To Show or not to Show!

As show season begins, I’m getting many questions regarding which show would be the best to attend. It’s a legitimate question as there are more now than ever to choose from and….the expense to get to these shows aren’t getting any cheaper.

Allow me first to give you the view from a Vendor perspective. Those of us who showcase albeit a Mfg. or a Distributor.

When deciding on showcasing at a show venue, we NEED attendees. It is the exposure to many people at one time which warrants the expense of us showcasing. Why?

  • Organizers of these shows ask us to donate sample products for their VIP/Swag bags. This can range anywhere from 100-250 bags per show. An example for my Business in 2024, I am looking at sample cost at or over approx. $3000. Now, do we have too? Absolutely not. However, remember, it is about the exposure. The more we get, the more beneficial it is. And, we do love sharing our products.
  • We then have the expense of;
    • Paying for our booth, which vary’s. We can be looking at anywhere from $750.00 up to $4000 depending on the size of the show, the venue and the # and location of booths we decide to purchase.
    • The cost to ship products and have it brought to our booth is the highest expense. Just based on last year, this can range from $300.00 for shipping “1” pallet to $2000 to have it brought to our booth.
    • We have team members whom work with us, who get a daily fee. We pay $200 per member, per day. This can range from a small show of $800 up to a larger show costing $2000
    • Of those team members, many we have to fly in. We all know the cost of travel has increased tremendously. This year, I anticipate paying a minimum of $400 per person, if I’m lucky.
    • Then we have lodging which is now running about $300.00 per day. Multiply that by the amount of rooms you need for 1 show, it can run upwards of $1000 or more, depending on the size of the show.  More team members, more rooms.
    • And…don’t forget food. This is not a money maker for our team members. Consequently, I am adamant about my team not paying for anything when they travel. Food cost can run as high as $2000 per show.

And, I’m just a small guy. Do the math on some of the larger sponsors.  Yikes!

The reality is, there is always a cost to Marketing/Advertising….I get that. However, like you, all cost have increased and it is giving us Vendors second thoughts as to whether it is worth our while or not. In fact, I know many small and large Vendors who have taken those show $$$$ and put them elsewhere. No longer showcasing at the shows. Which, doesn’t benefit the attendees who do take their time and $$$ to visit our shows. If there are no Vendors to satisfy their needs, it’s not worth it.

With that being said….if there are not a sufficient amount of attendees, it doesn’t make it worth it for us either.

Just like us (and more than likely every other Vendor), you do have to take many things into consideration when choosing what shows to attend.

Let me share with you the shows I know about and how I would consider which show to attend. Remembering, I was a Salon owner for 24 years and had to make this same decision for my team.

  1. One Oregon Show – Portland Oregon; May 5th
    1. This is a nice smaller, yet growing show on the West Coast. The assortment of Vendors in my opinion, is spectacular. It showcases Nails and Pedicures and offers an assortment of classes on Saturday May 4th. If you live anywhere on the west coast (and even Midwest), I recommend this as a valuable option. Centre for Beauty has showcased in Oregon and will continue to do so. If you want to get away from the area, there are waterfalls and parks just a short drive  away and quite beautiful.
  2. Premiere Orlando – Orlando Florida; June 2nd & 3rd
    1. One of the larger shows I believe in the Country. This show offers a variety of Nail Care, Skin Care & Hair Care vendors. It takes every bit of the 2 days to go through it unless you are just interested in the Nails portion. It also offers free classes on the day’s of the show as well as paid classes on Saturday June 1st. This is also a destination show. Easy to get into as the airport is literally 10-15 minutes away. Many options for accommodations as well as many fun spots for vacation if you choose to bring your family. Since this is such an easy spot to get into (literally wouldn’t even have to rent a car), I always recommend this show. Just wear comfortable shoes and look at their website for rules and regulations as there are restrictions with age and what can be “rolled” around on the floor.
  3. Nail Tech Event of the Smokies – Gatlinburg Tennessee; July 14th
    1. This show is probably the largest “nails only” venue in our show circuit. And, is growing every year. It is a great destination show yet it is not easy to get into. Airport options are at least an hour away, so renting a car (unless you drive in) is necessary. There is a large assortment of Vendors.  Paid classes are available on Friday, Saturday and Monday. Classes are usually repetitive from the prior year, just mixed up amongst Vendors which I think can give attendees a different perspective. This one day show is jammed packed. Which, is why I encourage you to keep reading for my opinion on how to decide and then manage which show you go to. Also, it’s not a loud show compared to Premiere and you just can’t beat the scenery. Gatlinburg itself, has a lot to offer.
  4. Premiere San Antonio – San Antonio TX; September 15th, 16th
    1. Much like the Premiere Orlando show yet on a smaller scale. This show first debuted in 2023 and is still yet to be seen how it will do. There was a good assortment of Vendors yet a lack of attendance.

There are other larger shows which include more skin care than nails. Consequently, if you are looking for more nails, these shows might not be worth the trip, unless you are local.

