Trying to build wholesale sales for your brand? Fashion trade shows can be an excellent way to do this, but be aware purchasing booth space in a trade show is not as easy as show up and start writing a million orders and watch your business boom. Like anything in life money isn't free, and as we are now in late June, trade show season is upon us, which means if you are going to participate, you need to pull the trigger now so you have enough time to successfully prepare. Here's the 5 ways to kill it at your next fashion trade show.
1 | Pick the Right Trade Show for You
It's important to really survey your options as there are many fashion trade shows and likely one that might be a better fit for you. Nicole from Startup Fashion has published a comprehensive list of fashion trade shows here, so please study and select. A few pointers, you may get more exposure by starting at a smaller regional show like the New York or Texas markets. Las Vegas is a fashion trade show powerhouse but while everyone is there, it's easy to get lost in a sea of brands and leave with no orders and $10,000 in the hole.
2 | Advanced Marketing
Be building hype in advance. You should be talking to your weekly email subscribers about the exciting things coming to the show (this should be to an email list of buyers - not customers). Additionally, be announcing your show details on social media, bring followers behind the scenes as you prepare, and build anticipation. Come up with creative ideas, like maybe a giveaway during the show? If you want a smart marketing strategy, get that here.
3 | Be Talking to Buyers in Advance
Now is the time to amp up your retailers outreach. Be finding and reaching out to new accounts about your show presence and a sneak peak at your line sheet and what they can see in advance. I recommend making the goal for this outreach to book appointments, as it's easy for buyers to get too busy at the show and never stop by. To avoid cancelled appointments, use Calendly to secure the meeting, and input your booth number, as well as request their phone number and email. Then on the day of give them a friendly call 1-3 hours before your appointment to say hello and let them know you're looking forward to seeing them soon. Trust me, you'll be glad you did this. If you need a crash course, check out our Rock Retailers course.
4 | Create a Beautiful Booth
Once you are onsite you want to stand out as much as possible. I'd first do a quick glance over your show's exhibiting rules just to be sure your plans don't get cancelled by show staff. From there, start brainstorming, the thing to keep in mind for trade show booth design is you want this to look like a mini retail boutique. You are creating a brand experience that will be enticing to buyers, just like you would in a store for shoppers. Pro tip: have a bust with your best seller on display, it'll help your product stand out from the rack for passerbys.
5 | Make friends with the Trade Show Staff
The trade show staff are your new best friends. Ask your sales representative if you can get a corner booth, and especially if you're new ask for a great traffic location. Also ask to be connected to the marketing team. Put on your publicist hat and gather if they have a show newsletter you can be included in, and request if you can be included in their social media during the show. With these marketing requests be sure you have your pitch ready. What makes your brand story special? You can prepare for this with our Pitch Press course.
Follow these steps and you'll be in great shape for building sales at your fashion trade show. And let us know if you'll be exhibiting in New York and maybe someone from our team can come swing by and see you! Either way, we'd love to get you ready for a great season, so check out our online brand courses and grab the best plan for you.