Thursday, March 26, 2009

Webinar Report and Tips

Yesterday (Wednesday), I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of presenting a webinar for NSS exhibitors with two “veterans” (well, they are!) of the industry – Mike Oleskow of Max & Lucy & Modus Operandi, and Anna Griffin, president of Anna Griffin, Incorporated.

The webinar was on Exhibitor Display and Sales, and both Mike and Anna certainly know what they are doing when it comes to creating a great looking booth and selling! My part in the webinar was facilitate the discussion and present the boring stuff (“this is an “S” hook, the floor is made of cement…” ) away from these two superstars!

We had a record number of participants on the call – about 60! It’s terrific to know that so many exhibitors (and they weren’t all new) are so keenly interested and invested in their participation in the Show that they spent the time to “attend” this webinar. Mike and Anna shared fantastic tips & tricks – a few of my favorites were:

On booth design:

1. From Mike - Make sure that your tables do not block access to your product – that is, make sure that your buyers can get right up to your product and can touch it – don’t make them have to reach over anything.

2. From Anna - It’s okay to “double-face” your product. This means you can put the same product in two different places in your booth - a trick that helps you look like you are a bigger company with more product than you might actually be! And it gives you an opportunity to service more than one customer at a time.

What I would add to this is from the show management perspective:

3. Make sure that you display your company name and booth number so that buyers can see it – this is your “address” at the Show, and the way buyers will find you again once they walk away.

On sales:

1. From Mike – make a great first impression – Your booth is your company. Be positive, friendly and professional at all times. More on this - don’t sit down – instead stand and welcome your customers in for a look - all with a smile!

2. From Anna – give your elevator speech. An elevator speech is what you would say about your company or line in the length of an elevator ride. You include 4 things that you want the customer to remember – who, what, where and when. Anna included her own example. So nice of her to share!

What I would add to these two points is this:

3. Don’t forget to ask for the sale! Too many times I hear from exhibitors that they are so excited that stores are interested in what they have, that they forget to ask “would you like to start an order?”

The webinar covered so much more – with photos used as examples for booth display and selling. I can’t give it all away here, of course – those who participated paid for these great tips, after all!

Here are a few comments we received after the presentation:

“Even though 2009 will be our 5th show, we still found much of the information helpful and we have already been in contact with Mike. Please extend our thanks to Anna Griffin as well. Aside from being very entertaining and charming, we thought it was so thoughtful for her to share her insight and knowledge with the rest of us. We so greatly appreciate it and hope to be able to give back in the same way one day.” Lisa Chin Potash, PiPo Press - Booth # 2136”

“Good job... Content was helpful. Pictures were good. Looking forward to a great Show” Regina Goernemann, Designing Ducks – booth 1208

“The comments on various booth layouts helped me in (hopefully) improving upon my design from last year (though I will keep a significant part of the original appearance the same), I will hopefully make some good improvements.” Brigitte Thieme, BeeTeeWorld LLC – booth 1852

“Great information even for a seasoned exhibitor. Got my juices flowing for preparation for the upcoming Show.” Jan Sevadjian, Jan Sevadjian Designs, Booth 3426

We’re looking forward to a great Show, too! Whether you are a retailer or an exhibitor, please feel free to contact us here at any time with questions about the Show.
- Until next time – Kelly

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Changes Changes!

I’m very happy to be blogging again; I’ve really missed it. But boy, has it ever been a crazy year, one filled with highs and lows, and lots of diligence on the Team’s part to stay on top of what’s happening out there. Our business is a mirror reflection of what our exhibitors are experiencing in their businesses. And caution is playing a critical role in riding out this wacky world economy.

The National Stationery Show (NSS) will be chock full of wonderful new collections from seasoned vendors, and delightful young companies who are getting started in the business – one of the most exciting aspects of the Show! It will have a new feel, as many exhibitors have changed the scale of their exhibits, and a new energy.

We’re in show business, so setting the stage for the curtain to rise is something we care a lot about. Now eight weeks out, we’re focusing on delivering a high energy, fun ambiance on the Show floor – one that is as productive as it is memorable. I’m very excited to tell you that SURTEX will co-locate adjacent to the NSS in the north end of the floor. SURTEX presents 2-dimensional original art for sale or for license, and features several of the world’s leading surface designers. In fact many of the current popular licenses in stationery originated in SURTEX, and needless to say, many of tomorrow’s trends will begin there, too! The artistic synergy between the shows has always been fantastic, but with the adjacency, will be palpable. I can’t wait for you to experience it.

To add to the energy, we’re also presenting the Louie Awards display on the Show floor along the back of the 2200-3000 aisles; the Demo Theatre in the rear of the 2500 aisle, featuring 4 dynamic programs each day; and, for a real visual merchandising treat, bridal-themed table settings in the 1400 aisle. And, Passport to Discovery is back, a program that emphasizes discovery as a key opportunity for NSS buyers. Did you know that most new companies are making their splash here – and can only be found at the NSS? This unique quality means buyers can be the first to discover new talent and new trends, and bring in product that will enliven their stores and stimulate sales. A good, no a great thing!

Until next time…


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coming Soon!

Hey everyone! We're so sorry that we haven't posted in a while but the team has been real busy gearing up for the 2009 Show. I am, however, the bearer of great news. You can soon expect to read some great blogs with management updates, industry news and, of course, a sneak peak of what you can expect to see at the Show. Can you believe the 63rd annual National Stationery Show is in just over 2 months? We hope you're ready!