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What To Expect As a First-Time Attendee at the Summer Trade Show

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, May 18, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 8, 2017

TNNA Summer Trade Show: What To Expect As a First-Time Attendee

By Angela Davis

You’ve made the decision to attend the TNNA 2017 NeedleArts Summer Trade Show to grow your business and connect with industry professionals. Now what? The benefits of attending the TNNA Summer Trade Show are numerous and knowing what to expect will help you plan ahead and get the most out of your experience.

Planning your time is easy with TNNA’s Buyers Guide, which you can download on the TNNA website. This guide provides the scoop on:

The Buyers Guide also includes what’s new and exciting at the Summer Trade Show, including new features in the TNNA Lounge such as the Education Theater, where attendees can benefit from 30-minute exhibitor presentations, and panel discussions to discuss industry updates, trends and to hear what you have to say.

Walking onto the show floor the first time is a bit like being a kid in a candy store! The show floor is easily navigable, and organized by product segment (check out the floor plan here). You will be able to see new products, talk with sales reps, company owners, authors and designers, place orders, and network. Many vendors offer small-scale samples in the form of mini-skeins, mini-kits, color cards and more.

The classrooms offer a nice opportunity to meet and speak with fellow students for a few minutes before and after your sessions. These educational presentations are a great way to meet others and grow your business while learning.

Most events are business-casual unless otherwise noted, and again offer you the opportunity to be among the first to learn about new products and trends and to network, to connect with friends, and to find inspiration and encouragement in our dynamic and growing industry.

Here are a ten tips to help you plan and get the most from your first time:

  1. Think about your attire. Wear comfortable shoes. Most attendees dress in business casual clothing. The temperatures can vary wildly, so light layers are a great idea. It is tempting (and encouraged) to wear your own handwork and/or handmade designs, and again, light layers will ensure that you are comfortable.
  2. Share information and paperwork electronically. Fortunately, a lot of paperwork is now exchanged electronically, and we encourage this whenever possible as it’s better for the environment and a more affordable option for the vendors. Plus, you’ll save space in your bag!
  3. Bring an organized, spacious bag. You’ll need a bag or tote that allows you to comfortably carry printed items and product samples that you pick up, plus room for that portable, semi-mindless project you enjoy working on during breaks, lectures and classes, and while visiting with old and new friends.
  4. Bring a portable power supply. Most of us rely on tablets, mobile devices and computers to do business — make sure you have chargers and extra power supplies.
  5. Plan a route. Deciding your “must see” booths in advance helps increase the likelihood you’ll make it to them all.
  6. Keep your badge front and center. Make sure your badge is in plain sight while browsing trade show booths for easy identification with other attendees and vendors.
  7. Bring plenty of your own business cards. You'll be meeting vendors and attendees from all across the country on the industry's largest trade show floor. Now is the perfect opportunity to network, network, network!
  8. Be a smart shopper. Take advantage of show specials (like TNNA Buyers Bucks), discounts and sales.
  9. Make the most of each opportunity. There is so much to see and experience! If you’re a designer, take this advice from Dora Ohrenstein, designer and TNNA Content Committee member: “If things are quiet in a booth, I find the person who is a decision-maker, then introduce myself as a designer right away. I am always wearing my own design at a show, and I have photos of my work easily accessible on a phone or other small device to show anyone who’s interested.”
  10. This show is for you! Enjoy and have a good time. If there is anything that we can do to help make the experience more productive for you, please see a TNNA staff member or volunteer and let us know how we can help!

Your first time at the TNNA NeedleArts Summer Trade Show is sure to be invaluable to your business and will provide endless opportunities to help you achieve your goals at the show and in the future. If you haven’t already, register today! We look forward to seeing you in Columbus.

About the Author

Angela Davis

Angela Davis, B.S.B.M., is a fiber artist, Craft Yarn Council of America certified-hand knitting instructor, author, artist and designer. She is passionate about supporting the needlearts, handcrafting, slow-fashion, visible mending, supporting small-batch producers of ethically and ecologically sound fibers, and reducing textile waste. Angela has taught knitting on European and Japanese tour buses, started a knitting-for-charity club at an inner-city high school in Los Angeles, has knitted props for the television show Mad Men, and is a contributing author and designer for publications including Piecework, STUDIOS, Knitting Traditions, and Sockupied magazines.

By day, Angela is director of product development and artist relations for internationally renowned punk, garage, rock and metalcore bands. She lives in Long Beach, California with her three sons. Angela’s Ravelry ID is alittlebird, and you can find her on Instagram as @angelaxdavis and on Twitter as @angelaxxdavis.

Tags:  Summer Trade Show  TNNANews 

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Lee Bernstein says...
Posted Friday, May 19, 2017
I enjoyed this. Thank you!
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