by Judith Bright.
Below are two pictures of my wholesale trade show booth – one from my first exhibit in 2007, and one from the following year in 2008.
You can see the difference that only comes with experience!
Judith Bright Jewelry
Trade Show Booth, 2007
Judith Bright Jewelry
Trade Show Booth, 2008
What I Learned from Attending
My First Wholesale Trade Show
I wrote this fresh from my first show in New York, and I hope that you jewelry designers will find it to be helpful:
I recently participated in my first wholesale trade show – and it was a biggie.
My collection was accepted by Accessorie Circuit in NY, a jewelry and accessories show run by ENK International. It was a beautifully organized, well-styled top notch event.
I had a great time and picked up some new accounts.
I originally thought I’d applied for the August wholesale trade show but I had actually submitted for the May show. I felt that I had to go since it was a great opportunity.
The hitch was that I had to get everything together in 2 weeks. It was crazy to say the least. I had to get a handle on things at warp-speed!
Ship your jewelry insured ahead of time
I made the mistake of carrying it on the plane.
The overhead bins were too small in my teeny plane from Nashville and the flight attendants asked me to check my luggage at the gate.
I was visibly upset and the flight attendant got the pilot to come out of the cockpit. He picked up my suitcase and then my assistant’s suitcase full of jewelry to see if they could go onboard in the pilot’s luggage closet.
It was a big deal and I had to go through it twice!
Also ship your display items ahead of time
I sent a good portion of my displays ahead of me, but carried 2 duffle bags full of busts and t-bars.
Each suitcase cost me in baggage overage. It would have been cheaper to have sent them in several boxes via UPS.
Plan what you bring carefully
Since it was my first wholesale trade show I brought everything.
I didn’t really have an idea of what and 8’x10′ booth would feel like. I ended up taking half of it down as I felt it was too overwhelming for the buyers.
My advice would be to pare down your collections to only your most popular items, and display those items beautifully and creatively.
If you offer those items with different stones, make sure you have time to make them in each of those stones as they will show better.
Label your items with the wholesale prices
I had index cards in frames for every item I brought.
It was too much extra stuff on the eyes, so I ended up taking them all down.
What I’ll be doing next time is tagging each item with the price, so when people pick something up the price is right there.
Allow 6 hours for setup
and 3 hours to take down
It took us 1 hour to bring our stuff in and 5 hours to set it all up.
It took us 2 1/2 hours to pack up and 30 minutes to take it out.
The lighting package is 4 lights and I added 3 more.
It was definitely worth it for the sparkle factor.
Yes on the wallpaper
They had the option to have the European hardwalls papered in thick paper. There were several color options.
There wasn’t a person in the place that I saw who didn’t use the paper.
It gives a clean crisp line.
I had logo signs made up on poster-board and they looked nice and professional.
There are also removable custom logo decals that many people had which looked even better. They stick to the booth paper nicely and give a clean finish and presentation to the booth.
Fastsigns.com can deliver signs very quickly. They are a great resource.
Bring your own rug and table cloths
If it is feasible for you to bring your own rug, then do so.
There were several booths that had seagrass and sisal on the floor, which suited their designs really well and looked really clean and nice.
Also, people brought in their own tablecloths to cover the standard issue round table that comes with a booth package.
Shelf and display rental
I chose to order shelves installed in my booth.
They weren’t the greatest looking and were a bit crooked. Luckily my booth paper was white and it didn’t really show.
I’d opt for the wood display units next time.
They were a bit more expensive, but would make a much better presentation.
Carefully price your goods at the wholesale level to allow double and triple keystone pricing for your buyers.
I actually lowered my wholesale prices a bit when I got home.
Also, most of the designs I have are available in 9 different stone choices. They each are priced differently as they each have a different carat price.
But, the buyers who stopped by commented that it was confusing for them to have to mark everything differently.
So I made it easier for them and decided to take a stone average so that each item was the same price to them.
On some stones I lose but on some I win. I’m hoping it will average out and so far it has.
This is all to say, keep your buyer’s needs in mind first and foremost.
They are only interested in items they think can sell – for a nice profit!
Don’t listen to rude buyers –
there are some in every crowd!
Don’t take anything personally that a rude buyer might say.
For instance, one buyer told me that “I had to be kidding” to sell a particular bracelet for what I was selling it for.
She threw it back on my shelf in disgust.
At another point a buyer was touching one of my necklaces. I told her it was a particular stone that is rather unique and asked her if she had seen it before.
She told me that she didn’t like it when “we” (the sellers) talked to her and that it “totally” ruined her concentration.
Both of these things were a shock to my system, but I was able to laugh it off and take it in stride.
If you ever encounter this – laugh it off for sure! Most people were really nice!
Make sure you take time in designing your order forms so that you’ll be able to write up an order quickly.
A place to stash “stuff”
Consider bringing some kind of nice storage container to put your purse and coat and miscellaneous supplies in.
Make sure you bring a sheet that is long enough and wide enough to cover the front of your booth at night.
You can also bring large clips to attach the sheet to your light bar as well as the sides of your booth.
EVERYONE had one. Luckily my adorable booth neighbor had an extra one and gave me hers.
EVERYONE left their jewelry in their booths set up over night.
This was a shocker to me as I was reluctant to do so, but there is good security at the wholesale trade shows. This made things much easier.
Stand up in your booth
at all times
This is very important. It’s extremely tiring but it’s necessary to welcome a buyer who may be right around the corner.
It’s a great reason to bring someone to help you work your show. Then one person can sit while the other stands.
The days are long with several minutes of no traffic.
Have a great time!
You are there to show off your hard work and accomplishments.
It takes a lot of hard work and energy to get to a wholesale trade show. Enjoy it and feel good that you’ve done a great job.
Your confidence will rub off on the buyers and you will have great success!
Jewelry by Judith Bright is worn by a number of celebrities, and is often seen in TV shows and films. Judith says, “My passion is creating quality jewelry for women, that they can wear every day – and having it be affordable enough for them to add new pieces frequently.”