As we do like to include the real life experience of designers, here is a guest blog written by Alexandra Snowdon of Snowdon Design & Craft, who runs her company from a small cottage in Cheshire.
After graduating with a first class honours degree in 2009, she began work on her range of environmentally friendly, hand-printed bags, cards and fine art prints. Alex loves to travel and draws much of the inspiration for her work from folk art around the world.
Here are her 10 trade fair tips:
Tip 1: Engage with everyone
Try to engage with everyone who stops by to look at your stand.
Just a friendly ‘hello, let me know if you have any questions’ will help to break the ice. Some people may want to chat, others will just want to be left alone to look at your products.
Tip 2: Ask questions
If people do want to chat ask what type of business they are in, are they buying for a gift shop, a gallery or an online shop? What other kinds of products do they currently stock?
This information is useful in finding out what type of buyers are interested in your work and where you are placed in the market.
Tip 3: Ask for feedback
If it’s your first show don’t be afraid to admit it, ask buyers for feedback on your range and prices (you’ll know instinctively who you can ask these questions to). This information is invaluable and can help lead you on to bigger and better things.
Tip 4: Have good information available
Have all the important information about your products and business readily available, such as trade prices, recommended retail prices, terms and conditions, shipping information and lead times.
It’s good to have this in a format that buyers can take away for future reference, many won’t place orders at the show they may want to have a look around first and decide later what to invest in.
Tip 5: Promotional material that you need
Don’t feel you have to go to the expense of producing a full brochure, you can direct people to your full range of products on your website.
A postcard or flyer with your prices, contact details, and very importantly an image of your work (to remind them how great your products are) is enough – people get loaded down with enough paper at trade fairs.
Tip 6: Ask for business cards
Be sure to ask everyone who shows an interest in your work for a business card to follow up in the future, they may be interested in your new products or any offers you have on.
Tip 7: Bring personal essentials
It’s a good idea to take along some personal essentials; a bottle of water, you’ll get thirsty with all the chatting, some small, bite size snacks – it’s not great to be seen chomping away on your lunch at your stand, some mints and a mini deodorant for quick freshen ups.
Tip 8: Essential stationery
A few items of essential stationery you’ll need include: a clipboard to write your orders on, some spare pens, a folder to keep completed order forms in and a calculator.
It’s also a good idea to take a notebook and a stapler so that when interested buyers leave you their card you can staple it into your notebook with some relevant information jotted next to it for future reference.
Tip 9: Plan your display
Give yourself plenty of time beforehand to plan your display. This often gets left until the last minute (something I’m guilty of!). A beautiful and eye-catching stand can make all the difference at a trade show, the competition is fierce so it pays to really think of the best way to display your products.
Give buyers ideas on how they can use / display your products themselves. Try to be creative and original, you don’t need to spend a fortune, search charity shops or look around your home for interesting props.
Have your logo clearly displayed, you can get sticky vinyl ones made up relatively cheaply.
Tip 10: Get to know the neighbours
Use quiet times to get to know your neighbours, you can learn a lot from them.
Take some time to have a look around the show yourself, it’s good to see what the competition are doing and you might get some good ideas for stand designs for your next show.
Would you like to be featured on The Design Trust blog? Alexandra contacted me directly, and as her tips and images are great, we published her. If you would like to be featured, then contact us in the first instance by email with some suggestions of crafts or design business topics and a link to your website, and we will take it from there.