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Trade Shows

29 Jun 2022

Attending a trade show – Exhilarating or Exhausting?

Having just returned from attending a trade show, I thought it might be fun share my experience. When my husband owned his manufacturing business many years ago, I attended and worked several trade shows. Man, they were work. A lot of work. 

It all starts with R&D (research and development) and then comes months and months of product testing, booth design and employee training. Set up was always stressful because there was always at least one part that didn’t get shipped. 

Once everything was in its place, polished and shiny, there were hours and hours of standing (in high heels no less) handshaking and smiling. At the end of the day, there were customers to schmooze with cocktails and fancy dinners. My feet would hurt so bad by the end of the evening, I would sit on the counter in the bathroom at the hotel and soak them in the toilet! (Yes, the toilet and yes, it was clean) It took too long to fill the tub. Ah, those were the days…. NOT! Fortunately, today I am the attendee, so I get to be the one to walk around, look at all the shiny new things, and ask all the questions!

To someone who loves yarn and swoons over gadgets, attending a trade show is a little like Imelda Marcos entering Jimmy Choo. I don’t know what to look at first. Do I go to the brands/dyers I already know? Or do I skip them and go straight to the newbies. Ok, decision made, now what bases do I choose? What about color? I love blues and greens, but my entire shop can’t be blues and greens. Oh my gosh, I haven’t even made it to the notions area! And oh, did I just walk by the Atenti booth? Needles and hooks and scissors, oh my!! There is just so much to see.

Brenda Hedstrom, Retailer name tag

Then a reminder on my Apple watch tells me it’s time to go to the class I signed up for, so I rush out of the hall, find the classroom, and take out my notebook. But my mind keeps drifting to that gorgeous sky-blue Suri alpaca. Now what booth was that in?

Many beautiful hand dyed wools hanging

Back at my hotel l that evening it’s time to go over my class notes and sort the accumulated samples. I’m ready to begin to write orders. Should I order from that new dyer or the tried and true? Is there too much blue and not enough yellow? Will my customers buy those new needle sets? So many decisions to make. Suddenly, I came to the realization that it really doesn’t matter whether you are exhibiting or attending, trade shows are stressful. Then again, I do love squeezing new yarn and trying shiny new needles. When were the dates for next years show?

Brenda Hedstrom


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