Tips About Trade Shows

This weekend, CitySlips is headed to Accessories the Show at the Javits Center in NYC. ATS is one of the industry’s largest trade shows, and the CitySlips team couldn’t be more excited to debut their newest styles and products to buyers from around the world! We will be there right alongside a ton of other cool, women-owned companies like Bootights, Marcia Leichter, BootTux, and Maggie Bags.

With all of the planning, prepping and sample schlepping going in our office this week, the trade show is at the top of the list in our ever-busy office. Ever been to a trade show? They’re fun, but can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers! Since we’ve done, ahem, more than a few trade shows already, we thought we might share some tips and insight about what a trade show is like and how to make the most of it!

Snacks: Trade shows can be loooong, and the food choices can sometimes leave us lacking for something a little more nutritious (and also less expensive – $12 for a sandwich? Ouch!). We always bring along some snacks to avoid headaches and keep energy up. KIND bars are awesome and created by a fellow entrepreneur, so we must admit we’re a little biased to these. Luna bars are also delish and have SO many good flavors…chocolate dipped coconut anyone?! Lastly, it’s never a successful day at CitySlips HQ without a few (read: a lot!) cans of Diet Coke nearby, so we may or may not have a mini-cooler under our booth’s table filled with the stuff. Don’t tell 😉

Notepads/Pens: These are always good to keep handy for anything – booth ideas, inspiration for a new product, scribbling down our next entrepreneurial endeavor on the back of a napkin… plus, the Jet pens featured on DailyCandy recently are too cute!

Business Cards: It’s always a good idea to carry a business card with you – you never know who you’ll meet. There are a ton of networking opportunities at trade shows, so it’s a good place for us to exchange contact information with others.

Photo via BrooklynSocialCards

Photo via BeastPieces

Still a student? Get one anyway! List your name, school, graduating class, phone, e-mail and be proud of your pre-career accomplishments.

Having your own business cards won’t hurt outside of the tradeshow world either. You’ll look professional in interviews or at any event where you meet a new contact. These are a few neat custom business cards that can be made online (or to get inspiration to hand-make your own). These stand out and so will you!

Networking Tips: What to do with your new business cards?! Oh, right – netork! Here are some tips we follow to this day.

1.     Write notes on the back of newly collected business cards (i.e. petite, marketing for 10 yrs, brown hair). You’re going to (hopefully) meet a lot of people. Write something that will jog your memory when sorting through stacks of business cards later that night.

2.     Send follow-up emails! Yes, to everyone. Possibly annoying slash also time consuming, but you really never know what can develop. If you don’t think there was much in common, a generic “pleasure to meet you, let’s keep in touch” email is fine. See more potential? Suggest coffee or lunch next week to chat if there seems to be opportunities to work together.

3.     Avoid talking about negative things (rain, traffic). Disregard the fact that it might have taken you approximately 30 minutes to get a cab in a monsoon – keep it light and pleasant.

4.     Examples and stories of your career or accomplishments are more memorable than a generic timeline or cut-and-dry facts. People are more likely to remember you as the awesome girl who ran in the marathon last week than your position as an account manager. Be yourself – you’re awesome – we promise!

Are you coming to the Javits Center this weekend? Reach out via Twitter, Facebook, or right here on the blog and let’s make sure to meet up! We’ll be there from July 31-Aug 2. Here’s a photo of our booth last year… and yes, we’ll be the ones in navy and hot pink again this year!

Susie's moving so fast setting up she's just a blur!

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