Exhibitor FAQs

Exhibitor FAQs

TNNA Welcomes YOU!

We are so excited that you are wanting to know more about TNNA! Please take a look at our FAQs so we can best assist.  If you have a question, but it’s not addressed here, please contact us today and we will be happy to help.

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Who attends TNNA shows?

Simply put – retail buyers are our target attendees and wholesalers are exhibitors.  Our membership is made up of all people from the needlearts craft community though (teachers, indie dyers, designers, publishers, tech editors, and so much more) and every member has the opportunity to attend TNNA events. The internet has changed the way we all sell – so we understand that wholesalers and retailers have a dynamic business model which is why we maintain a strict policy at TNNA events that only those who have a booth are welcome to sell.

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What do attendees expect to see/get out of these events?

Our retailers attend TNNA events primarily for the industry exposure, classes, and, most of all, to see as many wholesalers in person at one time as possible to place orders. They want to sell your product in their shop!  But what attracts them to purchase from you?  Making your booth look exciting always draws a crowd – it’s a creative industry – get creative (within reason – we do have height regulations so please check with us if you are looking to have the world’s largest knitting needles in your booth). The general flow tends to be that retailers first look, then buy (they may do this over a couple of days).

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What’s on the agenda for the show?

Please refer to the Summer Show 2020 schedule for exhibitor hours and details.

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Is Cash and Carry allowed? Can you sell from your booth at the show or is it an order-only event?

TNNA events were set up so that retailers can place large orders and that is still the main purpose of their attendance. That being said, cash and carry is allowed – meaning you are welcome to sell your product from your booth. Many shops appreciate being able to take home samples or a small amount of product for immediate sale or “coming soon” displays. Remember: retail buyers need receipts so be prepared to provide them.

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I see some special sponsorship add-ons in the contract that I’m not familiar with. What’s Sample IT!, Fashion Show, and Discover What’s New? How do those work? Can I take part?

Yes! We would love to have you join us in these special exhibitor events that help highlight your products to our attendees! Sample IT! and the Fashion Show take place on Thursday evening – we know it’s a long day for the busy wholesaler who sets up your booth and THEN heads to these events, but these events on the eve of the show floor are often times what can set the tone for your weekend. Here are descriptions of each add-on:

  • Sample IT! is a sample event that takes place on Thursday evening with other participating exhibitors. Think of this as TNNA’s Black Friday event. Wholesalers get a 6’ table and over the course of 90 minutes, you sell samples of your product. The point is to package these samples in 2-3 different package options so that buyers have an option of what to purchase but are not overwhelmed by your vast inventory. Be prepared to hand over receipts during this event- again, the fewer sample options, the easier it is for you to have pre-written receipts that you can hand out with each purchase. Also, we do have Wifi so you can use digital payment options such as Square. See pictures of Sample IT!: Picture 1 | Picture 2 | Picture 3

  • Fashion Show is just like it sounds – a fashion show of the latest designs, yarns, and accessories. From a needlepointed patch jacket, to a beautiful shawl, dress, shawl pins, or bags – we provide the models and they will wear what you provide down the runway. Models wear black typically so bring something for them if you prefer your accessory or outerwear to be paired with a specific outfit. We also ask that you provide us with preferred measurements and gender. TNNA supports an inclusive and diverse audience and want to ensure our models are reflective of that goal. Fashion Show Pictures: Picture 1 | Picture 2 

  • Discover What’s New is a stationary setup that runs all three days of the show. Placed in front of registration where attendees pick up their badges, Discover What’s New is a creative set of tables where you display your product in an imaginative way. The display voted “best in show” wins a free 10x10 booth for the following Summer Show! Here are some pictures of what other exhibitors have done: Picture 1 | Picture 2 | Picture 3 | Picture 4

  • Education Theater: Some of our most popular presentations have been on industry trends, creating custom yarns, color trends, and ergonomic needles! Located on the show floor, the theater educates attendees about your products or business solutions. You get 30 minutes to present in the Education Theater — for example you can present a product or innovation, conduct a demonstration, or provide an interesting case study. A monitor provided for electronic presentations. Please provide your own laptop, if required, for presentation.

