MY FIRST TRADESHOW
Is Tradeshow 1 or 2 words?
If you didn’t already know, I have a moderate case of social anxiety. This is a self-diagnosis, but if you’ve ever talked to me at a party since 2014, you would probably agree.
I’m not comfortable with small talk and I HATE talking about myself. Other things I don’t like to talk about: politics & money. I mean seriously, I have no business being at a social gathering. And yet, for some reason I decided to subject myself to 30,000 people at a tradeshow who all want to talk to me about one thing: me.
A tradeshow is basically my worst fear, but so very necessary for my business. So what’s a girl to do? Just freaking do it.
Back in June, I got a call from Dwell (see: absolutely wonderful design magazine) and they asked me to participate in their Dwell on Design LA tradeshow to be held in approx 3 weeks from the date of that phone call at the LA Convention Center. I was honored, I was excited, and I was so totally scared about what they were going to charge me for the privilege.
A note to young entrepreneurs: be prepared to pay to play. Let me explain.
Your first fee is for the booth itself. It averages to about $50 per square foot.
Do you have signage or graphics to be put in your booth? Luckily, I know photoshop and illustrator so I was able to design my own graphics and business cards. But I had to pay for nice printing and installation. $$$
What are you going to put on the floor? No, you can’t just have a bare floor. Sure, the company running the show would love to give you some carpet…for a price. I had Hunter’s step-dad aka most wonderful human ever install flooring. He didn’t charge me, but how often does that happen?
Next, how are you going to get your product into the show? For most people, you can carry it in yourself. Unfortunately for me, my furniture weighs a thousand pounds (an exaggeration, but it is still pretty heavy). When you can’t carry it in yourself, you need the show runners to bring it in for you. You are brilliant! Yes, it costs money. PER POUND.
But you also don’t trust them…they’ve never carried anything for you before and your furniture is your baby! So you make a crate for them to be stored. Oh god, that crate is like the opposite of Free.
Don’t even get me started on the parking fees.
Do you get what I’m saying? There are hidden costs to everything and I’ll be damned if my readers don’t learn this right now.
OK OK SO IT’S NOT ALL BAD.
I made it on my favorite Design Blog: Design Milk in their BEST OF DWELL. I mean how freaking sweet is that?
I sold some product. I met some cool people. Tyra Banks sat in my chair! But the most important things were feedback and experience.
So will I do another trade show? Yes. In the near future? HELL NO.
If you’re thinking about doing a trade show, tweet me @LexPotato. I’d love to talk you in or out of it!!
Love to all my Introvert-Entrepreneurs,
P.S. INTRO-PRENEURS!!! DID I JUST MAKE THAT UP? Somebody google if that’s already a thing.