Trade show season is upon us and many of you will be attending one or another or
maybe even multiple.
We have Premiere Orlando, Nail Tech Event of the Smokies, Foot Forward Summit and Premiere Birmingham....all before the fall season.
As a Vendor of each of these shows, I can tell you the time involved and the monetary investment is reviewed on a regular basis. I have a checklist for everything from products to displays to educator cost, travel cost, food etc. etc. Its a detailed spreadsheet to calculate every penny. Is it worth it?
As an Attendee it is my opinion, a spreadsheet should be calculated as well. There is time away from work involved, travel expense, food expense etc. etc. And, if you do your homework correctly, you will probably spend monies on products.

How do you make your show trips profitable?

You may be thinking What?????  I go for the fun, the deals or the parties and to see all my ole friends. Well, all that is fine and dandy except for when you return and you realize how much money you spent and then how much money you gave up by being off work for a day or two.

The #1 most important item you must be aware of are the deals. Are they really?

It's not a law that says as a Vendor you HAVE to offer deals. Personally, I do because it's my way of saying "thank you" to my existing clients and hopefully entice new clients. However, not all Vendors do.

And, in order for you to know if it's a deal......

You must know your cost

I can remember in my Salon days, I got so wrapped up in the excitement, I never "initially" paid attention or even knew if it was a deal. It all sounded good.

When I began to really know what I pay on a regular basis, I brought the list with me. I was stunned. Not everything needs to be a deal. However, if your Trade show shopping, why buy something that you really don't need right away, that you have to carry all day which, you can buy tomorrow at the same price?

Possibly it may save you on shipping cost? Well, you have to factor all that into your spreadsheet and really, really know your cost.

Don't get wrapped up in the excitement of the show and end up with buyers regret when you get back to your Salon.

Do your homework.

The 2nd thing to plan for IS your plan.

Are you looking to offer a new service, replace a brand you currently have or possibly expand? These questions are really important and in my opinion, the most important reason to attend a trade show in the first place.

Trade shows give you the opportunity to see what may be new. Vendors introduce new products. It's a great way to get ideas.

Maybe you are looking for a new nail polish line. Know your cost, know your waste, know how many colors your are interested in. Do you know how you want to present them to your clients? Are you looking for Vegan or does it even matter?

Look through the line up of who will be at the show presenting nail polish. Eliminate the ones you aren't interested in and spend time on the ones you are. Or, go to every booth and ask all the same questions so you can compare the differences.

In something like polish.....is colors available your only concern? What about settling of the products, does it get thick, how much is wasted, what is shelf life etc. etc.

The idea is to plan what you are looking for. This includes knowing the right questions to ask.

#3 is Financial security

Short and sweet. Stick to a budget.

Many $$$ change hands at our Trade shows. It's easy to spend. Everything looks so great, so easy to use, it's the next best thing to sliced bread.....until you get back to work.

The realization of what was spent and what you spent it on hits home. Panic sets in and we wonder WT?

To make attending trade shows a success from start to finish, first know how much you CAN spend. And, plan accordingly.

#4 Call your Credit Card Company

More often than not, we spend time with clients at the booth. They receive demo's, choose products..get all excited. Then, it comes time to pay and the credit card is declined.

This happens a lot at our shows because the card is used over and over again at a variety of different vendors.

Call your credit card Company to let them know there will be a change in activity. This will save you embarrassment and all of us valuable time.

#5 Don't "come back"

I don't want to minimize the affect these trade shows have on you, as an attendee. However, the impact it has on us Vendors is no where near in comparison. In short....they are extremely exhausting.

We love spending time with you. We love showing off all the great products we choose to represent. We love seeing ole faces and meeting new. Truly, it's the ONLY thing that keeps me coming back.LOL

However, be respectful of the time you do spend with your Vendors. If you are interested, pull the trigger. To tell us "your gonna come back" after spending the time we do with you, is really discouraging. Not just for us, but for you as well.

More often than not, Technicians have come back to sold out products. It bums them and us out.

Again, if you know your plan, you should be able to make a decision.

I know I only said 5, but here are some other helpful hints-

  • Wear comfortable shoes-Thousands of sq feet of walking. You will definitely get in your 10,000 steps per day requirement for healthy living
  • Bring a sweater-its always freezing. Unless you are setting up or tearing down, then they shut the AC off.
  • Roller bags are not allowed. There are bag drop off areas throughout the event. However, the best thing is to just bring them back to your car. Yes...it's far.  Yes....it's hot. It's also worth it.
  • Be courteous of the people around you. I can't even count how many times I'm in the middle of a conversation when someone just walks up and starts asking questions. Hello????? You aren't the only one in the room.
  • If there is something special you want from us....call the week before. We can bring it with us, just don't forget to come pick it up. Booth #3853
  • Remember....I'll say it again.  You are NOT the only one in the room.

There are thousands of people who attend these shows.  My first experience in over 25 years in being at the Premiere show in Orlando as an attendee was brutal.

People would walk in the middle of the aisle and suddenly stop to take a call or fix their bags or look at something.  MOVE out of the way.

At the booths, people were pushing people aside to get to the tables.  C'mon.....be COURTEOUS.

Last but not least.  Enjoy yourselves.

These shows are full of Education.  Not just in the classrooms but the amount of knowledge behind our tables is short of amazing.

Trade shows are educational events. Use them accordingly.

Enjoy your piers, enjoy your Vendors, enjoy your classes (hope you take some)...in short. Just enjoy.

And...don't forget to come to the Life of Riley Salon Supply pavilion. That's where you will find exceptional Education and Centre For Beauty Salon Supply @ Booth #3853. We look forward to seeing you.

CJ Murray, President