Three Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Trade Show

Hello! It's trade show time! I've been busy preparing for Progressive Greetings Live, a brilliant greeting card industry trade show that takes place Tuesday 5 June and Wednesday 6 June at the Business Design Centre in London. I'll be there at Stand 778 for the second year in a row with loads of new designs. This will be my third trade show, and I'm really looking forward to it now! I wanted to take a minute to reflect on Three Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Trade Show. It's a stressful time preparing for a show and I'm going into it feeling pretty well prepared this time, even though I'm sure there are some things I missed but I'm feeling ok.  

  1. It is really brilliant meeting people who own lovely shops who are interested in selling your work. It's a bit of a buzz really. Working on my own from a small home office like I do means I rarely get to meet customers face to face and it's so lovely to get the chance to do that. To get the chance to interact with them, answer their questions and have a nice chat. 
  2. Eat regularly and drink enough water. When I'm at home I have good meals and I snack on healthy snacks throughout the day. Both times when I've done trade shows I've made sure to keep some snacks in my cupboard so I don't fall into a blood sugar trap. I also drink a LOT of water when I'm at home which is more difficult to do when I'm away (and especially when I'm manning a stand on my own and don't want to spend all day rushing back and forth from the toilet). I stay as hydrated as possible so I don't have that horrible feeling at the end of the day of being dehydrated.  
  3. It's going to be ok. I was so full of panic in the lead up to my first trade show. It had cost me so much money that I didn't have, I had a lot riding on it. I worked so hard on it and it deeply effected my mental health as well as my physical health. My anxiety was at an all time high and I wasn't taking very good care of myself. I had list upon list upon list (which I now keep the updated versions so I never have to go through making those again!) and I was so worried I was going to forget something obvious. I didn't. I didn't forget anything (OK, I forgot one thing but it was seriously no biggie, I just forgot my lip balm). Even if I would have forgotten something it wouldn't have been the end of the world and I'd have managed to sort it out, I'm sure. I feel more prepared now that I have that master check list. I also feel a lot more relaxed about it. 

I'm just packing up the last bits and getting a good breakfast in now before I head out in two hours. I'm really looking forward to catching up with the lovely shop owners who have my work in their shops and chatting with some of the lovely people from the greeting card world. If you own a shop and are in London Tuesday 5 June or Wednesday 6 June make sure to come by - it's definitely a show worth catching! 

Have you exhibited at a trade show? What did you learn? What did you wish you knew?  

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