Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Trade Fair at NEC - Part 1 My Take

Well better late than never a little update on the Strawberries first trade fair.

I had planned to start this post so many times over the last couple of weeks but have put it off and it is only today that I can pinpoint the reason why, mainly disappointment.

Spring Fair International at the NEC is a massive event with over 72,000 visitors, so I felt justified in spending enormous amounts of money having a stand there. It was Strawberry Annie's first trade event, so I was unsure what to expect but felt it was necessary to set goals in order to judge whether it was a worthwhile investment.

Without getting too bogged down in details, suffice to say I did not manage to meet what I felt were realistic objectives, however it was not a total disaster and I learnt some very valuable lessons for any future trade fairs.

I opened new accounts, met some of my customers and got some valuable leads just not in the amounts that I had hoped for.

Spring Fair is clearly not that interested in looking after the smaller companies as I felt we had been ill advised as to what hall to go in. We were completely lost among the bigger stands and where not reaching our target customers. The footfall past the stall was very slow, in fact on three days there were more exhibitors there than visitors.

I am miffed that we had to pay £200 +VAT for marketing but apart from a link on the website I am unsure what this was for?

Right enough of the downbeat stuff on a more personal level, the event was good fun, I had my lovely friend Sarah Timms from Photos By Sarah Photography, to keep me company. Whenever I felt my smile slipping a little she had me back on form in no time, particularly with her running man demonstration in the aisle.

Wandering around the halls it was easy to spot the companies that were not having a good show, some looked very dejected but this in turn can be very off putting to potential buyers, so I worked extra hard to be upbeat at all times.

We based our stand around our branding of being 'The Truly Scrumptious Boutique' and had a genuine 1940's cooker as our focal point of the stand, product was displayed in baking tins, cupcake cases, and even saucepans and to complete the look we dressed in vintage style dresses with hair up in bows etc. It was a novelty to dress smartly each day and it was like being a 'proper grown up' again, something which gets lost among school runs and working on your own every day.

Overall I am pleased with what we achieved, we have secured some new customers which are very promising for the future and we received positive feedback on our products.

Would I do it again? probably not Spring Fair but definitely a different one more interested in its exhibitors.

I am going to ask Sarah for her feedback on the event and will blog this tomorrow.

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