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:
- The walls were up and ready when I arrived for set up on Thursday
- Lighting was already provided and you would normally have to pay extra for this
- Electricity was provided which you would also normally have to pay extra for
- 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!