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How to Market Yourself as a Designer at the TNNA Summer Trade Show

Posted By TNNA HQ, Friday, June 2, 2017
Updated: Thursday, June 1, 2017

TNNA Summer Trade Show: How to Market Yourself as a Designer

By Brenda Bourg

Attending your first TNNA show can be very overwhelming, so I've asked three experienced designers for their best advice to new attendees.


All three designers agreed that setting appointments with the top companies you want to meet with are a top priority. Go through the exhibitor list carefully, and make a must-see list and a secondary must-see list. When you set your appointments, be specific about what you would like to meet with them about, such as a proposal for a jacket, sweater, etc. Be sure to keep your meeting brief, 20-30 minutes at the most, unless your contact says they can give you more time when you schedule the appointment. Wear business casual attire with very comfortable shoes  you will be on your feet a lot!


If you are a new or unknown designer, bring a one-page resume that has thumbnail photos of various projects that are representative of your skills. Or even better, if you have a tablet, create a portfolio of your designs. You are more likely to sell your work if they can see visuals of your capabilities.


For more experienced designers, bring photocopies of book covers or designs from magazines to hand out to contacts. Be sure to bring plenty of business cards and give them out. You will also collect a lot of business cards in return write notes on the business cards while on the floor. This will make it easier to remember what was discussed and help with follow-up organization. You may also want to bring a small notebook, pen, and tape or small stapler. This can help organize the business cards.


Don't forget to stop by and thank companies who have given you support in the past. It is a great chance to introduce yourself and put a face with the name. If you are a published author, check to see if your publisher is there and if they offer to do a book signing. Also, if you have a book and one of the yarn suppliers is there, ask if they will display your book. This is a great opportunity to bring in wholesale orders!


If you continue checking back on a busy booth to introduce yourself to no avail, drop a card off and get a card to follow up later. That said, never, ever interrupt a meeting unless someone calls you over. Often, an official meeting looks like a casual conversation. Business relationships can be quickly ruined over this.

Don't ask for materials from a company you've never worked with before. Instead, ask about their supply support for designers' policy. If they offer it to you, then it's fine to accept it.


You do need to work the floor, but make sure to take some breaks, too. Your feet and sanity will thank you! Your first show can, and probably will, be very overwhelming and your brain can be quickly overstimulated.


One of the three designers said it best: "I guess the bottom line is that if you want to be considered a professional, act like one. I think that sums it up."

About the Author

Brenda BourgBrenda Bourgauthor of Fair Isle Tunisian Crochet, is also an editor, writer, spinner, knit and crochet designer for 10 years and counting. She is co-editor for Annie's Talking Crochet Update newsletter – a job she's enjoyed immensely for almost 4 years. Brenda also loves to blog about crafting, encouragement, finding humor and beauty in everyday life on Encouraged by Design.

Tags:  Business tips  Designer  Summer Trade Show  TNNANews 

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