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Summer Trade Show: After the Show

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, June 29, 2017
Updated: Thursday, June 29, 2017

Summer Trade Show: After the Show

By Stephanie Shiman

The summer market is over, your bags are unpacked, and several new projects are underway. What now?  The TNNA summer show is excellent for discoveries, inspiration, connections, and overall appreciating this awesome industry, we are all a part of.  


Now that you’re home, how can you use what you learned and keep the creative juices flowing?

Whether you’re a shop, designer, or vendor, the following applies to you.

  1. Debrief yourself (and companions, if you took others with you).  Take notes!  You won’t remember this stuff next month!  What inspired you?  What are the new trends you should stay on top of?  What did you see that could set you apart and give you an edge?  What do crafters want to learn?  Which items are vanishing from booths that might be a heads-up that they’ve had their day in the limelight?
  2. Next, deal with all the paperwork you came home with—the flyers, catalogs, and business cards.  Evaluate what you will realistically want to remember later and which things don’t seem as useful.  Write notes on the keepers so when you come across them later you will remember why you kept them.
  3.  What crafty things did you bring back—that special skein from SampleIt or that free pattern you can’t wait to get started with?  Make a special place for these items for future projects so they don’t get lost in your stash.


Shops: When the orders start coming in, how can you be sure they get the best visibility to inspire your customers like they inspired you?  

  1.  As soon as you get back, begin sneak previews of items that you will add to your shop’s offerings.  Put a table up front in your store and cover it with samples and cash-and-carry items from the show. Use social media to start a buzz.  Even if you don’t have the items in hand, use photos from the vendor’s website or photos of finished objects (with permission) from Ravelry to get your customers excited.
  2.  Space out orders if possible, even if it means waiting a week to put them on the shelf.  Keeping your shop continually new and fresh is a great way to keep customers coming back. Update your social media outlets with photos from each new shipment along with inspiration for using the new products.  
  3. Unbox orders on Instagram. This hot new trend for social media really gets people excited. Start a live video when you unbox the order, describing the items as you go. Potential customers can then comment if they’d like you to put something aside for them. Just be sure to give a cut-off date for pick-up, and if items aren’t claimed, add them to your shelves.
  4. Show your customers what makes this or that new item unique. Most crafters don’t really need more craft supplies, but we do buy more when we are excited about a new project. Inspiration is the key! Classes, trunk shows, and shop samples are perfect for this.


Designers: What did you see that really inspired you?

  1.  Each year new yarns come out with new qualities. How can you best highlight the hottest new yarns? Staying on trend with the hot yarns will keep your work fresh and appealing.
  2.  What new techniques and construction methods are knitters really into right now?  Garter is out, garter is in. Brioche is hot. Chevron and odd angles are in. Felting is out. Lace is always in. Incorporate currently trending techniques into your work.
  3. Whom did you connect with at market that you would like to work with? Be sure to reach out with design ideas and proposals whenever you have them.  Everyone loves to bounce ideas around when inspired at the show. It’s important to show intent by following up with solid ideas after the market.Vendors: Hopefully you’ve come back with plenty of orders. Now the real work begins.  Besides just filling them, try these tips to keep re-orders coming in.

Vendors: Hopefully you’ve come back with plenty of orders. Now the real work begins.  Besides just filling them, try these tips to keep re-orders coming in.

  1.  Educate your customers on new items. Even a quick and dirty information sheet tucked into orders is helpful. Key phrases about your products are especially useful: “This kit comes with a full-size skein and three mini skeins as well as a shawl pattern behind the label.” The more a shop knows and understands about your product, the easier it is for them to sell it.
  2.  It can be hard to predict before the show what the hot sellers will be. Now you know! Therefore, stock up on those items as soon as you can, and filling re-orders will be a breeze. When something is hot, everyone wants it yesterday.
  3. Do you feel like some products didn’t get as much attention as you thought they deserved? Use your social media outlets to highlight anything that might have slipped through the cracks.
  4. Believe it or not, even though the summer show has just ended, it’s the perfect time to think about what you’d like to launch next season. Often seeing your product line laid out and taking orders face-to-face is a good way to see where your holes are. Prepare now to fill these holes next season.
  5. Pack up your booth items, for storage, in a way that makes it easy to prepare for the next show. January seems a long way off now, but it’ll be here before you know it.  

Overall, use what you’ve learned at market to keep things fresh, inspired, and interesting!


About the Author

Stephanie Shiman (www.frabjousfibers.comstarted frabjous fibers and Wonderland Yarns in 2004 with a box of yarn stashed under her dining room table.  Now, with a team of a dozen or so creative people, FF&WY hand-dyes fabulous yarns and fibers that make their way to LYS all over the world.

Tags:  Business tips  Summer Trade Show  TNNANews 

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