Pool Trade Show Follow Up:

February 23, 2012

Nick and I headed to Las Vegas last week to participate in Pool Trade Show. It was our first trade/wholesale show and it brought back memories of when I did my first craft show, which was many years ago. I'd say we are craft show veterans now, I typically don't stress out too much because we've been doing craft shows for so long. But this was a new experience. and I stressed out, big time ;) 

Setting up:
We were in the cash & carry section, which basically is where people can come and take what they purchase right there on the spot. (The other spaces are strictly wholesale only so they don't take anything home with them) Our space came with 2 stools and a 6' table. The cost to participate was $1000. That was by far the most I'd ever spent on any show and it was pretty scary. The booth also included electricity, which was nice because we don't typically get electricity at craft shows. 

We needed to hang hooks and found out the cork was not strong/deep at all.. so Nick had an idea to tie them to the back and it'd be covered and held down with all the other displays. It was a great idea and worked perfectly!

My husband hanging up necklaces. I am so blessed with such a supportive guy.

The show was from Monday - Wednesday, from 9am - 6pm, so the days were definitely long. I did some research of other blogs who had participated in the cash carry section but I still had no idea what to expect. I sent countless emails to my friend Jen, who was so generous and sweet to take the time to explain things to me about trade shows and purchase orders and things like that.

Wood Gift Tags

Rubber Stamps.

Vinyl Decals.

Pocket Watch Necklaces.

The final set up!

The show was definitely intimidating - you are surrounded by so many legit lines and products and designers. We didn't get a whole lot of orders (actually only got 2!) but I think it was in part because the Cash & Carry section and my prices were a bit confusing. It's definitely scary + hard to put yourself out there at the possibility you won't succeed. I tried not to have any expectations but I thought I'd get a little more than two orders ;) I was grateful for even those orders - and at the end of the day, at least I got my brand out there!

I think this sort of thing is all about timing - in the other blogs I read when I was doing some research, they said the show was so busy and they got many orders. I talked to some other vendors at this show and one mentioned she had been doing POOL for 5 years and this show was by far the slowest. Bummer! Go figure. But all in all, I am definitely glad to have participated and have the experience of doing a trade show now. 

Here are some tips + pointers and other thoughts if you're considering taking your business to the next level and doing a trade show:

- Give yourself a lot of time to prepare. I started getting ready for this show in December and dedicated 2 straight weeks in January to get my line sheet together/order product/etc.
- Get to the show with plenty of time to set up. These type of shows allow you to set up the day before, so try to get there early and take the rest of the day to prepare and rest up!
- Get some good sleep, the days are pretty long.
- Bring a dolly/cart to transport your items so you're not stuck carrying everything! (at this show, there was no loading area so we literally had to walk everything to our space - it was about a 20 minute roundtrip from our space to the car)
- Try to have your items organized so they can fit on a cart! ;) (I am not the most organized person - the way we stack our cart up is more like tetris but we make it work..)
- Bring snacks and food to get you through the day!
- Cash & Carry section is definitely different than a full wholesale booth, research and decide what is the best option for your brand. Not sure if C&C is even an option at other shows, may not be.
- On that note: research the shows! POOL is more of a fashion/accessory trade show - I sell jewelry but my line has expanded to stationery and paper goods - more crafty sort of items. Not sure if POOL was the best fit for my products - the crowd wasn't so much on the 'crafty' side.
- Have clear signage displayed - Some customers were confused about my prices. I had retail prices displayed because I didn't want to sell just 1 item at wholesale price to a passing customer. But had a lot of people ask "are these your retail / wholesale prices?" Super confusing!

Whew! So that's my follow up about my first trade show. If you have any questions and are thinking about doing a trade show - feel free to ask :)

Side note: I put together a wholesale catalog / line sheet of oh, hello friend goods so if any of you have stores and are interested in carrying oh, hello friend items - please contact me and I'll send you my line sheet!

27 hello's:

  1. Very interesting read. Sorry the show was a bit of a disappointment! I always appreciate the honesty in posts like these, and definitely learned a few things.

  2. Oh wauw, that looks lovely! love the necklaces on the fifth photo :)

  3. How cool! I so wish I could have stopped by, but Vegas is a bit of a drive for us. You display looks super neat!

    - Sarah

  4. You have such an amazing shop! Wow oh wow! Congrats and great tips here!

  5. Your setup looks fantastic!! Love it.

  6. Danni! so glad to see you getting out there and pushing yourself to the next level. Keep it up!

  7. Amy - Thank You Cards Shop23 February, 2012 11:14

    your booth is gorgeous! i've heard it said that trade shows are all about the follow-up. not sure if that is as applicable in a cash and carry scenario - but if there is an opportunity for follow-up, maybe that will bring more orders in? i can see your products fitting in really well in so many indie boutiques, maybe all the line sheets can be emailed out since they're now ready to go? sometimes that's the hardest part of getting going with wholesale ie. getting that type of thing together... not sure it's helpful - but wanted to put that out there :)

  8. You always do such a wonderful job of decorating your booth. I love that you change it up instead of stick with the same props everytime... especially liking the gold polka-dotted kraft paper!


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  10. Your booth looks AH-MAZING!! I like neat you place your items and how everything can easily be seen, I just wish I was there.


  11. love your story. it's so nice to read about craft shows and how people cope with the stress and how they do and everything. there is not so much information out there where sellers write about their craft show experiences so i really enjoyed your post. have a wonderful weekend

  12. Wow! You have some serious talent. I'm going to do a rendition of your message in a bottle tonight! thanks for the inspiration.

  13. I would have probably bought a little bit of everything at your booth. My husband thanks you that you were not in LA. ;)

    ♥ sécia

  14. totally brave. and i appreciate your honesty about your actual sales. i've had a tough craft show or two myself.. Congrats. you did it!

  15. I used to be in wholesale (for a large manufacturer) and I've done a fair amount of tradeshows. Have you looked into the Atlanta Gift Market (AmericasMart)? It is a HUGE market, I don't think you can complain about traffic. July is their biggest market of the year. If you are interested in wholesale and getting into gift shops and boutiques, it would definitely be worth checking out. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Thank you for sharing your experience and being so honest. Don't give up! Your booth and products looked really AWESOME!

  16. It's certainly not YOU, it's the way craft and art shows are going right now. I'm a veteran of big juried shows (and I've squealed and paid what you did!) and the stress now is insane. I'm thinking of reinventing myself now, because I'm not sure if things will change all that much.

  17. I have followed you for years and your progress is always in a positive direction. Your spirit and energy will guide you to the next moment for your work.

  18. I really appreciate all the work that goes into the booths, I always love your displays!

  19. I think your booth is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!
    Way to go for putting yourself out there!

  20. awwww wish i could have visited you at your booth! looks like u have a few new items i wana buy! ;)

  21. how precious are those doily things hanging from your set up! where did you score those?

  22. I just wanted to say that I LOVE the necklaces and wish you very good luck with your projects!

    Greetings from Spain :)

  23. we saw you there!! great booth & awesome tips.

  24. I really like your booth very creative thinking you guys had. Sometimes it can take several tries at different trade shows to get it right.

  25. I enjoyed your article. Thank you.

  26. Thank you for sharing this with us, it is very inspiring!!

    Also it helps to keep your feet down.

    Your products are really awesome, congratulations, wish you the best!!

  27. love the honesty!! thank you so much.


Friends, Thank you so much for reading + supporting my blog, and for taking the time to leave me a comment. Your comment support truly means so much to me. Have a lovely day! xo, danni