Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tradeshow Exhibition to Enter the Wholesale Market

I just booked our spot at the California Gift Show in Los Angeles on January 21-24!  This is probably the biggest thing that has happened to my business to date.  The Gift Show is an international trade show that matches retailer buyers with wholesale sellers. We are going as a wholesaler.  This will give iVi Scents the opportunity to get into shops, boutiques, spas, department stores, hotels, amusement parks, etc.

Usually, new exhibitors are relegated to the back of the convention center, because the prime real estate is reserved for more senior exhibitors.  However, the Git Show sales representative told me that I called at exactly the right time, because she was about to give this booth away to someone with more clout.  Instead, she gave it to me.  Favor. The iVi Scents booth is going to be towards the front of the L.A. Convention Center along the main pathway.  In fact, buyers will have to pass my booth in order to get to all the other booths.  The sales representative also told me that we should pick up at least 20 to 30 vendor accounts if we set up our booth well. That means iVi Scents could be coming to a store near you!

I could have chosen a booth with the bare necessities, namely drapes and piping.  But I opted for the next package up, which means that my booth comes with hard white walls, black carpet, and a light installation.  I chose this option for two reasons: 1) the location is better, and 2) the booth is move in ready.  I can paint, install shelves, and decorate if I want, but I don't HAVE to.   Having options is key for me.

Since I've never set up a tradeshow booth before you have the opportunity to learn with me. I'll have to scour the internet trying to find good ideas.  I've been working with a graphic designer to create my new website and product packaging, so maybe she can help me out.  She'll have to design some really big posters, brochures, and fliers! 

Tradeshows are a unique opportunity to put your products in front of people who will buy them in mass amounts on behalf of their stores.  Are your products scalable for this kind of purchasing?  For instance, I wanted to make my soaps in fun shapes and colors, but then I realized that they could not be mass produced easily (scalable).  So I had to employ a simpler shape that could be reproduced quickly and easily.  Scalability is what's going to separate the men from the boys in business.  It's also what determines who gets into the department stores and who stays at the flea market.

Aarin Elizabeth is the founder of iVi Scents | Nontoxic Bath and Body
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  1. A good tradeshow booth always has samples. With products as delicious as yours, an emanating scent will draw them in. Make sure that whatever collateral you have to hand out speaks directly to your target audience(s) - it's often worth it to put together fact sheets/rack cards for all possible audiences. Just basics, but coming from my experience...good luck girl! I know you will do splendidly :)