- I was still happy to have some extra inches for my signage and a little more room in my space (hoping everyone else didn't hate me for this).
The show opened on Tuesday at 9 a.m. (I set up the day before) and when my sister and I arrived at the booth Tuesday morning we already had a customer waiting for us. She wrote a $1400.00 order for her California store and my sister and I were thinking we were going to be super busy and write a million orders that day!
(we actually didn't have another customer in the booth for 2 hours)
The traffic was sporadic so I never really got into any kind of groove that day with my 'spiel'. I had planned for customers to sit down and pick from my lookbook, but they wanted to see actual products and were usually piling the things they wanted onto the table.
(the good news was that I had brought alot of product with me - way too much - but the bad news is that my linesheet pictures for the locket lids were too small for customers to decide without asking to see the real thing, so things felt a little chaotic)
I also have to admit (somebody smack me - ugh) that not once during the 3 day show did I ever say the words "can I write up an order for you?" which was, you might remember, along with my enthusiasm for my work, my entire sales plan.
Luckily, some of the buyers took matters into their own hands and said "let's write an order" or they just started telling me what they wanted.
I got great feedback from buyers and many of them wanted my display props which I am happily sending out with their orders.
Two words about Las Vegas - TOO MUCH. Too much going on, too much stimulation, too much cigarette smoke, too much ... of everything except the really important things like in-room coffee makers (what's up with that Las Vegas?), refrigerators where you can actually store things and keep them cold, a movie channel without a $15.00 charge attached to each movie.
Of course, Las Vegas did have ... men throwing escort cards at any man walking down the street, condoms in my room, a tv that reminded me everytime I turned it on that the title of any movie purchased would not appear on my bill, tvs in the elevators, a tv in my bathroom (which actually did come in handy the night of my "break-down" while I sobbed, ate cold french fries and watched Dr. Phil from the tub).
I will wrap this up on Friday. Research shows that the average blog reader spends 45 seconds reading a blog post, so I probably lost everyone at ... "the show opened" ...