There are many smaller shows like the Fun Fancy Nail Event, Nail Camps, Sun n Fun, Debs Pro Nail Retreat plus many more I don’t even know about and/or I’m forgetting.. In addition, there is a new show coming to the Heartland of America this year.  Info to follow!

What is my recommendation when deciding to do a show? Firstly, remember this!

Ignorance brings chaos not knowledge

When deciding to do a show, it is important we keep our budget in mind. If you didn’t budget for a show… need to start now. 

Attending a show allows you to see many products at one time, attend classes and meet and mingle with your piers. It’s kind of an all inclusive.

  • Decide where you want to go and if you will make a family trip out of it.
  • What are you looking for? Is Nails your only passion? Do you have a full service Business which would behoove you to see all things in one place?
  • Check out the Vendors. Knowing who will be showcasing can also help you narrow down which show you might want to attend. Don’t see who you want on the list? Call them. Sometimes, the Vendor may not have signed up yet however, plans to showcase.
  • Decide how much time you have? Travel Is more than likely necessary unless you are fortunate to live close by to where any of the shows are. How much time will you have to take off of work or away from your family?
  • Cost? Can you fly, can you drive, how many nights in a hotel room, food etc. All these need to be taken into consideration.
  • Education. If education is your top priority, check out what each show has to offer and choose THAT show. You can get your education and shop at the same time.
  • DON’T RUSH! If you are going through all the trouble to get to a show….use that time and don’t rush!

Once those decisions are made, managing your show schedule is just as important, if not more. Making the most of the time you have on the show floor should be a top priority.

  • When my team and I all went to a show together, we split up. We had designated rows for each person. We gave us a certain amount of time and then we met all in one spot and discussed what we each saw that might be of interest. From there, we would make our decision as to what to purchase.
  • In that same time, we each had a list of what we knew we needed. If anyone came upon anything on that list, it was purchased. With that being said, we also knew our cost. Not all pricing is show pricing. Therefore, if the cost savings wasn’t there, we didn’t get it. So make sure you know what you are currently paying.
  • Be prepared to take with. Us Vendors don’t want to have to ship which, is why we pay to have as much as we can brought to a show. Make your arrangements. If you flew in, bring an extra suitcase to check. If you drove in, clean out your trunk. Show pricing is just that. Show pricing NOT ship pricing.
  • Give each booth fair time. Believe it or not YOU are not the only one visiting our booths. I can’t tell you how many times Technicians have run up to our booth in a huff because they have to get to a class or are getting ready to leave. Every Vendor goes through the same amount of trouble to attend, and truly deserves the same amount of respect.
  • If shows are your “one stop shop”” be sure to check your expiration dates. We know many of our Tech’s shop for the year which is a great savings.

In my years prior to Beauty, I was in the Office Supply Business doing the same thing with my Business then, as I am now. Sad, but true I’m seeing patterns. 

  • Show organizers are out pricing the affordability for us Vendors to participate in these shows.
  • Attendance is down because cost to get there has increased. Gas, Hotel, Food.

I believe it’s important to realize;

Show Vendors are equally as important as show attendees.

Attending a show is hugely important for a Nail Technician. They are informative and educational. If you want to grow your Business, you can only do that by knowledge. A show is a great way to obtain knowledge in so many ways.

  • Meeting your Vendors face to face
  • Meeting new piers and developing new friendships
  • Looking at new products
  • Getting tips about products you currently use
  • It’s motivational and can be inspiring

Hopefully, this article is helpful in #1 deciding it’s about time you attend a show #2 looking at show season from a different perspective #3 choosing which show might be best for you.

Centre for Beauty has our show listing on our website. Maybe we will see you?

CJ Murray, President

4 thoughts on “To Show or not to Show!”

  1. Great information, all so true. It is so fun to “up your game” and take a few training classes. Good for your business. I know that sa’SHa product you in vented sure is a game changer in callas /footcare care being a master pedicurist. Always love your newsletters C j and your husband package shipper knows how to help your order arrive intact. ❤️😊

    1. Thank you Linda, this means a lot to both my husband and I. Appreciate you and you taking your time to comment. The devil is in the details 🙂

  2. I first discovered you & LCN Urea pedi products several years ago in your complimentary class at the now defunct Premiere Birmingham show. The results of your class demo were amazing & I bought a kit to use on my clients who also loved the results. I’ve been purchasing from you ever since & was super happy when you got a booth at the Nail Tech Event of the Smokies so I could stock up on a year’s worth of pedi products while in Gatlinburg, TN.

    I also discovered sa’SHa’ in another of your demo classes at the last Premiere Birmingham show & that product has been the best thing for heavily callused feet that I’ve ever seen in my 37 yrs as a nail tech (will buy another large bottle in the Smokies this summer)!

    1. Thank you Jill. I remember specifically seeing and meeting you for the first time in Birmingham. A true testament of how trade shows can introduce our brands, yet form life long relationships. Thank you for your loyalty and I look forward to another great year at the Nail Tech event of the Smokies. See you soon 🙂

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