If you're a passionate scrapbooker, you may find yourself wondering what it's like to attend a scrapbook trade show.
About Scrapbook Trade Shows
Scrapbook trade shows serve several functions:
- Trade shows provide an opportunity for scrapbook store owners and retail buyers to get a first look at soon-to-be released products from top manufacturers like Making Memories, BasicGrey, and Bazzill Basics.
- Trade shows offer writers and designers from Creating Keepsakes, Simple Scrapbooks, and other popular publications a chance to learn more about industry trends in order to keep their readers informed.
- Attending a trade show is a great networking experience for anyone interested in scrapbook career opportunities or starting a scrapbook business.
Popular trade shows for scrapbookers include:
- Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is a leading scrapbooking and paper craft trade show featuring over 5,000 exhibits as well as workshops, seminars, and product demonstrations.
- Scrapbook Expo offers monthly trade shows across the USA.
Since scrapbook trade shows are industry events, they are not open to the general public. To attend a trade show, you typically need to be a registered member of the trade organization. A valid business license or other documentation may also be required. However, scrapbookers who work as design team members for magazines, websites, and other scrapbooking publications do occasionally manage to get a trade show invitation.
Contrary to popular belief, trade show attendees do not receive a gigantic stash of free products. Many booths do have freebies, product samples, raffles, or contests, but it's more common for attendees to leave with an assortment of catalogs, brochures, flyers, and product order forms.
Trade Show Survival Tips
Once you've managed to register for your first scrapbooking trade show, it's time to formulate a plan of attack to help you make the most of this exciting experience. According to trade show veterans, you'll want to remember the following helpful tips:
- Ask for a map of the trade show in advance so you can create a list of exhibits you want to see. Having an itinerary for your day makes the trade show experience much less stressful.
- Dress professionally, but wear comfortable shoes. Trade shows involve lots of walking!
- Pack healthy snacks and plenty of bottled water to boost your energy level. However, it's a good idea to avoid eating anything that will leave you with messy hands.
- Keep a paper and pen handy to take notes. A highlighter may also be useful.
- Bring about twice as many business cards as you think you'll need.
- Print several sheets of address labels so you don't have to write your contact information whenever you register for a mailing list or enter a raffle.
- Take a large tote bag so you have a convenient place to store catalogs, brochures, and other relevant information.
- If you're placing orders for a retail store, don't purchase anything on the first day of the show. Comparison shopping is the key to smart decision making, so take the time to evaluate all of your options.
If you've created a new product and have your own trade show booth, these tips can help you to design a memorable display:
- Make sure you have plenty of brochures, catalogs, order forms, and product information sheets. You don't want to turn away a potential customer because you've run out of literature!
- If you're trying to generate media interest in your product, put together a simple press kit that includes a news release, product information, photos, and your company business card.
- To quickly generate names for a mailing list, considering offering a drawing for free products or other prizes. Having attendees drop a business card into a large jar to enter your drawing is very convenient.
- Try to avoid having a booth staffed with just one person. Exhibiting at a tradeshow is a stressful and hectic experience. You'll want to allow time for breaks throughout the day.