Las Vegas Market Summer 2017 – Part 2

Finally recovering from the crazy week we had in Las Vegas! I wanted to take a few days to let all the craziness subside and really think about how I feel about the show’s outcome. This being my first show I honestly did not know what to expect so I just tried to be as prepared as possible and put my best foot forward.

The World Market Center is open year round. For those of you that have never heard of Las Vegas Market it takes place 2x a year (January and August) at the World Market Center in Las Vegas. It’s a wholesale trade show where buyers can come and shop the showrooms and booths for their retail establishments. They have different items that are sold there in the furniture, home, design, gift, and handmade categories so you can find anything from jewelry, to stationery, to bedding, to furniture, to wall decor, to Christmas decor.


So if you’re wondering about exhibiting at Las Vegas Market or how my business did then read on.

Since it was my first trade show I don’t really have a unit of measure to really compare to. Moreover, I didn’t really have a sales goal, my only real goal was to make contacts which I think I did. 

I was in the 2000 row with some fellow friends I had met through Tradeshow Bootcamp. Our row was sort of in the middle of the Gift section. I had a 10’x10′ corner booth and I think it definitely had its advantages. My corner booth was in the middle aisle and I was really happy with the location. My only gripe was the heat, OMG the heat. Traffic coming into my booth in general for me was slow, some days better than others. But I think there were multiple factors that played into that for me personally. For instance, I’m new not only to Las Vegas Market but also the wholesale side of stationery so my brand is still very new. But I did get compliments on my booth and how polished my presentation and product was! So yay to that! I could have definitely done more to prepare, though.

As far as budget goes, I had a budget of $7000 (booth space, hard wall build out, hotel and travel) and came in below budget. For booth expenses, I got the hard wall package from the show because it was my first time and made a decision early on that I wanted it to be as stress free as possible. The thought of building my own hard walls and to ship it to Las Vegas was an overwhelming undertaking in my mind so I thought it would be better for me to have them build the walls for me. I could have definitely saved money in that category and lowered my spending by over $1000. But it definitely had some big advantages:

  1. The walls were up and ready when I arrived for set up on Thursday
  2. Lighting was already provided and you would normally have to pay extra for this
  3. Electricity was provided which you would also normally have to pay extra for
  4. It only took me 7 hours to set up and 35 minutes to tear down

That being said, depending on what is more important to you it might not be that bad to spend the money on the hard walls. I also bought a table and 2 chairs from Ikea and paint/supplies from Lowes. I brought everything else in luggages. I rented a car for 1 day to do all my running around, next time I’d probably rent it for 2. Travel expenses were really cheap for us, got an Airbnb at MGM Signature so we were able to cook and save money on food. We were also able to take the free shuttle to and from LVMKT which made it unnecessary to keep the car rental and saved us money there. I also found the shuttles to be very convenient instead of waiting in line to get out of the parking garage if I had taken a car.

The thing that’s really weird and throws me off about this show is the separation of the show between the showrooms and the pavilions. If you go to the show, you see these beautifully designed buildings and then when you see the pavilions (where we were) are across the street and they’re a temporary tent type of thing it just doesn’t give me the excitement that the permanent showrooms in the buildings do. I also think some buyers just don’t want to go to the pavilions because they either need to wait for a shuttle (in the heat) or walk there (in the heat), and then on top of that it’s hot when they walk into the pavilions.


Overall I think this show has great potential for us stationery and gift kids but I think it’s not quite there yet. It’s going to take some time and investment to make this a go-to place for what I sell. And as much as I want to, I just don’t have the funds to commit to 2x a year. It’s a process, trying to grow your business. Things take time, especially earning money for big investments.

When will I be exhibiting again? I’m not sure. I want to try Las Vegas Market again in the winter, but 2018 is a mere 5 months away. I’m not going to be ready by then, I have some great ideas for my brand and product line but it’s going to take a different investment this time. It’s going to take time. Who knows, I’m not even sure it’ll be a good fit for the wholesale market. I hope it will be!

I learned a lot about myself and my business at LVMKT. I am so glad I did it and I hope to be able to do this again. Trade shows are tons of fun for me. But now it’s time to take what I learned and grow. I have a lot of great ideas, make sure you stay tuned for what’s next!

xoxo,

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Las Vegas Market Summer 2017 Part 1 – Set Up

Hello from sunny (and hot) Las Vegas!☀️

It’s been quite the trip so far, OMG. First, we miss our flight to Las Vegas (it was a domino effect from the beginning of the day). Then we try to get onto the last flight on standby and barely made it on. My assistant, Katie, made it on pretty quickly. We thought she was going to have to get everything together alone if we didn’t make it onto the flight. They actually closed the gate already before seating us on the same flight. Praise the Lawd we made it!

Once we arrived everything went pretty smoothly. We’ve been setting up since Thursday afternoon. Things didn’t go exactly according to my agenda but I allotted plenty of time in case. I knew it, nothing ever goes the way you plan it.

Planning and deciding what to do for my booth was really tough. Since it was my trade show debut I had no idea what to expect except my experience at craft shows. I decided early on that I wanted hard walls so I knew I only had 2 options, ask the hubby to make my walls or hire out to have it done. I knew that for my first show I wanted to just focus on my products and making my booth look professional. I’m pretty sure it’s more compared to doing it ourselves (can’t say with certainty cuz I haven’t done the math to compare) but I didn’t want to stress about shipping, a crate, storage, etc.

We set up for about 3 hours on Thursday and about 5 hours on Friday. When we arrived the walls were up, I was SO excited!!

I wanted to add some visual interest as well as incorporate my brand colors in a big way so I decided to paint the lower third of my booth in navy blue. I was actually really nervous to do it, worried I would make my booth look small and dark. But I think it turned out really good!

Stay tuned part 2 of our Las Vegas Market recap! I’ll be posting our finished booth pics there 😜

This is going to be an interesting ride! Let’s go!

Xoxo,

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1 Month Until Las Vegas Market

I can’t believe I have a 4 short weeks until we leave for Las Vegas for Las Vegas Market! 

We’re sooooo behind lol.

In the next coming weeks we’re going to be finishing (and starting lol) the catalog, send out mailers to retailers, and finalizing the details for the booth design.

I just wanted to share that some days I’m really excited to go and finally do my first trade show for CO Creative Cartel. Other days I’m really scared that this investment in my business is going to be a complete waste of money. 

And to me, that’s okay!

In my life experiences I’ve learned that I’m okay with life being messy sometimes. Okay, most of the the time. It takes a lot to try something, especially when it’s not a for sure thing. 

At least you tried right? My dad always used to say that.

So I’m going to try and grow my business at Las Vegas Market. If I fail, it’ll be okay. If I succeed, even better!

xoxo,

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