It’s important for business owners to attend some kind of trade show regularly – whether it’s Quilt Market, AFCI’s Creativation show, or even a regional gift show. Being able to see product in person, and often before it’s fully in the market, is necessary for keeping your store current, and up-to-date.
Finding unique products for your store is important. We’re in a competitive world and stores need to have something that sets them apart. Going to market creates an emotional connection between you and the industry. When you attend, you start to perceive how new products will feel in your store and how customers will feel about them.
Before you leave, decide on your budget limitations. Look at the vendor list and write down those you must see. Do you have events or classes you need supplies for? Make a shopping list so you can search for them and compare prices between several vendors. Pack business cards and credit reference sheets. Make sure you have your flight and hotel confirmations in a folder, that your driver’s license and credit cards are up to date, and in your wallet. Bring clothing and shoes that are comfortable. And don’t forget your badge!
Everyone has their own strategy for walking the show floor. Some walk and order as they go, others walk the entire floor quickly, making note of booths that look interesting so they can return. If you want to look at fabric, have appointments made in advance. One important thing is to be aware of your time. Make notes of trends, colors, and styles you see as you go along. It’ll give you some direction to consider later.
If you have the time, take a few days before or after market to be a tourist and explore the area. Check out some quilt shops to see how they differ from yours. Then go home and conquer the quilting world with all you’ve learned at Quilt Market!
We hope 2019 is off to a good start for your store! We’re looking forward seeing you at consumer shows we’ll be attending as well as Quilt Market in Kansas City.