  • Make & Take Pavilion: This new sponsorship add-on is setup as a classroom at the back of the hall. Purchase a spot on the contract application and you are given 60 minutes to teach participating attendees how to make a sample using your product (free to all attendees who show up – unless you want to charge a fee for the sample – which you can do and would be responsible for collecting payment onsite). Times are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Here are some ideas on Pinterest and an independent crafter.

  • Designer Showcase: We work with designers to ensure our yarns can be displayed in the best possible way – through their design genius! So TNNA has created a space to show off these designers. Know a designer who should be shown off? Forward them this link or sponsor them by purchasing a space for them and have them use your product!

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What is the expected attendance at the shows?

The Summer Trade Show is typically around 800 retailers. TNNA is constantly working to grow our attendance list. You can help us by sharing our posts on social media (we share and it only goes to our network of followers – if all of our exhibitors share our posts, it could reach tens of thousands of more potential attendees). Help us help you and share away!

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What is the drape color of the Summer Trade Show?

We tend to choose neutrals – greys and whites usually. It’s a little too early for us to confirm drape color for Summer 2020, but please be sure to check your exhibitor services kit (due out in Spring 2020) for final details.

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What about hard walls? Can I have a hard wall booth?

Yes. Pipe and drape is our standard offering in your booth package. Our event decorator (the one we have typically used is Blaine) will provide more information on shipment so you can ship your hardwall booth or order it using your exhibitor services kit (due out typically 2-3 months before the shows).

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What’s space selection and why is it important?

Space selection is when you pick your booth.  Since we get so many contracts in over a series of weeks and months, we put together a couple of days for each event to hold a live space selection.  When we say “live” we mean – a virtual floor plan that is updated each time a company picks their booth space.  Before the big day, we email you a call in number and time based on your place in line.  Your place in line determined using TNNA’s priority points system.  The more you participate and the longer you are a member, the more points you get.

The Summer Trade Show space selection is February 18-19, 2020.  You have to have your contract submitted by February 10th to take part. After space selection, exhibitors may pick their space first come, first served.

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What does a typical and creative booth setup look like?
Picture 1 | Picture 2 | Picture 3 | Picture 4 | Picture 5 | Picture 6

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What does a table top setup look like?

Picture 1 

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Exhibit staff badges - How do I buy them? How much do they cost?

At the Summer Trade Show, your first 10x10 provides you with two (2) staff badges and you receive one (1) more for each additional 10x10 space purchased. Again, additional badges are $20 each.

When you go to register yourself and staff, any additional badges above and beyond your allotment will be billed at the end of the registration process online.

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Do I have to use the decorator/exhibitor service provider to load in my booth?

No. You are allowed to unload your personal vehicle and walk your bins from the loading dock to your booth space. Please note that in previous years, exhibitors have been provided with 15-20 minutes to unload their first 1-2 loads at their booth before they would need to then drive their vehicle around in a loop in order to provide all exhibitors that may be in line to begin unloading a chance to at least unload their first 1-2 loads in their booth. If you would like assistance with moving items, our contractor does provide labor, of course, this does come at a premium cost. Other exhibitors often have family members/staff assist with their move in process.

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Does the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland use union labor?

Yes, all rules and regulations specifically outlined by the Huntington Convention Center are specifically included in your Exhibitor Service Kit (projected release of Spring 2020).


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Who is the event decorator for the 2020 TNNA Summer Show and how do I reach them?

Blaine is TNNA’s Official General Services Contractor for the 2020 Summer Tradeshow. The Exhibitor Service Kit will be made available closer to the first week in March.


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What does the decorator/exhibit service provider invoice look like?

We will upload an example for you just as soon as we have it.  Until then, if you get an invoice from anyone that doesn’t have a TNNA.org email address regarding anything TNNA, please forward it to us first so we can verify if it is legitimate.

