05/31/2011

NSS recap :: part 2…decision time!

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 8:02 pm by meant to be sent

once i got back from my NSS whirlwind trip, i was SO excited and almost positive i was going to do it. i mean, i knew i wanted to, but it was a BIG decision both personally and financially…so i thought on it for pretty much the whole summer…

so how do you decide to exhibit?
for me, i knew i LOVED the custom work i had been doing, but the thing was, there is only one of me…and i can only do so many custom designs at a time. so i wanted a way to supplement that work with products that were turnkey and ready-to-order. this was originally sparked by my peacock and nautical invitations that i realized i was getting tons of orders for, pretty much just as they are. so i thought, what if i had a whole line of ready-to-order designs and maybe some boxed stuff?

i thought a LOT about what my line would be—probably the biggest thing i thought about! what would i debut with—an album? multiple albums? all wedding? mix in holiday and baby? just boxed stuff??

again, being a custom invitation designer up until this point, it wasn’t an easy decision…i took a lot of time thinking about it and once i felt like i had a good solid idea (though i waffled about it for a while still!!) that got me even more excited about the idea of exhibiting (more on this later)…so in early fall i contacted GLM and said sign me up! :D

side note : don’t hesitate to apply as soon as you decide you want to exhibit! i probably would have signed up a bit sooner, but part of the reason i didn’t was because when you apply, you submit your application and product photos…as i mentioned, i didn’t exactly HAVE products (yikes!)…so i kept holding off… BUT i knew i needed to sign up early to get a good/small space.

{ tip: corners and small spaces (6×10/8×10) go quick so sign up early!! }

so i finally contacted GLM in early fall and asked if i could apply even tho my new product line was not done so i didn’t miss out on the space i wanted…they said DEFINITELY! just send photos of the type of products you will be selling…i.e. photos of my custom work was fine. they just want to see what type of product you are selling/your style… so they can place you in the right area etc.

so, whew. that was a relief. i was in!

so what next?
after you apply and are accepted, they will send you a contract and at that time you provide the booth location you would like…now, they will try to accommodate you but it’s somewhat unlikely you will get exactly what you want….but you should definitely let GLM know where you prefer to be. i checked out the floorplan and tried to remember the flow of the show from walking it previously. plus i knew where some of my twitter pals were and tried to get near them! it worked :)

about booth space
when i originally requested my space, i tried to get the smallest space available (6×10), but even 8 months before the show those spaces were gone! so i ended up with an 8×10 booth, which worked out GREAT and was just a bit more than the smaller one, in the grand scheme of things!

originally, i was assigned a booth in the 1500 aisle, which is a fine space but had a feeling that i might want to move based on what i remembered from the layout of the show…so i requested to be moved

note: moving is based on availability, but you can move with no additional charge unless your booth size changes!! — and ended up pretty much right in the center of the show and next to a twitter pal, dingbat press! it was perfect!

now things were getting serious…i had a real space and my own address at NSS!! i actually pinned up the floorplan of the show on the wall in my office with my booth highlighted. total dork, i know, but it kept me motivated and focused as i designed and planned. keep your eye on the prize! ;)

here’s a quick run-down of the planning process so far…
1. first things first…consider exhibiting (is it right for you/your business?)
2. walk the show/network/gather information (i went twice, but i would at least try to go once to check it out)
3. check out the NSS website FAQs and exhibitor info and photos of past shows they have on the site—there is lots of info, but sometimes hard to navigate
4. make the decision to exhibit :: ask yourself…do i / will i have a product that can be sold wholesale and still make a profit without being way overpriced? what is that product? is it different from the competition? how? IMPORTANT :: set yourself apart one way or another!
5. research. research. research. (this will continue throughout the planning process! you will research until you have reached the end of the internet! )
6. sign up! contact one of the show reps listed on the NSS site prior to applying if you have any questions. they are SUPER helpful. kelly bristol was my rep, and she is fab!
7. decide on what size space you think you need. most first time exhibitors go with the smallest spaces. it makes sense financially and usually you are not debuting with a TON of products, so you don’t need a ton of space. but choose what is best for YOUR company and products. and keep in mind, that you are only paying for the space and need to fill this space with EVERYTHING ON YOUR OWN!!!
8. pay the deposit to reserve your space. yup. already time to fork over some cash! to give you an idea of the timing for payment…i reserved my space in mid october and my first payment (about 50% of the booth fee) was due about two weeks later. the final balance was due two months later. so be ready with the initial booth cost when you sign up!

one thing i will point out right from the get-go…if you are not sure about something…ASK. ask your rep, other exhibitors and designers (me if you want!)…most people are VERY willing to help! more on this later too…

next up :: PART 3 — what to show?

3 Comments »

  1. Patti said,

    Oh my goodness! Reading these posts are literally giving me heart palpitations LOL.
    I really want to show… Totally on the fence right now :)
    Can’t wait to read the next part!!

    xoxo
    Patti

  2. […] next up :: PART 2 — decision time! […]

  3. Jennifer said,

    I have a question. If you aren’t a retailer or an exhibitor, how do you go about attending a show? It seems as though you would need to be one or the other in order to attend.

    I’m like Patti! Your posts have me on the edge of my seat! I am learning so much! THANKS!


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