Here's a subject I have zero expertise on. So if you're reading this, and you've done these, I'm looking at you. (you in the sense that I'd like your input and insights, so put it in the comments section or email me).
I had a choice of the first major trade show I would do. It was either going to be the Today's Parent Show in Toronto, or the One of A Kind Craft Show, also in Toronto. Strictly by the statistics, you may disagree with my choice. One of a Kind can pull 250,000 people through the doors over the course of a week. Large audience. And beyond that, it truly is a marketplace, meaning people come to buy. The Today's Parent Show boasts 16000 people through the doors over 3 days. I went with the second one for a few reasons:
1. Smaller show, easier to get your feet wet.
2. Aimed directly at my target audience.
3. Parenting Media out in full force at the Parent Show.
4. Some direct sales, but this wasn't the point.
I am trying to take the long view that the more I get the word out, and the more exposure I can get for Smicko'z, the more I will create a brand. And once I've created a brand, I will create more retail opportunities. I wasn't certain One of A kind could do that. Now don't get me wrong, I want to sell product. I have just this morning fedexed off the package to One of A Kind for their Christmas show. It's juried, and it's not a for sure that they'll accept Smicko'z. But if they do, I will likely get to move a lot of product there - which will be great at chipping away at start up costs. I have decided to carry those costs longer. Some might think it's odd, to choose to stay in debt longer. But as I said, this is my long view, and it may be wrong. And truthfully, if I were to sell out of the first production run, I would use whatever capital there is, plus draw on the same debt to create the second run. Now, it may be smarter to create the second run. I already know (from the dynamic working framework) that my second run costs will be about 10% less than my first production run. And having a second run shows that you're there to stay.
I have a 10' by 10' booth over at Today's Parent. Inside will be this crazy carpet I purchased, a table, two wire displays full of product, (with these fabulous large dolls on top of them, each wearing a Smicko, thanks Darcy at DEW) my bannerstand (thanks Altered Perceptions), a clothesline accross the back with each Smicko hanging from the wood clips, and some Smicko's materials and the Moneris machine layed out accross the table.
Firstlly, a word about Moneris. You can be up and running and taking Visa/Mastercard/Debit in about 5 minutes with a portable machine. I was psyched when I received this in the mail. There are user costs associated - but I decided it would be a little too minor league to not take credit cards. Secondly, they track everything, and spreadsheet it for you at the end of the event. You can buy/rent/or special event these handy little machines. Special event is the most economical for now. The booth next to me, Tail Wags Helmet Covers rents hers. But she's years into this, and I am months. Incidentally, Karen over at Tail Wags has also been a huge piece of my network, advising me on a lot of small business start up and penetration (thanks Karen!).
The show is 3 days, 10-6 each day. And I've got two beautiful and amazingly energetic women volunteering to man the booth with me. Partiatlly so I can wander to other booths and introduce myself to anyone and everyone there that should be selling Smicko'z and networking with Smicko'z. More terror on my part. The public speaking face for three days straight. Anyone have any advice on the approaches?