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Does TNNA have hotel room blocks at discounted rates?

For Summer Trade Show, the Hilton Cleveland Downtown will be our TNNA largest hotel block. The Hilton is connected to the Huntington Convention Center, which keeps you all under one roof. TNNA will also offer smaller hotel blocks within walking distance, which are still TBD at the moment. We will update as soon as we have those confirmed. Visit our housing page for discounted rates.

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How does move-in work?

One week prior to the 2020 Summer Show, you will be provided with important pre-show information including a Move In Dock Pass. You’ll want to print this off and then this should be set in the front windshield of your car once you leave to begin unloading. Once you arrive at the loading docks of the Huntington Convention Center (address to be provided in future email communications), you can then begin unloading from your POV (personally operated vehicle). Exhibitor Move In will be from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, 2020. This should provide you enough time to unload and setup your booth, however if you need more time, you can let TNNA Show Management know (our staff will be in purple vests onsite) and we can then have security grant you access to stay later and/or arrive early before the hall opens on Friday.

Please note that if you sign up for Fashion Show or Sample IT, you will also need to give yourself time to drop off any garments on this day (upstairs above exhibit hall at check-in desk) and/or time to setup your table for Sample IT (conveniently located in the back of the exhibit hall this year!).

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What does being a member of TNNA mean?  What are the benefits?  Do you have a mentor program?

TNNA membership means that you have an edge on the latest industry trends and news; opportunities to connect with fellow industry professionals giving you the chance to make long-term business partnerships; participate in industry-wide events that drive more buyers to your business, and more.  Benefits of TNNA membership are constantly being updated and added to, the list below is currently offered to our members:

  • Member Communities - A new peer-to-peer forum in TNNA’s member hub. It is a place to crowdsource ideas and to ask questions of fellow industry professionals.
  • Industry Networking - Access to fellow needle arts professionals from across the country through our online and downloadable Membership Directory.
  • Resource Hub - An extensive and growing catalog of knowledge created by industry leaders to help you find answers to your everyday business questions fast.
  • Wholesale Tradeshows Complimentary and discounted registration to TNNA’s two main events – the Winter Market and Summer Trade Show.
  • Social Media - Stay informed on the latest trends and industry news with our biweekly e-newsletter, TNNANews, social media channels, and blog.
  • Growth Opportunities - Serving on a TNNA committee is an excellent way to develop skills and make a difference.
  • Member Events Increase your profitability through our members-only industry events such as Local Yarn Store Day.
  • Diversity and Inclusion - The opportunity to build a more inclusive industry through a committee and education devoted to actively recognizing, empowering, and representing that work.

The TNNA mentor program gives new exhibitors the option of pairing up with a veteran exhibitor to show them ropes. It gives the new exhibitor a chance to ask questions, get connected, and better prepare to exhibit at the show. Veteran exhibitors that sign up for the program are afforded an opportunity to make a new business connection and show a new comer how to successfully navigate and prepare for the show.

I know someone who is a supporting business (designer, tech editor, indie dyer) and they want to get in front of TNNA retailers.  How would that work?

TNNA has developed the Designer Showcase and the BCS Pavilion for those independent businesses – we call them Business and Creative Services. Currently, they can sign up for a table top or take a time slot in the BCS Pavilion at the Summer Trade Show.  Know a designer who should be shown off? Forward them this link or sponsor them by purchasing a space for them and have them use your product! Please have them reach out to Emily Marxer, emarxer@tnna.org, for more information.

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I was recently contacted by someone that didn’t have a TNNA.org email address but they claim to have the attendee list.  Do they?  Should I buy it?

Definitely not.  There are so many scammers out there just trying to make a buck.  If the email is not from someone at TNNA or you think it looks fishy, please don’t hesitate to have us take a look.  If it is scammers, TNNA will send a cease and desist.  You can be a huge help in our ongoing efforts to get rid of these false emails.  See something? Say something and email emarxer@tnna.org.

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