Shoe Exhibition- Wrongs and Rights
Three days at the GDS shoe exhibition in Dusseldorf passed like a moment, and most of what I remember is not an exhibition or the preparation for it but the route, hotel-exhibition and back with a suitcase in my hand. This reminded me a film starring Steven Martin, "Planes, Trains & Automobiles". I was the John Candy character, always on the road , just me, my products and the suitcase .
I participated in the exhibition of such a global scale for the first time, so the lack of experience lead to many errors. Some of the mistakes I made are strategic errors and I want to mention them in this post, perhaps, this information will help other young designers to avoid them.
First, book the hotel as early as possible, at least few months before the event. This will save you a few dollars, as the prices for rooms in the hotel grow during the exhibition. Second, you can arrive on the first day of the show, if you have an early flight. You can build your stand on the same day in the morning, arriving just straight from the airport to the exhibition. Don't worry, if you're not some big shoe company, then you will have enough time to get everything set up and you will be ready for your visitors. Anyway, at the first day there are no many visitors during the morning hours.
The most important thing is, to bring biggest collection as much as possible, I would say everything you have done from all seasons! Since it absolutely no matter if you have mixed different seasons on your stand. The main thing is to present as much, models of shoes, as possible to the public, this is what draw attention. Believe me, designers bring everything they got. If you think you can pull it off with a small but impressive collection and the right buyer will find you, you are wrong. The buyers don't have much time to waste and they will pass your stand without even noticing.
After the first time participating the exhibition you will find out what is the best place for your stand, usually the organizers stick the young designers way far at the end of those big halls. My suggestion for you is to look for some kind of a food&beverage stand, it always the most crowded spot and will be a great place to get your stand notice.
I almost forgot, one thing you MUST DO. Few days before the exhibition, please send by email an invitation to your customers to the event, even those with whom you are not working yet, but feel that they can be your potential customers. The exhibition gives you a chance to invite guests with a free pass, it is very useful and your clients will appreciate it. Don't forget to mention the number of your stand , Hall number and even make a map, how to get to your stand.
There are still lots of small things that need to be taken under consideration when preparing for the exhibition, but it will come to you with experience, all the main points I have mentioned here.
See you at the next event and good luck to all!