Now that I’ve been home for a week and have had a second to breath, I’ve been trying to compile my reflections on the crazy week that was Pool Tradeshow. I relied heavily on what other vendors wrote on their blogs so I figured I should contribute as well.
WEEKS BEFORE POOL
Focus on getting all your promo materials off to the printer ahead of time! I’m fortunate in that in addition to designing jewelry, I’m a graphic designer as well so I created my linesheet, wholesale catalog and promo postcards myself. I use gotprint for postcards and business cards and magcloud for catalog printing. Both companies are domestic and have quick production times.
If you have the time, set-up your “Shop the Floor” online profile and participate with any event sponsors. Storenvy had a large presence at Pool so I set-up a free online shop with them and in turn, the promoted me at the show and now I’m a featured brand!
Obviously the most important and time consuming task is to make as much product as you can ahead of time as well. But what is even tougher is knowing what to bring stock of. A month before Pool, I scored a huge wholesale order with Therapy Stores up in the bay area and I sort of based what I decided to bring on what they ordered for their stores, and it was huge success.
The Mandalay Convention Center is very chaotic during Magic Market week! I didn’t know exactly where to load or unload, so just go there knowing there will be lots of confusion and be patient. Perhaps the most crucial thing you can do for yourself is to have a partner-in-crime and I was fortunate to have my friend Francis with me there the whole time. She is a jewelry designer as well and came to help me, but also see if the show would be a good fit for her in the future.
Once we figured out where to go, set-up was a breeze. The rules seem pretty strict on paper regarding what you can or cannot use in your displays.. but in actuality you can pretty much do what you want as long as you don’t pin anything to the back wall and keep all of your items on top of the table. I did a mock set-up in my garage a couple days before so that I didn’t spend hours moving stuff around, like I tend to do at craft shows.
DURING THE SHOW
- I tried to have stock of at least 10 of each piece of jewelry I had displayed (8 bolder/statement necklaces, 5 pendant styles, 5 ring styles, and 5 earring styles)
- I had samples in trays of everything else I offer wholesale to view for Purchase Orders
- I sold random jewelry samples as well
- My minimum was $150 wholesale price and that seemed to be very reasonable to most buyers. There will always be a few who get confused about this, so I found it best to make shoppers aware of that from the get-go
- I listed both wholesale and MSRP prices for every item
- Have lots of blank Purchase Order forms on hand
- Go to at least one of the events/parties! I made some great connections at the Opening night party (even though all you’ll want to do at the end of the day is go to sleep immediately!)
Pool is not a cheap show… even the Cash and Carry section is expensive, while being the cheapest option. I was nervous investing this much into something that could possibly have been a huge flop. I have to say I worked my ass off the weeks leading up and I did my homework and researched as much as I possibly could: reaching out to friends who have done the show before, reading blogs, searching through all of the Etsy Seller’s Handbook articles, etc. And all in all, it totally paid off. Not only did I sell a lot on the spot at the show, I came home with some big POs and a notebook full of business cards for potential shops and other opportunities. If you’re thinking of doing the show, I suggest doing the same. Just be ready to worker harder than you ever have and if all goes according to plan, you’ll come home and work just as hard keeping up!
HAVE SOME FUN
I booked an extra night in Vegas so Francis and I could relax a bit. Most people thought we were crazy for staying a 5th night, but I’m glad we did! We drove out to Red Rock in the morning, went shopping in the afternoon, and I got us tickets to see Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace that night (which is the best show I’ve ever seen in Vegas, hands-down).
Feel free to shoot me an email if you need any advice or if you would be interested in any of my graphic design services! firstname.lastname@example.org