Good grief, I don’t know how it is that I failed to post this when Bethany sent it to me! She sent it to me at the same time Kim sent her trip report and I meant to run them at the same time. Many apologies for the late posting!
I know you have all been waiting for my next installment of Georgie World goes to a trade show, and now you can all relax because I finally had time to sit down and write about my experience at Bubble NY this past weekend.
For those of you who are new to F-I, Bubble NY is a children’s clothing trade show that runs at the same time as ENK Children’s Show– a HUGE children’s clothing trade show in NYC. Bubble is what I like to call a ‘boutique show’ because it is much smaller and the clothing is of a higher price point and most of the manufacturers showing there have some really beautiful clothing. You are not going to find polyester christening gowns or a sock booth (unless it is some really cool socks) at Bubble, which you WILL find at Children’s Club. This is my second time showing at Bubble and you can read about my first time here.
Well kittens, this was a totally different experience from my August showing. Traffic was down and I only got a few orders. The reason I am telling you this is so those of you who are new will know, when you do a trade show there is a good chance you will not get enough orders to make up the cost of travel and your booth. But the way I see it is, when you show at a trade show you are reaching hundreds of buyers and it makes your company seem more legit. I see trade shows much more as a marketing cost then a way to get orders. Plus I get to meet buyers and talk with them about their business and what I can do to help them get the type of product they want.
I keep a small notebook and a roll of tape available and I take a card from each buyer who seems interested in my line. Then, as soon as they leave, I make notes on each buyer- what they talked about, what they were interested in, if they were a new store, what other lines they carried, and what my follow up should be. I managed to almost fill my little notebook and I have a TON of follow up to do. This was very different from my August experience because most stores actually ordered at the August show, so I had very little follow up to do.
As for why traffic was down, it could be a few reasons. First of all there is a perception we are going into a recession. Buyers are being very cautious with their dollars. The second reason is it is still early in the season and buyers know they can wait longer with the smaller manufacturers. We usually don’t manufacture overseas and can therefore wait longer to close the season. The third reason could be most brands at Bubble are newish and many buyers only have a set amount of money for trying new brands. So a lot of buyers will take line sheets and then decide later which are the best looks for their stores. This is where follow up is important.
Bubble NY was in a new venue this year, and as usual it was beautifully presented. It was located in a building about 3 long blocks (about a 7 minute walk) from the Javits center, which is where Children’s Show is located. The show was set up like an art gallery with booths running along a long ‘narrow’ room and then there were some booths in the middle which created pockets along the way. So a buyer would start at one end of the venue, walk along and look at booths on one wall and then walk down the other side. This was a nice way to present the booths and it made sure most buyers saw each manufacturer. There was really no bad booth location in this venue.
So to end my post about Bubble NY, I will tell you why I think it is a great show for the new manufacturer: the costs are way lower then with ENK Children’s Club. The set up is beautiful and the feel of the show is more like an art gallery then a trade show. You have to apply to get in, so I would find out when they are excepting applications for the August show and if you get accepted, I think it is a great way to get your feet wet at a trade show.