Thursday, November 19, 2009


Years ago I used to help my daughter sell her products at trade shows. At that time she was into sewing baby clothes and in particular, she had a popular line of flannel PJs that she sold.

So I learned first hand that doing trade shows is a bit of an emotional roller coaster, especially if your product was something you had made – it was a part of you. Doing trade shows is also very labour intensive. It takes time to set up the booth and when sales are good and everyone loves your stuff, it all seems worthwhile.

But when you go and sell nothing, it is so discouraging and whether you should or not, you end up feeling somewhat rejected.

I share this because I know some of the vendors at our Christmas Show met with mixed results and it is hard not to take it all personally, especially when you have worked hard to make your product or hand-picked what you think will sell.

I found the “not-knowing-what-will-sell” was one of the hardest aspects as each show was different and you could never really predict what would be the hot number of the event. So much depends on the people who attend, whether they are looking for what you have to offer; have the budget to cover the cost and are genuinely there to shop.

I know we did a show just recently and it was evident from the way the people strolled around, deep in conversation with each other that the show was just an outing, not a serious shopping trip.

I truly admire those of you who do trade shows on a regular basis. Maybe it’s my age but I find all the lugging of stuff just physically exhausting, let alone the standing for long periods of time, and as for looking cheery and welcoming … well, sometimes it is a stretch. So pat yourself on the back – you are showing true courage because you are putting yourself out there and if you have the right product, in the long term, it will pay off.

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