The countdown has begun. Only 8 days left before we're headed to Las Vegas for the largest tradeshow for anyone involved in the children's industry, the ABC Kids Expo. It's a great way for children's vendors and manufacturers to meet with the independent retailers, mass merchants, online retailers and interior designers as well.
I attended this show last year as a "new exhibitor" and it was quite an eye-opening experience! I have been in business for quite a while, but had never wanted to tackle the task of preparing for such an event, not to mention the huge budget that has to be set aside for 8 days in Vegas. I learned so much through that first time experience that I'm taking with me this year. My booth will be bigger and better and I now know what to bring and what not to bring. I'm excited about the opportunities that could come about. Even being a first timer last year, I was still able too catch the eye of the Sears buyer...so who knows which buyers I might meet this year!
I have to admit, though...I'm really concerned about the effect our current economy will have on the tradeshow. While the list of registered buyers is up from last year by over 400 attendees, I'm not sure they're all in the position to make a lot of purchases. Several of my current retailers have told me they won't be attending. But I'm trying to think positively and hope that those who have spent the money to attend, will be ready and willing to spend money on new merchandise for their stores.
I'm also looking forward to seeing some of my friends in the industry. There are so many great people I met last year that I'll enjoy catching up with this year. Another highlight is meeting retailers who, up until now, have only been a voice on the other end of the phone line or an email correspondence here and there. It's great to finally have a face to go along with the name and voice!
Once the show is over, or one day thereafter, I plan on telling you about all of the crazy, behind the scenes planning that goes on for such an event. There are so many rules and regulations that have to be paid close attention to (fire codes dealing with all of your display items, for example, has been quite an issue!). Preparation for a trade show can be a huge headache, to say the least and has sent me into a tail spin on numerous occassions. Let's hope all of the planning pays off! I'll keep you posted and in the meanwhile, keep your fingers crossed that my booth walls pass the inspection by the fire marshall...we jumped through quite a few hoops to find that flame resistent paint! (Not as easy as you'd think!)