How to maximise your business at trade shows
Polly Williams, the Designers’ Advisor, is the founder of Camberyard, a multi-award-winning interior design business development consultancy. Here, Polly shares her expertise on how to maximise your time at trade shows – and why it’s so worthwhile to attend.
1 Q How will I benefit from attending trade shows?
A Visiting trade shows is entirely to your benefit. Packed with like-minded designers, brands and suppliers all showcasing and sharing ideas, they’re wonderful places to discover new products and develop and strengthen business relationships. This is a rare occasion to be surrounded by so many fellow creative professionals, there to support and inspire each other.
2 Q How should I plan my day(s) there?
A A host of exciting and experienced designers will be there, talking about and exhibiting their brands. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to go through the events’ schedule beforehand, so you know who you want to see, where and when. This is an incredible opportunity to hear about their work and meet them face-to-face, and to encounter new talent as well.
But don’t solely focus on topics related to your business. Seek out the unfamiliar – you never know what new techniques and skills you might chance upon . . .
3 Q What/who should I bring along?
A I tend to advise my clients to go alone – with so much to take in and see, you need no distractions and can prioritise your own time. The more organised and structured you are, the better; only focussing on what you want to see and do works best.
Take a bag, your business cards/brochures and a notebook and pen for jotting down ideas and inspiration as you go, also be sure to bring along a show guide to make notes for future reference. Lastly, wear walking shoes as you will cover quite a distance. The only souvenirs you want to leave with are carefully chosen samples, catalogues, the show guide and other designers’ business cards – no blisters!
4 Q How much time should I spend at each stand?
A Thanks to your careful advanced planning, you should have a good sense of how many stands and talks you want to see. Once there, you’ll gain an idea of what you want to get out of each one and how much time to devote accordingly. Ensure you pay enough time and attention to the brands and products that are going to really benefit your business needs. A few months down the line, when a new project has evolved, you don’t want to realise that some products or suppliers you discovered at a show are exactly what you need – if only you could remember their details.
5 Q Now the show is over, what next?
A I am a firm believer in the power of networking and swapping information and ideas with your fellow creatives. My clients who belong to the Camberyard Collective (a group of design professionals who collaborate, share ideas, barter services and support each other) have all greatly benefited from sharing their experiences together. By having a unique and supportive environment in which to operate, they gain market exposure through bespoke industry introductions.
So, if you have exchanged details with new connections at a show, ensure you follow them up, via a telephone call, email or on social media. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and excitement at the shows and make plans to be in touch – once back in your studio, it’s vital that you are.
Overall, trade shows are designed to be as informative, innovative and inspiring as possible, so go along with an open mind, be ready to learn, make connections – and of course, enjoy yourself!
Camberyard provides interior design business solutions for designers, furniture and lighting companies and fabric, flooring, bathroom and kitchen specialists, offering a variety of strategies to launch new brands or expand your current business through PR, marketing, networking, brand partnerships, trade and retail shows, social media and bespoke workshops. Contact Camberyard for advice on starting up. streamlining or expanding your business.
Don’t miss the Camberyard Business Hub at Decorex 2018!
In this brand new and bespoke pop-up, Camberyard are creating a Business Hub centre for the ‘business’ side of interior design. Founder Polly Williams – the award-winning Designers’ Advisor – will offer specialist interior design business development advice to Decorex attendees and exhibitors.
In conjunction with her unmissable panel talk on 19 September at 12pm, Polly will advise on key business issues including:
- Launching and growing an interior design studio & brand
- fees, proposals and presentation skills
- networking, marketing and PR.
There are a limited number of 20-minute ‘taster’ consultations each day at £45. If you wish to book your slot, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org today. Visit them at Decorex, Stand F33.
The Designers’ Advisor , Camberyard
+44 (0)78 8974 8908