Now that I'm back, it seems like I've got even more work to do than before. I didn't write the number of orders that I was hoping to (the show was painfully slow) but I feel like I really learned a lot in the process. In fact, I was amazed at how much I didn't know when it came to the difference between selling jewelry and selling the new home collection.
So here are some of the things I've learned or am considering for next time, in no particular order:
Give people visual cues about the way a product is used - Buyers really didn't seem to understand what some of my items were, or how they were meant to be used. What I think is so obviously a basket or a wall panel was not so clear to others. I need to do a better job of staging the objects so that people immediately recognize how they can be used.
Use the booth space to create an experience/tell a story - Even though my booth was visually clean, it didn't really communicate anything special about my brand or my products. In addition to better staging my objects, I need to create an environment for them. There are two directions I could go with the booth - one being a home/domestic environment and the other being a focus on design. I certainly think one commands a higher price point than the other.
I need to do a better job of communicating the ideas behind my brand - there are certain values that are important to me as a designer, such as producing goods locally in small batches. These things make the prices higher, but can also command a higher price when communicated to the right audience. I need to figure out a way to communicate these ideas without cheesy "made in the USA" stickers.
Make a catalog - everyone wants a catalog they can pick up and carry around with them. The fact that I haven't done one yet is bad. On the flip side, members of the press seemed totally ok with me sending them a digital press kit once I was home.
Ship my work - this is absolutely the last show that I drive and deliver my own work to. It was a nightmare!
Speaking of which, I guess I should finally go unload the car...