Behind the Scenes: Making our Project Booth
This is a continuation of yesterday's post of our booth at Project Show. I love, no I LOVE a good behind-the-scenes post.
When I first started doing trade shows (I think 7 years ago), I knew NOTHING about them. I would search and search online trying to find other brands that had posted ANYTHING about their trade show experience so I could learn what to do, how to do it, and not look like a total idiot to buyers I was meeting for the first time. As they say, fake it 'till you make it.... Luckily a lot of brands did share behind the scenes posts and that was super helpful and what I didn't find online Jackie and Lauren from Voz Collective help me so much with their advice.
Our most recent show was Project Las Vegas. Project was always a goal of mine since you share the floor with brands like Ralph Lauren, Alternative Apparel, 7 for all Mankind, Champs, Calvin Klein, etc.. So while WAAS is a small brand and we get a small booth, having those names as our neighbors always means we need to have a great looking booth.
We were in a section within PROJECT called THE FOUNDRY. This is a small section within the larger show where the brands that are new to PROJECT are placed together. This is what our booth looked like when we first got there.
This is the view from our booth. Right now it's just a bunch of plastic wrapped furniture, but once it's all done, it's the lounge/bar where buyers come to sit for a minute and relax.
As always, we shared our booth with our friends from MADE IN MAYHEM (now CASUPO). Honestly the reason we keep doing shows is because sharing your booth is THE SINGLE BEST THING you can do as brand for shows. Cutting your costs in half is awesome yes, but also cutting the workload that it takes to set up is PRICELESS. Simply the amount of trips you have to do from the car to your booth can take you half of the day if you are doing this by yourself.
It takes such a long time because all the Convention Centers have union workers and you have to follow union laws. And one of them is the use of dollys. You cannot use anything that has 4 wheels. You have to stick with 2 wheel luggage carts with plastic wheels. Look at our shelves, tables, rack, stock... how many trips do you think we did from the parking lot that is half mile away from our booth?
Every show we do, we build an improve from the previous show display. These shelves we have used but every show we change the color and for this show since we knew the walls behind us were light weight and we couldn't hang them from it, we built stands for them.
Other than sharing your booth, LIGHTING is the second most important thing for your booth. SPECIALLY if you sell jewelry. It doesn't matter if the show tells you that they have great lighting and additional lighting is not needed. DO NOT listen to them. Bring extra lights. Bring as MANY LIGHTS AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.
SEE. This is how you do it.
Preparation is they key of smooth execution. Knowing your space and the size of the fixtures you will use allows you to just EXECUTE instead of trying to decide things as you are setting up.
Usually setup time is from 8 am to 6 pm. We always get there at 8 am (to get the closest parking spot to the casino / convention center entrance) and we usually leave at 6:30pm!
This show we had a special helper.... Luz mom came help. I don't advice, if the show is in Las Vegas, to bring friends to help. Your friends will say they are coming to help, but they are really going to party. Bring a family member who will actually help you!
The fun part begins when all the furniture and fixtures are in place and you can start merchandising.
ALWAYS pre-merchandise at home to make sure you actually have room in your booth for all your product.
Try not to leave ANYTHING for the day of the show. You want be fully rested and not need to still do a million things the morning of. That said, you will ALWAYS have stuff do to the morning of. But if you aim for nothing to do, then you will have very little things to do.
Always, take as many photos as you can. That way you can write a blog about it ;-)
This photo makes me happy. Seeing all our hard work. We always get compliments from our buyers. We have even won a free booth for having the best designed and merchandise space at a previous show! Merchandise your space as if it's your own little retail store for 3 days. Your booth is a reflection of your brand but also of YOU and you want to show buyers that you will go the extra mile for everything.
We love loVE LOVE doing trade shows. Over 300 stores around the world carry or have carried our line in the past and this is all because of trade shows. Having direct feedback and talking to buyers is amazing and very helpful knowing how different customers, states, and countries prefer certain types of jewelry and which of your pieces are more popular in different stores. It is always fascinating to me how some stores can't keep bead bracelets in stock because they fly off the shelves when others want zero bracelets but want hundreds of compasses. So as a brand knowing that is priceless intel and really helps you give your brand direction and add new styles based on what sells best for your retailers.
I hope you enjoyed the tour! If you are a new brand thinking of doing trade shows, I love paying it forward since so many other people helped me get here, so please ask me anything and I am happy to help you.
Till next time Vegas.